Today's Top 5

No Mention of Health in Pruitt's First Meeting With EPA Staff

Usually, new administrators at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are welcomed at headquarters without too much fanfare. That is, until today. Scott Pruitt — the new EPA administrator nominated to the position by President Donald Trump — gave his welcome address to his agency Tuesday after garnering more "no" votes on the Senate floor than any other EPA nominee since the agency was founded in 1970. - Mashable

Pruitt Questions EPA's Authority To Regulate Carbon

Scott Pruitt is questioning whether his agency is empowered to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Pruitt, whom the Senate confirmed Friday on a mostly party-line vote of 52-46, already made waves in his first hours as EPA chief. In his first interview since his nomination in December, with Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel, Pruitt said "it's a fair question" whether EPA has the "tools" to restrict carbon dioxide emissions. - E&E News

Study: Mercury in Fish, Seafood May Be Linked to Higher Risk of ALS

Many people think of fish and seafood as being healthy. However, new research suggests eating certain species that tend to have high levels of mercury may be linked to a greater risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Questions remain about the possible impact of mercury in fish, according to a preliminary study released Monday that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th annual meeting in Boston in April. - CBC

Feeding the Global Lust for Leather

About 90 percent of Bangladesh’s leather is tanned in Hazaribagh. And the country’s economy depends heavily upon leather and the manufacture of leather goods — which explains in no small measure the government’s reluctance to crack down on polluters. In 2015 and 2016 Bangladesh produced about $1.5 billion in leather and leather goods, most of it exported, according to the Bangladesh Board of Investment. Leather and leather goods represent the country’s second largest export, after garments. Turmoil in Hazaribagh threatens to upend the country’s efforts to increase its tiny share of the more than $200 billion global leather market. Should that come to pass, it would be just one more step in a long journey for the tanning industry, which has spent decades hopscotching across the globe, assiduously fleeing regulation and rising labor costs, and leaving long-lasting toxic footprints at each stop. - Undark

Trump to Roll Back Obama's Water, Climate Rules Through Executive Action

President Trump is preparing executive orders aimed at curtailing Obama-era policies on climate and water pollution, according to individuals briefed on the measures. - Washington Post

Today's Top 5

As Construction Near Standing Rock Restarts, Pipeline Fights Flare Across US

While the Standing Rock Sioux and neighboring tribes attempt to halt the project in court, other opponents of the pipeline have launched what they’re calling a “last stand,” holding protests and disruptive actions across the U.S. In North Dakota, where it all began, a few hundred people continue to live at camps on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, using them as bases for prayer and for direct actions to block construction. Last week, camps were served eviction notices from Gov. Doug Burgum and from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, demanding that they clear the biggest camp, Oceti Sakowin, by Wednesday and a smaller camp, Sacred Stone, within 10 days. - The Intercept

Border Wall Would Cleave Tribe, and Its Connection to Ancestral Land

Mr. Trump’s plan to build a 1,954-mile wall from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico will have to overcome the fury of political opponents and numerous financial, logistical and physical obstacles, like towering mountain ranges. Then there are the 62 miles belonging to the Tohono O’odham, a tribe that has survived the cleaving of its land for more than 150 years and views the president’s wall as a final indignity. A wall would not just split the tribe’s traditional lands in the United States and Mexico, members say. It would threaten an ancestral connection that has endured even as barriers, gates, cameras and Border Patrol agents have become a part of the landscape. - New York Times

Politics-Wary Scientists Wade Into Trump Fray in Boston

Many scientists view political activism as a potential taint or threat to the absolute empiricism that science strives for—or simply feel they cannot afford to take time away from their work. But several said Sunday that they believe they no longer have the luxury of remaining in their labs. Instead, participants in the Rally To Stand Up For Science said they felt compelled to speak out against the new Trump administration’s use of “alternative facts,” climate change denial and restrictions on immigrants—many of whom work in medicine and science. - Scientific American

Republicans Push Texas As Unlikely Green Energy Leader

Texas, the most Republican-dominated, oil-rich and fracking-friendly of states, has found itself with the improbable status of being a national leader in renewable wind energy. Texas has 11,592 turbines and an installed wind capacity of 20,321 megawatts, according to the American Wind Energy Association: three times as much capacity as the next state, Iowa. (California is third.) For the 12-month period ending in October last year, wind provided 12.68% of Texas’s electricity production – equivalent to powering 5.7 million homes. - The Guardian

Wet Winter Has Improved Colorado River Basin's Water Forecast, But Drought Endures

California is not the only place in the West confronting startling amounts of rain and snow. Drought conditions have declined substantially across the region in recent weeks, with heavy storms replenishing reservoirs and piling fresh powder on ski resorts.Yet there is one place where the precipitation has been particularly welcome and could be transformative: the Colorado River basin, which provides water to nearly 40 million people across seven states. - Los Angeles Times

