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From Fracking Enthusiast to Exxon CEO: Trump's Latest Picks

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From Fracking Enthusiast to Exxon CEO: Trump's Latest Picks

The Donald Trump camp added fracking enthusiast, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) critic and ALEC-linked Amy Oliver Cooke to the EPA landing team on Thursday. Cooke once co-authored an op-ed titled Clean Energy's Dirty Secret: Cancer.

Trump Tower is President-elect Trump's transition hub.Wikipedia

NBC's Joe Scarborough tweeted that Trump is considering ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for the Secretary of State position, following pushback against Mitt Romney's possible nomination.

"This is like appointing Darth Vader as Secretary of Defense: it's corruption of the most dangerous kind. Exxon is the largest oil company in the world," 350.org's Jamie Henn said. "The company has funded climate denial for decades. It has violated human rights across the planet."

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post has unearthed audio of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions arguing that investing in clean energy "is a conspiracy to afflict poor people."

And, Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm, long considered a top pick for energy secretary, denied he was a contender and told CNBC he suggested Trump instead nominate Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-ND. Cramer, who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from oil and gas interests, has stated he believes the world is cooling and that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas.

Red-state Democrats Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota may also be in the running for the Department of Energy job. Heitkamp, who opposes the Clean Power Plan, meets with Trump today.

For a deeper dive:

Cooke: Greenwire, E&E News, The Hill

Tillerson: The Hill, Climate Home, Reuters, Dallas Morning News

Sessions: Huffington Post

Hamm: CNBC, Fox Business, OilPrice

Heitkamp: Politico, Reuters, The Hill, E&E News

Manchin: Politico, Washington Examiner, Reuters

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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