Trump administration halts study on health risks of living near coal mining sites

August 25, 2017 by  
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The Donald Trump administration seems to be plugging its ears against the mention of any health risks of residing near coal mines. His Department of the Interior (DOI) recently shut down a study on potential health impacts for such people in Central Appalachia, reportedly citing a changing budget. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign representative Bill Price told The Washington Post, “It’s infuriating that Trump would halt this study…that people in Appalachia have been demanding for years.” The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine were conducting a study on health risks for people living near surface coal mining sites when they were told to stop by the DOI as the agency reviewed projects needing more than $100,000. The National Academies was still allowed to hold scheduled meetings in Kentucky earlier this week. But they’ve been told to cease all other work on the project. Related: Montana judge stops massive coal mine expansion, citing climate impact Central Appalachia coal mining sometimes employs mountaintop removal , a practice scientists say is particularly destructive . Price told The Washington Post, “Everyone knows there are major health risks living near mountaintop removal coal mining sites, but communities living with daily health threats were counting on finally getting the full story from the professionals at the National Academies of Science.” The National Mining Association seemed to stand behind the Trump administration’s move, pointing to an analysis from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences examining multiple reports which said the studies usually didn’t account for lifestyle and extraneous health effects. The association also pointed to a United States Energy Information Administration analysis saying mountaintop mining only comprises under one percent of coal production and a study of health impacts may be unnecessary. The National Academies said they believe the study is important and they stand ready to continue the work, hoping they’ll be allowed to continue. But they don’t know the end date of the DOI’s review. Via The Washington Post Lead image via Pixabay , others via iLoveMountains.org on Flickr and Pixabay

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Trump administration halts study on health risks of living near coal mining sites

US states and cities say they’re sticking to the Paris Accord without Trump

June 2, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump said he was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris, as he withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement on Thursday. Pittsburgh, however, isn’t sticking with him – at least not on climate change. The mayor of that city, along with 29 other mayors, three state governors, over 80 university presidents, and over 100 businesses have banded together to commit to the Paris Accord without the president. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who’s helping lead the effort, said in an interview, “We’re going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed.” Trump’s move to yank America out of the Paris Agreement was criticized by many as abdicating American leadership on the global stage in the face of the climate change crisis. But this group of states, cities, businesses, and universities won’t leave the world to battle the crisis alone. The unnamed group is working with the United Nations to see if their submission can be added to the Paris deal. Related: BREAKING: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement Other mayors include those of Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City. Mars and Hewlett-Packard are among the businesses involved. And presidents or chancellors of universities like Wesleyan and Emory are getting on board as well. Bloomberg said businesses, states, and cities could reach the Obama administration’s Paris goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent down from 2005 levels by 2025. California Governor Jerry Brown, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo formed the United States Climate Alliance immediately in the wake of Trump’s announcement, and called for other states to join in. In a statement, Brown said he doesn’t believe “fighting reality is a good strategy” and that states will step up if the president won’t lead. Even former President Barack Obama broke the silence traditionally maintained by former presidents to help ease the country’s transition into new leadership. He released a statement published by The Washington Post , saying, “…even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.” Via The New York Times Images via Fibonacci Blue on Flickr , The Climate Mayors on Twitter , and Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

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US states and cities say they’re sticking to the Paris Accord without Trump

Muppet set designer’s Tower House is a psychedelic escape made from repurposed materials

June 2, 2017 by  
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This one-of-a-kind house near Woodstock has a history that is as unique as it is. John Kahn, the home’s creator, was friends with the late Muppet mogul Jim Henson and designed sets for the show. The secretary for the Grateful Dead also lived in the home for several years. Kahn built the Tower House over 15 years using re-purposed and locally available materials . If you want to experience the psychedelic home for yourself, you can nab the 3,518 square-foot building  for a cool $1.2 million. The Tower House sits on a wooded 5.5-acre estate located near Woodstock. In 2007, Kahn sold the house to its current owner, former secretary to the Greatful Dead, who was married to Owsley Stanley, a known 1960s music producer and sound engineer. John Kahn used repurposed materials including slate, copper, aircraft-grade aluminium and redwood, as well as local wood and bluestone to build this cylindrical structure that includes a guest house, a sauna, a large studio building and three storage buildings. Related: Small town restaurateurs transform former church into a stunning cafe The three-bedroom home looks different from practically every angle and resembles a set from a TV show. Each room in the house has a different visual theme, with artwork scattered all over the place. The eclectic use of materials was inspired by the Catskills wilderness, dotted with the artist’s sculptures . Via 6sqft Photos via Keller Williams Realty