Today's Top 5

The Murky Future of Nuclear Power in the United States

This was supposed to be America’s nuclear century. The Three Mile Island meltdown was two generations ago. Since then, engineers had developed innovative designs to avoid the kinds of failures that devastated Fukushima in Japan. The United States government was earmarking billions of dollars for a new atomic age, in part to help tame a warming global climate. But a remarkable confluence of events is bringing that to an end, capped in recent days by Toshiba’s decision to take a $6 billion loss and pull Westinghouse, its American nuclear power subsidiary, out of the construction business. - New York Times

Wind Briefly Set Record For US Electricity Source

Wind briefly powered more than 50 percent of electric demand on Feb. 12, the 14-state Southwest Power Pool said, for the first time on any North American power grid. Of the 11 states that received more than 10 percent of their power from wind in 2015, the top five are Iowa at 31 percent, South Dakota at 25 percent, Kansas at 24 percent, Oklahoma at 18 percent and North Dakota at 18 percent, all at least partially located in the SPP grid, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. - Climate Central

Australia: Coalition To Change Native Title Laws To Protect Mining and Ag Deals

The Turnbull government will change native title laws to protect land use agreements thrown into doubt by a recent court ruling, including a controversial deal between Adani and traditional owners of its proposed Queensland mine site. The attorney general, George Brandis, told parliament on Monday the government would introduce an “urgent” bill to reverse the effect of a federal court decision regarding the Noongar people of Western Australia on 2 February. That decision by the full court of the federal court found that Indigenous land use agreements – which underpin mining, agriculture or infrastructure projects – were invalid unless endorsed by all representatives in a native title claim. - The Guardian

A Push For Diesel Leaves London Gasping Amid Record Pollution

London is choking from record levels of pollution, much of it caused by diesel cars and trucks, as well as wood-burning fires in private homes, a growing trend. It has been bad enough to evoke comparisons to the Great Smog of December 1952, when fumes from factories and house chimneys are thought to have killed as many as 12,000 Londoners. - New York Times

A Coal Miner's Take On Stream Protection

Coal has deep roots in Appalachia and its local communities, but this way of life too often comes with persistent water pollution. With the recent overturn of the Stream Protection Rule, coal companies are under less pressure to control and clean up their environmental impact. Former miner Gary Bentley and host Steve Curwood explore the murky future of coal country’s water and its future. - PRI's Living On Earth

Today's Top 5

Scott Pruitt Doesn't Know Power of the EPA

The President-elect’s pick to head the E.P.A., the Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has argued before Congress that the agency “was never intended to be our nation’s frontline environmental regulator,” and that the states should have primary authority. That argument is now a favorite among conservatives. But according to Philip Angell, who became an E.P.A. special assistant in 1970, Pruitt’s interpretation ignores the history and intent of the laws that define the agency’s mission. The statutes give the E.P.A. “the primary authority to set standards and enforce them if the states won’t do it,” he told me. “The whole point was to set a federal baseline.”  - The New Yorker

Civil Rights Panel: Flint Water Crisis Linked to 'Systemic Racism'

The Flint drinking water crisis has its root causes in historical and systemic racism, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission said Friday in a hard-hitting report that calls the public health catastrophe " a complete failure of government" and recommends a rewrite of the state's emergency manager law and bias training for state officials. The report, unanimously adopted at a meeting of the commission at the Northbank Center in downtown Flint, also calls for the creation of a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" — a model that was used in South Africa after apartheid — as a way of rebuilding government trust and credibility by listening to and addressing specific concerns raised by Flint residents. - Detroit Free Press

Climate Change Is Transforming The World's Food Supply

Climate change is poised to affect the world's food supply in three key ways, experts say. "There will be impacts on the quantity, quality and location of the food we produce," said Dr. Sam Myers, a medical doctor and senior research scientist studying environmental health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "We've never needed to increase food production more rapidly than we do today to keep up with global demand." - Live Science.

Murray Energy CEO Claims Global Warming Is A Hoax

Murray Energy is the country's largest coal miner. Many of its mines are in Appalachia, a region that would suffer some of the biggest impacts of the rule. Murray also successfully sued to delay implementation of the Clean Power Plan, which would regulate planet-warming carbon emissions from power plants. Asked about the economic analysis behind President Barack Obama's energy regulations, Murray said, "There's no scientific analysis either. I have 4,000 scientists that tell me global warming is a hoax. The Earth has cooled for 20 years." It was not immediately clear who the 4,000 scientists Murray referenced are. - CNBC

Majority of Science Teachers Are Teaching Climate Change, But Not Always Correctly

Most public middle and high school science teachers in the United States are devoting two hours or less per course to the topic of climate change —and they are often getting the facts wrong, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science. While three out of four teachers are teaching the issue, only half of those instructors are correctly explaining that humans are driving climate change. An even smaller number of teachers are aware of how overwhelming the scientific consensus on the issue is. - InsideClimate News


