The Secret Origins of the War Against Science

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator
Pipeline spill

No. 123, March 12, 2020

Hello Revelator readers,

The Trump administration may have perfected the war on science at the Environmental Protection Agency — but it didn't start that war. The EPA has been under assault since its earliest days, and that's limited both its effectiveness and public understanding of what the agency can, and does, do to protect the environment. The authors of a new book tell us why it's critical to rebuild the EPA and promote scientific integrity.  

Let's talk about wetlands. A new study finds that they provide staggering economic benefits, most notably by protecting coastal communities from storms. That means we should do more to protect them.

Electric vehicles have gotten important support in several states, but the real opportunity for transportation electrification could come from multistate cooperation. Case in point: the proposal being discussed right now by the governors of more than a dozen Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Can they work together on this important climate issue?

What's on your reading list? We've got the word on nine great new environmental books, including a powerful memoir by climate activist Greta Thunberg and her family.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Let's go a little deeper. Here are five more stories we're watching this week.

1. Amid plummeting oil prices, the Trump administration announced it's considering financial assistance to prop up struggling shale companies.

2. As people hunker down to avoid spreading COVID-19, greenhouse gas emissions are dropping — but the virus could also disrupt efforts to fight climate change.

3. The city of Honolulu, which already experiences flooding from rising seas, filed a lawsuit against eight oil companies for hiding the harm caused by burning fossil fuels.

4. Why is plastic so deadly for sea turtles? It not only looks like food but smells like it, scientists believe.

5. Los Angeles wants to build a power plant in Utah that will run on renewable hydrogen — but it would burn gas for decades as it slowly ramped to 100% hydrogen.

In case you missed it:

There's plastic in seabirds, in the middle of the remote Pacific Ocean and even in people. Could we have solved this problem half a century ago?

What should we cover next?

Our stories rely on insight from experts and readers around the world, so we always welcome your ideas and inside scoops. Drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

We'll have a suitably scary story tomorrow for Friday the 13th, but don't worry — we'll also ease your fears with some proven solutions.

Look for our latest links in next Thursday's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live.

As always, thank you for reading.

John R. Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator


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