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Environment

There’s a hungry Arctic predator with a lot of arms that eats dead polar bears

Brieanna Charlebois, The Canadian Press 3 minute read 3:00 AM CST

On the Arctic sea floor lie hungry predators that can eat dead polar bears.

The voracious carnivores are seastars, better known as starfish, and a new study by a national research group says they tie with polar bears as the top predators of the Arctic marine ecosystem.

Co-author Remi Amiraux, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Manitoba, said sea floor, or benthic, organisms are not commonly studied because they are often assumed to be lower on the food chain.

But the study published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the ocean floor includes organisms across the whole range of the food chain.

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Study: Enough rare earth minerals to fuel green energy shift

Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

Study: Enough rare earth minerals to fuel green energy shift

Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press 4 minute read Yesterday at 10:01 AM CST

The world has enough rare earth minerals and other critical raw materials to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy to produce electricity and limit global warming, according to a new study that counters concerns about the supply of such minerals.

With a push to get more electricity from solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric and nuclear power plants, some people have worried that there won’t be enough key minerals to make the decarbonization switch.

Rare earth minerals, also called rare earth elements, actually aren't that rare. The U.S. Geological Survey describes them as a “relatively abundant.” They're essential for the strong magnets necessary for wind turbines; they also show up in smartphones, computer displays and LED light bulbs. This new study looks at not only those elements but 17 different raw materials required to make electricity that include some downright common resources such as steel, cement and glass.

A team of scientists looked at the materials — many not often mined heavily in the past — and 20 different power sources. They calculated supplies and pollution from mining if green power surged to meet global goals to cut heat-trapping carbon emissions from fossil fuel.

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Yesterday at 10:01 AM CST

FILE - Refined tellurium is displayed at the Rio Tinto Kennecott refinery, May 11, 2022, in Magna, Utah. The world has enough rare earth minerals and other critical raw materials to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy to produce electricity and limit global warming, according to a new study that counters concerns about the supply of such minerals. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Norway’s last Arctic miners struggle with coal mine’s end

Giovanna Dell'orto, The Associated Press 7 minute read Preview

Norway’s last Arctic miners struggle with coal mine’s end

Giovanna Dell'orto, The Associated Press 7 minute read Yesterday at 7:34 AM CST

ADVENTDALEN, Norway (AP) — Kneeling by his crew as they drilled steel bolts into the low roof of a tunnel miles-deep into an Arctic mountain, Geir Strand reflected on the impact of their coal mine’s impending closure.

“It’s true coal is polluting, but … they should have a solution before they close us down,” Strand said inside Gruve 7, the last mine Norway is operating in the remote Svalbard archipelago.

It’s scheduled to be shut down in two years, cutting carbon dioxide emissions in this fragile, rapidly changing environment, but also erasing the identity of a century-old mining community that fills many with deep pride even as the primary activities shift to science and tourism.

“We have to think what we’re going to do,” Strand, a 19-year mining veteran, told two Associated Press journalists as his headlamp spotlighted black dust and the miners’ breath in the just-below-freezing tunnel. “(Mining) is meaningful. You know the task you have is very precise. The goal is to get out coal, and get out yourself and all your crew, safe and healthy.”

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Yesterday at 7:34 AM CST

'Merry Christmas' is written in Norwegian on the wall at the bottom of the Gruve 7 coal mine in Adventdalen, Norway, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. Gruve 7, the last Norwegian mine in one of the fastest warming places on earth, was scheduled to shut down this year and only got a reprieve through 2025 because of the energy crisis driven by the war in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Climate activists block main road into The Hague

Mike Corder, The Associated Press 3 minute read Preview

Climate activists block main road into The Hague

Mike Corder, The Associated Press 3 minute read 6:08 AM CST

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Hundreds of climate activists blocked one of the main roads into The Hague on Saturday, defying attempts to prevent their protest that have sparked concerns about restrictions on the right to demonstrate in the Netherlands.

The protesters, many waving colored flags with the symbol of environmental group Extinction Rebellion and one holding a sign saying, in Dutch, “This is a dead end road,” gathered on the A12 road near the temporary home of the Dutch parliament. Police and hundreds more demonstrators looked on.