Senate Confirms Scott Pruitt to Lead EPA

The Senate on Friday confirmed Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency, putting a seasoned legal opponent of the agency at the helm of President Trump’s efforts to dismantle major regulations on climate change and clean water — and to cut the size and authority of the government’s environmental enforcer. Senators voted 52-46 to confirm Mr. Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who has built a career out of suing to block the E.P.A.’s major environmental rules, and has called for the dissolution of much of the agency’s authority. One Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, crossed party lines to vote against Mr. Pruitt, while two Democrats, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp, both from coal-rich states where voters generally oppose environmental rules, voted for him. - New York Times

Today's Top 5

Critical Condition: Health Experts Sound the Alarm On Climate

In a gathering impacted by presidential politics, an all-star cast of public health experts largely stuck to their own bleak script: Climate change is poised to unleash an unprecedented, global public health crisis. Not even former Vice President Al Gore, who served as the day's emcee, waded into the political swamp. He presented a half-hour, health-themed version of his much-lauded slide show. - The Daily Climate

Judge Rules Against Pruitt, Ordering Trump's EPA Nominee to Release Emails

An Oklahoma County District judge on Thursday ordered Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office to turn over emails and other documents requested two years ago by a watchdog group. In the ruling against Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection agency, judge Aletia Haynes Timmons said the agency violated state transparency laws. - State Impact/NPR

EPA Workers Try to Block Pruitt in Show of Defiance

Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency have been calling their senators to urge them to vote on Friday against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s contentious nominee to run the agency, a remarkable display of activism and defiance that presages turbulent times ahead for the E.P.A. Many of the scientists, environmental lawyers and policy experts who work in E.P.A. offices around the country say the calls are a last resort for workers who fear a nominee selected to run an agency he has made a career out of fighting — by a president who has vowed to “get rid of” it. - New York Times

TransCanada Files KeystoneXL Route Application in Nebraska

TransCanada Corp filed an application with Nebraska authorities on Thursday to route its Keystone XL pipeline through the state, saying it expected a decision this year for this crucial leg of the $8 billion project that had been stymied by environmental groups and other opponents U.S. President Donald Trump cleared the way for the project at the federal level last month, reversing an earlier decision by former President Barack Obama, who had blocked it over environmental concerns. - Reuters

Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis

Always short of water, Mexico City keeps drilling deeper for more, weakening the ancient clay lake beds on which the Aztecs first built much of the city, causing it to crumble even further. It is a cycle made worse by climate change. More heat and drought mean more evaporation and yet more demand for water, adding pressure to tap distant reservoirs at staggering costs or further drain underground aquifers and hasten the city’s collapse. - New York Times

Today's Top 5

EPA Staff Told To Prepare For Trump's Executive Orders

Staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been told that President Donald Trump is preparing a handful of executive orders to reshape the agency, to be signed once a new administrator is confirmed. Trump has promised to cut U.S. environmental rules - including those ushered in by former President Barack Obama targeting carbon dioxide emissions - as a way to bolster the drilling and coal mining industries, but has vowed to do so without compromising air and water quality. Meanwhile, a new House bill would eliminate the EPA completely by the end of 2018. - Reuters

Standing Rock: Tribes File Last-Ditch Effort to Block Dakota Access Pipeline

The motion, filed Tuesday by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes, asks the court to reverse an easement for the pipeline that the Army Corps of Engineers granted. That easement lifted the final hurdle for the project's completion. The tribes said the Corps' actions violate the National Environmental Policy Act and the Corps' responsibility to protect the tribes' treaty rights. They called the decision "arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law." - InsideClimate News

When Climate Change Starts Wars

The warming rate in Central Asia has been twice the average global warming rate over the same period, and larger than any previous decade, over the first 12 years of the 21st century. As the region heats up, it faces increasing political instability and violence. - Nautilus

Researchers Find Pesticides Spills, Accidents May Alter Farmworkers' DNA

Farmworkers who have a high pesticide exposure event—such as a spill—are more likely to experience molecular changes on DNA that may lead to certain cancers, according to a large U.S. study of pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina. The research, part of the ongoing Agricultural Health Study that is monitoring the health of more than 57,000 private and commercial pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina, adds to growing evidence that high exposure to certain pesticides may spur prostate and other cancers in people handling the chemicals. - Environmental Health News

Endangered Species Act May Be Headed For Threatened List

A Senate hearing to “modernize the Endangered Species Act” unfolded Wednesday just as supporters of the law had feared, with round after round of criticism from Republican lawmakers who said the federal effort to keep species from going extinct encroaches on states’ rights, is unfair to landowners and stymies efforts by mining companies to extract resources and create jobs. - Washington Post

Today's Top 5

Trump's likely science adviser calls climate scientists 'glassy-eyed cult'

