Weekend Reader for Sunday, Dec. 31

The most breathtaking evidence yet that the Swamp isn't being drained; Trump gets climate science wrong, again; Looking back at 2017, and looking ahead at more of the same for 2018; A perfect ending to a surreal 2017.


Top Weekend News

Optimism for 2018? If that's what you're after, for goodness sake, don't look here. The implosion of U.S. environmental politics in 2017 is likely to worsen in 2018. But there are some hopeful signs on the horizon.

Recycling turmoil: The always-volatile recycling industry is coping with its latest setback: China, a primary destination for U.S. recyclables, is banning import of "foreign waste.

Texas Tea's mood swings: Big-brain piece by Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker on whether Texas can break its boom/bust dependency on Big Oil.

Today's Climate must-read: How climate deniers game the system at Google to make science-free stories and diatribes show up at the top of your climate search results.

Opinions and Editorials

From fast-growing southwest Florida, the Naples Daily News counts up the progress and setbacks on the environment.

An energy industry observer says 2018 is the pivotal year for solar versus coal. One one will emerge at year's end as a global leader.

Bloomberg weighs in on a rarely-asked, all-important question: Can the public handle the truth on the environment?

This Week in Trump

Several reasons for hope in 2018 U.S. environmental policy. But many more for despair. Many EHN and Daily Climate readers contact us, asking if we can publish more good news. Well, here it is for 2018 -- but it's still overwhelmed by the likelihood of bad news in U.S. environmental policy and politics. Just sayin'.

This, IMHO, is no way to drain a swamp. Albert Kelly is a longtime associate of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The FDIC slapped the Oklahoma banker with a heavy fine and effectively banned him from any involvement with the banking industry again. Pruitt rewarded his old crony with the chairmanship of an EPA task force to "streamline" the perpetually controversial Superfund program. The story is brought to us by Sharon Lerner, a superb muckraker for The Intercept.

A Zinke joyride? A Newsweek investigation has raised questions about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke using scarce wildfire funding for non-essential helicopter travel.

Perfect Ending to a Surreal Year

I'm from Jersey, and yes, I actually have a Cousin Vinny. But a more famous Vinny from Jersey schooled the President on climate science. Vinny Guadagnino, former cast member from MTV's "Jersey Shore," set things right when Trump Tweeted that last week's cold and snowfall in the Northeast bolstered his longstanding claim that climate change is a hoax.

Trump's fellow reality TV star responded in a Tweet that global warming "has to do with disruptions of atmospheric conditions, ocean patterns, jet streams, and shit like that."

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From our Newsroom

Dust from your old furniture likely contains harmful chemicals—but there’s a solution

Researchers find people's exposure to PFAS and certain flame retardants could be significantly reduced by opting for healthier building materials and furniture.

Hormone-mimicking chemicals harm fish now—and their unexposed offspring later

Fish exposed to harmful contaminants can pass on health issues such as reproductive problems to future generations that had no direct exposure.

America re-discovers anti-science in its midst

Fauci, Birx, Redfield & Co. are in the middle of a political food fight. They could learn a lot from environmental scientists.

Roadmap points Europe toward safer, sustainable chemicals

EU Commission releases ambitious strategy for getting hormone-disrupting chemicals out of food, products, and packaging.

How Europe’s wood pellet appetite worsens environmental racism in the US South

An expanding wood pellet market in the Southeast has fallen short of climate and job goals—instead bringing air pollution, noise and reduced biodiversity in majority Black communities.

Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks

Hunter-donated meat provides crucial protein to US food banks. But an EHN investigation found a lack of oversight that could result in potentially hundreds of thousands of lead-contaminated meals this year.

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