Trump Slashes Endangered Species Act!

H2 endangered species act threatened protections climate change mining drilling trump extinction plan

The Trump administration finalized changes rolling back the Endangered Species Act Monday. Regulators will now be allowed to factor in economic considerations when granting “endangered” status, species classified as “threatened” will see their protections weakened, and scientists will be limited in setting climate change-related protections. Critics say the changes were made to clear the way for mining, drilling and development projects in areas populated by protected species. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is a former lobbyist for the oil and agribusiness industries. He is currently under investigation for possible ethics violations. The 46-year-old landmark Endangered Species Act has saved over 99% of classified animals, plants and insects since its inception. It’s credited with protecting the grizzly bear, the humpback whale and the bald eagle from extinction, among many others.

Environmental groups, Democratic lawmakers and attorneys general have vowed to fight the changes. The Sierra Club called the move the “Trump Extinction Plan.” The International Fund for Animal Welfare said in a statement, “The most comprehensive assessment of biodiversity ever completed was released earlier this year and shows that more than one million species are at risk of extinction. These species are inextricably linked to our own well-being, livelihoods, economies, food security, and overall survival. Gutting key protections of the Endangered Species Act is precisely the wrong action for the U.S. to be taking.”

Maine Local Weather Forecast: Cold rain and wet snow Tuesday!

download (5)Author: Todd Gutner

We’ll have more clouds than sun, with highs in the 50s today. It will be warmest in central and northern Maine, coolest in southern and coastal Maine, with a breeze coming in off the ocean.

Rain moves in tonight. It’ll be cold enough in the mountains of western Maine for wet snow to fall, and accumulate. 1 to 3 inches of snow is likely in the mountains. As heavier precipitation moves in Tuesday morning, it’s possible the cold rain flips to wet snow even closer to the coastline. Coatings are possible in spots. Tuesday will remain chilly with periods of rain and highs only in the low 40s.

Clouds linger Wednesday with a few showers. Highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.

We’ll see a return to some sun and highs around 60 Thursday.

Have a nice day.

Todd

Top climbers Jess Roskelley, Hansjörg Auer and David Lama die in Canadian avalanche

Jess Roskelley, Hansjörg Auer and David Lama on what is believed to be the summit of Howse Peak on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, a day before they were reported missingFrom left: Jess Roskelley, Hansjörg Auer and David Lama on what is believed to be the summit of Howse Peak last Tuesday a day before they were reported missing

Three professional mountaineers have been found dead after an avalanche at Canada’s Banff National Park.

Austrian climbers David Lama, 28, and Hansjörg Auer, 35, and US citizen Jess Roskelley, 36, had been attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peake.

The group were reported missing last Wednesday and later presumed dead, but recovery efforts were hampered by weather conditions.

The men were part of a team sponsored by outdoor clothing line North Face.

Canadian authorities said air rescuers had seen “signs of multiple avalanches” where they were found.

In a statement, Parks Canada said it “[extended its] sincere condolences to [the men’s] families, friends and loved ones”.

“We would also like to acknowledge the impact that this has had on the tight-knit, local and international climbing communities,” it added.

During their expedition, the group had been taking a route up Howse Peake, known as M16, which has only been climbed once before.

Howse PeakHowse Peak, Banff National Park

Family members of the climbers told Parks Canada they believe the trio did summit the mountain, and that they descended Howse Peak along a similar route.

Rescue efforts were delayed by the weather, and the three climbers were not wearing avalanche beacons when they were found.

“In this case the outcome wouldn’t have changed, but it would have expedited the search and recovery,” said Parks Canada incident manager Shelley Humphries.

It took 28 staff members about five days to recover the bodies, which were located using a specially-trained avalanche dog attached to a long line from a helicopter.

The bodies were located with the help of a specially-trained avalanche dogThe bodies were located with the help of a specially-trained avalanche dog

Brian Webster, safety manager for Parks Canada, said the three men were undoubtedly skilled enough to make the climb, but that an avalanche of that magnitude would be difficult to recover from.

Parks Canada believes it was a level-3 avalanche, which is strong enough to knock over trees, bury vehicles or demolish small wooden buildings.

All three were renowned within the mountaineering community.

Mr Lama was part of a duo that carried out the first free ascent of Cerro Torre’s Compressor route in Southern Patagonia.

Recently, Mr Auer had also completed a solo ascent of Lupghar Sar West, a 23,559ft (7,181m) peak in Pakistan’s Karakorum range.

Jess Roskelley with his wife Alli in January 2019Jess Roskelley with his wife Alli in January 2019

In 2003, Mr Roskelly became the youngest American to climb Mount Everest – the world’s highest peak – aged 20 at the time.

His father, John, was also a mountaineer and climbed Howse Peak via a different route in the 1970s.

“It’s just one of those routes where you have to have the right conditions or it turns into a nightmare,” he said in an interview last week with The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

“This is one of those trips where it turned into a nightmare.”