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Muppet set designer’s Tower House is a psychedelic escape made from repurposed materials

These amazing terrarium lamps grow plants in even the darkest rooms

June 2, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever longed to have a lush garden inside your home, your wish is granted – thanks to these beautiful LED-lit Globe Terrariums . The hanging glass orbs, created by designer Richard Clarkson , are hand blown and come with an integrated LED light that lets the plants survive even in darker rooms. An integrated dimmer lets you create a green garden or a dark mystical rainforest inside your home. The suspended globes come in two sizes: 12″ and 8″ diameters, and look great as individual pieces or grouped together. The globe’s power cord is hidden inside a slim stainless steel cable that lets the globe “float” in the air from any height. Of course, for those with no interest in gardening, the globes can be also used as a stand-alone light source or a unique LED art display . Related: How to Make an Edible Terrarium Snow Globe Various greenery can be planted in the globes, including ferns, cacti, moss, succulents, and even aquatic fauna. Like most terrariums, creating a layered system is recommended for optimal planting. A few handfuls of small stones or gravel at the bottom of the globe will help with drainage and adding charcoal will assist with water filtration. Top that bottom filtration layer with soil suited to your plants of choice and you’re ready to go. The dimmable LED bulbs provide optimal control for the plant life inside the globe. As an adaptable light source, it can be adjusted at any time to meet the specific requirements of the greenery. + Richard Clarkson

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These amazing terrarium lamps grow plants in even the darkest rooms

Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding

May 24, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump is still trying to take a swing at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The White House’s most recent budget proposal, released yesterday, would cut money for environmental cleanup, clean air , and water programs. And thousands of people could lose their jobs as the number of full-time employees drops from 15,416 to 11,611 . The recent Trump budget proposal lowers EPA funding to $5.65 billion. If that still sounds like a hefty sum, consider what the EPA won’t be able to do with this slashed budget: restore areas like the Great Lakes and Puget Sound and run a lead risk-reduction program. They also won’t have as much money for climate change research, environmental justice efforts, or radon detection programs. The White House proposal also just about halves categorical grants which help states and local areas address water and air quality. Related: Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers EPA administrator Scott Pruitt stood behind Trump’s drastic cuts; the agency put out a statement praising the returned “focus to core statutory mission,” which we guess means dirty air and polluted water for all. Pruitt even decided to say Trump’s “budget respects the American taxpayer.” This praise comes even though the proposed budget would reduce funding for Pruitt’s Superfund cleanup program – which he’s listed as a priority – by almost one third. Toxic accidents or industrial activity have polluted these Superfund sites, many of which, according to The Guardian , are close to low-income or minority communities. National Association of Clean Air Agencies executive director S. William Becker said he was astounded the administration didn’t change much from their initial March budget proposal, even after bipartisan opposition from Congress. Lawmakers recently reached a deal for government funding through September that cuts the EPA’s budget by around one percent. In a statement on the recent proposal, Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook said, “This isn’t a budget – it’s a road map for the President, EPA Administrator Pruitt, and polluters to see that millions of Americans drink dirtier water, breathe more polluted air, and don’t have enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives.” Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency on Flickr

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Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding

Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers

May 16, 2017 by  
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If President Donald Trump is waging a war on local farmworkers in California , he’s winning. His Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened up the use of a pesticide called chlorpyrifos to agriculture in March, and then this month when at least 50 laborers were exposed to the pesticide Vulcan, of which chlorpyrifos is an active ingredient, some of them vomited or fainted; one person had to go to the hospital. Chlorpyrifos was scheduled to be banned under Barack Obama’s administration. But at the end of March , EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt denied a petition that called for the ban. Then in Bakersfield, California a Sun Pacific farm sprayed Vulcan on their mandarin trees, and it drifted over to Dan Andrews Farms where workers harvesting cabbage began to feel sick. Grist said Kern County officials have not yet determined if chlorpyrifos was indeed present in the Vulcan sprayed, but both Grist and Kern Golden Empire described chlorpyrifos as an active ingredient in Vulcan. EPA documents from February 2017 also listed chlorpyrifos as the active ingredient in Vulcan. Related: Trump’s EPA chief lifts ban on pesticide that poisons children 12 workers reported symptoms of nausea or vomiting. One person fainted and another went to the hospital. Kern Golden Empire reported 12 other laborers didn’t show systems, but that over half the workers had left before medical aid could arrive. Officials described Vulcan as highly toxic, and the Kern County Fire Department and Kern Country Environmental Health and Hazmat came to do a mass contamination of the area. Kern County Public Health Public Relations Officer Michelle Corson called for anyone exposed to seek out medical attention right away. So why, exactly, was chlorpyrifos not banned? Touting a return to sound science, Pruitt apparently didn’t think there was enough evidence to ban the pesticide, even though, according to Grist, multiple studies link exposure to the harmful chemical with lowered IQ in kids and neurological defects. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of Pest Management Policy director Sheryl Kunickis welcomed Pruitt’s decision. She said it was good news for consumers, meaning they’d have access to fruits and vegetables. Guess she forgot to mention chlorpyrifos could also send people to the hospital. Via Grist and Kern Golden Empire Images via Wikimedia Commons and Austin Valley on Flickr

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Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers

Norwegian billionaire funds world’s largest yacht to scoop up plastic

May 16, 2017 by  
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Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Røkke has profited from offshore drilling . But now the businessman, who started as a fisherman, wants to give back with a colossal yacht for marine research . The vessel will be able to scoop up around five tons of plastic every day, and then melt it down – all in yet another private effort to help clean up the ocean . Røkke, who’s worth around $2.6 billion , owns almost 67 percent of shipping and offshore drilling conglomerate Aker ASA . But now he’s contracted a 595-foot Research Expedition Vessel (REV) to be built by VARD and designed by superyacht designer Espen Oeino . Scientists and marine researchers will be invited aboard to study and innovate around issues like climate change , overfishing, plastic pollution, and extraction, according to owner Rosellinis Four-10 , a subsidiary of the Røkke family company TRG. Related: The Ocean Cleanup raises $21.7 million to begin ridding the Pacific Ocean of plastic Rosellinis Four-10 will collaborate with none other than World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Norway , who will manage the ship. Aboard, scientists will have access to laboratory space, sea and air drones, an auditorium, two helipads, and an autonomous underwater vehicle. 60 scientists and 40 crew could travel aboard the immense ship. According to Yacht Harbour, the REV will be largest yacht in the world – it will narrowly beat out the 592-foot Azzam yacht rumored to be owned by a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family. You may be wondering about the carbon footprint of such a massive ship. According to VARD , environmental performance was important in the vessel’s design. The REV will be equipped with an “energy recovery rudder system, medium speed engines, a direct drive diesel-electric propulsion system with battery package, and an exhaust cleaning system.” An energy management system will also help the crew lessen the REV’s carbon footprint. Røkke told Oslo’s Aftenposen publication, “I want to give back to society the bulk of what I’ve earned. This ship is a part of it…sea covers 70 percent of Earth’s surface and much is not researched.” He’s given WWF Norway total independence over the REV’s mission. WWF Norway Secretary General Nina Jensen told Aftenposten they may disagree over oil, and the organization is willing to challenge Røkke when they disagree, “but in this project we will meet to collectively make a big difference in the environmental struggle.” The REV should be ready to go around 2020. + Rosellinis Four-10 Via Time Money and Yacht Harbour Images via VARD

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Norwegian billionaire funds world’s largest yacht to scoop up plastic

