Twenty four states and a coal company filed lawsuits yesterday over President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which was formally published Friday. "The Clean Power Plan, which requires states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent by 2030, is intended to help slow climate change resulting from the burning of fossil fuels," explains InsideClimate News. "The plan has been the target of legal challenges and legislative campaigns since it was proposed in 2014 and finalized in August."
What is the #CleanPowerPlan & why is it such an important step on climate change? Find out: https://t.co/Q8dlUvvDQz https://t.co/Gv5lYFsZXi— Facts On Climate (@Facts On Climate)1445614211.0
The two dozen states and Murray Energy have accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of "going far beyond the authority Congress granted to it," according to The Hill. They are calling on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to overturn the rule, and they are asking the court to "immediately stop its implementation" while the lawsuit plays out."
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is leading the charge, called it “the single most onerous and illegal regulations that we’ve seen coming out of DC in a long time." He added, "the EPA cannot do what it intends to do legally.”
Morrisey is joined by attorneys general from Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Arizona and North Carolina.
Utility Dive: Final Clean Power Plan rule published; 24 states sue EPA; Indiana… https://t.co/6W7nGd7nqU https://t.co/7yttWza32D— Laura Ann Arnold (@Laura Ann Arnold)1445615615.0
The EPA maintains that its rule is legal. “The Clean Power Plan has strong scientific and legal foundations, provides states with broad flexibilities to design and implement plans, and is clearly within EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act,” U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement.
Fifteen other states, including Washington, DC, say they plan to intervene on behalf of the EPA, arguing that the rules are not only legal, they are necessary. “Significant reductions in these emissions must occur to prevent increases in the frequency, magnitude and scale of the adverse impacts of climate change,” wrote New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a letter to the EPA in August.
Though the rule's opponents cry foul, "officials in practically every state have been doing some amount of work [to comply with the standards]," Kyle Danish, a partner at Van Ness Feldman law firm, told InsideClimate News. Danish is helping the industry comply with the regulations and says, "many states have been taking a number of steps to start putting together compliance plans."
Think Progress writes:
The arguments will likely come down to debates over whether the EPA has overstepped its jurisdiction by allowing flexible state plans to include “outside the fence” measures such as efficiency and renewable energy, and whether another section of the Clean Air Act, which governs mercury emissions from power plants, renders the EPA unable to also regulate carbon.
Michael Myers, assistant attorney general of New York, disputed both those claims. The mercury or carbon argument “doesn’t make any sense,” Myers told ThinkProgress. “The contention that Congress intended the EPA to pick one of those, not both of them, is not an argument that is going to prevail in court.”
Environmental groups, including Earthjustice, Natural Resource Defense Council, Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund have also vowed to intervene on behalf of the EPA.
“Its opponents are on the wrong side of the law and the wrong side of history,” Howard Fox, an attorney with Earthjustice, told Think Progress.
We need people like you to stand up for the #CleanPowerPlan. Download our free activist kit: https://t.co/j8NL70zpRb https://t.co/mtwNI7xMa4— Climate Reality (@Climate Reality)1445532650.0
Time and again, we’ve seen Big Polluters and their allies attack the lifesaving protections that let our loved ones breathe easier and keep our clean energy economy thriving, and this challenge to the Clean Power Plan is no different. The Clean Power Plan will help us move toward a new era of clean, affordable energy that protects the health of our communities, grows our economy and signals to the rest of the world that the U.S. is serious about combating the climate crisis ahead of international negotiations in Paris later this year. It’s a huge step in taking action against climate disruption by pulling together state-level carbon pollution reduction plans and holding polluters accountable for doing their fair share.
They can throw everything and the kitchen sink at this standard, but the Clean Power Plan’s push to cut dangerous carbon pollution from power plants for the first time ever is based on a law passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court, and it has the overwhelming support of the American people.
Many have noted that it's no surprise that most of the opponents come from coal-heavy states and that all but three of those states (Kentucky, Missouri and North Carolina) have Republican attorneys general.
Rhea Suh at the Natural Resources Defense Council says, "Big Coal and its political allies" are "not going to get away with it — the stakes are too high for that."
We just finished the hottest summer since global record-keeping began in 1880, with world land and sea temperatures 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average. Last year was the hottest year ever recorded. And 19 of the hottest years on record have all occurred in the past two decades.
Small wonder that seven in 10 Americans understand the planet is warming. No surprise, either, that the pool of doubters who dismiss the definitive science on the issue has reached a shallow 16 percent of the population— the lowest in modern time. Those are the findings of a poll taken in September by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College, another sign the tide is turning toward real action on climate change.
Joanne Spalding, chief climate counsel for Sierra Club, told Think Progress: “We are confident that the Clean Power Plan is on legally sound footing. EPA does have the authority. The law says so and the Supreme Court has said so, twice. The matter, I believe, should be put to rest."
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The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.
By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma
Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
Headwaters of the Wind River within the largely intact Peel River watershed in northern Canada. Don Reid / Wildlife Conservation Society Canada / Author provided<p>Interestingly, we found that certain climatic combinations, such as warmer summer water temperatures with decreased summer rainfall, were important in determining where Pacific salmon could survive. Summer warming in drier watersheds led to declines, suggesting that lowered streamflows may have increased the risk of fish becoming stranded in subpar habitats that were too warm and crowded.</p>
The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
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If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Interviews With Contact Tracers<p>Contact tracing is a public health strategy that involves identifying everyone who may have been in contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Contact tracers collect information and provide guidance to help contain the transmission of disease.</p><p>It's been used during outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Ebola, measles, and now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.</p><p>It starts when the local department of health gets a report of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in its community and gives that person a call. The contact tracer usually provides information on how to isolate and when to get treatment, then tries to figure out who else the person may have exposed.</p><p>"We ask who they've been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or 2 days before the date of their positive test if they don't have symptoms," said <a href="https://case.edu/medicine/healthintegration/people/heidi-gullett" target="_blank">Dr. Heidi Gullett</a>, associate director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and medical director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio.</p>
“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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