Republican attack on the environment

Coal Ash Wednesday: Trump EPA rule delays closures until 2038

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Coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler has a special place in hell waiting for him:

A coalition of nine environmental groups is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a rule that extends the life of giant pits of toxic coal sludge, risking contamination of nearby water sources.

The July rule allows for the more than 400 coal ash pits across the nation, where coal residue is mixed with liquid and stored in open-air, often unlined ponds, to stay open as late as 2038.

We can't be shed of this monster soon enough. While it remains to be seen how much Duke Energy will try to take advantage of this, I have a hunch it will depend on if they're allowed to fleece ratepayers for cleaning up their own mess or not. A few words from Earthjustice:

Climate Change Chronicles: Warmest November in recorded history

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If we keep breaking these records we're going to break the planet:

Scientists with the Copernicus Climate Change Service said that global temperatures in November were 0.1 degree Celsius (about 0.2 degree Fahrenheit) above the previous record-holders, in 2016 and 2019. November 2020 was 0.8 degree Celsius (or 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average from 1981 to 2010.

Warm conditions persisted over large swaths of the planet, with temperatures the highest above average across Northern Europe and Siberia, as well as the Arctic Ocean. Much of the United States was warmer than average as well.

Considering that Northern Europe, Siberia, and Northern Canada have massive quantities of methane stored in the permafrost, saying this is "not good news" is a huge understatement. As if that were not enough, we're only a few weeks away from the auctioning of oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR):

Notes from the Kakistocracy: The final days of Andrew Wheeler

Moving to cripple the Biden administration's corrective measures:

Current and former E.P.A. staff and advisers close to the transition said Mr. Biden’s team has focused on preparing a rapid assault on the Trump administration’s deregulatory legacy and re-establishing air and water protections and methane emissions controls.

Racing against those efforts is Mr. Wheeler, who has a long list of priorities that aides and confidants said he is determined to complete before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. He has also maneuvered legally to erect time-consuming hurdles that Mr. Biden will have to clear to unwind some Trump administration policies.

While I find much comfort in knowing there are many career employees in the EPA who are actively opposing Wheeler at this juncture, I fear it will get ugly before it's finally over in late January. Republicans would refer to these folks as "Deep State" operatives, but I prefer the term "Fifth Column." They are fighting for the integrity of the Agency, and for the health and well-being of American citizens. I'm sure many will say they should have done so sooner, but the only "outsiders" who wield influence in Trump's administration are industry lobbyists and conspiracy theorists. Being fired takes you off the gameboard completely. Back to Wheeler's crusade to destroy the environment:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Lame Duck continues to attack climate science

Trump replaces top scientist on Climate Assessment Team:

Michael Kuperberg, executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produces the climate assessment, was told Friday that he would no longer lead that organization, people with knowledge of the situation said.

According to two people close to the administration, he is expected to be replaced by David Legates, a deputy assistant secretary at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who previously worked closely with climate change denial groups.

Trump is not just dumping kitty litter on the living room carpet on the way out, he's stacking the deck with things Joe Biden will have to fix when he takes office. Forgive the strained metaphors, but that's the best way to assess the behavior of toddlers. He can no longer set a policy agenda, but he can make it harder for his successor:

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