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Exxon Mobil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

Exxon Refinery Catches Fire Day After Government Settles Over Pollution From Other Gulf Plants

By Julie Dermansky

Early morning skies Wednesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were alight from a fire that started around 2:30 a.m. at an ExxonMobil refinery. The blaze, though contained before the sun came up, is a reminder to the surrounding community of yet another danger of living next to refineries and chemical plants.

Exxon's refinery is located along the stretch of Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans known as "Cancer Alley" due to the high number of chemical plants and refineries—and illnesses possibly connected to emissions—along the river's banks.

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Roengrit Kongmuang / Greenpeace

Top Trump Official for Pipeline Safety Profits from Selling Oil Spill Equipment

By Itai Vardi

A newly appointed federal regulator charged with overseeing pipeline safety personally profits from oil spill responses, a DeSmog investigation has found.

Drue Pearce is the acting administrator for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an agency in the Department of Transportation responsible for ensuring oil and gas pipeline integrity. However, she is also associated with a company specializing in the sale of oil spill equipment.

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Climate
Texas Army National Guardsmen assist residents affected by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Lt. Zachary West

Poll Shows Most Americans Want Government Action on Climate Change, but There’s a Catch

By Farron Cousins

New polling data provides some inspiring news about the prospects for climate change action in the U.S.

According to public policy polling conducted by AP-NORC and the Energy Policy Institute at The University of Chicago, 61 percent of American citizens believe that climate change is a threat that the federal government should actively work to prevent. The poll also reveals that majorities in both major political parties—Democrats and Republicans—accept the fact that climate change is actually happening and that human activity is making it worse.

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China Is Showing the World What Renewable Energy Dominance Looks Like

By Ben Jervey

The growth of solar energy continues to outpace forecasts and this growth, according to a report published Wednesday by the International Energy Agency, (IEA) "is a China story."

While China today is far and away the global leader in solar generation, a decade ago, the country had just 100 megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed. That's nothing. For reference, it's actually less than is currently installed in the city of San Antonio. By the end of 2016, China had increased its solar PV capacity by nearly 800 times, with more than 77 gigawatts currently installed.

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Ric Lander‏ / Twitter

Scotland Bans Fracking After 'Overwhelming' Public Opposition

By Simon Roach

The Scottish government has said fracking is set to be permanently banned following "overwhelming" public support for outlawing the controversial process, it was announced Tuesday.

Unlike in England, fracking has been under a temporary halt in Scotland since 2015, and an extensive public consultation on its long-term future was carried out earlier this year.

Speaking to members of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, the Scottish Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse said the ban should be extended "indefinitely" and that "the Scottish government will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland."

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Meeting Paris Goals Means Dealing With Climate Impacts of Eating Meat

By Ashley Braun

Environmental groups place a lot of attention on trying to stop new oil, gas and coal development since current fossil fuel projects would likely already blow us past the less-than 2°C upper limit for warming laid out in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In fact, there's a whole movement, known as "Keep It in the Ground," predicated on this idea.

But when faced with a resurgence of support for fossil fuels from the White House, perhaps just as important is talking about how to "Keep It in the Cow," according to some reports. Right now, experts predict agriculture is set to eat up half the greenhouse gas emissions the world can release by 2050 and still stay below 2°C (3.6°F) of warming.

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen / Wikimedia Commons

Trump Attorney Sues Greenpeace Over Dakota Access Pipeline in $300 Million Racketeering Case

By Steve Horn

Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the Dakota Access pipeline, has filed a $300 million Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit against Greenpeace and other environmental groups for their activism against the long-contested North Dakota-to-Illinois project.

In its 187-page complaint, Energy Transfer alleges that "putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims and other purported misconduct" caused the company to lose "billions of dollars."

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A Response to 'Lunatic Farmer' Joel Salatin on His Climate Denial

By Graham Readfearn

So a couple of weeks ago I wrote a story for DeSmog reporting on self-described "lunatic farmer" Joel Salatin's views about climate change and how he thought it might not be caused by humans.

There's been quite a reaction to the story, mainly through Facebook discussions sparked by Salatin himself and by others who are part of what you might broadly describe as the sustainable farming movement (this is an entirely imperfect term though, given the diversity of thought among the great many people looking for alternative ways to grow healthy food in a way that has less impact on the environment).

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Koch-Funded Electric Car Video Debunked Again and Again

By Ben Jervey

Just last week, we fact-checked and debunked every line of The Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars, a video produced by Fueling U.S. Forward, a Koch-funded campaign to push fossil fuels. That video represents the group's first public pivot from fossil fuel boosterism to electric vehicle (EV) attacks. More electric vehicle experts are also picking the video apart.

One effort is this video highlighting many of the same falsehoods we wrote about, and which adds key context about some of the video footage. Like, for instance, the fact that the photo that Fueling U.S. Forward claims is a lithium, cobalt or cerium mining operation is actually a copper mine.

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