Protesters who ignored police orders to leave the road were picked up and carried away one by one to waiting buses and driven away. Hours after the demonstration began it was unclear how many people had been detained. Police said in a tweet that many of the activists left voluntarily when told to by officers.

Earlier this week, six Extinction Rebellion activists were detained by authorities on suspicion of sedition linked to calls to stage the protest.

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6:08 AM CST

Extinction Rebellion activists and sympathisers block a busy road in The Hague, Netherlands, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. Earlier this week seven Extinction Rebellion activists were detained by authorities for sedition linked to the protest. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Spellbinding polar night gets darker in warming Arctic

Daniel Cole And Giovanna Dell'orto, The Associated Press 3 minute read Preview

Spellbinding polar night gets darker in warming Arctic

Daniel Cole And Giovanna Dell'orto, The Associated Press 3 minute read Yesterday at 10:22 PM CST

LONGYEARBYEN, Norway (AP) — At 10:40 a.m. on a day in January, two powerful beams of light from the Svalbard governor’s boat pierced the complete darkness of the mountain-fringed fjord it was sailing. It was carrying the children’s choir from this remote village’s church to visit an even more isolated Arctic outpost.

That’s polar night in this Norwegian archipelago – so close to the North Pole the sun is at least six degrees below the horizon from mid-November through the end of January.

For the miners, scientists and tourism workers of more than 50 nationalities who make up most of Svalbard’s 3,000 inhabitants, it's challenging at first to adjust to living without even a hint of twilight in a treeless, black-and-white landscape.

“First time in Svalbard, it was like coming to the moon,” said the Rev. Leif Magne Helgesen, who was the pastor of Svalbard Kirke, the only church in the main village of Longyearbyen, for a dozen years until 2019, and has written about its fragile environment.

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Yesterday at 10:22 PM CST

A crew member of the governor's boat oversees docking in Longyearbyen, Norway, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Oregon pins hopes on mass timber to boost housing, jobs

Claire Rush, The Associated Press 6 minute read Preview

Oregon pins hopes on mass timber to boost housing, jobs

Claire Rush, The Associated Press 6 minute read Yesterday at 7:02 PM CST

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Inside a warehouse at the industrial Port of Portland lies what some believe could be the answer to Oregon's housing crisis — a prototype of an affordable housing unit made from mass timber.

Once mass-produced at the factory being planned at the port, the units ranging from 426 square feet (40 square meters) to 1,136 square feet (106 square meters) could be deployed across the state to be assembled in urban and rural communities alike, potentially alleviating a critical housing shortage that has driven Oregon's high rates of homelessness.

“I can't wait to see these homes rolling down the road to those communities who need them right now,” said newly inaugurated Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek, who visited the prototypes Friday. “We have to do this day in and day out in order to meet the goals of providing enough housing for every Oregonian in this state. Because that is the long-term solution to end homelessness.”

On her first full day in office earlier this month, Kotek signed an executive order setting a new housing construction target of 36,000 units per year — an 80% increase over current production — in a bid to address the state's housing shortage.

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Yesterday at 7:02 PM CST

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2015 photo, a front end log loader transports logs at Swanson Group Manufacturing in Roseburg, Ore. In Oregon, mass timber is increasingly being viewed as a construction material that could help the state build more affordable homes and revive rural logging towns. A new prototype of a mass timber affordable housing unit was unveiled at the Port of Portland on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. (Michael Sullivan/The News-Review via AP, File)

North Dakota landowners at odds in carbon pipeline plans

Trisha Ahmed, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

North Dakota landowners at odds in carbon pipeline plans

Trisha Ahmed, The Associated Press 4 minute read Yesterday at 4:03 PM CST

North Dakota landowners testified for and against a carbon capture company’s use of eminent domain Friday, as Summit Carbon Solutions moves forward in constructing a massive underground system of carbon dioxide pipelines spanning 2,000 miles across several states and under hundreds of people’s homes and farms in the Midwest.

The proposed $4.5 billion carbon pipeline project would capture carbon dioxide emissions across neighboring states and deposit the emissions deep underground in North Dakota.

