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Ryan Zinke, ‘Worst Interior Secretary in History,’ Resigns
Embattled Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned Saturday, a month-and-a-half after an investigation into a potential conflict of interest involving oil-giant Halliburton was referred to the Justice Department, The Washington Post reported.
Zinke has been a controversial figure during his time at the Department of Interior (DOI), both for his ethically questionable use of his office and for his commitment to opening up public lands and waters to oil and gas drilling.
"Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation," President Donald Trump tweeted, announcing the resignation Saturday.
However, officials close to the situation told The Washington Post that Zinke had been given until the end of the year to either resign or be fired. Two officials further said Zinke's fall from grace occurred when the Halliburton investigation was passed on to the Justice Department. Zinke had met with Halliburton Chairman David Lesar while in office to discuss a real estate deal in Zinke's hometown that is owned by Lesar's son and could raise the value of nearby property belonging to a foundation started by Zinke and his wife. As a major energy producer, Halliburton is regulated by the DOI.
"I love working for the President and am incredibly proud of all the good work we've accomplished together. However, after 30 years of public service, I cannot justify spending thousands of dollars defending myself and my family against false allegations," Zinke tweeted.
Environmental groups, who have clashed with Zinke over his decisions to shrink national monuments and expand offshore drilling, among other issues, celebrated his departure, while also sounding the alarm about his likely replacement, Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Bernhardt has worked as a lobbyist for oil and gas companies including Halliburton, and is likely to continue Zinke's agenda with fewer errors and obvious ethical missteps.
In this way he resembles Andrew Wheeler, the former coal lobbyist who was seen as a "smarter" threat when he took over at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after Trump's first pick for administrator, Scott Pruitt, was also forced to resign after a buildup of ethics scandals.
"Zinke will go down as the worst Interior secretary in history," Center for Biological Diversity Executive Director Kierán Suckling said in a press release. "His slash-and-burn approach was absolutely destructive for public lands and wildlife. Allowing David Bernhardt to continue to call the shots will still be just as ugly. Different people, same appetite for greed and profit."
Bernhardt's ascension means the top two environmental agencies in the U.S. will now both be headed by former industry lobbyists, The Guardian pointed out.
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By Daisy Brickhill
Each morning, men living in fishing communities along Ghana's coastline push off in search of the day's catch. But when the boats come back to shore, it's the women who take over.
By Sam Nickerson
Links between excess sugar in your diet and disease have been well-documented, but new research by Harvard's School of Public Health might make you even more wary of that next soda: it could increase your risk of an early death.
The study, published this week in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) each day — like sodas or sports drinks — increases risk of an early death by 14 percent.
Tyson Foods Recalls Nearly 70,000 Pounds of Chicken Strips After Customers Find ‘Fragments of Metal’
Tyson Foods is recalling approximately 69,093 pounds of frozen chicken strips because they may have been contaminated with pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.
The affected products were fully-cooked "Buffalo Style" and "Crispy" chicken strips with a "use by" date of Nov. 30, 2019 and an establishment number of "P-7221" on the back of the package.
"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the recall notice said. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."
Environmental exposure to pesticides, both before birth and during the first year of life, has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, according to the largest epidemiological study to date on the connection.
The study, published Wednesday in BMJ, found that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) of a highly-sprayed agricultural area in California had children who were 10 to 16 percent more likely to develop autism and 30 percent more likely to develop severe autism that impacted their intellectual ability. If the children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, the risk they would develop autism went up to 50 percent.
ExxonMobil could be the second company after Monsanto to lose lobbying access to members of European Parliament after it failed to turn up to a hearing Thursday into whether or not the oil giant knowingly spread false information about climate change.
The call to ban the company was submitted by Green Member of European Parliament (MEP) Molly Scott Cato and should be decided in a vote in late April, The Guardian reported.
Bernie Sanders has become the first contender in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field to pledge to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions released by campaign travel, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.