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Democrats celebrated at the Joint Democratic Caucus Watch Party in Richmond, Virginia on Nov. 5. VCU Capital News Service

By Jake Johnson

The Virginia Democratic Party took full control of the state government for the first time in nearly three decades Tuesday night by winning majorities in both chambers of the legislature, a massive shift progressives celebrated as a testament to the electoral power of bold policy proposals like the Green New Deal.

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A man snowboards using a kite on the National Mall as storm hit the nation's capital Sunday. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images

A massive winter storm dumped snow on the midwest Friday, killing at least nine, before moving east to bring snow and freezing rain to the Mid-Atlantic and the Carolinas Saturday and Sunday, AccuWeather reported.

"We have a strong snowstorm that's stretching 1,400 miles from Kansas to the East Coast," CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. "St. Louis is seeing its worst snowstorm in five years. We're going to see a significant snow event for the mid-Atlantic to start the year for 2019."

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Wind farm with solar panels in southern California. 4kodiak / E+ / Getty Images

By Jeff Deyette

Despite the Trump administration's ongoing attempts to prop up coal and undermine renewables—at FERC, EPA and through tariffs and the budget process—2018 should instead be remembered for the surge in momentum toward a clean energy economy. Here are nine storylines that caught my attention this past year and help illustrate the unstoppable advancement of renewable energy and other modern grid technologies.

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Seismic airgun blasting has been proposed within the same main range of imperiled North Atlantic right whales. NOAA

A coalition of attorneys general from nine states added their clout to a South Carolina-based lawsuit against the Trump administration to block seismic airgun blasting off the Atlantic coast.

Democratic attorneys general from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York filed a motion on Thursday to intervene in a lawsuit filed earlier this month by several conservation groups and South Carolina coastal communities.

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The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cross the Greenbrier River in West Virginia. West Virginia Rivers Coalition / YouTube screenshot

Work on the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would carry fracked natural gas along a 600 mile route through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, has been halted by court order and may not resume for several months, The News & Observer reported Monday.

A federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia ruled on Friday that work must stop on the pipeline until March, when courts are set to review federal permits that allow the pipeline to operate in the habitat of four endangered species, which wildlife advocates say were rushed.

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The Asian longhorned tick has been found in nine states. CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned of a "multistate infestation" with the Asian longhorned tick—the first new tick species to enter the U.S. in 50 years.

New Jersey was the first state to report the Haemaphysalis longicornis on a sheep in August 2017. Since then, it has been found in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, according to Friday's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Appalachian Trail Conservancy screenshot

By Courtney Lindwall

Communities along the 300-mile proposed route for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) heard some good news this week. On Tuesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously voted to vacate a permit required by the Clean Water Act, which was previously issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The ruling stated the Army Corps lacked the authority to substitute one type of construction for another for the natural gas pipeline, which would crisscross rivers and other sensitive aquatic ecosystems hundreds of times between northern West Virginia and southern Virginia.

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Astronaut Rickey Arnold took this photograph of Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Sept. 10. NASA

By Kristy Dahl

Hurricane Florence is currently making its way as a Category 4 storm toward the southeast coast and is expected to make landfall sometime on Thursday, most likely in North Carolina. Our hearts are with those who are looking at the storm's predicted path and wondering what this means for their homes, families and communities.

As millions of residents in the storm's path make preparations to stay safe, our hearts are also with the thousands of people who have faced similar risks in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico in the past year. If you are in the Carolinas, please do take care to heed local warnings and evacuation orders—and know that we are all hoping for your safety.

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NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Florence as it travels west southeast of Bermuda on Sept. 10. NOAA via Getty Images

After starting off as a tropical storm, Florence has rapidly intensified and is expected to become a major hurricane that could make landfall in North and South Carolina later this week.

The storm is now a Category 4 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center's Atlantic branch tweeted in its latest update Monday.

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Miners surface on the elevator at Virginia-Pocahontas Mine #4 near Richlands, VA in April 1974. Jack Corn / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

By Andrea Germanos

Spotlighting the terrible human impact of the nation's continued reliance on coal, new research shows the most severe form of black lung disease, progressive massive fibrosis (PMF), is on the rise—big time.

"This is history going in the wrong direction," said lead researcher Kirsten S. Almberg, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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By Michael Sainato

In Virginia and West Virginia, residents and activists are battling natural gas companies over a natural gas pipeline currently being constructed.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline will extend 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia, with a recently proposed 70 mile extension into North Carolina. The project is being funded and operated by Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, owned by EQT Midstream Partners, LP; NextEra US Gas Assets, LLC; Con Edison Transmission, Inc.; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream, LLC.

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