Fueled by Pollution and Unsound Policies, Toxic Algae Overtakes Florida Beaches and Waterways

Read time: 9 mins
Sunset over a canal in Cape Coral, Florida, filled with blue green algae.

Florida is in the midst of a still-unfolding water pollution catastrophe. Many formerly picture-perfect beaches and posh waterfront neighborhoods are now surreal toxic landscapes where the smell is so pungent, it can make you nauseous.

Parts of South Florida are being inundated by harmful algal blooms, which affect both public health and marine life, including red tide (caused by the alga Karenia brevis) and blue-green algae (more precisely known as cyanobacteria, or Microcystis, which are technically bacteria but commonly referred to as algae).

While both types of toxin-producing algae are normal parts of their environments, the crisis is not. Water pollution and climate change are fueling this supersized toxic algae mess.

Trump Administration Officially Proposes Rolling Back Clean Car Standards

Read time: 7 mins
Trump in truck

In a long expected move, the Trump administration announced Thursday morning that it is proposing to weaken the Obama-era clean car emissions and fuel efficiency standards, and that it will seek to limit California's authority to set tougher standards.

The proposal, first reported last week, comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and suggests freezing fuel economy targets at 2020 levels through 2026, along with a number of other less-preferred options.

UPDATED: Retired Schoolteacher Sentenced to 2-6 Months After Sunoco Claims She Violated Court Order in Mariner East Pipeline Dispute

Read time: 8 mins
Ellen Gerhart

On Tuesday, July 26, Sunoco Pipeline L.P. filed paperwork with a Pennsylvania court claiming that retired special education teacher Ellen Gerhart, 63, had violated an injunction. Three days later, Gerhart was arrested and jailed.

After being held on $25,000 bail for a week, Ellen Gerhart was on Friday, August 3 sentenced to two to six months by Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge George Zanic.*

Sunoco Pipeline obtained a right of way through the Gerharts’ land using the controversial legal doctrine of eminent domain, which allows private companies to seize land people refuse to sell that’s in the planned path of a pipeline project.

In the complaint that led to her jailing, Sunoco claimed Gerhart interfered with construction by, among other things, luring mountain lions and bears onto her property.

Newly Elected President of Mexico, Lopez Obrador, Vows to Ban Fracking

Read time: 5 mins
Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who won the election to become Mexico's President on July 1, stated in a press conference that he will ban the horizontal drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) upon assuming the office on December 1.

The announcement would be a devastating blow to the oil and gas industry, which had its eyes set on drilling in Mexico's northern frontier in an area known as the Burgos Basin. The Burgos is a southern extension of the Eagle Ford Shale, a prolific field situated in Texas. 

Scientists Urged to Take a Stand Against BBC’s False Balance on Climate Change

Read time: 4 mins
BBC sign

It was all a bit retro… A BBC radio presenter, looking out the window and seeing it’s (still) hot, and leaning into his microphone to ask “does this mean climate change is real?”

Do not adjust your wireless. This really is the opening question on a segment about climate change. In 2018.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s decision to have climate science denier and UKIP supporter Philip Foster on to debate a (non-climate) scientist about whether or not humans have caused climate change immediately drew much ire.

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