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The latest news on the environment and global climate change, the impact it is having on communities everywhere, and what is being done (or not being done) to save the planet. || News Plexus LLC — delivering your news in a convenient, AD-FREE and easy-to-read stream.

The latest news on the environment and global climate change, the impact it is having on communities everywhere, and what is being done (or not being done) to save the planet. || News Plexus LLC — delivering your news in a convenient, AD-FREE and easy-to-read stream.
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July 20, 2019

Activists block UK roads in new climate-change protests
Environmental protesters have blocked roads in London and four other British cities in a new wave of demonstrations demanding faster action against climate change.
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July 18, 2019

EPA restores broad use of pesticide opposed by beekeepers
The Environmental Protection Agency will allow farmers to resume broad use of a pesticide over objections from beekeepers, citing private chemical industry studies that the agency says show the product does only lower-level harm to bees and wildlife. Friday's EPA announcement — coming after the agriculture industry accused the agency of unduly favoring honeybees — makes sulfoxaflor the latest bug- and weed-killer allowed by the Trump administration despite lawsuits alleging environmental or human harm.
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July 18, 2019

Chevron spills 800,000 gallons of oil, water in California
Officials began to clean up a massive oil spill Friday that dumped nearly 800,000 gallons of oil and water into a California canyon, making it larger — if less devastating — than the state's last two major oil spills. The newly revealed spill has been flowing off and on since May and has again stopped, Chevron spokeswoman Veronica Flores-Paniagua said. She and California officials said the spill is not near any waterway and has not significantly affected wildlife. The last flow was Tuesday.
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July 16, 2019

City dwellers can have an outsized impact on curbing global warming
It’s no secret that city folk like to eat, shop and travel. But all that consumption adds up to a hefty climate bill. On the flip side, that means urbanites have a lot of power to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. By changing their diets, their purchasing habits and how they get around, city dwellers can help avert the worst effects of warming.
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July 11, 2019

Trump promotes environmental record despite rollbacks
President Donald Trump declared himself a champion of the environment Monday, working to boost his standing on climate change and pollution issues in advance of the 2020 election despite having launched some of the most sweeping rollbacks in air, water and other protections in decades. Former government regulators and environmental advocates said Trump's promotion of its environmental record strained credulity. "Trump's environmental record is such a toxic disaster it should be declared a Superfund site," said Carol Browner, who led the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration.
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July 11, 2019

23 governors join California in opposing Trump mileage standards
Citing climate-damaging tailpipe emissions, 23 U.S. governors signed a pledge backing California leaders in their showdown with the Trump administration over its plans to relax vehicle mileage standards. The Trump administration says American consumers increasingly want bigger, gas-guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks. It also argues that demanding ever-more fuel-efficient vehicles will drive up automobile costs and keep less-safe, older vehicles on the road longer.
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July 11, 2019

France to slap new 'ecotax' on plane tickets from 2020
France will introduce a new charge on plane tickets from next year, with revenue used to fund environment-friendly alternatives. The "ecotax" costing between 1.50 euros ($1.7) and 18 euros ($20) will apply to most flights departing in France.
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July 8, 2019

The war on SoCal smog is slipping. Fixing it is a $14 billion problem
The war on smog has been called one of America’s greatest environmental successes. Decades of emissions-cutting regulations under a bipartisan law — the 1970 Clean Air Act — have eased the choking pollution that once shrouded U.S. cities. Cleaner air has saved lives and strengthened the lungs of Los Angeles children. But now, air quality is slipping once again.
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July 8, 2019

Experts warn of climate change's impact on Chesapeake Bay
When the Conowingo Dam opened to fanfare nearly a century ago, the massive wall of concrete and steel began its job of harnessing water power in northern Maryland. It also quietly provided a side benefit: trapping sediment and silt before it could flow miles downstream and pollute the Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest estuary. The old hydroelectric dam spanning the lower Susquehanna River is still producing power, but its days of effectively trapping sediment in a 14-mile long reservoir behind its walls are over. Behind the 94-foot high barrier lies a massive inventory of coal-black muck — some 200 million tons of pollutants picked up over decades from farmlands, industrial zones and towns.
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July 8, 2019

Best way to fight climate change? Plant a trillion trees
The most effective way to fight global warming is to plant lots of trees, a study says. A trillion of them, maybe more. And there's enough room, Swiss scientists say. Even with existing cities and farmland, there's enough space for new trees to cover 3.5 million square miles, they reported in Thursday's journal Science. That area is roughly the size of the United States.
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July 3, 2019