Landowners who opposed the company's right to eminent domain argued that a private entity should not be able to forcibly buy their land and that the pipeline will potentially endanger people living above it.

Eminent domain refers to the government’s right to forcibly buy private property — like the land under a person’s house or farm — for public use.

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Yesterday at 4:03 PM CST

FILE - In this April 10, 2020, file photo, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D. North Dakota landowners testified for and against a carbon capture company’s use of eminent domain Friday, as Summit Carbon Solutions moves forward in constructing a massive underground system of carbon dioxide pipelines – spanning 2,000 miles across several states, under hundreds of people’s homes and farms in the Midwest. Republican Gov. Doug Burgum lauded North Dakota’s efforts to store carbon dioxide in January 2023. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

S. Dakota tribes seek disaster declaration in storm recovery

Amancai Biraben, The Associated Press 1 minute read Preview

S. Dakota tribes seek disaster declaration in storm recovery

Amancai Biraben, The Associated Press 1 minute read Yesterday at 3:34 PM CST

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s congressional delegation wrote letters to President Joe Biden in support of the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations’ requests for a major disaster declaration following winter storms that left six people dead.

The declaration would assist the tribes’ recovery from destruction that tribal leaders say could have been prevented if there had been more resources to assist people stranded by the December storms. The requests outline that the weather's severity blocked access to medical and heating supplies.

Both the Oglala Sioux and Rosebud Sioux tribes are asking for the declaration to address emergency costs and damages.

“The emergency operations conducted by the tribe reduced the storms’ impact and accelerated the recovery of tribal communities," U.S. Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds, and U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, wrote in a letter to Biden on Thursday. "Despite these efforts, a number of tribal members remained trapped in their homes and were unable to access necessary supplies.”

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Yesterday at 3:34 PM CST

Snow blanketed the Northern Black Hills on Dec. 15, 2022, as a winter storm dumped about 3 feet in some areas and shut down roads around the state. The strong winds blew drifts up to 10 feet high in some areas. This photo was taken about 220 miles northwest of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, where the tribe says the death of six people during the storm could have been prevented. (Jason Gross/Black Hills Pioneer via AP)

Greenbelt is Ontario’s jurisdiction, Ford says after federal minister raises concerns

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press 3 minute read Preview

Greenbelt is Ontario’s jurisdiction, Ford says after federal minister raises concerns

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press 3 minute read Yesterday at 1:41 PM CST

BRAMPTON, Ont. - The Greenbelt is provincial jurisdiction, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Friday after the federal environment minister indicated he'd consider intervening in Ford's plans to develop parts of the protected lands.

The province announced in November that it is removing about 7,400 acres from 15 different areas in the protected Greenbelt lands, while adding more parcels elsewhere, in order to build 50,000 homes.

Media outlet the Narwhal reported that Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Thursday that Ford's plans run counter to the goals of preparing for the effects of climate change.

The plan "flies in the face of everything we’re trying to do in terms of being better prepared for the impacts of climate change,” the Narwhal quoted Guilbeault as saying.

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Yesterday at 1:41 PM CST

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks as he holds a press conference in Brampton., Ont., on Friday, January 27, 2023. Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he's disappointed the federal environment minister indicated he'd consider intervening in the province's Greenbelt development plans.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Review of oilsands cleanup funding program needs public input, says Alberta NDP

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press 3 minute read Preview

Review of oilsands cleanup funding program needs public input, says Alberta NDP

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press 3 minute read Yesterday at 10:46 AM CST

EDMONTON - Alberta's New Democrat Opposition says a government review of the program that's supposed to ensure oilsands companies can clean up their mines was conducted too privately and should have been done in public.

Environment critic Marlin Schmidt said Albertans now know even less than before the review of the Mine Financial Security Program began.

"Given how much money is at stake and how important this sector is to our economy, the fact the public was completely shut out of this process is really concerning," he said.

Alberta's United Conservative Party government wrapped up consultations this month on how industry financially backstops its cleanup obligations.