The man tipped as frontrunner for the role of science adviser to Donald Trumphas described climate scientists as “a glassy-eyed cult” in the throes of a form of collective madness. William Happer, an eminent physicist at Princeton University, met with Trump last month to discuss the post and says that if he were offered the job he would take it. Happer is highly regarded in the academic community, but many would view his appointment as a further blow to the prospects of concerted international action on climate change. - The Guardian

Oroville Is a Warning for California Dams, As Climate Change Adds Stress

The threat of catastrophic flooding from the damaged Oroville Dam in Northern California this week — forcing the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people because of what environmental groups had asserted in 2005 was a design flaw — presented a warning sign for California, where a network of dams and waterways is suffering from age and stress. It also demonstrated that older dams may not be designed to deal with the severe weather patterns California has experienced because of global warming. - New York Times

Clean Energy Grows Globally, But Many of World's Poorest Are Left In the Dark

Energy access, efficiency and renewables are on the rise in many developing nations, but in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, the energy situation is still grim and hundreds of millions remain unconnected, according to a new World Bank report.  - The Daily Climate

Trump Signs Law Rolling Back Disclosure Rules For Energy and Mining Companies

President Trump signed his first piece of legislation on Tuesday, a measure that could presage the most aggressive assault on government regulations since President Reagan. The bill cancels out a Securities and Exchange Commission regulation that would have required oil and gas and mining companies to disclose in detail the payments they make to foreign governments in a bid to boost transparency in resource-rich countries. It is the first of a series of bills Congress is considering that would take advantage of the Congressional Review Act of 1996, which had been used only once before today. - Washington Post

Standing Rock Sioux Make New Court Filing To Stop Dakota Access Pipeline

The filing calls the Army Corps of Engineers' action in issuing a final easement for the pipeline “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.” - Washington Post

Today's Top 5

Judge Rejects Standing Rock Request to Block Dakota Access Pipeline Drilling

A federal judge has rejected a request from indigenous tribes to block drilling of the Dakota Access pipeline, the latest blow to the Standing Rock Sioux after Donald Trump fast-tracked final permits for the last phase of construction. The tribe has argued that it’s unlawful for Trump’s administration to throw out the lengthy environmental review process that the US army corps of engineers began under Obama, which would have required close scrutiny of potential harms and consideration of alternative routes. Trump has been an investor in the pipeline operator Energy Transfer Partners, and its CEO donated to his presidential campaign. - The Guardian

Oroville Dam: Feds and State Ignored Warning 12 Years Ago

More than a decade ago, federal and state officials and some of California’s largest water agencies rejected concerns that the massive earthen spillway at Oroville Dam — at risk of collapse Sunday night and prompting the evacuation of 185,000 people — could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe. - San Jose Mercury News

Trump Would Face Legal Battle For Dumping Climate Treaty

A complicated legal battle awaits the Trump administration if it tries to withdraw from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said the Congressional Research Service in a new report. The paper, released last week, examines the long-standing debate between the legislative and executive branches over the process for backing away from agreements under domestic and international law. - Greenwire

Heat Waves Scorch The Arctic, Australia, Parts of the US

For climate scientists, the relative warmth in the Arctic is arguably the most troubling. Temperatures in the far north of the planet have risen more than 20 degrees above normal on average in the past week, according to data from the Danish Meteorological Institute. Last week, the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced that the polar ice cap in January stood at a record low for the 38 years it has collected satellite data. Compared to a year earlier, which set the previous record for the smallest January ice cap, the North Pole had lost a Wyoming-sized area of ice. - InsideClimate News

Trump Administration Wants King Gold Mine Case Dismissed

The Trump administration is asking a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit by New Mexico and the Navajo Nation over a 2015 mine-waste spill caused by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Justice Department filed a brief Monday arguing that the EPA, as a government agency, has sovereign immunity because its workers and contractors were trying to clean up the abandoned Gold King Mine when it caused the spill in Colorado. The government is continuing the same argument of the Obama administration, which concluded in January that the EPA was legally barred from paying out the $1.2 billion in claims from people, businesses, governments and others who said they were harmed by the spill. - The Hill

Today's Top 5

Thousands Ordered to Evacuate Towns Near Lake Oroville Dam

The evacuation orders arrived Sunday afternoon, only hours after officials with the California Department of Water Resources sought to assure residents that the rain-engorged reservoir’s dam and its spillways were stable. The orders included the counties of Butte, Yuba and Sutter. Oroville residents were told to make their way north of the lake to Chico, where an impromptu evacuation shelter had been set up at the Silver Dollar fairgrounds. - Los Angeles Times

DuPont to Pay $670 Million to Settle C8 Lawsuits

A study found that, in general, area residents who drank water from wells near the plant had a median level of 38 parts per billion of C8 in their blood — 7.6 times more than the average American. In 2012, a science panel concluded a "probable link" existed between C8 and six diseases: kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension and high cholesterol. The 200 or so plaintiffs with cancer are expected to receive at least $1 million. At the lower end, those with high cholesterol could receive awards in the five figures. - The Columbus Dispatch

