The Stream, October 11: EPA Chief Plans to Overrule Clean Power Plan

The Global Rundown

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to sign a rule overriding the Clean Power Plan, which sought to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. A greater number of trees at water sources leads to improved sanitation and less deaths from diarrhea, a study of 35 countries finds. Michigan’s top medical official will face charges of involuntary manslaughter for her attempts to cover up information related to the Flint water crisis. Despite some improvements, residents of Puerto Rico still lack basic amenities like water, electricity, and fuel. The government of New South Wales, Australia slackens water quality regulations for mines and other developments.

“It provides an infinite pollution holiday. Existing pollution levels will be grandfathered.” –Andrew Cox, president of conservation group 4Nature, in reference to changes in New South Wales’ water quality laws. The previous law required that all new developments or extensions have a neutral or beneficial impact on the drinking water of Sydney, Australia. Now, mines and other developments seeking an extension merely need to make no more impact on water quality than that of the original development—even if the impact is negative. The Guardian

By The Numbers

32 percent Amount that the Clean Power Plan was supposed to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2030. On Monday, EPA head Scott Pruitt announced that he plans to sign a new rule overriding the Clean Power Plan, lifting restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plants. The Guardian

40 percent Proportion of Puerto Ricans who do not have drinkable water, according to the latest updates. Residents who do have potable water are being told to boil it, a difficult task due to the ongoing shortages of fuel and electricity on the island since Hurricane Maria. Conditions have improved minimally in the past week, and aid still has not reached five isolated areas. CBS News  

In context: Puerto Ricans still desperate for water weeks after Hurricane Maria.

Science, Studies, And Reports

A global study of 300,000 children and watersheds from 35 countries found that more trees at water sources leads to healthier children. A greater number of upstream trees was linked to improvements in sanitation and fewer childhood deaths from diarrhea. Reuters

On The Radar

Michigan’s chief medical official will face charges of involuntary manslaughter in relation to the Flint water crisis, according to state prosecutors. Dr. Eden Wells reportedly lied to police about her knowledge of Flint’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, as well as threatening a team of independent researchers who were studying the source of the disease. Reuters

In context: In Flint water probe, five officials face involuntary manslaughter charge.