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Maine US Senators pass legislation curbing plastic marine debris – unanimously passes Senate

December 03, 2020 Save Our Seas 2.0 Act heads to President’s desk, addressing plastic and trash polluting ocean, harming marine life, and washing up on American shores By Ramona du Houx Dec, 3, 2020 U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) applauded the passage of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act by the U.S. Senate. The bipartisan bill, introduced in June, seeks […]

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A proposal from Maine’s U.S. senators to keep more plastic out of the ocean passes Senate

PORTLAND — A proposal from Maine’s U.S. senators to keep more plastic out of the ocean has passed the U.S. Senate. Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, introduced the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act in June to build on the initial Save Our Seas Act from 2018. Their proposal would seek in part to find uses for plastic waste to keep it from entering oceans in the first place. Collins said the proposal is critical for important Maine industries such as commercial fishing, aquaculture and tourism. Billions of pounds of plastic waste enter the oceans every year. That jeopardizes ecosystems and marine life. “Maine’s waters and Maine’s well-being are inextricably linked – meaning any threat to […]

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Over 80 organizations call for robust clean water funding

As Congress negotiates a final budget, clean water advocates highlight value of water infrastructure funding for public health, economy and unity November 25, 2020 WASHINGTON — A community letter signed by organizations across America requests increased investment in water infrastructure as Congress negotiates the 2021 budget year before a Dec. 11 deadline. The House package includes an additional $11 billion for water infrastructure to prevent sewage overflows and drinking water contamination from lead and other sources. The Senate package fails to increase funding levels for EPA Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. “Americans overwhelmingly agree on the need for clean water. But with billions of gallons of sewage overflows reaching our waterways and lead contaminating drinking water for millions of people, our water infrastructure […]

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Audit Finds California Oil Regulator’s Rampant Legal Violations

Auditor Calls for Shutdown of Illegal Injection Wells, Major Reform SACRAMENTO, Calif.— On the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the California Department of Finance released a damning audit detailing repeated violations of oil and gas regulations. Today’s report shows that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s oil and gas regulators repeatedly skipped required reviews when approving hundreds of oil and gas wells last year. “It’s shocking to see the rampant rubberstamping of dangerous oil projects without even the basic review requirements,” said Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “It’s absolutely reckless for Gov. Newsom to continue approving new projects when so many haven’t been properly reviewed.” Among the most disturbing practices was the California Geologic Energy Management Division’s (CalGEM) use […]

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About 17 percent of deaths in North America from COVID-19 attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution

October 30, 2020 By Ramona du Houx In late October a study, published in Cardiovascular Research, estimated that about 17 percent of deaths in North America from COVID-19 could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution. It is the first time a study has estimated the proportion of deaths from the coronavirus that could be attributed to the exacerbating effects of air pollution for every country in the world. The study estimated that about 15 percent of deaths worldwide from COVID-19 could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution. In Europe the proportion was about 19 percent, in North America it was 17 percent, and in East Asia about 27 percent. In their CVR paper, the researchers write that these proportions […]

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Sen. Merkley introduces two bills to stop banks from financing fossil fuel

Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced a pioneering pair of bills that aim to “protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos” by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels. “How we invest our money reflects our values today and will drive our future tomorrow,” the Oregon Democrat said in a statement about his new legislative proposals, citing a September report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission warning that the human-caused climate crisis endangers the U.S. financial system. “Fossil fuel investments play a key role in accelerating climate chaos, which continues to spiral further and further out of control and claim lives and livelihoods in the process,” Merkley added. “It’s time […]

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15 States and the District of Columbia join forces to accelerate bus and truck electrification

07/14/2020 Sign Memorandum of Understanding – Pledge to Develop Action Plan to eradicate toxic diesel emissions by 2050 TRENTON – On July 14, 2020, 15 states and the District of Columbia announced a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU), committing to work collaboratively to advance and accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, school and transit buses, and long-haul delivery trucks (big-rigs). The goal is to ensure that 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales be zero emission vehicles by 2050 with an interim target of 30 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030. States signing the MOU are: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, […]

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GM to invest $2.2 billion in EV manufacturing switch over

By Ramona du Houx October 20, 2020 General Motors (GM) will invest about $2.2 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations, largely to increase production of electric vehicles, the company announced on October 20, 2020. The investment is the latest for the Detroit automaker as it moves further towards electric vehicles (EV’s) under GM Chief Executive Mary Barrahas‘ triple zero vision […]

