Weekend Reader, Sunday March 11
Phil Dokas/flickr

Weekend Reader, Sunday March 11

Tariffs-n-Korea-n-porn star headlines push more shenanigans from the EPA and Interior below the fold.

Did somebody say "Drain the Swamp?"


Apparently, President Trump's operative plan for draining the Washington swamp is to hire former lobbyists to do cannonballs into it. The Associated Press reports that of 59 hires they tracked at EPA, about a third previously worked as registered lobbyists or lawyers for "chemical companies, fossil fuel producers, and other corporate clients."

Of course, the facepalming depth of malfeasance and conflict of interest at EPA, Interior, and other agencies can't bull its way into America's headlines. Legitimate issues like North Korea and guns, and distractions like All the President's Porn Stars hog the headlines and lure the pundits, allowing the swamping of government to quietly thrive.

The New Republic's Emily Atkin writes that EPA's social media is promoting the work of the venerable climate deniers at the Heartland Institute. Meanwhile, The Hill, whose news reporters do solid work on the environment, chose to publish a cheerful op-ed from Heartland that blows kisses to EPA boss Scott Pruitt and is march toward "greatness."

Hey, when you get chosen for the world's most important cabinet, maybe $139,000 doors are appropriate. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent that much, according to the AP, on office improvements. Secretary Zinke also opined this week that wind turbines are warming the planet.

Not to be outdone, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was reportedly involved in some environmental swampery while in the Senate: Mother Jones links him to a bribery scandal involving a Superfund site in an inner-city Birmingham neighborhood. And EPA brushed off environmental racism claims from another Alabama site: Uniontown is a predominantly black town in the shadow of a colossal landfill that receives garbage from 33 states,

Interesting read from The New York Times: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wanted to stage a "red-blue debate" on climate change late last year, but White House Chief of Staff John Kelly denied the effort. (but credit the scoop to Robin Bravender of E&E News with the scoop on this, back in December.)

Folks, these are only a few of the environmental adventures of the Trump Administration from one week's reporting. The President is fond of calling strong journalism "fake news" and casting reporters as enemies of the state. Twenty years from now, today's EPA cuts, public lands giveaways, and climate denial will matter, and will potentially hurt us deeply. Twenty years from now, I'm pretty sure Stormy Daniels won't matter.

Top Weekend News

In the New York Times, Eric Lipton reports that the slumping prospects of offshore oil drillers are getting a boost from the Trump Administration.


Reveal News reports that countless Native American archaeological sites could be at risk as the Interior Department prepares to auction off former National Monument sites for resource extraction.

Opinions and Editorials

Perhaps the most interesting thinktank to pop up in recent years is the Niskanen Center—a libertarian, right-of-center group that's parted ways with the conservative climate denial dogma. The Center's Joseph Majkut asks a fair question: Is climate coverage biased?

Writing for Outside Online, Glenn Nelson says green groups aren't paying attention to inclusion and diversity.

On PRI's Living On EarthLiving On Earth, Peter Dykstra and Steve Curwood discuss what may be the world's dirtiest river, and they look back to 1925, when evolution went on trial in Tennessee.

Non-Pornstar News from Trumpworld

A newly-appointed EPA environmental justice advisor left behind a little plutonium problem at his last job.

Exception to the (broken) rules: ClimateWire profiled Peter Navarro, an ascending trade advisor in Trumpworld. Navarro has in the past been endorsed by a local Sierra Club chapter in a political race, and been described as both "an environmental pit bull" and "a jerk." Fun read.

Water Always Wins: “Quietly radical” book makes case for slow water
www.greatlakesnow.org

Water Always Wins: “Quietly radical” book makes case for slow water

In this Q&A with author Erica Gies, Gies says our fixation on controlling water has failed and it’s time for collaborative approaches.
Sunrise in the woods

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.

‘The promise was a lie’: How Indonesian villagers lost their cut of the palm oil boom
news.mongabay.com

‘The promise was a lie’: How Indonesian villagers lost their cut of the palm oil boom

When the Indigenous villagers of Tebing Tinggi agreed to give control of their ancestral land to a palm oil company in 1995, it promised to transform their fortunes. The Suku Anak Dalam were subsistence farmers, gathering fruit and hunting game in the rainforest. The deal could give them a cut of a lucrative industry that […]
Greenhouse gas pollution trapping almost 50 percent more heat than 30 years ago
thehill.com

Greenhouse gas pollution trapping almost 50 percent more heat than 30 years ago

Planet-warming gases are trapping more and more heat in the atmosphere, holding in significantly more heat than they were in previous decades, a new assessment has found.  The Monday assessmen…
Monarch butterfly numbers skyrocket in Mexico
Wikimedia Commons

Monarch butterfly numbers skyrocket in Mexico

Mexican experts said this week that 35 per cent more monarch butterflies arrived this year to spend the winter in mountaintop forests, compared to the previous season. Experts say the rise may reflect the butterflies’ ability to adapt to more extreme bouts of heat or drought by varying the date when they leave Mexico.
DOH water advisory: Cyanobacteria, aka toxic algae, at the Stick Marsh
www.tcpalm.com

DOH water advisory: Cyanobacteria, aka toxic algae, at the Stick Marsh

DOH issued a water advisory for cyanobacteria, aka blue-green algae, at the Stick Marsh in Indian River County. Here's how toxic it is.
Study shows Bay Area minorities breathe dirtier air

Study shows Bay Area minorities breathe dirtier air

The data released Tuesday by Aclima — a California-based tech company that measured the region’s air quality block-by-block for the first time — found that communities of color and low-income communities are exposed to much more pollution than mostly White communities.
From our Newsroom
Op-ed: An engine for social justice leads the way to change

Engine for social justice leads to change

Virginia Organizing's 27-year history as a role model for The Daily Climate

Using comedy to combat climate change

Using comedy to combat climate change

The Climate Comedy Cohort aims to help comedians infuse climate activism into their creative work.

roe v. wade

Derrick Z. Jackson: Roe v. Wade draft bodes ill for air, wetlands and the EPA

Justice Alito’s longstanding consistency in wanting to restrict EPA authority makes it transparent where he wants the court to go.

solar power schools

Solar power at Pennsylvania schools doubled during the pandemic

“If this growth continues, schools could set Pennsylvania up as a clean energy leader and not just the fossil fuels we’re known for.”

environmental justice

Op-Ed: Black gold and the color line

How historical racist redlining practices are linked to higher exposures to oil and gas wells.

Our mothers' gifts: Readers respond

Our mothers' gifts: Readers respond

We asked you to share one "big lesson" your mother gave. And you responded

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.