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Yesterday at 10:46 AM CST

A heavy hauler truck transports in the oilsands in Fort McMurray Alta, on June 13, 2017. Alberta's New Democrat Opposition says a government review of the program that's supposed to ensure oilsands companies can clean up their mines was too private and should have been done in public. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

U.S. senators call for trade crackdown on Canada over dairy quotas, digital policies

James McCarten, The Canadian Press 5 minute read Preview

U.S. senators call for trade crackdown on Canada over dairy quotas, digital policies

James McCarten, The Canadian Press 5 minute read Yesterday at 10:01 AM CST

WASHINGTON - Two U.S. senators are calling on the Biden administration to get tough with Canada and Mexico over what they describe as the two countries "flouting" their obligations under North America's three-year-old trade agreement.

Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, respectively the chairman and ranking member on the Senate finance committee, laid out their concerns in a letter Thursday to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

In it, they describe the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement as an "innovative" tool for raising standards across the continent in areas like fair market access and digital trade.

But America's continental trading partners are still playing fast and loose with the new rules, they write, urging Tai to mark the agreement's anniversary by pressing both Canada and Mexico to get back in line.

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Yesterday at 10:01 AM CST

Dairy cows are seen at a farm, Friday, August 31, 2018 in Sainte-Marie-Madelaine, Que. A pair of senior U.S. senators are urging the Biden administration to get tough with Canada for “flouting” obligations to its North American trade partners. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Filipino workers: Oil company abandoned us in Hurricane Ida

Kevin Mcgill, The Associated Press 6 minute read Preview

Filipino workers: Oil company abandoned us in Hurricane Ida

Kevin Mcgill, The Associated Press 6 minute read Yesterday at 9:30 AM CST

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — As Hurricane Ida struck the Louisiana Gulf Coast in August 2021, Renato Decena and Rosel Hernandez watched the storm punch a hole in the roof of the bunkhouse where they were sheltered — abandoned, they allege, by their offshore oil industry employer as the hurricane bore down.

“I could not think of anything to do but to pray and to pray,” Decena, who court records indicate worked for the company for about four years, told The Associated Press.

Decena and Hernandez are two of 10 Filipino workers who are suing their former employer, major offshore oil industry company Grand Isle Shipyard, alleging they were virtual prisoners at their bunkhouse and that the company abandoned Decena, Hernandez and some of their co-workers there during the storm. The 10 plaintiffs also allege they were illegally underpaid and that those among them who tested positive for COVID-19 were quarantined on vulnerable moored supply boats or other vessels, sometimes without adequate food or medicine.

Grand Isle Shipyard not only denies the claims but has struck back with a counterclaim accusing the workers — whose lawsuit invokes federal human trafficking and fair housing laws — of defamation. The judge in the case dismissed the defamation allegations in a Jan. 20 order but said the company could pursue them again once the workers' lawsuit is concluded.

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Yesterday at 9:30 AM CST

FILE - In this aerial photo taken with a drone, flood waters surround storm damaged homes on Aug. 31, 2021, in Lafourche Parish, La., as residents try to recover from the effects of Hurricane Ida. Ten Filipino men who worked for a major offshore oil industry employer claim in a federal lawsuit in Feburary 2022 that they were treated like prisoners at a company bunkhouse — and that two of them were abandoned there when Hurricane Ida struck the Louisiana Gulf Coast in 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

India to get 12 cheetahs from South Africa next month

The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

India to get 12 cheetahs from South Africa next month

The Associated Press 2 minute read Yesterday at 7:34 AM CST

NEW DELHI (AP) — India will receive 12 cheetahs from South Africa next month that will join eight others it received from Namibia in September as part of an ambitious plan to reintroduce the cats in the country after 70 years.

India plans to transport an additional 12 annually for the next eight to 10 years as part of an agreement signed by the two African countries, India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said Friday.

Cheetah populations in most countries are declining. South Africa, where the cats are running out of space, is an exception.

South Africa’s National Biodiversity Institute, National Parks, the Cheetah Range Expansion Project and the Endangered Wildlife Trust will collaborate with their Indian counterparts, the ministry said in a statement.

