Today's Top 5

Pruitt Treads Softly, But Signals Big Changes At EPA

New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt offered a conciliatory greeting Tuesday to employees of the agency he frequently sued in his old job as Oklahoma's attorney general — while making it clear he plans a sharp departure from the Obama administration's strategy and will emphasize cooperation with industry. Pruitt is among the most controversial Cabinet members brought on by President Donald Trump, who promised during the campaign gut the agency and leave only "little tidbits left," but the new administrator struck a genial tone with the staff he will rely upon to carry out his changes. - Politico

Coal Plants Keep Closing On Trump's Watch

While Trump and his congressional allies pursue a rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations in Washington, coal plants continue to close at a rapid clip across the country. In the next four years, utilities have plans to close 40 coal units, federal figures show. Six closures have been announced since Trump's victory in November. The spate of closures underlines the challenges facing President Trump, who ran on a promise of revitalizing the coal industry. Utilities, beset by stagnant power demand and presented with cheaper alternatives like natural gas and wind, have shown little appetite for returning to the fuel that long powered the American economy. - E&E News

Divesting In DAPL In Favor of American Indian-Owned Banks

Tribes and individuals that want to move their money away from financial institutions that have funded the Dakota Access Pipeline might want to take a look at American Indian-owned banks as an alternative. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has designated 18 commercial banks as American Indian-owned banks. As a group they have $2.7 billion in assets and all have their deposits insured by the FDIC. The group tends to be community banks, some quite small, others with more than a quarter billion dollars of assets. A majority of them are based in Oklahoma, but there are also institutions in North Carolina, Colorado, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana and North Dakota. - Indian Country Today

South Sudan Promises Safe Access To Starving Civilians Facing Famine

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Tuesday promised aid agencies safe access to hunger-stricken civilians, a day after his government declared a famine in parts of the war-ravaged, drought-stricken country. South Sudan has been mired in civil war since 2013 and the United Nations said on Monday it was unable to reach some of the worst hit areas because of the insecurity. - Reuters

Trump's Potential Science Advisor Happer: Hanging Around With Conspiracy Theorists

Happer is not, by any stretch, an expert on climate change science. Happer’s record of getting scientific papers published in leading journals on climate change science is at, or very close to, zero. Simply, he knows a lot about some stuff, but he is not a climate scientist. While he has a distinguished career as an atomic physicist, previously serving the administration of George HW Bush as a science director, the 77-year-old’s views on climate science are outnumbered by all the credible evidence, all the credible science agencies and are also being laughed at by the Earth’s thermometers and its melting ice sheets and glaciers. - The Guardian