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Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska. Plants on the Arctic tundra absorb mercury from the air, then transfer it to soil when they die. Paxson Woelber / Flickr

Mercury From Industrialized Nations Is Polluting the Arctic—Here’s How It Gets There

By Daniel Obrist

Scientists have long understood that the Arctic is affected by mercury pollution, but know less about how it happens. Remote, cold and seemingly pristine, why is such an idyllic landscape so contaminated with this highly toxic metal?

I recently returned from a two-year research project in Alaska, where I led field research into this issue alongside fellow scientists from the University of Colorado; the University of Nevada's Desert Research Institute; the University of Toulouse and the Sorbonne University in France; and the Gas Technology Institute in Illinois.

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More than 300,000 acres are on the auction block in Nevada's Great Basin in 2017, including wild lands near the Ruby Mountains. PR vonB / Flickr

Trump, Zinke to Auction Away 700,000 Acres of Western Public Lands for Fracking

President Trump and Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke are continuing their onslaught against American public lands this holiday month and moving forward with plans to auction off 700,000 acres for fracking, endangering clean air and water, the climate and sacred lands.

"First it's our cherished national monuments, now Trump and Zinke are set to give away even more public lands to the fossil fuel industry," said Becca Fischer, climate guardian for WildEarth Guardians. "Rather than giving back this holiday season, this administration is proving that it will stop at nothing to put our public lands in the hands of dirty energy executives and sell off our rights to clean energy and a healthy environment."

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Health

Air Pollution Puts Health of Unborn Babies at Risk, Study Shows

We already know that air pollution is bad for our lungs, but a new study shows that air pollution can even harm a baby that hasn't left the womb.

Researchers at Imperial College London have found an association between exposure to road traffic pollution and an increased risk of low birth weights at term.

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Trump's EPA Seeks Deadly Air Pollution Loophole for Dirty Trucks

By Luke Tonachel

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to roll back emission safeguards against sales of dirty trucks, leaving the public to cough and wheeze on more air pollution. NRDC is opposing the rollback at a public hearing on Dec. 4 in Washington, DC.

The EPA proposal would lift restrictions on the number of new trucks that can be sold using old, refurbished engines (so-called "glider vehicles") that don't meet modern emissions standards. The proposal creates a dirty truck loophole that permits niche industry players to circumvent necessary clean air safeguards and sell an unlimited number of new, dirty trucks on the cheap.

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Energy

Which States Are the Most Energy-Efficient? New Rankings for 2017

By John Rogers

Autumn makes me think of leaves colored orange and amber and red, of the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting from a range of desserts … and of states vying for top honors in the annual state ranking of energy efficiency policies and progress.

The leaves are mostly done, and the desserts are in my belly. But the latest ranking from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is out and available, and ready for sampling. It's always a beautiful sight and a tasty treat.

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New Mexico Tribes Step Up to Protect Land Before Fossil Fuels Vote

Native American tribes are voicing concerns and demanding input on regulations on fossil fuel development in a New Mexico county, in the latest wave of tribal voices growing louder on oil and gas development across the country.

Sandoval County, home to 12 Native tribes, will hold a final vote in January on a draft ordinance to regulate oil and gas development in the county. In packed public meetings over the proposed ordinance last week, tribal leaders called out the lack of tribal input in the draft ordinance and raised concerns over the ordinance's lack of protections for water, air and land resources.

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Business

Electric Car Sales Surge 63% Globally

Electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain momentum on the world market.

Global sales of electric and hybrid cars are 63 percent higher than the same quarter last year, and up 23 percent from the second quarter, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report.

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Science Democrats / Flickr

Why Honeycutt Is Such an Alarming Choice for EPA's Science Advisory Panel

By Elena Craft

Michael Honeycutt—the man set to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) prestigious Science Advisory Board—has spent most of his career as a credentialed counterpoint against almost anything the EPA has proposed to protect human health.

Fortunately, his lone voice for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rarely carried beyond the Lone Star State. Until now.

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Health
Teens play basketball at a public park in Port Arthur, Texas. Karen Kasmauski / International League of Conservation Photographers

African Americans Disproportionately Suffer Health Effects of Oil and Gas Facilities

African American communities face a disproportionate risk of health issues caused by gas and oil pollution, according to a report issued Tuesday by two advocacy groups.

The report from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Clean Air Task Force noted the importance of Obama-era U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that finalized standard for methane and ozone smog-forming volatile organic compound (VOCs). The report states that if the Trump administration's dismantling of environmental regulations continues, the situation for African Americans will worsen.

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