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Auto industry prepares for more electric vehicles if Biden wins

  October 20,2020 According to Reuters, automakers are gearing up for tough new vehicle emissions rules and policies favoring electric vehicles if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the White House. Biden and U.S. President Donald Trump both need the votes of auto workers in Midwestern swing states such as Michigan and Ohio, and both say they want automakers to create more auto jobs in the United States, rather than Mexico or China. From there, Trump’s and Biden’s policies for autos and transportation diverge, presenting automakers with very different sets of risks and rewards. If elected, Biden is expected to quickly reinstate the legal basis for California’s zero-emission vehicle rules and begin the process of reversing the Trump administration’s decision […]

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Lobster populations remain healthy with wind farms says 6 year study

October 19, 2020 By Ramona du Houx Research conducted by the Holderness Fishing Industry Group suggests that wind farm construction and operation has no significant negative impact on the ecology of European lobsters. Results from a survey, published by the Holderness Fishing Industry Group (HFIG), suggest that wind farm construction and operation has no significant negative impact on the ecology of […]

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Progress made toward implementing New York’s leading Clean Energy and Climate Law

By Ramona du Houx October 16, 2020 The New York State Public Service Commission approved an expansion of the Clean Energy Standard to refocus New York’s existing regulatory and procurement structure on achieving the goals laid out in New York’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA.  The CLCPA established a 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030 mandate, setting the State on an ambitious trajectory to a zero-emission power sector by 2040. The expanded Clean Energy Standard gives the state the authority to issue a Request for Proposals for the renewable power generation sources needed to implement this plan.  “We do not have time to waste in the fight against climate change and New York continues to lead by advancing the most aggressive policies in the nation […]

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Corazón latino launches Soy Latino, Sí Voto voter engagement campaign

The Soy Latino, Sí Voto Peer-to-Peer Civic Engagement Campaign, focused on Arizona, Florida and Puerto Rico, hits on issues that affect Latino communities in the United States, including climate justice and environmental protection Tucson, Arizona – Today, Corazón Latino announced the launch of Soy Latino, Sí Voto, an innovative online voter engagement effort to reach tens of thousands of Latino […]

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540 Bipartisan elected officials from all 50 states urged President Trump to welcome refugees.

Last September, 540 local and state elected officials from all 50 states and the District of Columbia expressed their strong support for resettling refugees in their communities in a bipartisan letter sent to President Trump. The letter, supported by Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), urges the President to raise refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2021.  “We are honored to remain a place of safety and security for those fleeing persecution and violence. Refugees contribute to all sectors of our economy – as teachers, service members, doctors and more – while adding to our cultural landscape. They are an integral part of Washington’s past, present and future,” said […]

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University of Utah reaches 71 percent renewable energy

University of Utah Facilities Management has taken another important step forward as a leader in energy and sustainability by signing a 25-year solar energy contract with the Castle Solar Project near Huntington, Utah. The contract will deliver 20 MW of solar energy to campus over its lifespan, powering the university toward its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050. A geothermal energy contract signed in 2018 made the U the first public college in the state to receive more than half of its electricity through renewable sources. The new solar contract will bring the university to 71 percent of all electrical energy coming from renewable sources. Upon delivery, this new contract would rank total renewables of the University of Utah at number five among […]

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CA: Los Angeles County forms taskforce to clean up idle oil wells

Oped by Monica Embrey September 29, 2020 Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to enact a just transition taskforce specifically focused on plugging and remediating non-productive oil wells in unincorporated parts of the County. This historic vote advances a just transition as a critical component to addressing the intersecting issues of climate justice, economic justice, and public health.  Idle oil and gas wells are wells that have not produced oil in over two years and have not yet been properly plugged and cleaned up. Idle wells pose a host of risks to our community. For example, harmful fluids and dangerous gases may migrate to the surface in idle wells, causing water and soil contamination and deadly explosions. The […]

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It’s been 12 years since a moderator asked a climate question during a presidential debate

September 29, 2020 Washington, D.C. –  It’s been 12 years since the candidates running for president and vice president have been asked about their views on the climate crisis by a moderator during a general election debate.  The last time a moderator directly asked about climate change was 2008 in the vice presidential debate between then Sen. Joe Biden and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. That question asked the two candidates to debate what is true and what is false in the ongoing discussion of the climate crisis (Thankfully that debate has been put to rest as climate change is now considered a fact). Bob Schieffer indirectly mentioned the crisis during an October 2008 debate between then Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain when asking about reducing the […]