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Yesterday at 7:34 AM CST

FILE - A cheetah lies inside a transport cage before traveling to India, at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. India will receive 12 cheetahs from South Africa next month to join eight it got from Namibia in September as part of an ambitious plan to reintroduce the cats in the country after 70 years. (AP Photo/Dirk Heinrich, File)

Storm Cheneso picks up in Madagascar, more flooding to come

Wanjohi Kabukuru, The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

Storm Cheneso picks up in Madagascar, more flooding to come

Wanjohi Kabukuru, The Associated Press 2 minute read Yesterday at 6:10 AM CST

MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) — A severe tropical storm which devastated parts of Madagascar this week is set to continue to wreak havoc on the country as it strengthens over the weekend, the United Nations regional weather monitoring service said.

The storm has killed 8 people and ten are still missing, according to Madagascar’s National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management. It has displaced over 60,000 people and damaged 13,000 houses in northern and central Madagascar.

An alert issued by local authorities on Friday warned of heavy rainfall in central and western parts of the country with an imminent risk of flooding and landslides. Flash floods are expected in the western coastal town of Morombe, raising fears of further destruction and displacement.

Over the next few days Cheneso could dump in some areas of Madagascar more than 200% of their average January rainfall, the U.K.'s meteorological office warned.

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Yesterday at 6:10 AM CST

MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) — A severe tropical storm which devastated parts of Madagascar this week is set to continue to wreak havoc on the country as it strengthens over the weekend, the United Nations regional weather monitoring service said.

The storm has killed 8 people and ten are still missing, according to Madagascar’s National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management. It has displaced over 60,000 people and damaged 13,000 houses in northern and central Madagascar.

An alert issued by local authorities on Friday warned of heavy rainfall in central and western parts of the country with an imminent risk of flooding and landslides. Flash floods are expected in the western coastal town of Morombe, raising fears of further destruction and displacement.

Over the next few days Cheneso could dump in some areas of Madagascar more than 200% of their average January rainfall, the U.K.'s meteorological office warned.

Germany hopes to get ‘green hydrogen’ from Australia by 2030

The Associated Press 1 minute read Preview

Germany hopes to get ‘green hydrogen’ from Australia by 2030

The Associated Press 1 minute read Yesterday at 4:43 AM CST

BERLIN (AP) — A senior German official said Friday that she hopes her country will receive hydrogen made with renewable energy from Australia by 2030.

The two countries have stepped up plans for cooperation on clean energy as Germany tries to find replacements for Russian gas supplies while pursuing an ambitious policy of reducing its emissions to “net zero” by 2045.

So-called green hydrogen is seen as a key fuel to power industrial processes that require high temperatures, such as steel-making.

Germany’s science minister, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, said Australia has strong potential to produce hydrogen with the help of abundant solar and wind power.

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Yesterday at 4:43 AM CST

BERLIN (AP) — A senior German official said Friday that she hopes her country will receive hydrogen made with renewable energy from Australia by 2030.

The two countries have stepped up plans for cooperation on clean energy as Germany tries to find replacements for Russian gas supplies while pursuing an ambitious policy of reducing its emissions to “net zero” by 2045.

So-called green hydrogen is seen as a key fuel to power industrial processes that require high temperatures, such as steel-making.

Germany’s science minister, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, said Australia has strong potential to produce hydrogen with the help of abundant solar and wind power.

Elton John concert canceled due to wild New Zealand weather

Nick Perry, The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

Elton John concert canceled due to wild New Zealand weather

Nick Perry, The Associated Press 2 minute read Yesterday at 2:53 AM CST

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Torrential rain and wild weather in Auckland on Friday caused disruptions throughout the city and an Elton John concert to be canceled just before it was due to start.

About 40,000 people were expected to attend the evening concert at Mt Smart Stadium in New Zealand's largest city. Thousands were already at the venue when organizers decided to cancel not long before John was due to take the stage at 7:30 p.m.

The concert was billed as a final farewell tour for John. Frontier Touring, one of the concert promoters, tweeted the concert had been cancelled due to unsafe weather conditions.

Many concertgoers who had braved the conditions were frustrated the decision hadn't been made hours earlier.