Auto CEOs Want Trump to Order Review of 2025 Fuel Rules

The chief executives of 18 major automakers and their U.S. units urged President Donald Trump to revisit a decision by the Obama administration to lock in vehicle fuel efficiency rules through 2025. In a letter sent late Friday and viewed by Reuters, the chief executives of General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, along with the top North American executives at Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Co, Hyundai Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co, and others urged Trump to reverse the decision, warning thousands of jobs could be at risk. On Jan. 13, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized a determination that the landmark fuel efficiency rules instituted by then President Barack Obama should be locked in through 2025, a bid to maintain a key part of his administration's climate legacy. - Reuters

Humans Causing Climate to Change 170 Times Faster Than Natural Forces

The authors of the paper wrote that for the past 4.5bn years astronomical and geophysical factors have been the dominating influences on the Earth system. But over the past six decades human forces “have driven exceptionally rapid rates of change in the Earth system,” the authors wrote, giving rise to a period known as the Anthropocene. “Human activities now rival the great forces of nature in driving changes to the Earth system,” the paper said. - The Guardian

In The Sierras, New Approaches to Protecting Trees Under Stress

In California’s Sierras and around the world, extreme drought and rising temperatures are killing trees and threatening the viability of forests. Some ecologists are saying that land managers now need to adopt radically new strategies. - Yale Environment360

Today's Top 5 Trending: Antiquated Water Systems, Zika Affects Brain, Endangered Penguins, Food Waste, Cameroon Food Insecurity

Our Drinking Water Systems Are a Disaster. What Can We Do? 

Every year, more than 32 billion cubic meters (41 billion cubic yards) of treated water are lost to leaks around the world — enough water to serve almost 400 million people, according to the World Bank. And although drinking water in the United States remains quite safe overall, contamination with bacteria or viruses regularly makes people sick. - Ensia

There's More Evidence That Zika Goes Straight to the Brain

Two studies published this week show that the Zika virus seems to prefer brain cells — and that it can cause many different types of damage to those cells. One of the studies shows that Zika — but not its close cousin, the dengue virus — destroys developing nerve cells. Another describes the cases of two Zika patients who developed nerve damage similar to that caused by multiple sclerosis. - NBC News

A New Zealand Penguin, Hard to Spot, Is Harder to Preserve

Incredibly shy, the yellow-eyed penguin is truly odd. Measuring about 65 centimeters, or just over two feet tall, with striking yellow eyes and a yellow band across its head, it is the rarest species of penguin, nesting in the forest and returning to it. It is also severely endangered. Despite various measures deployed in recent years to protect this penguin’s flocks, the outlook remains bleak. - New York Times

Wasted Food's Heavy Burden on Climate

As obesity levels soar, cutting the vast amount of food we waste could have a major impact on reducing the effects of climate change, as well as alleviating world hunger. - Climate News Network

Boko Haram Violence, Climate Change Drive Hunger in North Cameroon

Armed conflict between Boko Haram militants and Cameroon's armed forces in the region has made it difficult for some farmers to access their fields, deepening food security. At the same time, the region is hosting 75,000 Nigerians who have fled that country's Boko Haram insurgency and 82,000 internally displaced people affected by the spillover of the conflict to Cameroon since 2013, officials say. Just as problematic, climate change is gradually rendering the traditional agricultural calendar unreliable, making just getting in a crop hard work, farmers in the region say. - Thomson Reuters

Today's Top 5 Trending: Honduras Activists, Coal Exec Sentenced, Antarctic Ice Sheet Predictions, Coral Die-Offs, Flint Lawsuit

Why Is Honduras the World's Deadliest Country for Environmental Activists? 

My story today on the environmental as an important battleground for human rights, and why Honduras has become so dangerous for indigenous and environmental activists. - The Guardian

Coal Exec Gets Maximum Sentence in West Virginia Mining Disaster

Former Massey Energy Co. CEO Don Blankenship, who rose from humble beginnings in Mingo County to become the wealthy and powerful chief executive of one of the region’s largest coal producers, will serve one year in prison and pay a $250,000 fine for a mine safety criminal conspiracy, a judge decided Wednesday. - Charleston Gazette

Antarctica in the Year 2500

A new scientific study predicts varying scenarios in which climate change could cause the West Antarctic ice sheet to melt in the coming decades and centuries. If greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced significantly, seas around the world could rise to potentially catastrophic levels before 2100. This graphic shows what could happen by 2500. - Los Angeles Times

Scientists Blame El Nino, Warming for 'Gruesome' Coral Death

Kiritimati is where El Nino, along with global warming, has done the most damage to corals in the past two years, experts said. While dramatic images of unprecedented total bleaching on Australia's Great Barrier Reef are stunning the world, thousands of miles to the east conditions are somehow even worse. - Associated Press

