Category Archives: Wiley

The coal industry is still declining, so Trump is considering a bailout.

According to a new study from the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, the current presidential administration has collected fewer civil penalties and filed fewer environmental enforcement suits against polluting companies than the Obama, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations did at the same point in office.

The analysis assesses agreements made in the Environmental Protection Agency’s civil enforcement cases. For abuses under laws like the Clean Air Act, the Trump administration has collected just $12 million in civil penalties, a drop of 60 percent from the average of the other administrations. Trump’s EPA has lodged 26 environmental lawsuits compared to 31, 34, and 45 by Bush, Obama, and Clinton, respectively.

The marked decrease in enforcement likely has to do with the EPA’s deregulatory agenda. Since confirmed, administrator Scott Pruitt has systematically tried to knock out key environmental regulations, especially those created during Obama’s tenure.

The Project notes that its assessment is only of a six-month period, so future enforcement could catch Trump up to his predecessors. Or he’ll continue to look the other way.

“I’ve seen the pendulum swing,” said Bruce Buckheit, who worked in EPA enforcement under Clinton and then Bush, “but never as far as what appears to be going on today.”

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The coal industry is still declining, so Trump is considering a bailout.

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Trump is going easy on polluters.

According to a new study from the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, the current presidential administration has collected fewer civil penalties and filed fewer environmental enforcement suits against polluting companies than the Obama, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations did at the same point in office.

The analysis assesses agreements made in the Environmental Protection Agency’s civil enforcement cases. For abuses under laws like the Clean Air Act, the Trump administration has collected just $12 million in civil penalties, a drop of 60 percent from the average of the other administrations. Trump’s EPA has lodged 26 environmental lawsuits compared to 31, 34, and 45 by Bush, Obama, and Clinton, respectively.

The marked decrease in enforcement likely has to do with the EPA’s deregulatory agenda. Since confirmed, administrator Scott Pruitt has systematically tried to knock out key environmental regulations, especially those created during Obama’s tenure.

The Project notes that its assessment is only of a six-month period, so future enforcement could catch Trump up to his predecessors. Or he’ll continue to look the other way.

“I’ve seen the pendulum swing,” said Bruce Buckheit, who worked in EPA enforcement under Clinton and then Bush, “but never as far as what appears to be going on today.”

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Trump is going easy on polluters.

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Trump actually wants to enforce an environmental rule. A court says he can’t.

The city of freeways is building light rail, and passengers are hopping on board.

We’ve seen a general decline in transit riders around the country as the economy has improved, gas prices have fallen, and public transport systems have aged. But Los Angeles is bucking that trend.

Take the Expo line, which opened in May 2016 and runs from downtown L.A. to the beach. It carried an average of 64,000 riders each weekday in June 2017 — an increase of almost 20,000 riders from a year earlier. Officials had predicted the line wouldn’t get that popular until 2030.

Nearly 70 percent of Expo line riders reported that they hadn’t used mass transit regularly before the line opened, and more than half of those new riders had switched from cars, according to the Washington Post.

That’s just one light-rail route. Here’s a peek at the L.A.’s plans to expand its lines by 2040:

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For years, Angelenos thought that only the efforts of a hostile dictator would allow them to travel freely across their city. Now, they’ve found another way.

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Trump actually wants to enforce an environmental rule. A court says he can’t.

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A Review of Reviews of "The Handmaid’s Tale"

Mother Jones

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Below are excerpts from a baker’s dozen reviews of Hulu’s new adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. Can you figure out what they all have in common?

New York Times: The television adaptation arrives with a newfound and unexpected resonance in Trump’s America….“We were hoping to be relevant, but we weren’t hoping it would be this relevant.”

io9: It’s incredibly difficult to watch The Handmaid’s Tale and not be affected, to feel like we’re so much closer to it being reality than when it was first written.

