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Booleansplit / Flickr, CC BY-NC

Coal Is Going Down, Even Without the Clean Power Plan

By Elliott Negin

Last Monday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he will repeal the Obama administration's regulation to curb power plant carbon emissions, telling coal miners in Kentucky that "the war on coal is over." The next day he kept his promise, issuing a proposed rule to eliminate the Clean Power Plan.

It was hardly a surprise. After all, President Trump has called climate change a "hoax" and vowed during his campaign to bring back coal jobs, which is why Pruitt made his preliminary announcement in Kentucky, where workers have a direct economic stake.

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The former Ottawa Street coal-fired power station now serves downtown Lansing, Michigan, as a LEED-certified office building. JC Kibbey / UCS

How a Coal Plant in Michigan Became an Insurance HQ

By Jeremy Richardson

For one of the community snapshots highlighted in A Dwindling Role for Coal, I'm handing over my blog to my colleague J.C. Kibbey, Midwest outreach and policy advocate, who interviewed Karl Dorshimer, director of business development with the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), about his experience on the team leading the redevelopment of the of a decommissioned coal-fired power plant in downtown Lansing.

The Ottawa Street Power Station provided coal-fired electric power and steam to downtown Lansing from 1939 until it was decommissioned in 1992. Karl shares the challenges and successes of the subsequent redevelopment project, which led to a revitalization of downtown Lansing, and retained or created more than 1,000 jobs in the city. (This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

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Science
Sage grouse fight over territory on the lek during a spring mating season at Mill Creek Ranch in Gunnison, CO. Noppadol Paothong Photography

Much to Grouse About: Interior Department Calls for Changes That Could Threaten Sage Grouse Protection

By Charise Johnson

That the current administration places very little value on the merit of robust scientific evidence when considering its actions (or inactions) is no longer shocking, but it remains an intolerable practice.

In this week's episode of "How is the Trump Administration Dismantling Science-Based Protections?" we visit the Interior Department's decision to formally reconsider a widely heralded Obama-era agreement for protections of the greater sage grouse in the West.

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Why Going 100% Electric in California Isn’t as Crazy as It Might Seem

By Don Anair

California's top air pollution regulator, Mary Nichols, made headlines last week after making comments to a Bloomberg reporter about the possibility of banning gasoline cars in California. Shortly after that, California Assembly member Phil Ting announced he would introduce state legislation to do just that. Skeptics may raise their eyebrows, but if California is going to meet its long term climate and air quality goals then nearly all future cars and trucks must be powered by renewable electricity and hydrogen. The good news is the state is already on this path.

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Pruitt Guts the Clean Power Plan: How Weak Will the New EPA Proposal Be?

By Rachel Cleetus

News articles indicate that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soon going to release a "revised" Clean Power Plan (CPP). It is very likely to be significantly weaker than the original CPP, which offered one of the country's best hopes for reducing carbon emissions that cause global warming.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and President Trump have made no secret about their intent to stop and reverse progress on addressing climate change, so there's every reason to expect that the revised CPP will be fatally flawed and compromised.

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An EPA Science Advisory Board meeting. Union of Concerned Scientists

Will Pruitt Choose Polluter-Friendly Replacements for EPA Science Advisory Board?

By Elliott Negin

A third of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Science Advisory Board, an influential panel that reviews the science the agency uses in formulating safeguards, could be succeeded by climate science-denying, polluter-friendly replacements when their terms expire at the end of this month.

The board, which has been in existence for nearly 40 years, is traditionally populated by bona fide scientists from academia, government and industry who volunteer to serve three-year terms. This time around, as first reported by E&E News, at least a dozen of the 132 candidates vying for one of the 15 open seats reject mainstream climate science.

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NASA / NOAA GOES Project

Will New Scientific Breakthroughs Pave the Way for More Climate-Related Lawsuits?

By Elliott Negin

What can you do when the president of the U.S. says climate change is a hoax and Congress is gridlocked by fossil fuel industry-funded climate science deniers?

Look to the courts for redress—with a major assist from science.

Using sophisticated computer analyses, scientists can now determine what percentage of an extreme weather event can be attributed to climate change. This emerging field of "climate attribution" science offers courts a powerful new tool for apportioning responsibility in cases brought by victims of extreme weather events—Hurricane Harvey comes to mind—or other climate-induced damages, such as sea level rise, against municipalities and private real estate developers for failing to protect them from foreseeable damages.

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3 Reasons Why You Should Care About Vehicle Efficiency and Emissions Standards

By Josh Goldman

Merely typing "vehicle efficiency and emissions standards," feels like I'm prompting you to click off in search of the latest cat meme or 8,000th story on President Trump. But the next battle in the war for better vehicles looms, and you can help defend against automaker efforts to rollback a program they agreed to not so long ago.

Here are the top three reasons why you should care about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "Request for Comment on Reconsideration of the Final Determination of the Mid-Term Evaluation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Model Year 2022–2025 Light-Duty Vehicles" (aka federal vehicle efficiency standards) and what you can do about it.

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Climate

Exxon Attacks New Study That Exposes Its Climate Deception ... Again

By Kathy Mulvey

A new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters by Dr. Geoffrey Supran and Dr. Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University marks an important advance in the examination of fossil fuel companies' responsibility for climate change. What makes this paper noteworthy is that it's the first peer-reviewed content analysis of ExxonMobil's climate change communications—and it concludes that the company misled the public. "In short, Exxon Mobil contributed quietly to climate science and loudly to raising doubts about it," the authors wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

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