Michigan Claims Immunity in Flint Class Action Lawsuit

Attorneys for the state and Gov. Rick Snyder are asking a judge to dismiss one of several class action lawsuits filed on behalf of Flint residents over the city’s ongoing water contamination crisis, claiming immunity in federal court. A motion filed Monday with U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara argues the federal court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case and that plaintiff claims against Snyder are “not viable.” - Detroit News

Today's Top 5 Trending: Ag and Antibiotics, Phosphorous Mystery, Mexico City Air Pollution, Ocean Acidification, Critiquing NYC's Climate Plan

Is Agriculture Doing Enough to Control Antibiotic Resistance?

Some of the most important medicines doctors prescribe to fight infections are losing effectiveness and the Obama administration is calling on farmers to help turn the tide against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A recent report by the president’s advisors on antibiotic resistance charts some progress but also left some critics urging for more immediate action. - KMUW Public Radio Wichita

EPA Uncovers Mysterious Phosphorous Pollution

High phosphorus levels in streams and lakes typically result from sewage discharge and agricultural runoff. But the new work finds phosphorus pollution in remote areas far from such sources, leaving researchers scratching their heads about where it came from. - Chemical and Engineering News

How Mexico City Plans to Fight Air Pollution 

Under the city’s new program announced Wednesday, all privately owned cars must remain off streets one day per week as well as one additional Saturday per month. The initiative comes after the city issued a four-day air quality alert on March 14, after the city experienced air pollution at double the national acceptance level. The city’s "Hoy No Circula," or "no circulation," program ramps up the country’s previous efforts to tackle air pollution. - Christian Science Monitor

As Ocean Acidification Threatens West Coast, a Quest to Stop It

A panel of scientists, convened in 2013 at the behest of government officials, has delivered their findings on the threat of ocean acidification to the North American West Coast. The danger is real, they say, but they see a path to progress. - Christian Science Monitor

Environmental Justice Groups Deliver Critiques of de Blasio Climate Plan

The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, a group of organizations that advocate primarily for low-income communities of color, conducted an exhaustive analysis of OneNYC, measuring its strengths and weaknesses. The overall theme of the 76-page report is that environmental advocates in the very communities on which de Blasio has staked his legacy believe he has a long way to go to address their risks in a rapidly changing climate. - Politico New York

Today's Top 5 Trending: Canadian Mining Abuses, Ocean Garbage, Idaho Lead Woes, Melting Ice Caps, Clinton and Greenpeace

Guatemalan Woman's Claim Puts Focus On Canadian Firms' Conduct Abroad

For a long time, Margarita Caal did not talk about what happened that afternoon. None of the women in this tiny village high in the hills of eastern Guatemala did, not even to each other. But that day, Caal said, the men who had come to evict her from land they said belonged to a Canadian mining company also took turns raping her. After that, they dragged her from her home and set it ablaze. - New York Times

How Bad Is Ocean Garbage, Really? 

Plenty of studies have sounded alarm bells about the state of marine debris; in a paper published in February in the journal Ecology, researchers set out to determine how many of those perceived risks are real. In 83 percent of cases, the perceived dangers of ocean trash were proven true.  - The Atlantic

Like Flint, Idaho Knows Lead Poisoning

The lead poisoning in Flint, Mich., has Idaho environmental authorities taking extra steps to ensure such an event can’t happen here. Jerri Henry, who runs the drinking water program for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, saw what happened in Flint and asked herself: “Are we doing enough?” Idaho Statesman

These Ice Cap Images Show Arctic's Rapid Change

 NASA’s Earth Observatory gathered satellite imagery of two well-studied ice caps on Canada’s Ellesmere Island located north of the Arctic Circle to illustrate the ice’s disappearing act. The imagery captured in 2004 and 2015 shows a major decline in ice cover. When you add an outline of where the ice caps once stretched during a 1959 survey, the decline becomes even more notable. Freakishly warm temperatures in the Arctic this winter — which were up to 20°F above normal in some areas — will likely to hasten their decline and eventual demise. - Climate Central

Usually Calm, Clinton Loses Cool Over Greenpeace Fossil Fuel Question

A question about Clinton's record on accepting donations from the fossil fuel industry tipped the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in this year’s election over the edge. - Reuters

Today's Top 5 Trending:

Brazil Should Address Zika as STD, Researchers Say

My piece today on why the Brazilian government is mum on sexual transmission of Zika - The Guardian

Common Chemicals Linked to Endometriosis, Fibroids -- And Healthcare Costs

Hormone-disrupting chemicals are everywhere -- in plastics, pesticides and makeup -- and two of them, phthalates and DDE, have been particularly strongly linked with common female reproductive conditions, such as fibroids. - CNN

