Environmentalists ask court to restore oil-gas emission rule

The Free Press WV

Environmentalists are asking an appeals court to reinstate a rule restricting harmful methane emissions on U.S. lands, at least temporarily.

Attorneys for 13 groups on Friday asked a federal appeals court in Denver to block an order by a lower court that halted the regulation.

The rule required energy companies to capture methane gas instead of burning it or wasting it at drilling sites on public lands.

The rule was imposed near the end of the Obama administration in 2016. The Trump administration is trying to reverse it.

A U.S. judge in Wyoming blocked the rule earlier this month, saying it provided little public benefit but could be costly for industry.

The environmental groups say the Wyoming judge didn’t take all the required steps before acting.

U.S. Opioid Prescriptions Fall by Record Amount

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A new report shows prescriptions of opioids in 2017 saw the largest decline in 25 years, falling in every state — and states with the highest consumption saw the biggest decreases.

The total number of prescriptions fell 10 percent, while high-potency opiates plunged 16 percent.

That’s likely due to several factors, say experts, including new government regulations and more educated patients.

While the number of Americans dying from overdoses continues to increase, 66 percent of 2016’s cases involved opioids, so the drop in prescriptions could translate to lives saved.  FORTUNE

Barbara Bush was ‘first lady of the greatest generation’

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Barbara Bush was remembered as the “first lady of the greatest generation” during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and hundreds of other people who filled the church with laughter as much as tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother called her style of mothering him and his siblings “a benevolent dictatorship — but honestly, it wasn’t always benevolent.” He emphasized how she believed in the power of laughter and that joy should be shared.

He said he could still feel her presence Saturday inside the nation’s largest Episcopal church and she would likely have given him advice on his eulogy: “Jeb, keep it short. Don’t drag this out,” he said to chuckles. He met her expectations with a speech lasting about seven minutes.

He choked up at one point while addressing the roughly 1,500 people seated inside the St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where his parents regularly worshipped, when saying his mother — who was known for her self-deprecating remarks about her wrinkles and gray hair — was “beautiful” until the very end.

He said he felt privileged that he had a “front row” seat to the incredible love story shared by his mother and father, former President George H.W. Bush, who laughed as longtime friends and family recalled his wife’s wicked sense of humor during the nearly two-hour service. After he spoke, Jeb Bush walked over to his father, and hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.

Presidential historian Jon Meacham, who wrote a 2015 biography on the former president, recalled Barbara Bush’s devotion to her husband of 73 years, noting former George H.W. Bush. is the “only boy she ever kissed.”

Theirs was the longest marriage of any other presidential couple. One of just two first ladies to have a child elected president, Barbara Bush was widely admired for her plainspoken style and was known as the “Enforcer” in her family, the glue who kept the high-powered clan together.

Meacham said it was Barbara Bush’s quick tongue that made her so popular, along with her work promoting literacy and bringing awareness to AIDS patients.

“Barbara Bush was the first lady of the greatest generation,” Meacham said during his eulogy.

The couple’s family, including their five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, played a prominent role in the service. Granddaughters offered readings, some their voices shaky with emotion, while their eight grandsons were pallbearers.

The Bush family was seated in front of the church. Nearby, two other former presidents — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — along with their wives and current first lady Melania Trump were seated in the same pew. The invitation-only service was also attended by former ambassadors, members of Congress, sports stars and Houston business owners.

A eulogy was also given by Barbara Bush’s longtime friend, Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who said Bush — the wife of the 41st president of the U.S. and mother of the 43rd — was “the secret sauce of this extraordinary family.”

As the funeral ended, George H.W. Bush was pushed in his wheelchair by his son George W. Bush as they followed the casket out of the church’s cavernous sanctuary, which had been adorned with sprays of yellow garden roses, yellow snap dragons and antique hydrangeas.

They stopped along the way to shake hands, as mourners sang “Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,” which Barbara Bush had requested as the final song. She died on Tuesday , with her husband by her side, at their home in Houston. She was 92.

