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Energy
Gov. Phil Murphy / Instagram

New Jersey Passes Nation's Toughest Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling

New Jersey has passed a law prohibiting offshore oil and gas exploration, development and production in state waters—the nation's toughest response yet to the Trump administration's plans to vastly expand offshore drilling in nearly all U.S. coastal waters.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law on Friday the bipartisan bill called the "Shore Tourism and Ocean Protection from Offshore Oil and Gas Act" or "STOP Offshore Oil and Gas Act."

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Trump Watch
The Q4000 at the Deepwater Horizon accident site. James Davidson / CC BY-NC 2.0

Deepwater Horizon Anniversary: Trump Administration Ignores Advice on Preventing Explosions, Injuries, Blowouts

The Trump administration is ignoring advice from the bipartisan commission that investigated the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster as officials move to repeal offshore drilling safety regulations adopted in its aftermath.

Friday is the eighth anniversary of the explosion that killed 11 oil workers and caused more than 210 million gallons of oil to flow uncontrolled into the Gulf of Mexico for more than three months, killing thousands of marine mammals and birds.

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Energy
lauwen66 / Flickr

New Zealand Bans New Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration

New Zealand will no longer offer new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday.

"The whole world is going in this direction," Ardern said. "We all signed up to the Paris agreement that said we're moving towards carbon-neutrality, and now we need to act on it."

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Trump Watch

Trump Administration Offers 77 Million Acres in Gulf of Mexico to Oil Industry

The Trump administration is holding the biggest offshore oil and gas lease auction in U.S. history Wednesday, offering all 77 million acres of unleased, available federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

The sale comes as administration officials seek to rescind drilling safety rules approved after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, reduce royalties paid by oil companies, and expand offshore drilling into every ocean in the country.

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Energy
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Gage Skidmore

Ryan Zinke Blames Wind Turbines for Contributing to Global Warming

At the CERAWeek energy industry conference in Houston this week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he's "pro-energy across the board" but made it clear that he's in favor of oil and gas over other types of domestic energy production.

According to Bloomberg, Zinke praised the Trump administration's push for fossil fuels, from expanding offshore oil drilling to slashing regulations. He also advocated for a partnership with oil and gas companies.

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Animals
A little whale and its mother, photographed in Feb. 2008, are two of only a few hundred North Atlantic right whales on Earth. GA DNR

Scientists Haven't Seen a Single North Atlantic Right Whale Calf This Season

The North Atlantic right whale is already one of the most endangered whales, with fewer than 450 of the iconic marine mammals left on the planet.

But the situation appears to be getting worse: Researchers tracking the whales' usual calving grounds off Georgia and northern Florida have not seen a single calf yet this breeding season, which started in December and peaks in January and February.

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Politics

Republicans in Congress Flunk Environment and Public Health Report Card With Average Grade of 1%

Congressional Republican lawmakers have set record lows on the 2017 League of Conservation Voters (LCV) scorecard, released Tuesday.

The LCV, which has been scoring lawmakers' actions on environment, public health and climate issues for nearly 50 years, awarded Senate Republicans a record low average 1 percent score, with 46 Senators receiving a score of zero—meaning "they voted against the environment and public health at every opportunity" in 2017.

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Trump Watch
Ryan Zinke at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC on Jan. 18, 2018. Lance Cheung / USDA / Flickr

Ryan Zinke Wins 2017 Rubber Dodo Award

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke is the winner of the Center for Biological Diversity's 2017 Rubber Dodo award. The statue is awarded each year to the person or group who has most aggressively sought to destroy America's natural heritage or drive endangered species extinct.

"Ryan Zinke seems to wake up every day wondering how he can tear apart America's public lands, ramp up oil and gas development and put endangered species on a fast track to extinction," said Kierán Suckling, the Center for Biological Diversity's executive director.

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Business
Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation, presenting board to Department of Interior leadership—Todd Wynn, director (left) and Tim Williams, deputy director (right) in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs. Surfrider Foundation

Coastal Recreation and Tourism Businesses Fight Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal

The Surfrider Foundation and leaders of the coastal recreation and tourism industry on Thursday presented Department of Interior representatives with a surfboard and letters signed by more than 1,000 coastal businesses and elected officials in opposition to new offshore oil drilling in U.S. waters. From Florida to Maine and California to Washington State, businesses including restaurants, retailers, surf shops and hotels are expressing concerns that new offshore oil and gas development would be disastrous for coastal communities.

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