11-2: Monsanto vs. moms; Mapping microbes; EPA math
More troubling news on "dubious" herbicide science; What of our wine?
Top news for Thursday, 11-2: Why did Monsanto pick a fight with concerned moms? Plus an ambitious effort to map the planet's microbes.
1. Today's top reads: Monsanto vs. Moms
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, can't stay out of the news these days. In These Times has an investigation on Monsanto's years of "dubious science" and how the Ag Giant captured the EPA.
The late, great Lizzie Grossman—who was a contributor and, more importantly, a friend to EHN and those who work here—is a co author on the story.
2. Mapping microbes
Welcome to the Earth Microbiome Project: a wildly ambitious effort to map the Earth's microbiome—all of its diverse microbes and their relationships with each other. "It's estimated there are 100 million times as many bacteria as there are stars in the universe," microbiologist Rob Knight, director of UC San Diego's Microbiome Center for Innovation told Wired. "And we know almost nothing about most of them."
More biodiversity news:
- Bicycling biologist pedals 10,000 miles along the Monarch butterfly's migration route (Christian Science Monitor)
- A holiday guest is leaving dangerous poop in your couch (Nautilus)
- Thousands of turtles, marine animals victims of plastic fishing nets polluting Gulf of Carpentaria (ABC News)
- Health of Puget Sound is hurting resident orcas, study finds (K5)
3. Maddening math
As the EPA moves to scrap an Obama-era Clean Power Plan, a new analysis—by the current EPA—reports the rule could prevent up to 4,500 premature deaths per year by 2030.
It also estimates $4-8 billion saved each year in health costs. The saved lives projections is higher than the Obama Administration estimated. Nonetheless, the EPA is moving to get rid of the rule.
Also in the Post today, William D. Ruckelshaus, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 1970 to 1973 and from 1983 to 1985, takes Pruitt to task.
- Big power plant ignites political fight in small Pennsylvania town (Center for Public Integrity)
- Not all races saw equal improvements in this air pollutant (Science News for Students)
4. Energy and justice
Now it's oilmen who say fracking could harm groundwater
It's no longer just environmentalists who suspect hydraulic fracturing is contaminating groundwater. (E&E News)
Fossil fuel companies undermining Paris agreement negotiations
Report says outcomes of climate negotiations have been skewed to favor biggest corporate polluters. (Guardian)
An Alaska Senator wants to fight climate change and drill for oil, too
Senator Lisa Murkowski was unequivocal when asked recently about rising global temperatures: "Climate change is real," the Alaska Republican told an audience in Anchorage. (NY Times)
WV DEP waives water review authority, paving way for Mountain Valley Pipeline
The Justice administration on Thursday moved to pave the way for the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
UK mining firm in court over claims it mistreated environmental activists
Environmental activism has increasingly become a dangerous pursuit, with activists often in the line of fire from police officials, local business interests, and monster corporations with big pockets.
5. Say it ain't so ...
My favorite author Jim Harrison once said: "The simple act of opening a bottle of wine has brought more happiness to the human race than all the collective governments in the history of Earth."
But, increasingly, temperature spikes and weather events are giving winemakers fits. It seems, though, that they could learn a thing or two from brewers ...