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Yesterday at 2:53 AM CST

Fans leave Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, where about 40,000 people were expected to attend an Elton John concert. Torrential rain and wild weather in Auckland causes disruptions throughout the city and an Elton John concert to be canceled just before it was due to start. (Julea Dalley/New Zealand Herald via AP)

3 dead, 1 missing as rain pounds New Zealand’s largest city

Nick Perry, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

3 dead, 1 missing as rain pounds New Zealand’s largest city

Nick Perry, The Associated Press 4 minute read Yesterday at 2:53 AM CST

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Authorities said Saturday that three people had died and at least one was missing after record levels of rainfall pounded New Zealand's largest city, causing widespread disruption.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins flew to Auckland on a military plane after a state of emergency was declared in the region.

“Our priority is to ensure that Aucklanders are safe, that they're housed and that they have access to the essential services that they need,” Hipkins said.

He said the city was in for a big cleanup and that people should remain indoors if possible. He said a break in the weather could prove temporary, with more heavy rain forecast.

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Yesterday at 2:53 AM CST

Fans leave Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, where about 40,000 people were expected to attend an Elton John concert. Torrential rain and wild weather in Auckland causes disruptions throughout the city and an Elton John concert to be canceled just before it was due to start. (Julea Dalley/New Zealand Herald via AP)

House GOP seeks new restrictions on use of US oil stockpile

Matthew Daly, The Associated Press 6 minute read Preview

House GOP seeks new restrictions on use of US oil stockpile

Matthew Daly, The Associated Press 6 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the second time this month, House Republicans have advanced a measure to restrict presidential use of the nation’s emergency oil stockpile — a proposal that has already drawn a White House veto threat.

A GOP bill approved Friday would require the government to offset any non-emergency withdrawals from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve with new drilling on public lands and oceans. Republicans accuse President Joe Biden of abusing the reserve for political reasons to keep gas prices low, while Biden says tapping the reserve was needed last year in response to a ban on Russian oil imports following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden withdrew 180 million barrels from the strategic reserve over several months, bringing the stockpile to its lowest level since the 1980s. The administration said last month it will start to replenish the reserve now that oil prices have gone down.

The bill was approved, 221-205, on a near party-line vote. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine was the sole Democrat to join unanimous Republicans in supporting the bill. The measure heads to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is expected to languish.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

FILE - A pumpjack as seen on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Tatum, New Mexico. For the second time this month, House Republicans are seeking to restrict presidential use of the nation’s emergency oil stockpile — a proposal that has already drawn a White House veto threat. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio, File)

US company gets $120 million boost to make ‘green steel’

Ed Davey, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

US company gets $120 million boost to make ‘green steel’

Ed Davey, The Associated Press 4 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

The manufacture of "green steel" moved one step closer to reality Friday as Massachusetts-based Boston Metal announced a $120 million investment from the world's second-largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal.

Boston Metal will use the injection of funds to expand production at a pilot plant in Woburn, near Boston, and help launch commercial production in Brazil. The company uses renewable electricity to convert iron ore into steel.

Steel is one of the world’s dirtiest heavy industries. Three-quarters of world production uses a traditional method that burns through train loads of coal to heat the furnaces and drive the reaction that releases pure iron from ore.

Making steel releases more climate-warming carbon dioxide than any other industry, according to the International Energy Agency — about 8% of worldwide emissions. Many companies are working on alternatives.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

Research and development engineer Ravneet Kailey performs an experiment to produce steel without using carbon in a glowing lab cell, left, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, at Boston Metal, in Woburn, Mass. The manufacture of ‘green steel’ moved one step closer to reality Friday, Jan. 27, as Boston Metal announced a $120 million investment from the world's second-largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Southern California’s Santa Ana winds topple trees, big rigs

The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

Southern California’s Santa Ana winds topple trees, big rigs

The Associated Press 2 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Powerful Santa Ana winds tore across Southern California on Thursday — topping 100 mph, (160 kph) in parts — blowing over multiple big rigs on several highways and toppling massive 80-to-100 foot-tall trees, including in San Diego’s iconic Balboa Park where a woman was briefly pinned by a eucalyptus.