Washington Post: The phrase “now more than ever” has become a tiresome cliche in the past few months, but so what: “The Handmaid’s Tale” is here and it demands our attention, now more than ever.

Hollywood Reporter: Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale may be the most unintentionally timely show of the year.

Entertainment Weekly: Their performances — and the show’s consistent sense of textural, lived-in realism — anchor the drama in something beyond speculative sci-fi, making the story feel less like a quasi-fictional fable than an entirely possible preview of what’s to come.

Wall Street Journal: You can’t quite call it a bad dream come true, not yet. But given what might be termed “recent events,” it’s certainly cautionary, and more than urgent.

The Economist: As the Trump administration continues to cut funding and roll back family-planning services, it is easy to hear echoes of its rhetoric on the screen.

Vogue: Could the timing be any more apt?

TV Guide: The show and its source material feel more timely and relevant than ever….With women’s rights again on the chopping block under a Trump administration, and a common refrain from critics on the left to resist normalizing Trump, it’s difficult if not impossible not to draw parallels between the show and real-life events.

Deadline Hollywood: If ever a television series could border on being too relevant, Hulu’s gripping, chilling and brutal adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, which launches with its first three episodes on April 26, would be the one.

Huffington Post: Whether the show sets out to directly compare its dystopian themes with today’s political climate, for some readers â&#128;&#149; and for the story’s author â&#128;&#149; the similarities are ripe for picking.

Vanity Fair: All dystopias are meant as cautionary tales. But at this particular moment in time—one marked by a powerful but misguided nostalgia, and religious zealotry, and an increasing sense that paranoia is justified, with the powers that be seemingly determined to chip away at the rights of women—The Handmaid’s Tale feels especially current, cutting, and vital.

Harper’s Bazaar: You won’t see a more timely or essential onscreen story this year than Hulu’s extraordinary rendering of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, reimagined as a fundamentalist nightmare for the Mike Pence era….Like all the best dystopias, Gilead is not a truly fictional world, and The Handmaid’s Tale is not a dark fantasy. It’s a warning.

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A Review of Reviews of "The Handmaid’s Tale"

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A Mini Version of Trump Is About to Take Over the USDA

Mother Jones

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Back in 2002, a racially divisive fertilizer and trucking magnate shocked the political world by winning Georgia’s governorship, after being down in the polls the entire campaign. As governor, Sonny Perdue refused to divest himself of his companies, declaring, “I am a small business owner, I’m in the agri-business … That’s about as blind a trust as you can get. We trust in the Lord for rain and many other things.” (Hat tip, Politico.)

Perhaps savoring the similarities with himself, President Trump tapped Perdue as his pick for secretary of the US Department of Agriculture way back in January, promising “big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.” The nomination promptly languished for six weeks, with no date set for Senate confirmation hearings amid complaints of unreturned calls to the White House from sources close to Perdue. On Friday, Perdue’s nomination took a major step forward when the former governor filed ethics papers required by the Senate.

His Public Financial Disclosure Report reveals a Trumpian tangle (though on a much smaller scale) of business interests and obligations, including three Georgia-based agribusiness and berths on the boards of directors of two agribusiness trade groups. In other words, Trump plucked his agriculture secretary from the very industry the USDA exists to regulate. Unlike the president—and himself, during his time as Georgia governor—Perdue (no relation to the Maryland chicken family) pledged to place the businesses in a blind trust (legal, not theological) and step down from the boards.

While the existence of Perdue’s fertilizer, trucking, and grain-trading firms were already well-known, his presence on those two trade-group boards has drawn little attention. Both groups will presumably be thrilled to see one of their own to take the USDA helm.

The National Grain and Feed Association represents the nexus of industries around livestock feed—grain-trading firms, meat companies, and seed/pesticide purveyors. Perdue sat on its board alongside execs from agribiz giants Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, and Dreyfus. The group’s member list reads like a Big Ag version of the Yellow Pages—it includes meat heavyweights Tyson and JB; seed/pesticide titans Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer Cropscience, Dow, and DuPont; and feed giants like Purina Animal Nutrition.

