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America Voted. How did the Environment Fare?

President Donald Trump’s performance and policies were front and center in many races across the country--whether candidates were for or against them--and the environment was on the ballot, some cases, literally. A least nine states had ballot initiatives focused on environmental issues from banning offshore drilling to ramping up renewals. To get a post-election take on how the environment played into the midterm elections--and what’s next--we talked to George Cahlink,...


Environmentalists Could Change Election Outcomes. They Just Need to Vote.

Historically, polls have shown that environmentalists are terrible at voting. In the 2014 midterm election, more than 15 million environmentalists didn't show up on Election Day. And to be clear, all of them were already registered and already committed to environmental issues. So why are they so bad at voting? And will they turn out in the midterm elections? We dig into the topic with Nathaniel Stinnett, founder of the non-partisan organization, Environmental Voter Project. He has a plan...


Inside the Industry Takeover at the EPA

President Trump says he'll look into a recent UN Climate Change report that predicted we have 12 years to drastically lower our carbon footprint or else the world will witness catastrophic impacts of climate change. He did this as his EPA is actively scaling back Obama-era regulations that would have cut back on America's carbon pollution. A lot of that work has been done in concert with lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry, including some who now work at the EPA. We know this in part...


Climate Change: How Bad Can it Be?

You’ve probably heard by now that, according to a new UN report, the world has just over a decade to get climate change under control before it’s too late. And the report says we need a profound transformation to get there. The report has got us thinking about an episode we aired last year about what life on Earth could look like with the worst case scenario. David Wallace-Wells wrote an article last summer entitled “The Uninhabitable Earth.” It was the most widely read article in the...


Bonus Episode: Michael Mann’s Journey Through the Climate Wars

Today we're bring you an episode of a podcast we've been enjoying lately. Democracy Works, produced by Penn State's McCourtney Institute for Democracy, aims to rise above the daily news grind and take a broader look at issues impacting democracy — which can be just about anything. If you’re looking for partisan bickering or hot takes on the news, this is not the podcast for you. This episode is an interview with one of the most famous and vocal climate scientists. Michael Mann was on one of...


Why The Trump Resistance Keeps Winning in Court

This administration is hell bent on dismantling environmental and human health protections, but judges are pushing back on Trump's deregulatory agenda in sometimes rapid fire succession.


Faith in the People's Climate Movement

People of faith are joining the ranks of the People Climate Movement, which takes to the streets this weekend demanding action. One religious leader tells us why climate change is becoming a top priority. Fletcher Harper is an Episcopal priest and the executive director of GreenFaith, a member organization of the People's Climate Movement.


How the UK Won its War on Coal

Coal was the engine of the Industrial Revolution and employed nearly 1.2 million people in Britain at its height. But the UK has gone more than 1,000 hours without using coal to generate electricity this year - the longest streak since Thomas Edison opened the country’s first coal power station in 1882. How did they do it? Our guest is Carolyn Beeler who covered this story for PRI's The World.


Ep. 45: Brett Kavanaugh is Trump's Pick. Should Environmentalists Be Worried?

Less than a week after the announcement that Justice Anthony Kennedy would retire, President Trump nominated DC Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Kennedy’s replacement. In this episode, we learn more about Kavanaugh's environmental record and what cases he'd be weighing in on if confirmed. Our guest is Melissa Powers, a law professor and director of the Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School in Oregon. Professor Powers also talks about Justice Kennedy’s environmental...


Ep. 44: Goodbye Scott Pruitt, Hello Andrew Wheeler

For months on end, Pruitt seemed to defy the laws of gravity at the EPA, maintaining his job through more than a dozen scandals. But Pruitt’s term has ended after it was reported that President Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly--presumably at the president’s behest--asked Pruitt for his resignation. So the big question is--why now? And, importantly, what happens next? On this episode Reid Frazier talks with Zack Colman, a reporter with E&E News.


Ep. 43: Could the Endangered Species Act go Extinct?

When Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act on December 28, 1973, it made the United States the only nation on Earth to declare a basic right of existence for species other than our own. Currently, the Act protects more than 1,600 species across the country. Now, the landmark legislation is being targeted by industry, with support from the GOP. What happens next could determine the fate of hundreds of endangered species. On this episode, we talk about the future of the Endangered...


Ep. 42: Read the Label: Chemical Safety Under the EPA

Earlier this month, Scott Pruitt gave a big gift to the chemical industry in the form of narrowing how the EPA will determine the health risks posed by chemicals. Is it a policy change that could prove deadly?


Ep. 41: The Making of Scott Pruitt

Before he was EPA administrator, before he was Oklahoma's attorney general, before he was even a state senator, Scott Pruitt was an unknown attorney in the suburbs of Tulsa, Oklahoma. What do Scott Pruitt's early days in public life tell us about his beliefs and motivations as he sets about dismantling EPA regulations? On this episode, we talk to two reporters who dug into this question to find out more about the man President Donald Trump picked to lead the EPA. Joe Wertz is a reporter for...


Ep. 40: Pruitt’s Transparency Problem (and it's not his ethics scandals)

From its inception, science has been at the core of the EPA’s mission. It’s used science about the health effects of industrial pollution to make our air and water cleaner. But EPA administrator Scott Pruitt wants to limit what kinds of research the agency can use when making regulations. To that end, he has introduced the Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule. Transparency--sounds pretty good, right? But with this new rule, the agency would limit what kinds of research it...


Ep. 39: Will He Stay Or Will He Go?

First class flights, pricey office furniture, a soundproof booth and a security detail the size of a small police department. And don’t forget a rented room inside a condo owned by a lobbyist’s wife. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is embroiled in a series of concentric ethics scandals, and it’s led to speculation about his future there. Today we ask how Scott Pruitt got into his current situation, why he still has a job at EPA, and whether the scandals will impede his attempts to dismantle...


Trump's Next Frontier

The Trump administration says it wants to open up nearly all of the country’s oceans to oil and gas drilling. So what will this mean for communities around the country that depend on our coasts for their livelihood? What will this mean for our oceans?


Alaska: Open for Business

More than 60 percent of Alaska is owned by the federal government. That's 225 million acres; a plot of land bigger than Texas. So if any state is going to be impacted by environmental decisions made in Washington D.C., it's Alaska. On this episode, we talk about those decisions being made in D.C. and their impacts on the 49th state with two of its experts. Elizabeth Harball is a public radio reporter with Alaska's energy desk in Anchorage, and Liz Ruskin is the D.C. correspondent for...


Ep. 36: One Down, Three to Go.

There have been lots of presidential orders and proclamations, and many proposals are in the works. But just how effective has Trump been in changing environmental policy during his first year in office? To answer that we spoke with Dan Farber, an environmental law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He also blogs about these issues at


Ep. 35: Do Regulations Kill Jobs? Or Save Lives?

Rolling back regulations is fundamental to the philosophy of the Trump administration. And a lot of the action has been directed towards environmental regulations. According to a review done by the Washington Post, 63 environmental rules have been targeted across all agencies. That’s more than other policy area. So what’s the case for environmental regulations? Do they work? Do they make our lives better in any measurable way? We hear a lot from the Trump administration about how...


Ep. 34: Inside the EPA's Regulatory Rollback Machine

The Trump administration has rolled back 60 environmental policies at last count. ProPublica reporter Talia Buford dug into the overturning of one of EPA rules that took the agency a decade to craft and the Trump administration just months to undo. The rule was meant to keep toxic waste out of rivers and streams. Now it's in limbo as the EPA has decided to open it back up for review. The story of what happened with this rule is a case study in how the EPA operates under the Trump...