A Burgeoning Effort to Restore Native Foods in an Unlikely Food Desert

The salmon and berries that once nourished a network of tribes in California’s Klamath Basin are now scarce. This effort hopes to reverse the trend. - Civil Eats

How To Talk Global Warming in Plain English

Everyone is looking for something different from the next National Climate Assessment, including the scientists and decision makers who put together the current guiding document for climate policy in this country. And as they discuss how to put together the next blueprint, they worry about how to best get their message to the people who need most to hear and heed it. - ClimateWire

Scientists Urge Feds to Continue Fracking Moratorium Off California Coast

The opposition to environmentally destructive fracking in California’s marine waters is building rapidly. On March 22, over 30 prominent scientists urged the federal government to continue the moratorium on fracking in federal waters off the California coast and to prepare a comprehensive environmental impact statement for the controversial oil-industry technique. - San Diego Free Press

Today's Top 5 Trending: Latin American Environmentalists, Schools and Lead, Climate Politics, Scotland Closes Last Coal-Fired Power Plant

For Latin American Environmentalists, Death is a Constant Companion

Two-thirds of environmentalists who died violently around the world since 2002 lost their lives in that region. For the five years ending in 2014, more than 450 were killed, according to an international network of conservationist groups. Over half were in Honduras and Brazil. - Washington post

Schools Nationwide Still Grapple With Lead in Water 

This winter’s crisis in Flint, Mich., has cast new attention on lead in water supplies. But problems with lead in school water supplies have dragged on for years — aggravated by ancient buildings and plumbing, prolonged by official neglect and tight budgets, and enabled by a gaping loophole in federal rules that largely exempts schools from responsibility for the purity of their water. - New York Times

Where Do The Remaining Presidential Candidates Stand On Climate Change?

We are now officially through half of the United States Presidential election primary and caucus season, and there are currently 5 contenders left in the Republican and Democratic parties vying for their party’s respective nomination. Delegate math shows that Governor John Kasich has no chance to become the Republican nominee, so we’re left with four real candidates to examine. - De Smog Blog

Climate Change May Be a Burning Issue, But Election Campaign Tells a Different Story

While Alaska is clearly on the melting edge of climate change, this fundamental shift barely registered in the Republican caucus held earlier in March and won by Ted Cruz. Even though Democratic candidates have been more willing to discuss climate change, the topic wasn't front and centre ahead of Saturday’s caucus. - The Guardian

Scotland Closes Last Coal-Fired Power Plant

Scotland may be home to golf, haggis, and Sean Connery — but it’s no longer hospitable to coal. On March 24, Scottish Power shut down Longanett power station, its last standing coal-fired power plant. - Grist

Today's Top 5 Trending: Australia Clean Energy, Environment and Conflict, Trump Denies Climate, Environmental Justice, Africa's Drought

Australia Announces $1 Bn Clean Energy Fund, In Break With Past

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday said the country would establish a A$1 billion ($761.60 million) clean-energy innovation fund, in a major departure from his predecessor's much maligned approach to combating climate change. - Reuters

How Exploiting the Earth Can Fuel Violent Conflict

At the end of May, the U.N. Environment Assembly will convene for the second time ever in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and the environmental challenges facing today’s world. And it looks like one major theme to be addressed — one that’s a growing concern among world leaders and activists — is the link between violent conflict and an increasingly over-exploited natural world. - Washington Post

Trump Denies Climate Change Poses Serious Threat

Republican presidential candidates haven't exactly set a high bar for their understanding of climate science during the 2016 race so far. However, front-runner Donald Trump wins the prize for the most confounding denial of global warming expressed by a major party's presidential candidate to date. - Mashable

North Carolina Groups Say People of Color Bear Brunt of Hog Factory Farms

All eyes have been on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, but it is by no means the only city where the poorest residents face environmental damage and lax government oversight. Further to the South, in rural North Carolina, another, less-known battle is taking shape. This crisis involves the lasting impact of pollution from large concentrated animal feeding operations housing pigs. Now a group of citizens is claiming that the state’s $3 billion pork industry is disposing of its waste in a manner that disproportionately and negatively affects residents of color, and that the negotiating efforts are being stalled by the pork industry. - Civil Eats

Why Is Nobody Talking About Africa's Drought? 

