Sanders, Warren Say Manchin Big Oil Deal Would “Steamroll” Frontline Communities

As environmental groups and experts express fury and frustration over coal millionaire Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-West Virginia) fossil fuel permitting overhaul deal released on Wednesday, Senate Democrats are highlighting concerns that the deal could set environmental justice advances back by years. In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) on Thursday, eight senators, led by Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), wrote that they share concerns expressed by environmental justice groups in recent weeks. They emphasized that the deal, which would blow open the permitting process for federal fossil fuel projects and fast track dangerous projects like the Mountain…

California Is Dependent on Prison Labor for Fighting Fires. This Must End.

On September 7, 2022, after many attempted delays from the City of Susanville, California, a Lassen County judge ruled in favor of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to close one of Susanville’s two prisons. The court case and public debate over the prison closure has been almost entirely based on the anticipated loss of 1,000 jobs in the prison, but the closure of this facility marks an enormous shift in the use of prison labor for public work. The California Correctional Center in Susanville is set to be closed by June 2023. It is one of two remaining training hubs for…

An Anti-Abortion Bill in Pennsylvania Could Also Undermine Climate Laws

This story is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of news outlets strengthening coverage of the climate story. A bill that would end the right to an abortion in Pennsylvania is also threatening environmental regulations passed by the executive branch, local climate groups say. SB 106, a bill that was initially drafted to define rules for the election of lieutenant governor, has slowly morphed into a bill that would amend the commonwealth’s constitution to revoke the right to an abortion and diminish the power of the governor’s veto. The language is subtle, and sandwiched between an…

AOC: Fossil Fuel Reliance Aided “Tragically Predictable” Puerto Rico Blackout

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) said that the power outages in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Fiona was “tragically predictable” and could have been mitigated with sustainability measures that she and climate advocates have promoted. High winds knocked out the entire electrical grid for over 1.4 million customers in the U.S. territory on Sunday before the hurricane made landfall, five years after Hurricane Maria similarly caused an island-wide blackout that took nearly a year to fix. However, the system was plagued with constant blackouts. Luma Energy, the private company that took over transmission and distribution of power in Puerto Rico…

Entirety of Puerto Rico’s Private Power Grid Knocked Out Before Hurricane Hit

The entirety of Puerto Rico lost power on Sunday, leaving the island’s over 3 million people in the dark before the Category 1 Hurricane Fiona that was forecasted to dump at least over a foot and up to 30 inches of rain on the island. Over 1.4 million customers tracked by Luma Energy, which owns the transmission and distribution of power in Puerto Rico, lost power. This includes places like health centers, where many people rely on electricity to survive. According to PowerOutage.us, the vast majority of buildings and residences are still without power as of Monday morning, with over…

Sanders Says He’ll Vote Against Budget Bill If Manchin Pipeline Deal Is Included

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) announced on Thursday that he will vote against an upcoming bill to fund the government if Democrats include a deal to fast track the approval of a fracked gas pipeline in order to appease conservative Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia). “Combating climate change is more important than fossil fuel profits. I will not vote for any bill that makes it easier for Big Oil to destroy the planet and that includes approving the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” Sanders wrote on Twitter. “The Continuing Resolution must not be held hostage by Big Oil.” Congress will soon be…

Does Mexico’s Wind Industry Deliver More Dirty Profits Than Clean Energy?

Almost all wind farms in Mexico are privately owned, typically by European and U.S. transnational companies. While wind farms are touted as climate solutions, the profit-hungry companies are actually causing widespread damage to the regions they’re based in. Almost two-thirds of Mexican towns and cities are currently facing severe water shortages, and the country’s Senate declared a climate emergency in 2019. Instead of addressing these issues, however, alternative energy companies in Mexico are focused on exploiting cheap land that is often the common property of farmers and Indigenous people. While companies like Coca-Cola, Walmart and Mitsubishi use the electricity generated,…

Millions of Pakistanis Are Facing a “Climate Dystopia” Amid Historic Floods

After weeks of relentless rains, a new cycle of flash floods devastated parts of Pakistan over the weekend, raising the country’s monsoon death toll to 1,136 since June, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Authority. Nearly 1 million homes have been damaged or destroyed and over 33 million Pakistanis affected, with displaced families sleeping on roads, in lean-tos and tents, and in makeshift shelters in schools and mosques. “This is very far from a normal monsoon — it is climate dystopia at our doorstep,” Sherry Rehman, a Pakistan senator and the country’s climate change minister, told AFP on Monday.…

US Has Cut Water Supplies for 7 States During Climate-Induced Drought

The federal government’s recent announcement that it would impose significant cutbacks in water allocations to the seven states reliant on water from the drought-stricken Colorado River is the latest sign that climate change is ravaging global water systems. Arizona will lose more than 20 percent of its water allocation, and Nevada 8 percent. Northern Mexico, which is also reliant on the Colorado River and has been provided 1.5 million acre feet of water per year from the river since a water-sharing treaty between the two countries was signed in 1944, is being hit hard as well, with a 7 percent…

Climate-Fueled Wildfires Are Depleting the Ozone Layer, New Study Shows

Scientists were stunned in early 2020 when bush fires that spread across Australia generated their own extreme weather patterns, including thunderstorms — and a study published last Thursday revealed the blazes had an even greater climate impact than previously known. Researchers at University of Exeter in England found that aerosols from the smoke created by the fires caused the highest temperatures in the Earth’s stratosphere in decades and likely created a hole in the ozone layer over most of Antarctica. With global fossil fuel extraction and the global heating it causes showing few signs of slowing down, extreme weather events…

The Inflation Reduction Act Is a Disappointing Act of Federal Greenwashing

Congressional Democrats were very proud of themselves for passing the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a bill that includes $370 billion for climate and energy initiatives, in addition to much-needed subsidies on prescription drug costs and Medicare benefits. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who worked with the intractable Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said the bill “will put the country on track to meet the climate goals we need to preserve for our planet for our children and for our grandchildren.” It’s tempting to believe him: Many environmental advocates are reporting that the IRA, while imperfect, is…

650+ Progressive Groups Vow to Fight Manchin Deal “With Everything We’ve Got”

A broad coalition of more than 650 climate and progressive advocacy groups Wednesday called on congressional Democratic leaders to reject Sen. Joe Manchin’s “alarming” demands for U.S. fossil fuel projects contained in a “dirty” side deal that the West Virginia Democrat secretly negotiated to gain his support for his own party’s historic but watered-down package on climate, taxes, and drug price reforms. “We are writing to express our strenuous opposition to any additional fossil fuel giveaways,” states the coalition’s letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), noting that the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)…

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