The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Senate Republicans Push Attacks on Endangered Species, Clean Water Under Guise of Farming
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, led by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), will hold a hearing Wednesday advancing its goals of repealing the Endangered Species Act and gutting the Clean Water Act.
The hearing will highlight testimony from industrial-scale agribusinesses and preview environmental attacks likely to be included in the 2018 Farm Bill, including exempting pesticides from the protections of the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act.
"It's really disturbing to see Barrasso and other Senate Republicans bending over backward to please polluters and the pesticide industry," said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "The price will be dirtier rivers and streams, and more wildlife on the fast track toward extinction."
The pesticide industry is pushing sweeping legislation on Capitol Hill that would dismantle safeguards to protect endangered wildlife and continues to advance legislation to exempt pesticide users from the requirements of the Clean Water Act.
Meanwhile, at the request of Dow Chemical, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed the recommendation of career scientists to ban the toxic insecticide chlorpyrifos, which is believed to cause birth defects in children. And following a National Marine Fisheries Service analysis that chlorpyrifos is putting 38 species of salmon and sturgeon on both coasts in jeopardy of extinction, Pruitt has announced that the EPA is rejecting recommendations to protect those endangered species.
Last month more than 250 organizations sent a letter to Congress urging them to reject the pesticide industry's attempt to eliminate Endangered Species Act protections from pesticides.
"Senator Barrasso is using this hearing as a smokescreen to eviscerate these vital conservation laws, stoking fears that we'll all starve to death if we don't jettison our environmental safeguards," said Hartl. "This is totally out of step with what the American people want. What a despicable sideshow."
Barrasso is one of the most anti-wildlife members of Congress. He has voted against the Endangered Species Act nearly a dozen times since 2011, and has sponsored nine separate legislative attacks on the Act in the past two years alone. This is despite the fact that nine out of 10 Americans want the Act strengthened or left unchanged by Congress, according to a 2015 poll.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."