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Weekly Environmental Updates
The newest leaks regarding Donald Trump's 2018 budget proposal reveal significant cuts to environmental programs, including a 31 percent cut to the EPA that would essentially reduce its size to what it was in the 1970's. Research on air and energy would be cut by 67 per cent, clean air regulatory programs by 47 percent and the Department of Agriculture by 20 percent. Congressional approval will be needed for the proposals following an unveiling of the budget the week of 5/28/17.
Unrestrained use of fossil fuels cannot be offset only by planting trees to remove carbon from the air, according to a new study. Effectively countering greenhouse gasses produced by the continued use of coal and oil would require plantations of trees so large that they would crowd out other ecosystems and reduce food consumption. Tree planting is reportedly only one way of reducing Co2 levels and is best used in conjunction with other methods, including the elimination of fossil fuel use.
Trees in the Eastern U.S. are moving westward and scientists aren't sure why. Three quarters of white oaks, sugar maples, and American hollies have moved west since 1980, with more than half also moving northward. One hypothesis says that climate change has altered rainfall totals along with temperatures, causing broadleaf deciduous trees to move west and evergreens to move northward.
The pesticide Vulcan is being blamed for sending 50 farm workers in California to doctors with nausea and vomiting after they complained of a bad odor while they were harvesting cabbage. The owner of the farm says he doesn't use Vulcan and thinks it blew in from a neighboring farm. Vulcan was set to be banned before the Trump administration reversed former President Obama's recommendation.
Planting low hedges along roadsides rather than taller trees may be a more effective way to combat urban air pollution, says a new study. Not only are the hedges better at reducing air pollution, but trees may actually make pollution more concentrated, according to the research. Green infrastructure is reportedly an important part of urban planning.
Thirty-eight million pieces of trash, mostly plastics, were found on a remote island in New Zealand, alarming researchers. The most common items found on tiny Henderson Island were cigarette lighters and toothbrushes. The density of trash is reportedly the highest found anywhere in the world.
5/22/17
Roman Hills