Baby lobster numbers spell trouble for shellfish population
Baby lobsters are continuing to appear in high numbers off some parts of Canada while tailing off in New England, raising questions about what the valuable shellfish's population will look like in several years. American fishermen compete with Canada for the same species of lobster, which anchors one of the most lucrative fisheries in either country. Some scientists have said the shellfish appear to be moving north as waters warm.
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July 1, 2019

Melted Alaska sea ice alarms coast residents, scientists
Sea ice along northern Alaska disappeared far earlier than normal this spring, alarming coastal residents who rely on wildlife and fish. Ice melted as a result of exceptionally warm ocean temperatures, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The early melting has been "crazy," said Janet Mitchell of Kivalina. Hunters from her family in early June traveled more than 50 miles by boat to find bearded seals on sea ice. Bearded seals in the past could be hunted just outside the village but sea ice had receded far to the north.
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June 30, 2019

Calls increase for Democrats to face climate change in Miami
Rising sea levels could threaten the very existence of Miami and much of the rest of South Florida, and Democrats are facing calls to confront climate change. The city of Miami has a $400 million bond program to finance climate change resiliency projects, including $192 million for seawalls, pumps and similar projects. Miami Beach has already begun spending up to $500 million to raise roads, install pumps and do similar work over five years.
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June 30, 2019

European airports plan for net zero carbon emissions
An organization representing airports in 45 European countries said Wednesday that it plans to get airports to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Airport Council International Europe President Michael Kerkloh told a meeting of 300 aviation officials that the strategy's launch aligns European airports with the Paris climate accords by putting climate change at the heart of business decisions.
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June 28, 2019

Heat wave outside has little impact on UN climate talks
U.N. talks on tackling climate change made limited progress over the past 10 days, with several issues still unresolved ahead of three key meetings later this year, officials said Thursday. Governments wrapped up their regular meeting in Bonn, Germany, amid a record-setting heat wave in parts of Europe. Australia, South Asia and the Middle East have also experienced extreme temperatures this year in what scientists warn could be a sign of future conditions in a warming world.
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June 28, 2019

California was warned of climate change 30 years ago; now it feels the effects
Back in 1989, Californians received a sobering warning: The accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere would likely bring more droughts, floods, fires and heat waves to the state. In the 30 years since, those projections of what would happen in a warming world have proven to be remarkably prescient.
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June 26, 2019

Mother sperm whale and baby dead in fishing net off Italy
A mother sperm whale and its baby have died after becoming tangled in a fishing net in the Tyrrhenian Sea off Italy's western coast, an Italian environmental group has reported. The Marevivo group said the Italian Coast Guard had responded to the sighting and surmised that the mother, which measured nearly 20 feet, died while trying to free its baby.
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June 26, 2019

Study: Lethal plastic trash now common in Greece's whales
A study of whales and dolphins that have washed up dead in Greece over a 20-year period has found alarmingly high levels of plastic trash — mostly bags — in the animals' stomachs, which can condemn them to a slow and painful death. In the worst case, a researcher said Friday, a 17-foot young sperm whale beached on the Aegean island of Mykonos had swallowed 135 plastic items weighing a total of 7 pounds. This blocked its stomach, grossly distending it, while the animal itself was emaciated and had starved to death.
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June 24, 2019

Old spy images reveal Himalayan glaciers are melting fast
Cold War era spy satellite images are showing scientists that glaciers on the Himalayas are now melting about twice as fast as they used to. The Asian mountain range, which includes Mount Everest, has been losing ice at a rate of about 1% a year since 2000, according to a study Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.
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June 20, 2019

Amid urgent climate warnings, EPA gives coal a reprieve
Amid scientists' increasingly urgent warnings, the Trump administration ordered a sweeping about-face Wednesday on Obama-era efforts to fight climate change, easing restrictions on coal-fired power plants in a move it predicted would revitalize America's sagging coal industry. As miners in hard hats and coal-country lawmakers applauded, Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler signed a measure that scraps one of President Barack Obama's key initiatives to rein in fossil fuel emissions.
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June 20, 2019

Trump moves to gut Obama climate policy and bolster the coal industry
The Trump administration Wednesday unveiled its final plan to rewrite a major Obama-era climate change policy, scrapping proposed regulations that would have cracked down on coal-burning power plants. The administration’s plan would gut the so-called Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic program to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Stalled by the courts, the plan was never enacted.
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June 20, 2019