17 states challenge Trump’s climate policy in court

April 6, 2017 by  
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17 American states are pushing back after President Donald Trump ‘s executive order targeting the environment last week. The New York -led coalition is legally challenging the Trump administration after the president’s attempts to undo Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan . They say it’s the administration’s legal duty to regulate climate change -causing emissions . Trump’s executive order called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend, rescind, or revise the Clean Power Plan, a law that would have required states to cut carbon dioxide emissions at power plants but which was challenged by 26 states led by Republicans. After the recent executive order, the EPA asked the United States court of appeals for the District of Columbia to delay proceedings over the law to give them time to review it. The 17 states say this move could delay litigation for years – time we need to spend acting on climate change. They asked the court to toss out the EPA’s request. Related: 75 American mayors affirm climate goals even after Trump executive order New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement: “The law is clear: the EPA must limit carbon pollution from power plants. In order to repeal Obama-era protections, the Trump administration must replace those protections, as well – and we know how well repeal-and-replace went the first time around. My office will continue to defend the Clean Power Plan and aggressively oppose any effort to stand down from our shared responsibility to protect our environment and our climate.” The 17 states – New York, California, Connecticut, Virginia, Delaware, Vermont, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Illinois, Oregon, Iowa, New Mexico, Maine, Minnesota, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington – were also joined by seven localities: the District of Columbia; New York City; Boulder, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois; South Miami, Florida; Broward County, Florida; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to New York’s press release, the Clean Power Plan could eliminate as much pollution as more than 160 million cars – 70 percent of America’s passenger cars – yearly could emit. Via The Guardian Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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17 states challenge Trump’s climate policy in court

75 American mayors affirm climate goals even after Trump executive order

March 30, 2017 by  
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This week President Donald Trump signed an executive order undoing climate action regulations like the Clean Power Plan and promoting a misguided – and likely unattainable – goal of making coal great again. But 75 United States city mayors aren’t letting Trump stand in the way of their climate action . The Climate Mayors – who represent over 41 million people in both Democrat and Republican-dominated states – published an open letter affirming their cities’ commitments to work towards the goals of the Paris agreement . Current Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and former mayors of Philadelphia and Houston started the Climate Mayors, or the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, to inspire mayors to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a local level, and support efforts for climate action policy at a national and global level. Mayors from New Orleans to Chicago to Austin and Fayetteville, Arkansas are involved. Related: Trump’s new executive order to undo Obama climate action The mayors wrote an open letter to the president, objecting to his recent moves to once again favor the fossil fuel industry over the environment. The Climate Mayors described climate change as the country’s single greatest threat – and its greatest economic opportunity. For those reasons they affirmed commitments “to taking every action possible to achieve the principles and goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, and to engage states, businesses, and other sectors to join us.” The mayors included some statistics to back up their statement, saying one in 50 American jobs are in the solar sector, which they said is more than employment in oil, gas, and coal extraction put together. “Texas is once again experiencing an energy boom – this time, with wind power . In fact, the majority of wind jobs in the U.S. are in congressional districts that voted for you,” the mayors wrote in their letter. They urged Trump to join them, but in the meantime, they won’t stop working towards a cleaner future. Via the Climate Mayors and Curbed Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda on Facebook

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75 American mayors affirm climate goals even after Trump executive order

London and Paris mayors announce new emissions monitoring system for vehicles

March 30, 2017 by  
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Just a day after U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order that aims to bring back smog-inducing coal power, the mayors of London and Paris are acting to cut air pollution in their cities. Reuters reports that Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have announced a new system for monitoring vehicle emissions in their respective cities, with the aim of combating the air quality problems that have plagued both national capitals. Their plan would enable a system that identifies real-life emissions readings from cars, which would give people more information about how much theirs emit. Each car’s score for the air pollutants it puts out would be based on road and “real-world” testing using emissions analytics and the International Council for Clean Transportation . “We should be able to set up a reliable scoring system which will be put to all our citizens and allow them to know what emissions are coming from which vehicles in reality,” Hidalgo said at an international conference on air pollution, according to Reuters . “This new scheme will put an end to the ‘smoke and mirrors’ that has been employed and provide Londoners and Parisians with an honest, accurate and independent evaluation of the emissions of vehicles on our road,” Khan added. Related: California defies trump with tough emissions rules According to French media, emissions monitoring devices will be put in place on the streets of Paris and on various kinds of vehicles in the next few weeks. Seoul also plans to try the monitoring tactic to get a handle on air pollution in the South Korean capital. 9,000 people die per year in London, as a result of pollution. In Paris, about 2,500 die annually. The mayors intend to fix that. Via Reuters Images via dbakr and zongo , Flickr Creative Commons

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