The burial will be held at her husband’s presidential library at Texas A&M University, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Houston. Hundreds of people lined both sides of the street near the campus ahead of the service.

The burial site is in a gated plot surrounded by trees and near a creek where the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953, is buried.

Other guests at the funeral included former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and professional golfer Phil Mickelson, along with Karl Rove, and other former White House staff. Many were seen embracing in the church before the service on a gray, cloudy day as flags were flown at half-mast.

President Donald Trump did not attend to avoid security disruptions and “out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service,” according to the White House. He said his thoughts were with the family.

Melania Trump issued a statement after the funeral saying it was an honor to give her respects to a “fearless” first lady, adding: “Today the world paid tribute to a woman of indisputable character and grace.”

On Friday, more than 6,200 people visited the Houston church during a public viewing. Many of the women wore the former first lady’s favorite color, blue, and trademark pearls.

George H.W. Bush was so moved by how many people had lined up Friday to pay their final respects to his wife that he decided to go. From his wheelchair, he spent about 15 minutes shaking hands with people who had come.

Tech Workers Petition Against Pentagon Contracts

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The keyboard is mightier than the sword. That’s the idea behind a new petition by Silicon Valley employees calling on Google to drop its contract with the Department of Defense, and asking other companies to stay away from the Pentagon.

“We believe that tech companies should not be in the business of war,” the Tech Workers Coalition says.

Google was criticized by its own employees in recent months after taking on an artificial intelligence project for the government, and many tech companies are currently jockeying for a DOD cloud services contract.    Gizmodo

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

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A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue headlines of the week. None of these stories is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out. Here are the real facts:


NOT REAL: Stormy Daniels Killed In Syrian Airstrike

THE FACTS: Two satire sites recently circulated false stories reporting that porn actress Stormy Daniels had died, either in an airstrike in Syria or in a suicide. Daniels, who claims she had an affair in 2006 with President Donald Trump, was photographed Monday entering a courthouse for a hearing in a federal case in New York involving the U.S. president’s personal attorney. The Waterford Whispers News reported two days earlier that the actress and “several other women who have accused the U.S. President of sexual misconduct in the past” were killed in the April 13 Syrian airstrikes. Daily World Update wrote in late March that Daniels had died of “an intentional overdose.” That story incorrectly stated Daniels’ legal name is Penelope Withers; it is Stephanie Clifford.


NOT REAL: Betsy DeVos Orders Immediate Flattening Of All School Globes

THE FACTS: U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hasn’t ordered that globes in classrooms across America be flattened, contrary to a story being shared on social media. The story originated on the Alternative Science satire site. It says the order went out to U.S. Education Department staffers in a weekend email and quotes DeVos as saying globes will be “flattened like God made it just 6,000 years ago.” A spokeswoman for the department says no such email exists.


NOT REAL: Colorado McDonald’s Offers First Marijuana Friendly Smoking Section In Restaurant

THE FACTS: Marijuana may be legal in Colorado, but smoking parlors aren’t replacing the children’s play areas at the local McDonald’s. The Now 8 News site claimed 15 restaurants in the state would have pods where customers can smoke marijuana-filled joints, bongs or pipes. McDonald’s spokesman Khim Aday says he “can confirm 100 percent that this is not true.” Colorado was the first state with legal recreational marijuana sales, starting in 2014.


NOT REAL: Will Ferrell dies after a two-car crash

THE FACTS: The actor and comedian sustained minor injuries when his limousine rolled over on a Los Angeles-area freeway last week, Orange County, California authorities said. A report carried by the breaking-cnn site reported that Ferrell died on April 14, two days after a car hit the SUV he was riding in. A woman was critically hurt and two other men suffered minor injuries in the crash. Ferrell, who first rose to fame on “Saturday Night Live,” had been appearing in character at an event as Ron Burgundy, the 1970s anchorman from the “Anchorman” movies.


