Zinke Announces Plan to Fight Wildfires With More Logging
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stated in a Fox Business interview that the fires are so intense because the forests have "been held hostage by environmental groups" to prevent proper management via logging, and that climate change is "irrelevant."
But when asked later by Weijia Jang of CBS, Zinke said "of course" climate change is part of the science explaining the wildfires. Then, at a cabinet meeting Thursday afternoon, President Trump asked Zinke to repeat his assertion that "it's not a global warming thing."
"Zinke, like Trump, continues to deny the obvious," Kirin Kennedy, associate legislative director for lands and wildlife for the Sierra Club, said in an email, Bloomberg reported. "It is climate change that is exacerbating wildfire season in the West."
As reported by The Sacramento Bee:
The plan, which emphasizes state and local collaboration, was short on details, however. It does not address politically sensitive issues like climate change, which Democrats and scientists argue is at the root of the problem, or the role of environmental reviews for logging projects, which conservatives want to sidestep. And it did not address the possibility of additional funding, suggesting the burden to pay for the new efforts could fall to the states.
For a deeper dive:
The move comes after regional authorities declared a state of emergency over the weekend after sightings of more than 50 bears in the town of Belushya Guba since December.
This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.
"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.
By Shana Udvardy
After a dearth of action on climate change and a record year of extreme events in 2017, the inclusion of climate change policies within the annual legislation Congress considers to outline its defense spending priorities (the National Defense Authorization Act) for fiscal year 2018 was welcome progress. House and Senate leaders pushed to include language that mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) incorporate climate change in their facility planning (see more on what this section of the bill does here and here) as well as issue a report on the impacts of climate change on military installations. Unfortunately, what DoD produced fell far short of what was mandated.
Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.
Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.