environment

‘Monster’ Hurricane Michael Is a ‘Big Tornado,’ Trump Warns
President mulls canceling Wednesday night campaign stop in Pennsylvania

Hurricane Michael, fueled by warm Gulf of Mexico waters, is like a “massive tornado,” President Trump warns. (National Weather Service photo)

Hurricane Michael is a “massive tornado” that is about to cause widespread damage in Florida and nearby states as the category four storm makes landfall, President Donald Trump warned Wednesday.

After receiving a briefing on the hurricane from Homeland Security officials, the president said Michael began “innocently” but then “grew into a monster.”

Tax Break for Electric Vehicles in the Crosshairs
Barrasso: ‘Wealthiest Americans’ benefit at the expense of taxpayers

Tesla vehicles stand outside of a Brooklyn showroom and service center in August. Legislation unveiled Tuesday would end a tax incentive for electric vehicles. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unveiled legislation Tuesday to end the $7,500 tax incentive for electric vehicles.

The yet-unnumbered bill comes as a United Nations report on climate change, released over the weekend, outlined dire consequences for the planet in the absence of global action to drastically reduce carbon output over the next decade.

EPA Proposal Would End Summer Ban on Ethanol Motor Fuel — With the Midterms Just a Month Away
Some corn state Republicans facing tough re-election bids

The Environmental Protection Agency will propose an end to the summer ban on motor fuel made with ethanol according to a senior White House official. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The EPA will propose to end the summer ban on the sale of motor fuel made with 15 percent ethanol, according to a senior White House official.

The move is sure to please corn state lawmakers such as Iowa Republican Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Joni Ernst, who have spent the better part of the last year and a half pushing the Trump administration to do more to enforce requirements under the so-called Renewable Fuel Standard — a federal mandate to boost renewable fuels like ethanol in the nation’s gasoline mix.

New Ad Knocks California Republican Diane Harkey on Offshore Drilling
League of Conservation Voters is targeting GOP nominee for Issa seat

Republican Diane Harkey faces Democrat Mike Levin in California’s 49th District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The campaign arm of the League of Conservation Voters is launching a new television ad targeting Republican Diane Harkey on offshore drilling in an open-seat race in Southern California. 

Harkey, an elected member the California State Board of Equalization that oversees taxation, faces environmental lawyer Mike Levin for the 49th District seat that longtime GOP Rep. Darrell Issa is vacating.

‘Forever Chemicals’ Seep Into Michigan’s Water (and House Races)
PFAS contamination is a worry across the state

When Rep. Fred Upton faces off against his Democratic challenger in Michigan’s 6th District, so-called forever chemicals will be on many voters’ minds. Above, Upton runs out of the Capitol after the last votes of the week in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Years after the Flint water crisis drew national attention, another water pollution issue has emerged in House races in Michigan.

Residents are growing concerned about human exposure to so-called forever chemicals, known as perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The chemicals, linked to health problems such as hypertension in pregnant women and a higher risk of developing certain cancers, have been found in groundwater and drinking water systems across the state.

This Republican Got a Little Help From Erin Brockovich
Brian Mast: ‘I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this is an easy bill to pass’

Erin Brockovich, left, and Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., held a joint press conference in Florida on Sunday. (Courtesy Brian Mast)

Rep. Brian Mast got a little help from a Californian in his anti-algae quest  – the real Erin Brockovich is standing up for him.

The legendary environmentalist, played by Julia Roberts in the 2000 eponymous film “Erin Brockovich,” travelled to Florida this weekend to talk algae blooms.

White House Celebrates Trade Pact, Prepares to Sell Congress
Toomey, Heitkamp among members expressing concerns as Trump takes victory lap

Sens. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., at a Senate Budget hearing earlier this year. Toomey expressed some concerns Monday about a new trade pact brokered by the Trump administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump and his team convinced Canada to join a revised North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico. Now, the hard part begins: Convincing congressional Democrats, who could control one or both chambers next year, to approve it.

Trump and White House officials contend the deal, if approved by Congress, would benefit American dairy farmers and automakers. They have also highlighted new e-commerce and intellectual property protections, as well as a new six-year review mandate. And they say each should appeal to Democrats.

Republicans Push Back Against States Seen as Too Pro-Regulation
GOP favors independence by state governments unless they don’t like a state’s decision

Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and ranking Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware talk before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hears from acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in early August, the energy and environment community was watching.

It was Wheeler’s first appearance since his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, resigned after months of ethical, spending and personnel scandals. Washington was eager to see how Wheeler would right the agency.

Despite New Tariffs, China Still Not Budging on Trade Tactics, White House Says
Senior official indicates Canada no closer to joining Mexico trade deal than it was when talks started

U.S. and Chinese flags on a table where military leaders from the two countries met in 2014. Four year later, the economic giants are in the midst of a bitter trade dispute. Depsite President Trump’s tariff's little progress has been made, an official said Friday. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle)

The Trump administration is not aiming to “cleve off” the U.S. economy from China’s, but it intends to continue pressuring the Asian giant even though tough moves like repeated rounds of tariffs have yet to bring the fundamental changes President Donald Trump is demanding.

“Our goal is not to totally divorce our economies from each other,” said a senior official who briefed reporters Friday at the White House about trade matters. “Our goal is for China to stop behaving unfairly.”

Ocelots, Butterflies in Path of Border Wall
As DHS waives its way across Texas, Congress is rethinking a thirteen-year-old law

Barriers at the southern border hem in more than people, environmentalists say. Wildcats, tortoises and other animals can get trapped. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

When rains pushed the Rio Grande River to flood stage in 2010, an existing border wall acted as a flood barrier, protecting some lowlands but also trapping some animals. A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sierra Club noted the discovery after the flooding of shells from “hundreds” of Texas tortoise, which that state lists as a threatened species.

“Animals caught between the river and the flood wall that could not escape around the edges of the floodwalls likely perished,” said the report. Endangered species like the ocelot and jaguarundi, both small wildcats, also might have died, according to the report.