Gusts hit 112 mph (180 kph) in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles and more than 90 mph (145 kph) near Julian in the San Diego County mountains and near Banning Pass in Riverside County, the National Weather Service said.

Multiple trucks were reported blown over on the region's highways from San Diego to the Los Angeles area. In San Diego County, the California Highway Patrol shut down sections of Interstate 8 after several rigs flipped on their sides, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Police said a 30-year-old woman was struck by a eucalyptus tree in Balboa Park shortly before 8 a.m., and pinned under it briefly. She was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Powerful Santa Ana winds tore across Southern California on Thursday — topping 100 mph, (160 kph) in parts — blowing over multiple big rigs on several highways and toppling massive 80-to-100 foot-tall trees, including in San Diego’s iconic Balboa Park where a woman was briefly pinned by a eucalyptus.

Gusts hit 112 mph (180 kph) in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles and more than 90 mph (145 kph) near Julian in the San Diego County mountains and near Banning Pass in Riverside County, the National Weather Service said.

Multiple trucks were reported blown over on the region's highways from San Diego to the Los Angeles area. In San Diego County, the California Highway Patrol shut down sections of Interstate 8 after several rigs flipped on their sides, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Police said a 30-year-old woman was struck by a eucalyptus tree in Balboa Park shortly before 8 a.m., and pinned under it briefly. She was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

US sweetens pot to study siting for spent nuke fuel storage

Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

US sweetens pot to study siting for spent nuke fuel storage

Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press 5 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. government has long struggled to find a permanent solution for storing or disposing of spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants, and opposition to such a site is flaring up again as New Mexico lawmakers debate banning a facility without state consent.

The state's prospective ban cleared its first legislative hurdle Tuesday with approval from a key committee. Supporters acknowledge that the bill has a long road ahead, but it does have the backing of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

State Sen. Jeff Steinborn, the bill's sponsor, said momentum against New Mexico becoming a permanent dumping ground for the nation's nuclear waste — including spent fuel from commercial power plants — is growing and he's cautiously optimistic this is the year that the state takes a legislative stand.

Steinborn said consent should be mandatory and that the federal government should provide states with a significant financial incentive reflecting the risks associated with managing radioactive materials.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. government has long struggled to find a permanent solution for storing or disposing of spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants, and opposition to such a site is flaring up again as New Mexico lawmakers debate banning a facility without state consent.

The state's prospective ban cleared its first legislative hurdle Tuesday with approval from a key committee. Supporters acknowledge that the bill has a long road ahead, but it does have the backing of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

State Sen. Jeff Steinborn, the bill's sponsor, said momentum against New Mexico becoming a permanent dumping ground for the nation's nuclear waste — including spent fuel from commercial power plants — is growing and he's cautiously optimistic this is the year that the state takes a legislative stand.

Steinborn said consent should be mandatory and that the federal government should provide states with a significant financial incentive reflecting the risks associated with managing radioactive materials.

Climate groups decry selection of oil chief to oversee COP28

By Drew Costley, The Associated Press 3 minute read Preview

Climate groups decry selection of oil chief to oversee COP28

By Drew Costley, The Associated Press 3 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

Hundreds of climate and environmental groups from around the world released a letter Thursday that decried the nomination of an oil executive to oversee the United Nations climate negotiations at COP28 this year.

Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates, host of the U.N. climate talks this year, named Sultan al-Jaber to the presidency of the conference Nov. 30 to Dec. 12. The company he runs as chief executive, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., produces 4 million barrels of crude oil per day and hopes to expand to 5 million daily by the end of the decade.

Revenues generated from the sale of that oil are critical to economic health of the UAE, which is among the world's top 10 oil producers. And the burning of that oil creates carbon dioxide emissions while the climate crisis is worsening.

