April 16, 2019

Inside Top EPA Officials' Secret Polluter Meetings

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and high-ranking aides held several previously unreported meetings with a Missouri-based electric utility company accused of violating the Clean Air Act, agency documents show. One meeting was redacted; another was unlisted, E&E reports.

Hurricane Maria's Extreme Rainfall Was 5X More Likely Due to Climate Change, Study Finds

In the 1950s, a storm like Hurricane Maria was likely to drop that much rain on Puerto Rico once every 300 years. By 2017, the likelihood was once every 100 years, researchers found. "Due to anthropogenic climate change, it is now much more likely that we get these hurricanes that drop huge amounts of precipitation," said study author David Keellings of the University of Alabama.

April 15, 2019

Pace of Bering Sea Changes Startles Scientists

Winter storm surge flooding is the latest indication that something's off-kilter around the Bering Strait, the gateway from the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Ocean. The Bering Sea last winter saw record-low sea ice. Read more from ICN on changes in the warming Arctic.

April 12, 2019

EPA Chief Defends Big Energy Projects

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, says his agency is working on changes to the Clean Water Act that will narrow the scope of what states can do to challenge energy infrastructure projects such as fossil fuel pipelines. Read more from ICN on President Trump's executive issued order this week to do the same and the legal questions involved.

Tesla and GM Electric Car Sales Could Get a Big Boost if This Bill Passes

A bipartisan proposal in Congress would expand the electric car tax credit, providing a boost to General Motors and Tesla, which have both hit caps under the existing credit that gives $7,500 to buyers of all-electric vehicles. The proposal has support from prominent Democrats and Republicans, but it is likely to run into opposition from the Trump administration.

Duke Energy to Contest North Carolina Coal Ash Excavation Order

Duke Energy is challenging a state order to excavate coal ash from all of its power plant sites in North Carolina. This is the latest step in a long-running dispute, with Duke arguing it should be allowed to cover the ash pits with a waterproof cap, which is cheaper than removing the ash. Read more from ICN about the widespread problem of coal ash contaminating groundwater.

Climate Change Is Making Allergy Season Worse

Allergy season is getting worse, and experts say climate change deserves some of the blame. Warmer temperatures increase the level of airborne pollen and other allergens. Pollen counts are likely to continue to rise, with New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on track for notable increases.

Vattenfall to Test Salt-Based Power Storage Technology

Swedish power company Vattenfall is working on a plant to test a method of using salt to store electricity from solar arrays and wind turbines. The plant, to be located in Berlin, would heat salt, with the ability to release the heat later. Read more from ICN about concentrated solar plants in the U.S. using molten salt energy storage.

A Coal-Free Washington State by 2025?

Washington state's House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to move the state's electrical utilities off coal by 2025, and to get to a complete "clean energy" grid by 2045. The bill goes back to the Senate to clear up small changes, and then on to Gov. Jay Inslee. Already, supporters are celebrating what they predict will be a "fossil-free future" for the state.

‘I Don’t Want to Stay Here’: Half a Million Live in Flood Zones, and the Government Is Paying

Much of the nation's affordable housing stock was built before climate change was well understood, and many properties already sit in flood zones. Global warming has been linked to heavier rainfall, making flooding more likely. But the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees some of the at-risk properties, does not have a universal policy against paying for housing in a designated flood zone.

April 11, 2019

Could Offshore Drilling Near Florida Cost Trump Re-Election?

The Trump administration is considering a plan to auction off Florida's coastal waters for oil and gas drilling, while some Republicans are warning is could cost the president dearly in the 2020 election. Fossil fuel industries are lobbied to ability to gain access to the resource rich eastern Gulf of Mexico. But the idea is politically toxic in Florida.

Canada's Building Code Is Getting a Climate Change Rewrite

Canada is considering its "first substantive" introduction of climate change considerations in its national building codes for buildings and crucial infrastructure. Without changes to boost resilience in the face of extreme weather, infrastructure failures linked to climate change could cost Canada $300 billion over the next decade, according to estimates cited by CBC.

April 10, 2019

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