As for the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Perdue serves as the board of directors’ secretary. The council’s “star sponsors” include Bayer Cropscience, Syngenta, Coca-Cola, and Croplife America, the pesticide industry trade group.

As Politico notes, Perdue did plenty of favors for friends while occupying Georgia’s governor’s mansion. The journal found “more than a dozen instances when he gave positions to business associates and campaign donors, and other occasions when he rewarded his state staff with opportunities in his agriculture and shipping empire after he left office.” Even as Perdue awaits confirmation, one of his Georgia associates is already waiting for him in Trump’s USDA, Politico reports: “Heidi Green, a partner of Perdue’s shipping business who also worked for him in Georgia state government, landed a political appointment as senior adviser at USDA in January. She’s now being mentioned as a likely candidate to serve as his chief of staff.”

Meanwhile, a recent report from Environmental Working Group characterized Perdue as “mired in ethical lapses, self-dealing and back-room deals that raise troubling questions about his fitness to run the department.” Two of the many examples cited by EWG—a $100,000 tax break gained Perdue through well-timed legislation; an appointment to a powerful post for his cousin and business partner, now the junior Senator from Georgia, David Perdue—I teased out in this January post.

EWG also shows that Perdue appointed execs from his fertilizer and grain-trading businesses to powerful state boards—again, without divesting himself of those businesses. Then there’s this:

While in office, Perdue failed to meet his own ethical standards by repeatedly taking gifts – including sports tickets and first-class flights— from registered lobbyists. Shortly after taking office, Perdue signed his first executive order, which prohibited any state official from accepting gifts worth more than $25 from lobbyists.

However, a query of lobbyist expenditures shows that Perdue received at least 53 gifts from registered lobbyists over the monetary limit – totaling more than $23,000–between 2006 and 2010, including a $2,400 flight to a NASCAR race. In 2003, the Office of the Inspector General – an office established by Perdue’s second executive order – investigated whether Perdue’s personal use of state helicopters was appropriate, ultimately leading the Office of the Attorney General to prohibit such uses.

Even so, Perdue doesn’t carry quite the baggage of some of Trump’s more outlandish cabinet picks, like Andy Puzder, who ultimately declined to face a Senate confirmation hearing for the labor department post. He’ll likely zoom through confirmation hearings in the Senate, and get a brisk slap on the back from his cousin and erstwhile business partner, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).

Excerpt from: 

A Mini Version of Trump Is About to Take Over the USDA

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There’s an environmental argument against Trump’s border wall, too.

On Thursday, TransCanada, the corporation behind the infamous project, resubmitted an application to the State Department for permission to build the pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border.

Just two days earlier, President Donald Trump had signed a presidential memorandum formally inviting the company to give the pipeline another go. Apparently, TransCanada got right down to work.

“This privately funded infrastructure project will help meet America’s growing energy needs,” said TransCanada CEO Russ Girling, “as well as create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs.” A 2013 State Department report found the pipeline would create 28,000 jobs, but just 35 would be permanent.

Barack Obama rejected the pipeline plan in 2015, after indigenous groups and environmentalists fought it for nearly a decade. Now that a new application has been submitted, the project needs to be OK’d by both the State Department and Trump to proceed. Nebraska also needs to review and approve the project, which it’s expected to do.

Last June, TransCanada took advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement — a deal Trump disdains — to file a $15 billion claim against the U.S. government for rejecting its Keystone proposal. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

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There’s an environmental argument against Trump’s border wall, too.

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The “alt” government agencies on Twitter are telling you everything President Trump won’t.

On Thursday, TransCanada, the corporation behind the infamous project, resubmitted an application to the State Department for permission to build the pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border.

Just two days earlier, President Donald Trump had signed a presidential memorandum formally inviting the company to give the pipeline another go. Apparently, TransCanada got right down to work.

