April 17, 2018
The Government Accountability Office found that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt violated federal spending laws when he had a $43,000 soundproof phone booth installed in his office. The Washington Post also reports that Pruitt ordered a bigger SUV for himself with bullet-resistant seat covers.
In Colorado, officials from the city of Boulder, Boulder County and San Miguel County are expected to provide details at a rally today about a climate action that's expected to involve a lawsuit to recover costs related to climate change. Read more from ICN about cities suing over climate change.
Alberta is considering cutting oil shipments to British Columbia, which could affect supply and pricing all the way to California. It's the latest move in a dispute between the two provinces over a proposed tar sands pipeline expansion. Read more from ICN about the difficulty companies are facing building oil pipelines in Canada.
BP says it intends to keep carbon emissions flat into 2025, even as the company is expanding its oil and gas production. The announcement follows shareholder pressure to respond more forcefully to climate change. Read more from ICN about shareholder resolutions targeting energy companies on climate issues this spring.
Shell CEO Ben van Beurden says investors should reject a shareholder resolution calling for targets on greenhouse-gas emissions. He has previously said the company will cut its "net carbon footprint" in half by 2050, which critics say is not specific or ambitious enough. Read more from ICN about Shell's history with climate change.
April 16, 2018
Massachusetts' attorney general has the authority to compel Exxon to turn over records showing whether the company's marketing or sales violated state consumer protection law, the state's highest court ruled. Exxon has been trying to shut down two state investigations into whether it misled the public and investors about climate change.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says an oil pipeline from Alberta's tar sands to the coast in British Columbia is in the national interest, putting himself in the middle of a dispute between the two provinces. Read more from ICN about the difficulty companies are having getting tar sands pipelines built in Canada and the impact that's having on the industry.
The UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO) has approved a broad agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. The Marshall Islands and other island states at high risk from sea level rise were among the strongest proponents of a deal — and they worry the one approved doesn't go far enough.
Farming and fishing are changing as regions become warmer. This has wide-ranging effects on the people who grow and catch food for a living, and on the people who eat it.
A government-convened panel looking at policy responses to climate change was told by one member to "be bold" as the group begins drafting recommendations for Alaska. The panel likely will suggest a target for emissions reductions by 2030 and may include additional steps for the state to adapt to a changing climate.
Marchers in Washington, D.C., and other cities around the country held another March for Science this weekend, continuing their calls for public policy to be science- and evidence-based.
April 13, 2018
The Senate voted to confirm Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for Murray Energy, as deputy director of the Environmental Protection Agency. If embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt leaves, Wheeler would become interim head of the agency.
Kinder Morgan's decision to suspend work on its Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline project amid protests by Canada's First Nations has sparked talk of a crisis north of the border and fears that investors may flee the nation's tar sands industry.
President Trump directed the EPA to make national clean air standards easier for states and companies to meet, a move that could put poor communities at greater risk. He also opened a door to restricting the use of scientific research in setting clean air rules. Read more from ICN on the attempt to cut science out of EPA decision-making.
A six-page letter describes expensive hotel stays above federal spending caps and alleges that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told staff to line up events so he could visit certain places at taxpayer expense. Concerns also surfaced that Pruitt's use of four agency email addresses may mean documents that should have been released under federal records requests were not.
The leading candidates in the race to succeed House Speaker Paul Ryan—House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana—are backers of the fossil fuel industry's push for environmental deregulation.
The New Zealand government announced it will not grant new offshore oil and gas drilling permits. The decision doesn't affect 22 active offshore licenses, which could transition to mining permits and allow another 40 years of drilling.
April 12, 2018
In a scathing report, the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General says a board of political appointees failed to keep records when they decided to reassign 27 top career employees. The investigators describe why some staff believe the moves were political and related to their work in climate change.
Former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler appears to have the votes needed for confirmation this week as the No. 2 official at EPA, putting him in line to take interim charge of the agency if Scott Pruitt is toppled by ethical missteps. Democrats plan to take the Senate floor to protest EPA leadership first.
At least two members appointed to the EPA Science Advisory Board by Scott Pruitt received industry funding for research that's helping the agency as it attempts to weaken greenhouse gas emissions regulations for cars, E&E reports. Read more from ICN about how the auto emissions changes could be President Trump's most climate-damaging move yet.
Louisiana is rushing to redirect the Mississippi River and rebuild some of its rapidly vanishing wetlands, but a new study shows that may not be enough to save them from rising seas. Scientists found that wetland loss is occurring at 45 square kilometers a year—more than one acre an hour.
The Atlantic Ocean's circulation system that carries warmth from the tropics into the Northern Hemisphere is weaker now than it has been for more than 1,000 years and has changed significantly in the past 150, according to a new study. Scientists say the changes may be a response to melting ice.
This little-known international treaty is critical in the fight against air pollution and climate change. Its latest update—setting limits on black carbon—could be ratified this year.
The Trump administration is moving forward with plans to shorten the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's environmental review timelines for natural gas pipelines. Some energy specialists say that could reduce public input.
Oil and gas companies drilling off the Southern California coast violated regulations nearly 400 times in three years, according to a report from the Center for Biological Diversity. The violations, which resulted in no civic penalties, ranged from severe corrosion to missing tests on well strength.
Mountain Valley Pipeline developers plan to extend the natural gas pipeline project another 70 miles south into North Carolina. The MVP Southgate project and would require approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The company wants it operational by 2020.
The Environmental Defense Fund is working with researchers and scientists on a satellite that will be able to measure methane emissions from oil and gas operations at a resolution of about half a mile.
April 11, 2018
Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray says he wants to buy up coal plants to shore up his mining company. He said he has his eye on five plants, including some of bankrupt utility company FirstEnergy Solutions in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The EPA removed a career staffer, deputy associate administrator of the agency's Office of Homeland Security Mario Caraballo, who approved an internal report that said there were no credible direct threats against Scott Pruitt to justify his heavy security spending.