Activists said the selection of al-Jaber “threatens the legitimacy and efficacy” of the conference. “There is no honor in appointing a fossil fuel executive who profits immensely off of fueling the climate crisis to oversee the global response to climate change,” read the letter to U.N. officials.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

FILE - The Emirati Minister of State and the CEO of Abu Dhabi's state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber talks at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 31, 2022. Hundreds of climate and environmental groups from around the world released a letter Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, that decried the nomination of an oil executive to oversee the United Nations climate negotiations at COP28 this year. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

Town where child cancer rose blasts deal over polluted site

Wayne Parry, The Associated Press 7 minute read Preview

Town where child cancer rose blasts deal over polluted site

Wayne Parry, The Associated Press 7 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — In hindsight, it's clear that something was very wrong in this suburban town at the Jersey Shore, where many people worked at or lived near a chemical company that was flushing toxic waste into waterways and burying it in the ground.

Men would come home from the plant, which made dyes and resins, and their perspiration would be the color of the dye with which they worked.

Children swam in the local river, coming up for air in the midst of milky white froth that floated on the water's surface. There seemed to be fewer fish than would be expected; some that were there appeared to be transparent, and others had sores.

And children were being diagnosed with cancer at higher-than-normal rates.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

Christine Girtain, a science teacher in one of Toms River, N.J.'s high schools, speaks at a public meeting in Toms River on Wednesday, Jan., 25, 2023, about a proposed settlement between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and BASF Corp to restore natural resources that were damaged by the operations of the former Ciba Geigy chemical plant. Girtain wants an environmental education center that will be built as part of the settlement to document the site's history of illegal dumping and the town's history of elevated childhood cancer cases and deaths. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

US moves to protect Minnesota wilderness from planned mine

Steve Karnowski, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

US moves to protect Minnesota wilderness from planned mine

Steve Karnowski, The Associated Press 5 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Biden administration moved Thursday to protect northeastern Minnesota's pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from future mining, dealing a potentially fatal blow to a copper-nickel project.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland signed an order closing over 350 square miles (900 square kilometers) of the Superior National Forest, in the Rainy River Watershed around the town of Ely, to mineral and geothermal leasing for 20 years, the longest period the department can sequester the land without congressional approval.

The order is “subject to existing valid rights,” but the Biden administration contends that Twin Metals Minnesota lost its rights last year, when the department rescinded a Trump administration decision to reinstate federal mineral rights leases that were critical to the project. Twin Metals, which is owned by the Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, filed suit in August to try to reclaim those rights, and reaffirmed Tuesday that it's not giving up despite its latest setback.

“Protecting a place like Boundary Waters is key to supporting the health of the watershed and its surrounding wildlife, upholding our Tribal trust and treaty responsibilities, and boosting the local recreation economy,” Haaland said in a statement. "With an eye toward protecting this special place for future generations, I have made this decision using the best available science and extensive public input.”

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

FILE - Supporters of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters drive past the residence of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz as part of an Earth Day drive-in rally to Protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on April 22, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn. The Biden administration moved Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, to protect the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota from future mining, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel project. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

California winter storms boost water allocations for cities

Adam Beam, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

California winter storms boost water allocations for cities

Adam Beam, The Associated Press 5 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Weeks of historic rainfall in California won't be enough to end a severe drought, but it will provide public water agencies serving 27 million people with much more water than the suppliers had been told to expect a month ago, state officials announced Thursday.

The Department of Water Resources said public water agencies will now get 30% of what they had asked for, up from the 5% officials had previously announced in December. That’s because for the first three weeks of January nine atmospheric rivers dumped an estimated 32 trillion gallons of rain and snow on California. It was enough water to increase storage in the state’s two largest reservoirs by a combined 66%.

“We're not out of drought in California, but this certainly makes a significant dent,” said Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources.

California pumps water from its major rivers and streams and stores it in a bunch of reservoirs known as the State Water Project. State officials then deliver that water to 29 public agencies that supply the state's major population centers with drinking water and irrigate 1,151 square miles (2,981 square kilometers) of farm land.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

FILE - Floodwaters cover South Davis Rd. near Salinas in Monterey County, Calif., as the Salinas River overflows its banks on Jan. 13, 2023. California officials announced on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, that public water agencies will get 30% of what they asked for instead of 5%. The increase is because of a spate of recent storms that have helped replenish some of the state's reservoirs that had been impacted by a severe drought. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

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