“This privately funded infrastructure project will help meet America’s growing energy needs,” said TransCanada CEO Russ Girling, “as well as create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs.” A 2013 State Department report found the pipeline would create 28,000 jobs, but just 35 would be permanent.

Barack Obama rejected the pipeline plan in 2015, after indigenous groups and environmentalists fought it for nearly a decade. Now that a new application has been submitted, the project needs to be OK’d by both the State Department and Trump to proceed. Nebraska also needs to review and approve the project, which it’s expected to do.

Last June, TransCanada took advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement — a deal Trump disdains — to file a $15 billion claim against the U.S. government for rejecting its Keystone proposal. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

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The “alt” government agencies on Twitter are telling you everything President Trump won’t.

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Keystone XL really is back to haunt us.

On Thursday, TransCanada, the corporation behind the infamous project, resubmitted an application to the State Department for permission to build the pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border.

Just two days earlier, President Donald Trump had signed a presidential memorandum formally inviting the company to give the pipeline another go. Apparently, TransCanada got right down to work.

“This privately funded infrastructure project will help meet America’s growing energy needs,” said TransCanada CEO Russ Girling, “as well as create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs.” A 2013 State Department report found the pipeline would create 28,000 jobs, but just 35 would be permanent.

Barack Obama rejected the pipeline plan in 2015, after indigenous groups and environmentalists fought it for nearly a decade. Now that a new application has been submitted, the project needs to be OK’d by both the State Department and Trump to proceed. Nebraska also needs to review and approve the project, which it’s expected to do.

Last June, TransCanada took advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement — a deal Trump disdains — to file a $15 billion claim against the U.S. government for rejecting its Keystone proposal. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

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Keystone XL really is back to haunt us.

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Who installs more solar power? Republicans and Democrats are pretty much tied.

On Thursday, TransCanada, the corporation behind the infamous project, resubmitted an application to the State Department for permission to build the pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border.

Just two days earlier, President Donald Trump had signed a presidential memorandum formally inviting the company to give the pipeline another go. Apparently, TransCanada got right down to work.

“This privately funded infrastructure project will help meet America’s growing energy needs,” said TransCanada CEO Russ Girling, “as well as create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs.” A 2013 State Department report found the pipeline would create 28,000 jobs, but just 35 would be permanent.

Barack Obama rejected the pipeline plan in 2015, after indigenous groups and environmentalists fought it for nearly a decade. Now that a new application has been submitted, the project needs to be OK’d by both the State Department and Trump to proceed. Nebraska also needs to review and approve the project, which it’s expected to do.

Last June, TransCanada took advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement — a deal Trump disdains — to file a $15 billion claim against the U.S. government for rejecting its Keystone proposal. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

Originally posted here – 

Who installs more solar power? Republicans and Democrats are pretty much tied.

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First: Cats. Now: The polarization of science. Is there anything curiosity can’t kill?

On Thursday, TransCanada, the corporation behind the infamous project, resubmitted an application to the State Department for permission to build the pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border.

Just two days earlier, President Donald Trump had signed a presidential memorandum formally inviting the company to give the pipeline another go. Apparently, TransCanada got right down to work.

“This privately funded infrastructure project will help meet America’s growing energy needs,” said TransCanada CEO Russ Girling, “as well as create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs.” A 2013 State Department report found the pipeline would create 28,000 jobs, but just 35 would be permanent.

Barack Obama rejected the pipeline plan in 2015, after indigenous groups and environmentalists fought it for nearly a decade. Now that a new application has been submitted, the project needs to be OK’d by both the State Department and Trump to proceed. Nebraska also needs to review and approve the project, which it’s expected to do.

Last June, TransCanada took advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement — a deal Trump disdains — to file a $15 billion claim against the U.S. government for rejecting its Keystone proposal. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

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First: Cats. Now: The polarization of science. Is there anything curiosity can’t kill?

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