NOT REAL: The best dialogue starts over a cup of coffee and we’d like to buy you one

THE FACTS: Starbucks is not giving out free drinks to people of color. The phony coupons are being spread on social media through accounts that identify as white nationalists, following the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks. The coupons appear with pictures of coffee drinks and the headline “We’re Sorry.” Starbucks, which has pledged to conduct racial bias training for its 175,000 workers, said the coupons are “completely false and in no way associated with Starbucks.”

A worker called the police on the men while they waited for someone to join them for a business meeting, saying they had not purchased anything and refused to leave.

Wells Fargo Reportedly Close to $1 Billion Settlement

The Free Press WV

This won’t break the bank. But it’s the latest in a series of defeats for Wells Fargo, which saw a retail banking scandal two years ago and is now looking at a record $1 billion fine for what federal regulators say were lending abuses and bad risk management.

In 2016, the bank paid $185 million in fines after opening millions of accounts for customers without their consent.

The details of the settlement, which could also include more scrutiny on compensation for certain employees, are expected to be released.    Reuters

Oil, gas drilling in pristine Alaska refuge takes step ahead

The Free Press WV

The Trump administration is moving toward oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, fulfilling a longtime Republican priority that most Democrats fiercely oppose.

A notice being published Friday in the Federal Register starts a 60-day review to sell oil and gas leases in the remote refuge, one of the most pristine areas in the United States and home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other species.

President Donald Trump has said he “really didn’t care” about opening a portion of the refuge to oil drilling but insisted it be included in recent tax legislation at the urging of others.

Addressing fellow Republicans at a GOP conference in West Virginia in February, Trump said a friend told him that every Republican president since Ronald Reagan wanted to get oil drilling approved in the refuge.

“I really didn’t care about it, and then when I heard that everybody wanted it — for 40 years, they’ve been trying to get it approved, and I said, ‘Make sure you don’t lose ANWR,’” Trump said.

President Bill Clinton vetoed a GOP plan to allow drilling in the refuge in 1995, and Democrats defeated a similar GOP proposal a decade later.

The plan being published Friday starts a 60-day environmental review that includes public meetings in Anchorage, Fairbanks and other sites, including three in northern Alaska.

Environmental groups denounced the plan and said it was “shameful” that it would be published on Earth Day — and the eighth anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the nation’s worst environmental disaster.

“The Trump administration’s reckless dash to expedite drilling and destroy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will only hasten a trip to the courthouse,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife. “We will not stand by and watch them desecrate this fragile landscape.”

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans said the drilling plan would help pay for tax cuts approved by Congress and signed by Trump in December. GOP lawmakers project at least $1 billion in revenue from drilling leases over 10 years.

Environmental groups and other critics call those projections wildly optimistic, saying low global oil prices and high exploration costs are likely to limit drilling revenue.

The administration plan calls for at least two major lease sales over the next decade in at least 400,000 acres each in the refuge’s coastal plain. Surface development would be limited to 2,000 acres.

NASA’s Tess spacecraft embarks on quest to find new planets

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NASA’s Tess spacecraft embarked Wednesday on a quest to find new worlds around neighboring stars that could support life.

Tess rode a SpaceX Falcon rocket through the evening sky, aiming for an orbit stretching all the way to the moon.

The satellite — the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or Tess — will scan almost the entire sky for at least two years, staring at the closest, brightest stars in an effort to find and identify any planets around them. Hundreds of thousands of stars will be scrutinized, with the expectation that thousands of exoplanets — planets outside our own solar system — will be revealed right in our cosmic backyard.

Rocky and icy planets, hot gas giants and, possibly, water worlds. Super-Earths between the sizes of Earth and Neptune. Maybe even an Earth twin.

“The sky will become more beautiful, will become more awesome” knowing there are planets orbiting the stars we see twinkling at night, said NASA’s top science administrator, Thomas Zurbuchen.

Discoveries by Tess and other missions, he noted, will bring us closer to answering questions that have lingered for thousands of years.

Does life exist beyond Earth? If so, is it microbial or more advanced?