Millions in parts of eastern and southern Africa are facing the worst drought in three decades. Only 15 percent of the $155 million needed for relief aid has been funded to date. - Christian Science Monitor

Today's Top 5 Trending: Atlantic Oil Drilling, Arsenic in Texas Water, Inequality and Zika, Australia's Penguin Scientists, US Climate Displaced

Obama's Atlantic Oil Drilling Program Takes Friendly Fire - From the Pentagon

The Obama administration is reworking its plan to open the southern Atlantic Coast to offshore oil exploration because of strong opposition from the Pentagon, which says the activity could hurt military maneuvers and interfere with missile tests the Navy relies on to protect the coast. - Washington Post

High Arsenic Levels In Many Texans' Water

Tens of thousands of Texans live in places where the drinking water contains toxic levels of arsenic — a known carcinogen — and the state isn’t doing enough to discourage them from consuming it, according to a new report from an environmental group. - Texas Tribune

Infrastructure Epidemic Is Catalyst for Brazil's Zika Epidemic

The mosquito, a Brazilian saying goes, is a democratic devil - it bites rich and poor alike. But an outbreak of the Zika virus has revealed deep inequality when it comes to who bears the brunt of living among the insects. - Reuters

Meet Australia's Next Generation of Scientists: Penguins

Human researchers are hoping Phillip Island little penguins will help reveal what is happening out in the oceans off Australia's south-east. A team from Monash University and Phillip Island Nature Park are attaching sensors on the little seabirds to shed light on what happens at sea, using some fairly common technology. - ABC

Louisiana's Vanishing Island: The Climate Refugees Resettling for $52 million

With new federal funding, the Isle de Jean Charles tribe will be part of the first program in the lower 48 states to address an entire community’s resettlement needs due to climate change and increased natural disasters. - The Guardian

Today's Top 5 Trending: EU Greenhouse Gases, Michigan v. EPA, Mosquito Dangers, Fertility and Plastics, Artificial Sweeteners

EU Transport Target 'May Have Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions' 

Renewable transport goal has encouraged biofuels including those from palm oil and soybean, which are found to be worse than diesel oil for emissions - The Guardian

Michigan Group Says Flint Crisis Shows Need to Stop Fighting EPA Pollution Rules

In the context of Flint, Michigan’s ongoing lead-tainted water crisis, regional environmental groups are calling on Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to stop his fight against federal rules for mercury emissions from power plants. - Midwest Energy News

Undergoing Fertility Treatment? Watch Your Plastics

For women trying fertility treatments, research indicates that exposure to one ubiquitous chemical, bisphenol-A, might greatly impair their chances of having a baby. But federal agencies remain steadfast in the safety of the chemical, known as "BPA" and found in some canned foods and beverages, paper receipts and dental sealants. - Environmental Health News

Could Artificial Sweeteners Like Splenda Trigger Cancer?

An artificial sweetener promoted as a healthier alternative to sugar may raise the risk of leukaemia, a study has found. Italian researchers found Splenda, a sweetener which containing sucralose, was linked with an increased risk of this type of blood cancer as well as other cancers. - London Daily Mail

Mosquitos' Rapid Spread Poses Threat Beyond Zika

As the world focuses on Zika's rapid advance in the Americas, experts warn the virus that originated in Africa is just one of a growing number of continent-jumping diseases carried by mosquitoes threatening swathes of humanity. - Reuters

Today's Top 5 Trending: Flint Lawsuit, Christie Lead Veto, Utah Land Battle, High-Speed Rail Fight, Bird Deaths

Flint Families File Lawsuit Over Water Contamination

A group of Flint families with children has filed new lawsuits in the Michigan city's water crisis, accusing private companies of professional negligence and government employees of misconduct that led to the contamination of the water supply. - Reuters

NJ Governor Defends Veto of Lead Poisoning Bill, Calls Problem 'Over-dramatized'

 Gov. Chris Christie is pushing back against measures by Democratic lawmakers to protect thousands of New Jersey children already exposed to dangerous levels of lead. Christie is defending his veto of a previous effort to increase funding for lead abatement on financial terms and stressing that the state already spends tens of millions each year to help keep children from getting sick. In a press conference last week, Christie said the issue has been “over dramatized” and blamed Democratic-led requests for extra funding for driving the state’s budget problems. - Montclair NJ Spotlight

Remote Utah Enclave Becomes Latest Battleground Over Reach of US Control

At a moment when much of President Obama’s environmental agenda has been blocked by Congress and stalled in the courts, the president still has the power under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create national monuments on federal lands with the stroke of a pen. A coalition of tribes, with support from conservation groups, is pushing for a new monument here in the red-rock deserts, arguing it would protect 1.9 million acres of culturally significant land from new mining and drilling and become a final major act of conservation for the administrations - New York Times

Controversy Over California Ballot Measure To Kill High-Speed Rail and Use Money for Reservoirs

The campaign, bankrolled by San Joaquin Valley farmers, is already drawing fire from environmentalists and fellow farmers, who call it a "Trojan horse." - San Jose Mercury News

Alaska Scientists Continue Researching Sea Bird Mystery Deaths

Common murres are one of the northern hemisphere's most common seabirds. Die-offs have occurred before but not on this magnitude. Common murres routinely live 20-25 years but have a metabolism rate so high that they can use up fat reserves and drop to a critical threshold for starvation, 65 percent of normal body rate, in three days of not eating. - Associated Press