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AP
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A federal judge has reinstated a moratorium on coal leasing from federal lands that was imposed under former President Barack Obama and then scuttled under former President Donald Trump. Friday’s ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris requires government officials to complete a new environmental review of the leasing program before they can resume coal sales. It marks a major setback for the already struggling coal industry. Few leases were sold in recent years as coal demand shrank drastically. But coal from existing leases remains a major contributor of planet-warming emissions. The industry’s opponents had urged Morris to revive the moratorium to ensure coal can’t make a comeback as climate change worsens.

AP
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A judge has declared a mistrial in a dispute over partial liability for Flint, Michigan's lead-contaminated water. The jury couldn't reach a verdict after hearing months of evidence against two engineering firms, Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman. The firms were accused of not doing enough to get Flint to treat the highly corrosive water or to urge a return to a regional water supplier. After hearing months of evidence, the jury began deliberations last month. Flint’s water became contaminated in 2014-15 because water pulled from the Flint River wasn’t treated to reduce the corrosive effect on lead pipes. Veolia and LAN said bad decisions by state and local officials caused the crisis in the majority-Black city.

AP
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FILE - The Flint water plant tower is seen on Jan. 6, 2022, in Flint, Mich. A judge declared a mistrial Thursday, Aug. 11, after jurors said they couldn't reach a verdict in a dispute over whether two engineering firms should bear some responsibility for Flint's lead-contaminated water. Four families accused Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, known as LAN, of not doing enough to get Flint to treat the highly corrosive water or to urge a return to a regional water supplier. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

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Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, stoking international fears of a catastrophe. The Zaporizhzhia plant is in southern Ukraine, on the banks of the Dnieper River. Russian troops overran it early in the war but have left the Ukrainian staff in place to keep operating the plant. The chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has warned that the situation surrounding the plant “is completely out of control," and he has urgently pleaded with both sides to allow experts to visit the complex to help stabilize it. The fighting around has fueled fears of a disaster like the one in 1986 at Ukraine's Chernobyl plant, where a reactor exploded and spewed deadly radiation, contaminating a vast area in the world’s worst nuclear accident.

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New aerial surveys show that massive amounts of methane are venting into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations across the Permian Basin. The emissions endanger U.S. targets for curbing climate change. Methane’s earth-warming power is some 83 times stronger than the carbon dioxide that comes from car tailpipes and power plant smokestacks. Congress and the EPA have largely failed to regulate the invisible gas. That leaves it up to oil and gas producers to cut methane emissions on their own, but in some cases they are the very companies who have been fighting regulations. An Associated Press investigation shows hundreds of sites spewing the gas over and over again.

AP
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An oil pumpjack operates under a partial moon in the Permian Basin in Stanton, Texas, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. Massive amounts of methane are venting into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations across the Permian Basin, new aerial surveys show. The emission endanger U.S. targets for curbing climate change. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

AP
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The British environmental scientist whose influential Gaia theory sees the Earth as a living organism gravely imperiled by human activity has died on his 103rd birthday. James Lovelock’s family said Wednesday that he died the previous evening at his home in southwest England after his health deteriorated from a bad fall this year. Lovelock's contributions to environmental science included developing a device to measure ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere and pollutants in air, soil and water. The Gaia hypothesis saw the planet as a complex, self-regulating system that maintained the conditions for life on the planet. Lovelock said human activity has thrown the system dangerously off-kilter. Gaia is the Greek goddess of the Earth.

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Massachusetts House and Senate lawmakers have approved a compromise bill mandating some steps the state needs to take to meet a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Massachusetts House approved the compromise bill on a 143-9 vote Thursday. The Senate then voted 38-2 in favor of the bill. The bill takes more aggressive steps toward battling tailpipe emissions. It would increase to $3,500 the rebate for qualifying purchases and leases of zero-emission passenger cars and light duty trucks. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has 10 days to review the legislation and decide whether to sign or veto it.

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Airplanes are a minor contributor to global greenhouse-gas emissions, but their share is sure to grow as more people travel in coming years. That has the aviation industry facing the prospect of tighter environmental regulations and higher costs. At Monday’s opening of a huge aviation industry show near London, discussion about climate change replaced much of the usual buzz over big airplane orders. The industry has embraced a goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. Experts who track the issue are skeptical. Today’s aircraft engines are the most efficient ever, but improvements in reducing fuel burn are agonizingly slow — about 1% a year on average.