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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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15,000 Scientists From 184 Countries Warn Humanity of Environmental Catastrophe

More than 15,000 scientists have signed a chilling article titled “World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice," urging global leaders to save the planet from environmental catastrophe.

The plea, published Monday in the international journal BioScience, is likely the largest-ever formal support by scientists for a journal article with 15,372 total signatories, Motherboard noted. The scientists represent 184 countries and have a range of scientific backgrounds. Prominent signatories include Jane Goodall, E.O. Wilson and James Hansen.

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Climate

This Year's Ozone Hole Is the Smallest It's Been Since 1988

The hole in Earth's ozone layer is the smallest it's been since 1988, NASA satellite estimates observed.

While the ozone hole is still enormous—measuring about 19.6 million square kilometers (7.6 million square miles, or 2.5 times the size of the U.S.) at its annual peak extent this Sept. 11—that's much smaller compared to the average area of ozone hole maximums since 1991 of roughly 26 million square kilometers (10 million square miles).

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Climate
The ozone hole is starting to heal. NASA

World's Most Effective Environmental Treaty Turns 30

By David Doniger and Alex Hillbrand

This is a big year for the Montreal Protocol—the 30th anniversary of the world's most successful environmental protection agreement.

Every country on Earth is a party to this treaty, which has prevented catastrophic destruction of the ozone layer that protects us from the sun's dangerous ultraviolet radiation. Phasing out ozone-destroying chemicals has also provided a huge climate protection side-benefit, because many of those chemicals are also powerful heat-trapping agents. Countries took climate protection a step farther by adopting the Kigali Amendment to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in October 2016.

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Trump Watch
Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice

EPA Announces Illegal Delay for Clean Air Protections for Millions of Americans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday evening that it is delaying implementation of the 2015 smog standard. The standard is a key health protection for millions of people in the U.S.

"The EPA found that meeting the standard would save lives and prevent asthma attacks in children," said Seth Johnson, an Earthjustice attorney who represents a coalition of public health and environmental groups in litigation over the smog standard.

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Another Dirty Power Plant to Be Shut Down

Environmental Integrity Project

Late last week, First Energy announced that it will close the R. Paul Smith plant in Williamsport, Md. by Sept. 1, 2012. Based on the most recent emissions data, Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) expects the closure to reduce annual emissions of carbon dioxide by more than 200,000 tons annually, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by at least 2,000 tons, and particulate matter by 120 tons. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide contribute to fine particle pollution that is known to cause heart disease and premature death. Nitrogen oxide pollution creates ozone and contributes to nutrient overloading in the Chesapeake Bay.

Since 2010, EIP and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) have been leading regulatory and legal challenges to the plant in Maryland, which has not installed pollution controls to comply with environmental laws and protect public health.

“First Energy made a responsible decision to retire an old and dirty power plant,” said Jennifer Peterson, an attorney with EIP. “Shutting down the R. Paul Smith plant opens the door for clean energy sources, and cleaner air and water for Maryland communities.”

The plant, built in 1947, is unable to comply with Maryland’s Healthy Air Act and had been put under intense pressure to clean up or close down by local citizens and environmental groups. The plant is one of six aging power plants in three states to be shut down by First Energy by Sept. 1, 2012 due to an inability to meet new federal and state environmental standards.

“This is a victory both for children’s lungs and for efforts to fight climate change in Maryland,” said Mike Tidwell, CCAN director. “One less plant that burns dirty coal is one more step toward a real energy solution that includes wind and solar and energy efficiency.”

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