We have good news for tropical forests and people who like to breathe.

The well-known investor is reportedly one of the most influential advisers to President-elect Donald Trump as he considers candidates to run the Environmental Protection Agency.

Icahn has interviewed several candidates for the job in the last week, according to the Wall Street Journal. Icahn confirmed that one top contender is Jeff Holmstead, an assistant EPA administrator during the George W. Bush administration and who was, until a few weeks ago, a registered lobbyist for fossil-fuel companies. Other top candidates reportedly include Kathleen Hartnett White, former chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general.

Icahn has more than a passing interest in the EPA. He has a controlling interest in CVR Energy, whose CEO has said that EPA regulations could cost the company an estimated $200 million this year, according to the WSJ. CVR is in the business of refining petroleum and manufacturing nitrogen fertilizer.

Trump campaigned on promises to “drain the swamp” of special interests surrounding the White House. So far, he’s shown a knack for surrounding himself with Wall Street insiders, super-wealthy investors like Icahn, and other Masters of the Universe.

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We have good news for tropical forests and people who like to breathe.

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Carl Icahn, a billionaire critic of the EPA, is helping Trump shape it.

The well-known investor is reportedly one of the most influential advisers to President-elect Donald Trump as he considers candidates to run the Environmental Protection Agency.

Icahn has interviewed several candidates for the job in the last week, according to the Wall Street Journal. Icahn confirmed that one top contender is Jeff Holmstead, an assistant EPA administrator during the George W. Bush administration and who was, until a few weeks ago, a registered lobbyist for fossil-fuel companies. Other top candidates reportedly include Kathleen Hartnett White, former chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general.

Icahn has more than a passing interest in the EPA. He has a controlling interest in CVR Energy, whose CEO has said that EPA regulations could cost the company an estimated $200 million this year, according to the WSJ. CVR is in the business of refining petroleum and manufacturing nitrogen fertilizer.

Trump campaigned on promises to “drain the swamp” of special interests surrounding the White House. So far, he’s shown a knack for surrounding himself with Wall Street insiders, super-wealthy investors like Icahn, and other Masters of the Universe.

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Carl Icahn, a billionaire critic of the EPA, is helping Trump shape it.

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An Intimate Connection with Nature

For the last 40 years, Norman Hallendy has spent his life learning about the Arctic and the many Inuit people who call the land home. His deep interest in this area has brought him across the Arctic, studying different communities and their connection to nature and one another.

Norman Hallendy began his Arctic journey in 1948, at a time in which many Inuit peoples were moving from the land into permanent settlements.

His work in the Arctic and his role in interpreting the inuksuit earned him the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Gold Medal in 2001.

An Intimate Wilderness: Arctic Voices in a Land of Vast Horizons (Image courtesy Greystone Books)

In his memoir,An Intimate Wilderness: Arctic Voices in a Land of Vast Horizons(Greystone Books, 2016), Norman writes of his adventures as an ethnographer in the far north, including wildlife encounters with polar bears, profound friendships and what it means to live alongside nature.

Also an Arctic researcher and photographer, many of his talents are woven within the pages of his book, which is filled with stories about the people and the Arctic and illustrated with stunning imagery.

I recently spoke with Norman about what drew him north and how his bond with Inuit elders strengthened his connection to nature.

As a cultural researcher from Ontario working in the Arctic, Norman had to set aside his previous perceptions of how people live and work in these rural communities and open himself up to new experiences. By faithfully recording everything he saw, he was able to develop a better understanding of Innu culture.

I had to put aside how I was taught to think, along with the beliefs, biases, opinions, and values I learned, shaped by the only material and intellectual culture I knew, says Norman. I had to learn the abandonment of who I thought I was and who I thought they were.

According to Norman, one of the difficulties of living in the Arctic is dealing with the distance and remoteness of communities from the rest of Canada. Away from technology, residents of the Arctic live a different life than someone with easy access to electricity and a Wi-Fi signal. Instead, many residents of the remote north may be more intimately dependent on nature and the land than Canadians in the southern portions of the country.

The Inuit perfectly adapted to their environment, ensuring not only their survival for more than 400 years, but the development and sustainability of a unique culture, says Norman. The expression inuutsiarniq asini,which means living in harmony with nature, is an ancient and powerful metaphor.

As Norman learned through his many interviews with Inuit elders, the Inuit are not only dependent on the land for survival; they have a spiritual connection to nature. This connection forms the foundation of their philosophy and shapes the way they see and care for the environment.