Climate talks held as Arctic ice melts, concerns grow
Diplomats and climate experts gathered Monday in Germany for U.N.-hosted talks on climate change amid growing public pressure for governments to act faster against global warming. The talks are taking place against a backdrop of mounting concerns about global warming that have been heightened by extreme weather events and other signs that man-made climate change may already be leaving its mark on the planet.
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June 19, 2019

Why tiny microbes may be a big factor in how climate change unfolds
Climate change is about big things: melting ice sheets, rising seas, the feverish temperature of the planet. But scientists say it’s also about little things — namely, microbes. Everywhere you look on Earth, you’ll find these single-celled organisms making a living. And in the process, they produce and consume greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, helping to control the concentration of these planet-warming substances in the atmosphere. Collectively, they play an enormous role in regulating the climate.
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June 16, 2019

Emails: Trump official consulting with climate-change rejecters
A Trump administration national security official has sought help from advisers to a think tank that disavows climate change to challenge widely accepted scientific findings on global warming, according to his emails. The request from William Happer, a member of the National Security Council, is included in emails from 2018 and 2019 that were obtained by the Environmental Defense Fund under the federal Freedom of Information Act and provided to The Associated Press. That request was made this past March to policy advisers with the Heartland Institute, one of the most vocal challengers of mainstream scientific findings that emissions from burning coal, oil and gas are damaging the Earth's atmosphere.
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June 16, 2019

Researchers: bitcoin's carbon footprint equal to Las Vegas
The virtual currency bitcoin is responsible for the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions as a city like Las Vegas or Hamburg and efforts to reduce its climate footprint should be considered, researchers said Thursday. A study examined how much power is consumed by computers used to generate bitcoins and process transactions.
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June 14, 2019

Utility will remove coal ash from pits near Tennessee river
The nation's largest public utility on Thursday agreed to dig up and remove about 12 million cubic yards of coal ash from unlined pits at a Tennessee coal-burning power plant. Prompted by two environmental groups, the state sued the Tennessee Valley Authority in 2015 over pollution from coal ash dumps at the Gallatin Fossil Plant. According to court filings, pollutants leach from the ash into the groundwater and then enter the Cumberland River, a source of drinking water for Nashville.
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June 12, 2019

Trump’s plan for finding oil in Alaska may put polar bears at risk
Concern that heavy machinery rolling across an Alaskan wilderness in search of oil would crush some polar bears to death stopped the Interior Department from approving a seismic survey in the area earlier this year. But the alternative — a low-flying plane making frequent passes over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — could still disturb polar bears, seals and calving caribou, according to conservationists and the Interior Department’s own experts.
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June 10, 2019

Warsaw's plastic palm tree 'dies' to mark climate threat
A giant plastic palm tree that has become an artistic symbol of Warsaw has "died" as part of a stunt to draw attention to climate change. Residents were surprised to see this week that the popular tree's leaves had turned gray and were drooping, causing a buzz on social media. "I wondered what had happened and I found on the internet that this is against air pollution and for the environment," said Bogusia Niegocka, a 42-year-old shop assistant.
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June 6, 2019

US court weighs if climate change violates children's rights
In a courtroom packed with environmental activists, federal judges wrestled Tuesday with whether climate change violates the constitutional rights of young people who have sued the U.S. government over the use of fossil fuels. A Justice Department attorney warned three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowing the case to go to trial would be unprecedented and open the doors to more lawsuits. The young people are pressing the government to stop promoting the use of fossil fuels, saying sources like coal and oil cause climate change and violate their Fifth Amendment rights to life, liberty and property.
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June 6, 2019

Ocasio-Cortez: Serious climate plan to cost at least $10T
Any plan to adequately address climate change would likely cost at least $10 trillion, freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday as she responded to a flurry of climate proposals from Democratic presidential candidates. The New York Democrat, a co-author of the Green New Deal, is seen as an influential voice on climate policy, especially among Democrats. The Green New Deal would shift the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal and replace them with renewable sources such as wind and solar power.
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June 6, 2019

US officials warn of climate risk as Trump dismisses it
Senior U.S. officials warned Wednesday that climate change is an increasing threat to national security, a message at odds with a broader Trump administration effort to downplay the threat from global warming. Military and intelligence officials outlined a range of long-term threats arising from climate change, including food and water shortages that can produce political turmoil and land disputes, as well as melting ice in the Arctic that Russia and other adversaries could exploit for commercial gain.
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June 4, 2019

