Weekend Reader, Sunday Feb. 25

Weekend Reader, Sunday Feb. 25

What's this? The leading Congressional Benghazi warrior sets his sights on Scott Pruitt?

Funny things happen to some Congressmen when they consider life after Congress.


Trey Gowdy, the angular South Carolinian who rose to fame with his relentless pursuit of the Benghazi investigation, announced he won't run again in 2018. Gowdy came to Congress in the 2010 election by swamping incumbent Bob Inglis in the primary.

In a year when "primaried" became a verb, a moderate like Inglis—who even spoke up about climate change—had no chance.

A former prosecutor who won the nickname "Bulldog," Gowdy took the lead in pressing the Benghazi investigation—credited (or blamed) with helping defeat Hillary Clinton. His strong conservative credentials seemed perfect for Trumpism.

But last week by Trumpian standards, Congressman Gowdy Benghazi'd up the wrong tree. As chair of the House Oversight Committee, he sent a letter Tuesday to EPA, demanding details on Administrator Scott Pruitt's extensive first class travel, and on the size of his entourage.

Pruitt is said to have pulled field investigators off of protecting the environment and into a head-of-state sized personal security detail. Democrats on a second panel, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, have made a similar request.

Then there's the Cone of Silence. Pruitt reportedly spent $25,000 to install a private phone booth for conversations.

This week, another facet of Pruitt's leadership turned up. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Pruitt offered a spiritual angle to his drill-baby-drill policies:

"The biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we've been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind."

Top Weekend News

Must-read: The New Orleans Times-Picayune and the New York Times are publishing a joint series on Louisiana's disappearing coast. The town of Jean Lafitte waits to be swamped by rising seas and sinking land; and invasive insects compound the unfolding disaster along the vanishing coast.

An EPA report says people of color suffer more from air pollution in 46 states than do white people.

The AP's Seth Borenstein looks at satellite monitoring of the high seas -- and fisheries' huge footprint on ocean ecosystems.

From The Onion: Climate scientists hang it up, advise us to just enjoy the next 20 years. (You know this is satire, right?)

Opinions and Editorials

Former Interior Dept. official David Hayes argues that expanding drilling on public lands is the opposite of "America First."

Pennsylvania's York Dispatch editorializes on Trump's environmental budget cuts, and their impact on Chesapeake Bay.

Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman offers a harsh assessment of Scott Pruitt: First-class travel is the least of his problems.

On Living on Earth, Peter Dykstra and Helen Palmer discuss fatbergs -- the gross, sometimes-enormous globs of fat and grease that clog urban sewer systems.

This Week In Trump

After his forced resignation, Trump climate adviser George David Banks called the Paris Accord "a good Republican agreement."

Sometimes, ya just gotta state the obvious: Are Trump's attacks on science meant to sway public opinion? From The Hill.

A just-released EPA study, conducted in the pre-Trump era, found that people of color cope with air pollution more than white people in 46 states.

The Conservative Political Action Conference hosted a climate change panel discussion. They found good news: Increased CO2 will make blue crabs enormous!!

At EPA, enforcement fines in Trump's first year in office total less than half of any recent President.

A Little Bit of Hope from a Garden

Amidst the misery of Syria's three-way Civil War, a garden in a northern Iraq refugee camp provides a ray of hope—and fresh food. NPR's Julia Travers with a great story.

And Some News for EHN/Daily Climate

We welcome Kristina Marusic as our new reporter. Based in Pittsburgh, Kristina will cover environmental health and justice issues in the region.

This platform makes sure companies stick to their climate pledges

Lubomila Jordanova explains how her carbon-reporting firm—Plan A—uses relentless data analysis to guarantee businesses aren’t greenwashing.
Sunrise in the woods

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The Petroleum Papers explores oil & gas industry's role in the climate crisis — read an excerpt now

Oil executives were told in 1959 that burning fossil fuels will cause global warming, and yet the industry grew substantially in the decades that followed. The Petroleum Papers looks at why the biggest oil companies in the world continue to grow, and shares the story of the people who are fighting back.

Republicans plan surge of attacks on ‘woke’ investing after the midterms

The country’s largest financial firms are bracing for a fresh wave of attacks on their sustainable investing efforts after the midterm elections — especially if Republicans take control of one or both houses of Congress.

GOP to probe ‘cancer’ of climate-friendly investing after midterms

Republican lawmakers plan to conduct oversight of Wall Street’s policies to promote sustainability, calling it 'woke capitalism.'

Diesel big rigs have belched smog for years. California may soon ban them

The California Air Resources Board is poised to adopt a groundbreaking rule to phase out the diesel big rigs.

Tribe seeks to adapt as climate change alters ancestral home

Raymond Naranjo sings for rain, his voice rising and falling as he softly strikes his rawhide-covered drum. The 99-year-old invites the cloud spirits, rain children, mist, thunder and lightning to join him at Santa Clara Pueblo, where Tewa people have lived for thousands of years on land they call Kha’p’o Owingeh, the Valley of the Wild Roses.

PACE loans in Ohio could require more consumer protections

A statewide clean-energy lending program in Ohio stalled last year before making any loans. Lawmakers want to add consumer protections in case the program resurfaces.
From our Newsroom
midterm elections

Peter Dykstra: Election Day and beyond

The environment gets orphaned yet again.

Pittsburgh air pollution

Tiny particles of air pollution appear more deadly if from human-made sources

Patients exposed to air pollution in western Pennsylvania were more likely to die than patients exposed to similar levels of air pollution elsewhere.

Black scientists

New study confirms: Structural racism in STEM programs needs fixing

“Our study indicates that something is happening in the classes themselves."

Op-ed: On climate protests, the media misses the point

Op-ed: On climate protests, the media misses the point

What does van Gogh matter to billions of victims of climate inaction?

EPA Michael Regan

EPA's chemical safety rule tests the Biden administration’s commitment to environmental justice

"Cure never happens, prevention never happens in a community where people are sacrificed for others’ gain."

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