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Friday, Apr 20th

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Paris on high alert as river Seine continues to rise

Paris braced for flooding as Seine countinues to rise

Paris remains on high alert as the swollen river Seine continues to rise, with forecasters saying water levels could stay high next week, especially if France has more rain.

Leaks started to appear in some basements on Friday, while some residents on the city’s outskirts were forced to travel by boat through waterlogged streets.

The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and Orangerie museums were on high alert, with the lower level of the Louvre’s Islamic arts wing closed to visitors.

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EPA Reverses Decades-Old ‘Forever’ Air-Pollution Policy

EPA regulation on air quality reversedThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it was withdrawing a provision of the Clean Air Act that requires a major source of pollution like a power plant to always be treated as a major source, even if it makes changes to reduce emissions.

The decision to withdraw the “once-in always-in” policy is part of President Donald Trump’s effort to roll back federal regulations and was sought by utilities, the petroleum industry and others.

Sources of air pollution previously classified as “major sources” may be reclassified as “area” sources when the facility limits its emissions below “major source” thresholds, the EPA said. Area sources are subject to less strict pollution control standards than major sources.

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California Sues Donald Trump Over Rollback Of Obama-Era Fracking Rule

california frackingCalifornia Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) announced Wednesday that the state has sued the Trump administration over its decision to scrap an Obama-era hydraulic fracturing rule.

The 2015 rule — which was finalized but not implemented due to legal challenges — sought to better protect public health by setting standards for the construction of hydraulic fracturing operations on federal land and requiring oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals used in the process.

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Fossil fuel companies are the real abusers of the welfare system

Fossil fuel companies are the real abusers of welfareIt is time we shift the cost of climate disasters away from the American taxpayer and to the industry that is largely responsible for the damage. That means putting a price on carbon instead of subsidizing their dangerous pollution.

Storms in 2017 cost American taxpayers more than $300 billion, more than any year on record. That’s enough money to feed every food insecure household in the United States — all 17.6 million of them — for an entire year and still have money left over to provide free healthcare to 9 million low-income children for the next 30 years.

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2017 was among the planet’s hottest years on record, government scientists report

2017 among hottest years on record

2017 was among the hottest years ever recorded, government scientists reported Thursday.

The year was the second-hottest in recorded history, NASA said, while scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported 2017 was the third-warmest they’ve ever recorded.

The two government agencies use different methodologies to calculate global temperatures, but by either standard, the 2017 results make the past four years the hottest period in their 138-year archive.

2017 achieved a temperature of 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius), above the average temperature seen in the 20th century, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

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Trump administration plans to allow drilling off all U.S. waters

Trump moves to vastly increase offshore drillingThe Trump administration unveiled a controversial plan Thursday to permit drilling in all U.S. waters, including protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic, where oil and gas exploration is opposed by governors from New Jersey to Florida, nearly a dozen attorneys general, more than 100 U.S. lawmakers and the Defense Department.

More than 3 billion barrels of oil is recoverable on the outer continental shelf, along with more than 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the Interior Department, which announced the plan. States stand to gain royalties from extraction of these natural resources, and drilling could create hundreds of jobs.

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AP finds climate change risk for 327 toxic Superfund sites AP finds climate change risk for 327 toxic Superfund sites

Climate change risk to superfund sites

This year's historic hurricane season exposed a little-known public health threat: Highly polluted sites that can be inundated by floodwaters, potentially spreading toxic contamination.

In Houston, more than a dozen Superfund sites were flooded by Hurricane Harvey, with breaches reported at two. In the Southeast and Puerto Rico, Superfund sites were battered by driving rains and winds from Irma and Maria.

The vulnerable sites highlighted by AP's review are scattered across the nation, but Florida, New Jersey and California have the most, and the most people living near them. They are in largely low-income, heavily minority neighborhoods, the data show.

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