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Trump Watch
White House. Matthias Harbers / Flickr

17 Ways the Trump Administration Assaulted the Environment Over the Holidays

By John R. Platt

While visions of sugarplums danced in some of our heads, the Trump administration had a different vision—of a country unbound by rules that protect people, places, wildlife and the climate. Over the past two weeks, the administration has proposed or finalized changes to how the government and the industries it regulates respond to climate change, migratory birds, clean energy, pesticides and toxic chemicals. Here's a timeline:

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Neighborhood homes destroyed in the Thomas Fire burning in the Ventura area of California. KTLA / Twitter

Our Favorite Environmental Journalism of 2017

By Joe Sandler Clarke and Unearthed reporters

From the finest American journalism chronicling the worst excesses of the Trump administration to international stories showing the impact of climate change on the developing world, here are the stories we wish we had written this year.

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GMO

EPA Considers Allowing Bee-Killing Pesticide to Be Sprayed on 165 Million Acres of U.S. Farmland

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will consider allowing the bee-killing pesticide thiamethoxam to be sprayed on the most widely grown crops in the U.S. The application, if approved, would allow the highly toxic pesticide to be sprayed directly on 165 million acres of wheat, barley, corn, sorghum, alfalfa, rice and potato.

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Animals
Pexels

EPA: Neonicotinoid Pesticides Pose Serious Risks to Birds, Aquatic Life

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released multiple scientific assessments last week that found commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides can kill and harm birds of all sizes.

Separate analyses also found the pesticides pose significant danger to aquatic invertebrates, which play a crucial role in supporting larger ecosystems.

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Animals
A bee pollinating a flower in the French countryside. Axel Rouvin / Flickr

French Court Temporarily Bans Two Pesticides Over Possible Threat to Bees

Bees are behind a French court ruling that suspended the license for two pesticides made by Dow Chemical.

Friday's preliminary ruling by an administrative court in Nice cited environmental risks of the pesticide sulfoxaflor. The decision overturned a ruling by ANSES, the French agency for health and environment.

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It’s Time to Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides

The Canadian government is banning plastic microbeads in toiletries. Although designed to clean us, they're polluting the environment, putting the health of fish, wildlife and people at risk. Manufacturers and consumers ushered plastic microbeads into the marketplace, but when we learned of their dangers, we moved to phase them out.

Why, then, is it taking so long to phase out the world's most widely used insecticides, neonicotinoids? Scientists have proven they're harming not only the pests they're designed to kill, but also a long list of non-target species, including pollinators we rely on globally for about one-third of food crops.

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Food

75% of World's Honey Laced With Pesticides

By Jessica Corbett

Raising further concerns about the global food production system, a new study found that bees worldwide are being widely exposed to dangerous agricultural chemicals, with 75 percent of honey samples from six continents testing positive for pesticides known to harm pollinators.

"What this shows is the magnitude of the contamination," the study's lead author, Edward Mitchell, a biology professor at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, told the Denver Post. He said there were "relatively few places where we did not find any" contaminated samples.

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Patrick / Flickr

Bee Study Author Fights Back Against Bayer and Syngenta Accusations

By Joe Sandler Clarke

The lead author of a major study which found that neonicotinoid pesticides harm honey bees has hit back against criticism from the chemical companies that part-funded the work.

Dr. Ben Woodcock from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), said Bayer and Syngenta, which produce the controversial pesticides, had looked to undermine his work after it was published, despite providing $3 million in funding.

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New Evidence Shows Bayer, Syngenta Tried to Influence Scientists on Bee Study

By Joe Sandler Clarke

Bayer and Syngenta repeatedly asked scientists to give them raw data on a major new study which found that neonicotinoid pesticides cause harm to bees before it was published, according to emails obtained under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Both companies cited their position as co-funders to try to get information from researchers at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), including on experiments paid for by the government backed National Environment Research Council.

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