UN: Balkans faces alarming levels of air pollution
People in all major cities across the western Balkans face alarming levels of air pollution that are reducing their life expectancies because the underdeveloped, politically fragile region is still heavily reliant on burning coal to generate power, the U.N. said Monday in a new report. The report released by the U.N. Environment Program was prepared in cooperation with the World Health Organization and air quality management institutions in Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
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June 4, 2019

Carnival will pay $20m over pollution from its cruise ships
Carnival Corp. reached a settlement Monday with federal prosecutors in which the world's largest cruise line agreed to pay a $20 million penalty because its ships continued to pollute the oceans despite a previous criminal conviction aimed at curbing similar conduct. Senior U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz approved the agreement after Carnival CEO Arnold Donald stood up in open court and admitted the company's responsibility for probation violations stemming from the previous environmental case.
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June 4, 2019

American youths sue for a livable climate
Juliana vs. United States alleges that the U.S. government has violated the rights of 21 young Americans by permitting — and in many cases, subsidizing — the continued use of fossil fuels that cause climate change. Juliana is the first lawsuit to argue that there's a constitutional right to a safe and livable climate. Experts say it's an ambitious and unprecedented tactic, and many were surprised that the case has made it this far.
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June 4, 2019

Marine life is disappearing, imperiling San Diego's future
Just as scientists are starting to understand the life forms and landscape of the ocean, they are also coming to grips with the threat of mass extinctions, speakers said at a marine biodiversity forum last week. The forum, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, featured French scientific leaders and their American counterparts from the San Diego area. They addressed the marine issues raised in an international report on global biodiversity released earlier this month, arguing that conservation is just as important as stabilizing the climate. According to the report, 30 percent of reef-forming corals are threatened, 33 percent of fisheries are over-fished, 33 percent of marine mammals are threatened, and 55 percent of the ocean is subject to industrial fishing. That has profound implications for coastal communities such as San Diego, which depend on the ocean for food, tourism, recreation and biotechnology.
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June 2, 2019

Oregon votes to ban restaurants from offering plastic straws
Oregon will ban restaurants from automatically offering single-use plastic straws under a measure passed by lawmakers, making it the second state to enact restrictions on plastic straws. The House voted 48-12 late Wednesday night to prohibit restaurants from providing single-use plastic straws unless a customer asks. Drive-thrus could still offer straws, as could health care facilities.
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May 22, 2019

Trump's EPA shifts more environmental enforcement to states
Bokoshe, Oklahoma, has long been engulfed in coal ash from a power plant that burns the high-sulfur coal mined nearby. Over three decades, the ash dump grew into a hill five stories high. Townspeople regard the Environmental Protection Agency as the only source of serious environmental enforcement. Whenever people took their worries about ash-contaminated air and water to state lawmakers and regulators, "none of them cared." So the residents of this 500-person town have nothing but bitter warnings for similarly situated communities now that President Donald Trump's EPA has approved Oklahoma to be the first state to take over permitting and enforcement on coal-ash sites.
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May 17, 2019

Teachers grapple with climate change: 'A pretty scary topic'
When science teacher Diana Allen set out to teach climate change, a subject she'd never learned in school, she fell into a rabbit's hole of misinformation: Many resources presented online as educational material were actually junk. There are materials produced by climate change doubters, lesson plans developed by the oil industry, and countless other sites with misleading or outdated information. The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network, funded by federal grants, reviewed more than 30,000 free online resources and found only 700 acceptable for use in schools.
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May 12, 2019

UN chief says 'total disaster' if warming not stopped
The United Nations secretary-general said the world must dramatically change the way it fuels factories, vehicles and homes to limit future warming to a level scientists call nearly impossible. That's because the alternative "would mean a catastrophic situation for the whole world," António Guterres said. Guterres said he's about to tour Pacific islands to see how climate change is devastating them as part of his renewed push to fight it. He is summoning world leaders to the U.N. in September to tell them "they need to do much more in order for us to be able to reverse the present trends and to defeat the climate change."
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May 12, 2019

Report: Air quality harmed as Texas oil production booms
The Environmental Integrity Project noted in a report that the Permian Basin, which extends into New Mexico, is one of the most productive hydrocarbon regions in the world, thanks largely to the advent over the past decade of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. In another two years the basin will account for about 40 percent of all U.S. production, the group said. But a consequence of that production is dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide in the air around Odessa and other locations, according to the report, which adds that pollution levels in much of Ector County, where Odessa is located, exceed standards set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
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May 10, 2019

