The Weekend Reader: Apes, floods and child lead levels

The news on our environment, health and climate that changed the world for the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 5.


First, we hear you: Many have asked for a return to our old newsletter format, with its list of headlines and links.

We're working to get that to you, as well as options for a weekly digest and a wider array of thematic newsletters.

Our new system has tremendous power, but it also has some limits. Bear with us as we figure this out. With your help, we'll get this right. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome: feedback@ehn.org.

The week in Trump

Sam Clovis, the non-scientist named to be USDA's top scientist, found himself mired in the middle of the Papadopolous-a-palooza.

He informed President Trump on Wednesday he would no longer seek the post, as the Washington Post reported, "given the controversy surrounding the fact that he was one of the top officials on the Trump campaign who was aware of efforts by foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos to broker a relationship between the campaign and Russian officials.

Trump agriculture nominee Sam Clovis confirms he has no hard-science credentials, withdraws over ties to Russia probe (Washington Post)

Donald Trump's unqualified USDA chief scientist withdraws, cites 'political climate' (Salon)

The U.S. Global Change Research Program – sort of a domestic IPCC – released its latest assessment of climate research, and the result was unambiguous: Humans are driving climate change.

The real surprise was how forcefully major media outlets contrasted those findings with Trump and his cabinet's stance on the issue.

Associated Press' Seth Borenstein: "It is the latest example of collisions between Trump's environmental policies and the facts presented by his government's experts."

U.S. scientists contract Trump's climate claims (Associated Press)

Related: Emily Atkin, writing in the New Republic, warns that you cannot end the war on coal without starting a war on public health.

The new coal crisis (New Republic)

The week's top commentary

Five op-eds to keep you engaged:

  1. In Grand Staircase-Escalante, coal and fossils lie side by side. What could be lost as monument opponents push for mining. (Rebecca Worby, High Country News)
  2. What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change? A new study shows that the biological effects of two ecosystem changes can be greater than their individual impacts (John Abraham, The Guardian)
  3. Pruitt is turning his back on transparency at the EPA. The agency should be a fishbowl, not a black box — or it will crumble. (William D. Ruckelshaus, Washington Post)
  4. Reject outrageous fee hike for national parks. There are better ways to fund national parks than an exorbitant fee increase proposed by the Trump administration. (Editorial board of the Seattle Times)
  5. As communities rebuild after disaster, we must keep nature in mind. To minimize future harm, protecting nature and the services it provides should be at the top of our post-disaster to-do list. (Anita van Breda, Ensia)
See all of our curated opinion pieces on EHN.org/opinion.

Top news for Sunday, Nov. 5

Trending on kid's health

Trending news story this week at the journal Environmental Health Perspectives:

What happens next for children with elevated blood lead?

Reporter Charles Schmidt connected with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center pediatrician and medical director Nicholas Newman to chart the future for the half million children identified in the U.S. with elevated blood lead levels.

"When there's a strong family structure to support our efforts, I find the outcomes are better."

Read the full story.

insideclimatenews.org

Nature is critical to slowing climate change, but it can only do so if we help it first

Biden's climate summit highlighted "nature-based solutions," but political and indigenous leaders agree native peoples should lead the way and researchers warn of pitfalls.

Get our Good News newsletter

Get the best positive, solutions-oriented stories we've seen on the intersection of our health and environment, FREE every Tuesday in your inbox. Subscribe here today. Keep the change tomorrow.

theconversation.com

Gabriel Filippelli: Biden's infrastructure plan targets lead pipes that threaten public health across the US

President Biden has proposed spending $45 billion to replace every lead water pipe and service line in the nation. A public health expert explains why he sees this as a worthwhile investment.
www.kbia.org

St. Louis And EPA leaders push for federal funding to update city's water system

St. Louis and Environmental Protection Agency officials are calling for the passage of President Joe Biden's jobs plan to help update the city's water treatment system to continue to provide safe drinking water.

www.sandiegouniontribune.com

San Diego County moves to organic waste recycling, adds other environmental measures

A plan to recycle yard and food waste was among several climate measures passed Tuesday, including sustainability planning and a native landscaping policy.

stateimpact.npr.org

Pennsylvania: Legislature revives effort to create special standards for conventional drillers

House Bill 1144 allows companies to spill up to five barrels of oil spills and up to 15 barrels of wastewater without reporting them to the state.
www.post-gazette.com

Allegheny County proposal would require polluters to reduce pollution during unfavorable weather

Allegheny County proposes new rules to limit industrial and residential air emissions during temperature inversions.

www.post-gazette.com

Former Hazelwood coke works being considered for green manufacturing plant

The former LTV Coke Works in Hazelwood is one of the sites under consideration for a manufacturing plant being proposed by Nexii Building Solutions, a Canada-based green technology company.