Weekend Reader for Sunday, Dec. 31

The most breathtaking evidence yet that the Swamp isn't being drained; Trump gets climate science wrong, again; Looking back at 2017, and looking ahead at more of the same for 2018; A perfect ending to a surreal 2017.

Top Weekend News

Optimism for 2018? If that's what you're after, for goodness sake, don't look here. The implosion of U.S. environmental politics in 2017 is likely to worsen in 2018. But there are some hopeful signs on the horizon.


Recycling turmoil: The always-volatile recycling industry is coping with its latest setback: China, a primary destination for U.S. recyclables, is banning import of "foreign waste.

Texas Tea's mood swings: Big-brain piece by Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker on whether Texas can break its boom/bust dependency on Big Oil.

Today's Climate must-read: How climate deniers game the system at Google to make science-free stories and diatribes show up at the top of your climate search results.

Opinions and Editorials

From fast-growing southwest Florida, the Naples Daily News counts up the progress and setbacks on the environment.

An energy Industry observer says 2018 is the pivotal year for solar versus coal. One one will emerge at year's end as a global leader.

Bloomberk.com weighs in on a rarely-asked, all-important question: Can the public handle the truth on the environment?

This Week in Trump

Several reasons for hope in 2018 U.S. environmental policy. But many more for despair. Many EHN and Daily Climate readers contact us, asking if we can publish more good news. Well, here it is for 2018 -- but it's still overwhelmed by the likelihood of bad news in U.S. environmental policy and politics. Just sayin'.

This, IMHO, is no way to drain a swamp. Albert Kelly is a longtime associate of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The FDIC slapped the Oklahoma banker with a heavy fine and effectively banned him from any involvement with the banking industry again. Pruitt rewarded his old crony with the chairmanship of an EPA task force to "streamline" the perpetually controversial Superfund program. The story is brought to us by Sharon Lerner, a superb muckraker for The Intercept.

A Zinke joyride? A Newsweek investigation has raised questions about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke using scarce wildfire funding for non-essential helicopter travel.

Perfect Ending to a Surreal Year

I'm from Jersey, and yes, I actually have a Cousin Vinny. But a more famous Vinny from Jersey schooled the President on climate science.chooled the President on climate science. Vinny Guadagnino, former cast member from MTV's "Jersey Shore," set things right when Trump Tweeted that last week's cold and snowfall in the Northeast bolstered his longstanding claim that climate change is a hoax.

Trump's fellow reality TV star responded in a Tweet that global warming "has to do with disruptions of atmospheric conditions, ocean patterns, jet streams, and shit like that."

Fractured: Harmful chemicals and unknowns haunt Pennsylvanians surrounded by fracking

We tested families in fracking country for harmful chemicals and revealed unexplained exposures, sick children, and a family's "dream life" upended.

This is part 1 of our 4-part series, "Fractured," an investigation of fracking chemicals in the air, water, and people of western Pennsylvania.

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www.bbc.com

'UK first' nuclear fusion plan for Nottinghamshire power station

A Nottinghamshire power station is put forward as a possible site for a prototype reactor.
www.bayjournal.com

Baltimore church converts neglected urban forest into ‘peace park’

Project to restore degraded woodlands in damaged community enlists help from all over.

www.newyorker.com

Bill McKibben: The shift to renewable energy can give more power to the people

We shouldn’t give up on the idea of democratizing energy ownership as much as possible.
news.mongabay.com

The possible meat: A Brazilian farmer shows ranching can regenerate the Cerrado

Matheus Sborgia, a Brazilian chef, decided to bet on regenerative agriculture after inheriting his grandfather's cattle ranch in the heart of the Cerrado.

news.mongabay.com

When Chinook salmon is off the menu, other prey will do for endangered orcas

For nearly 20 years, Robin Baird has been following killer whales, trying to figure out what they eat. At first, he would look to see what was in their mouths as the whales feasted on fish near the surface. But then he and his colleague, Brad Hanson, started looking for more subtle clues in their […]
news.mongabay.com

Facebook enabling Amazon land grabbing, deforestation, finds investigation

The illegal sale of protected land in the Brazilian Amazon has been going on for years, but a new BBC report got deeply inside the criminal network and found some land grabbers advertising on Facebook.