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The 1.4-gigawatt coal-fired Kingston Steam Plant, just outside Kingston, Tennessee on the shore of Watts Bar Lake on March 31, 2019. In 2008, a coal ash pond at the plant collapsed, leading to the largest industrial spill in modern U.S. history and subsequent industry regulations in 2015. Paul Harris / Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a rule change on Friday that will allow some coal power plants to ignore a court order to clean up coal ash ponds, which leech toxic materials into soil and groundwater. The rule change will allow some coal ash ponds to stay open for years while others that have no barrier to protect surrounding areas are allowed to stay open indefinitely, according to the AP.

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President Donald Trump prepares to sign an Executive Order to begin the roll-back of environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration, on February 28, 2017 in the White House in Washington, D.C. Aude Guerrucci-Pool / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

With President Donald Trump's re-election very much in doubt, his administration is rushing to ram through regulatory rollbacks that could adversely affect millions of Americans, the environment, and the ability of Joe Biden—should he win—to pursue his agenda or even undo the damage done over the past four years.

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The 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah protects one of most significant cultural landscapes in the U.S. Bob Wick, BLM / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By James R. Skillen

Presidential elections are anxious times for federal land agencies and the people they serve. The Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service manage more than a quarter of the nation's land, which means that a new president can literally reshape the American landscape.

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Golf cart remains burned by the Glass Fire sit next to a vineyard at Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley, California on September 30, 2020. Samuel Corum / AFP / Getty Images

The Trump administration rejected California's federal relief request to help recover from six recent wildfires, The Los Angeles Times reported.

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Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies on the third day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on October 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. Erin Schaff / Pool / AFP/ Getty Images

By Andy Rowell

This week, President Trump's highly controversial pick for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, answers questions in front of the Senate Judiciary committee as part of her nomination hearings for the top legal job.

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Criminal prosecutions for polluting the environment in violation of the Clean Water Act or the Clean Air Act have dropped to their lowest levels in decades under the Trump administration. Charles Cook / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images Plus

A new report finds that criminal prosecutions for polluting the environment in violation of the Clean Water Act or the Clean Air Act have dropped to their lowest levels in decades under the Trump administration, as The New York Times reported.

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Founder of Fridays For Future Greta Thunberg in Washington to discuss the climate crisis with lawmakers on September 18, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

Climate emergency activist Greta Thunberg on Saturday endorsed Democrat Joe Biden, urging climate voters to make their voices heard in the U.S. presidential election.

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This month's bookshelf highlights 12 titles that uncover the roots and explain the dynamics of this critical moment in American politics.

By Michael Svoboda, Ph.D

Like the amplifying effects of climate change, which is already delivering once-in-a-century storms every four or five years, America's increasingly divided politics have created three once-in-a-lifetime elections in just the past 20 years. But the stakes in 2020 seem another order larger than in 2000, 2008, or 2016. And who Americans choose in November will dramatically affect what the world does – or doesn't do – on climate in the critical decade that follows.

This month's bookshelf highlights 12 titles that uncover the roots and explain the dynamics of this critical moment in American politics.

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The USDA killed 62,000 coyotes in 2019. Steve Krave, TD / DOE

By Andrea Germanos

Days after federal data revealed taxpayers funded the killing of 1.2 million native animal species in 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program was sued Thursday over what conservation advocates decry as a cruel and misguided annual extermination spree.

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Guests watch as U.S. President Donald Trump introduces 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

By Thomas A. Russo

If you think you're safe from the coronavirus just because you're outdoors, think again.

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A resident of Springdale, Pennsylvania looks out her front window at the smoke stack of the Cheswick coal-fired power plant on Oct. 27, 2017. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

A three judge panel in the Court of Appeals in Washington, DC listened to arguments Thursday on a Trump administration rollback of regulations that limit the emissions that power plants are allowed to spew into the atmosphere, as The New York Times reported.

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Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence participate in the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City, Utah on Oct. 9, 2020. PBS NewsHour / YouTube

The climate crisis was discussed for roughly 10 minutes at Wednesday night's vice-presidential debate in Salt Lake City, Utah between Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is seen speaking at SXSW in 2019. nrkbeta / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Jon Queally

Even as Vice President Mike Pence was busy "polluting the atmosphere with lies" about the climate crisis during Wednesday night's vice presidential debate, Democratic nominee Sen. Kamala Harris came under considerable criticism of her own after repeatedly highlighting Joe Biden's commitment to "not ban fracking" and an overall lackluster defense of the Green New Deal—the signature framework put forth by progressives and the scientific community to combat the threat of a rapidly warming world.

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