“A Message from the Future with AOC”: New Film Imagines World Transformed by the Green New Deal

APRIL 18, 2019

As the push for the Green New Deal builds momentum in the United States, The Intercept has released a short illustrated video imagining a future shaped by the progressive environmental movement. It’s titled “A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” The New York congressmember narrates the film to envision an America that has been transformed by the Green New Deal policies, including a just transition of jobs, Medicare for all, and a total overhaul of the country’s energy system. The result is a vision of radical hope and transformation. The film features stunning artwork by award-winning illustrator Molly Crabapple. It is presented by The Intercept and Naomi Klein, co-written by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Avi Lewis, and co-directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt.

62 Arrested After Extinction Rebellion Stages Die-In Outside NYC City Hall to Demand Climate Action

APRIL 17, 2019

Protesters shut down traffic outside New York City Hall Wednesday, partially blocking access to the Brooklyn Bridge, staging a die-in to demand radical action on climate change and remaining in the streets until the police arrested at least 62 people. The protest was just one of a series of demonstrations being staged around the world this week by Extinction Rebellion, a global movement taking direct action to demand drastic government action to combat the climate crisis. Protesters say the demonstration is just the beginning of a growing resistance movement, and more actions can be expected later this week.

Bill McKibben: Green New Deal Is a Chance to “Remake Not Just a Broken Planet, But a Broken Society”

APRIL 15, 2019

President Trump signed two executive orders last week to facilitate the approval of pipeline projects at a federal level, limiting states’ ability to regulate such projects. The move is intended in part to clear the way for permitting on the northeastern Constitution pipeline, which has stalled after New York invoked the Clean Water Act to reject the project on environmental grounds. We speak with Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org and the author of the new book “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?”

How Maine Senators have voted on this issue so far:

Maine Senator Susan Collins:

March 26, 2019 S J Res 8 A joint resolution recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal Cloture Invoked – Senate Nay

Maine Senator Angus King:

March 26, 2019 S J Res 8 A joint resolution recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal Cloture Invoked – Senate Nay

Keep an eye on how your elected officials are voting at: https://votesmart.org

Trump signs orders making it harder to block pipelines in US, in support of “Big Oil.”

Trump’s orders direct the EPA to change a part of the US clean water law to speed up gas, coal and oil projects

Storage tanks at a refinery along the waterway are shown in Port Arthur, Texas [David J Phillip/AP Photo]
Storage tanks at a refinery along the waterway are shown in Port Arthur, Texas [David J Phillip/AP Photo]

US President Donald Trump issued two executive orders in the heart of the Texas energy hub on Wednesday that seek to speed gas, coal and oil projects delayed by coastal states as he looks to build support in the run-up to next year’s election.

Trump’s orders direct his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change a part of the United States‘s clean water law that has allowed states, on the basis of environmental reasons, to delay projects such as pipelines to carry natural gas to New England and coal export terminals on the West Coast.

Trump issued the orders at a training centre for union members in the petroleum industry in Houston, an event sandwiched between fundraising events in Texas for the 2020 campaign.

“Outdated federal guidance and regulations issued by the EPA have caused confusion and uncertainty leading to project delays, lost jobs and reduced economic performance,” a senior administration official told reporters in a conference call.

“We are not trying to take away power from the states, but we are trying to make sure that state actions comply with the statutory intent of the law,” the official added.

Study says air pollution killing more people than smoking

‘In favour of Big Oil’

But environmentalists have decried the orders.

“Trump can try to rewrite regulations in favour of Big Oil, but he can’t stop people power and our movement,” May Boeve, the head of 350.org, told Reuters news agency.

The orders will direct the EPA to review and update guidance issued during the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama on the so-called 401 provision of the Clean Water Act.

The measure required companies to get certifications from states before building interstate pipelines approved by the federal government.

New York state used it to block pipelines that would send natural gas to New England, forcing the region at times to import liquefied natural gas from countries including Russia.

In 2017, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat and 2020 candidate for president, denied a water permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminal, a coal export facility that would have expanded the ability of companies to send Western coal to Asian markets.

Inslee, who has centred his campaign on tackling climate change, slammed Trump’s latest tactic on energy.

YouTube comments disabled during US hate crime hearing

“If Donald Trump is proposing it, it a) violates science and b) probably violates any sense of economic growth, because we know the largest economic growth is now coming from the development of new energy technologies,” Inslee said on the sidelines of a conference in New York.

‘Energy dominance’

The executive orders are part of the Trump administration’s policy of “energy dominance” to increase oil, gas and coal production, but forcing the EPA changes will take time.

The official said the agency would have to follow normal procedures, including a comment period, and that projects already tied up in litigation “are obviously a much longer-term issue”.

One of the orders will direct the transportation secretary to propose allowing liquefied natural gas, a liquid form of the fuel, to be shipped in approved rail cars, a change that could increase its flow between terminals and markets.

The executive orders could also speed projects in Texas.

Trump praises Sisi as critics reiterate concern for human rights

Energy investors vying for permits to build oil export terminals along the Gulf Coast say they have worked closely with Trump officials in a bid to speed regulatory reviews of facilities capable of loading supertankers.

US and state agencies overseeing permit applications have taken too long to approve projects, the investors said, adding they were worried their projects would miss the most profitable years of the US crude export boom.

Four energy groups led by Trafigura AG, Carlyle Group, Enterprise Products Partners LP and Enbridge Inc have applied to build terminals in Texas.