[The Inuit] believe that [nature] is both a physical and metaphysical entity. It is a living thing, says Norman. To behold, respect and understand the forces and behavior of the land, sea, sky and weather was the bedrock of their unique culture.

FromAn Intimidate Wilderness, one develops a sense of looking at nature in a more personal way. By reading this book, you are immersed in a new way of viewing your surroundings. It opens you up to seeing nature, other humans and wildlife as a full circle rather than as individual elements.

This post originally appeared onLand Linesand was written by Raechel Bonomo, editorial coordinatorfor the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Post photo:Author Norman Hallendy with Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak (Photo courtesy Norman Hallendy)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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An Intimate Connection with Nature

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The Standing Rock Sioux will be ready to take a Trump challenge to courts

In the wake of the Obama administration’s surprise decision to block the Dakota Access Pipeline, company reps seem confident they need only wait for President-elect Trump to keep building. But the lawyer who represents the Standing Rock Sioux says it won’t be so easy to overcome the legal hurdles.

“If an agency decides that a full environmental review is necessary, it can’t just change its mind with a stroke of a pen a few weeks later,” EarthJustice attorney Jan Hasselman told Grist. “That would be violation of the law, and it’s the kind of thing that a court would be called upon to review. It doesn’t mean they’re not going to try.”

Trump could force the pipeline through along the dispute route at Lake Oahe. He technically could ignore the Corps’ decision to fulfill a public Environmental Impact Statement with his newfound executive powers, but that might not be wise.

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“He could in the sense that you can rob a bank, but you’d get in trouble,” Hasselman said.

If that were the case, Standing Rock would be prepared to take the matter to courts again, their lawyer told Grist.

“Circumventing the environmental assessment now that the agency has determined it’s the right course of action shouldn’t pass muster under legal standards,” he added.

For example, the Ninth Circuit has ruled that federal agencies can’t just flip on a dime on settled rulemaking that is based on facts because a new administration has taken over. The Supreme Court this year declined to take up the case, leaving the Circuit’s decision standing that the Bush administration couldn’t exempt the Tongass rainforest in Alaska from a conservation rule, when the agency’s fact-finding found otherwise.

Unless a conservative Supreme Court reverses course, then Standing Rock still has that advantage in a Trump era.

Going further to weaken environmental regulations overall would require a more robust change to the law with congressional action. With the law on their side for now, environmental justice advocates could challenge administration decisions just as they did in the Bush administration. (Talk about government interference: Trump is reportedly also considering privatizing oil-rich Native American land to boost oil companies.)

Energy Transfer Partners has its share of options, too — even if Trump didn’t reverse the decision, it could still sue to maintain the current route.

One of the surer bets on what’s next is that the company is going to have to wait longer to build its pipeline than it originally intended. Energy Transfer Partners wanted it to be operational by the end of the year. If the Corps decision holds, it could potentially be tied up as long as a year or two. It would have to undergo a full environmental assessment of route alternatives, which is the traditional way government agencies solicit input from the public and weigh the pros and cons of environmentally risky projects.

The pipeline is far from dead. But it’s also far from a sure thing.

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The Standing Rock Sioux will be ready to take a Trump challenge to courts

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For the next 24 hours, Al Gore is treating us to celebs, interviews, and his favorite slideshows all about climate change.

Grist sent former fellow Melissa Cronin aboard a four-seat prop plane to the tiny village of Tyonek, Alaska, this summer. Her on-the-ground investigation helped expose a Texas energy company’s plans to develop a coal mine across wetlands and forest that are extremely valuable to the local indigenous people.

Through her dogged reporting, Melissa published Coal’s Last Gamble — the type of fearless journalism we are proud to produce. If you missed the story, check it out here.

As part of our annual winter fund drive, we’re highlighting the stories of 2016 that defined our year. Why? Now more than ever, the world desperately needs independent nonprofit journalism. With the media landscape rife with antagonism, spectacle, and fake news, Grist dives deep and brings important stories you just can’t find elsewhere.

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Grist’s journalism is powered by readers like you. So, if you learned something valuable from Coal’s Last Gamble or any of the great work the team brought you this year, please consider making a gift!

As an added bonus, all new monthly donors will receive a limited-edition Grist steel pint glass to drink your political sorrows away toast to the progress we make toward a more sustainable, just future. Supplies are limited — get yours now.

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For the next 24 hours, Al Gore is treating us to celebs, interviews, and his favorite slideshows all about climate change.

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