New Mexico wants lake on Air Force base closed
New Mexico's top prosecutor is demanding that the U.S. Air Force close a publicly accessible lake at Holloman Air Force Base, saying Thursday the concentration of hazardous chemicals at the site poses a risk to public health and the environment. In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, Attorney General Hector Balderas told Air Force officials that sampling shows the contamination are dozens of times higher than federal health advisory levels.
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May 9, 2019

UN report: Humans accelerating extinction of other species
People are putting nature in more trouble now than at any other time in human history, with extinction looming over 1 million species of plants and animals, scientists said Monday. But it's not too late to fix the problem, according to the United Nations' first comprehensive report on biodiversity. Species loss is accelerating to a rate tens or hundreds of times faster than in the past, the report said. More than half a million species on land "have insufficient habitat for long-term survival" and are likely to go extinct, many within decades, unless their habitats are restored. The oceans are not any better off.
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May 9, 2019

Democrats challenge Trump's UN nominee over climate change
Three Democratic senators are calling on President's Donald Trump's nominee for U.N. ambassador to clarify that she will put U.S. interests ahead of her own financial interests when it comes to climate change. The Democrats say Kelly Craft, who was nominated as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. last week, has invested more than $60 million in oil companies and other fossil fuel interests. Her husband, Joe Craft, is CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, one of the largest U.S. coal producers.
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May 6, 2019

UK climate panel sets big goals: less meat, electric cars
The U.K. should eliminate almost all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by rapidly adopting policies that will change everything from the way people heat their homes to what they eat, an independent committee that advises the British government on climate change recommended Thursday. A report from the Committee on Climate Change said the government must adopt ambitious goals if it wants to be a leader in the fight against global warming and limit the impact of climate change.
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May 6, 2019

Rebuking Trump, House votes to keep US in Paris climate pact
The Democratic-controlled House approved a bill Thursday that would prevent President Donald Trump from fulfilling his pledge to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement and ensure the U.S. honors its commitments under the global accord. The bill falls far short of the ambitious Green New Deal pushed by many Democrats, but it is the first significant climate legislation approved by the House in nearly a decade. The measure was approved, 231-190, and now goes to the Republican-run Senate, where it is unlikely to move forward. Trump has said he will veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.
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April 30, 2019

More states aim to knock air out of festive balloon launches
The tradition of releasing balloons at weddings, birthdays and memorials may soon get deflated by lawmakers in more than half a dozen states. Critics say the helium-filled balloons pollute the environment, and threaten birds and other wildlife when they fall to earth. "People don't really realize that it's littering. That's why we want to bring attention to this," said state Rep. Lydia Blume, who's supporting a balloon bill in Maine. "It's a common sense thing."
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April 30, 2019

Unraveling the mystery of whether cows fart
Let’s clear the air about cow farts. In the climate-change debate, some policy makers seem to be bovine flatulence deniers. This became apparent in the fuss over the Green New Deal put forward by some liberal Democrats. More precisely, the fuss over an information sheet issued by the plan’s advocates. The Associated Press surveyed global experts on global warming on this question, as well as an author who wrote the definitive science book on gassy animals, which comes with funny pictures.
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April 30, 2019

Lawyer fighting palm oil among 6 to win environmental prize
When Alfred Brownell arrived in a remote Liberian village, the surrounding tropical rainforest had been leveled by bulldozers. Burial grounds were uprooted, religious shrines were desecrated and a stream people depended upon for water was polluted. Brownell blamed the devastation on a palm oil company that had been given a green light in 2010 by the government to expand in the country and was poised to turn more than 800 square miles of lush forest into palm oil plantations. Brownell on Monday was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for exposing alleged abuse by the company and helping to prevent it from converting about 20 square miles of forest that is home to elephants, pygmy hippopotamuses and chimpanzees.
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April 30, 2019

Beto O'Rourke unveils climate plan with Yosemite as backdrop
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Monday announced his first major policy initiative, a $5 trillion plan to combat climate change that he says will keep the Earth from sliding past the point of no return in less than a generation. The former Texas congressman unveiled his proposal from California's Yosemite National Park, a dramatic backdrop for a move he hopes can jumpstart a campaign that began to much national fanfare but has seen some of that luster fade in recent weeks.
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April 28, 2019

Germany's RWE says it won't invest in new coal power plants
German energy company RWE says it won't invest in new coal-fired power stations and is scrapping plans for a lignite-fired plant in western Germany. RWE, which operates several of Europe's most-polluting power plants, said in a statement Friday that it will now focus on generating electricity from renewable sources.
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