But Tess won’t look for life. It’s not designed for that. Rather, it will scout for planets of all sorts, but especially those in the so-called Goldilocks or habitable zone of a star: an orbit where temperatures are neither too cold nor too hot, but just right for life-nourishing water.

The most promising candidates will be studied by bigger, more powerful observatories of the future, including NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, due to launch in another few years as the heir to Hubble. These telescopes will scour the planets’ atmospheres for any of the ingredients of life: water vapor, oxygen, methane, carbon dioxide.

“Tess will tell us where to look at and when to look,” said the mission’s chief scientist, George Ricker of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tess is the successor to NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, on its last legs after discovering a few thousand exoplanets over the past nine years.

Astronomers anticipate more than doubling Kepler’s confirmed planetary count of more than 2,600, once Tess’ four wide-view cameras begin scientific observations in early summer. Unlike Tess, Kepler could only scour a sliver of the sky.

The total exoplanet census currently stands at more than 3,700 confirmed, with another 4,500 on the not-yet-verified list. That’s a lot considering the first one popped up barely two decades ago.

Until about 25 years ago, the only known planets were in our own solar system, noted NASA’s director of astrophysics, Paul Hertz.

While Kepler has focused on stars thousands of light-years away, Tess will concentrate on our stellar neighbors, dozens or hundreds of light-years away. Most of Tess’ targets will be cool, common red dwarf stars, thought to be rich breeding grounds for planets.

To find the planets, Tess will use the same transit method employed by Kepler, watching for regular, fleeting dips in stellar brightness that would indicate a planet passing in front of its star. That’s the best astronomers can do for now.

By sticking to stars closer to home, it will be easier for Webb and other massive telescopes planned for space and Earth to sniff out possible signs of life in the atmosphere. It also will be more feasible for robotic explorers to set sail for these new worlds in the decades and centuries ahead.

For such a large undertaking, Tess is surprisingly compact and its mission relatively inexpensive at $337 million.

Smaller than a stacked washer-dryer, the 5-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide, 800-pound spacecraft (1.5-meters by 1.2-meters and 362 kilograms) is bound for an elongated orbit of Earth, with the far end skirting the orbit of the moon.

Tess should come within a few thousand miles of the lunar surface in mid-May. The moon’s gravity will help get the satellite in the right orbit and keep it there. The cameras will be off during the lunar flyby.

“No moon selfie,” said Robert Lockwood of Orbital ATK, which built Tess.

Alabama mayor: ‘Poop train’ finally empty; sludge gon

The Free Press WV

The last train car full of New York City sewage sludge that has stunk up a small Alabama community for more than two months has finally been emptied, the town’s mayor said this week.

For more than two months, the sludge has blown an unbearable stench throughout the tiny town of Parrish, Alabama, population 982.

All of the containers have now been emptied from the so-called Poop Train, Parrish Mayor Heather Hall said on social media Wednesday. Some of the containers are still at the site, awaiting shipment back to the northeast U.S., she said.

The sludge is a byproduct of New Yorkers’ excrement. It was shipped to the nearby Big Sky landfill. Hall said after a public outcry, the Norfolk Southern railroad required Big Sky to hire more truck drivers so the sludge could be removed from the train cars more quickly.

“Other towns and cities have been fighting this material in their towns for years,” Hall said in announcing the end of what she described as a nightmare. “While what happened in Parrish was, to our understanding, an unprecedented event, there are still small towns like Parrish fighting this situation on a smaller scale.”

Experts say some cities send their waste to Alabama and other Southern states due to low landfill fees and lax zoning laws. New York has discontinued shipments to Alabama for now.

New York City has a goal of sending “zero waste” to landfills by 2030, according to its long-term strategy “One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City.”

Environmental advocates say there’s nothing just about a city dumping waste in poor communities that lack the political clout to stop it. In Alabama, residents of tiny Parrish say they felt blindsided by the sudden horrid smells that enveloped their town in late January.

“Would New York City like for us to send all our poop up there forever?” said Sherleen Pike, who lives about a half-mile from the railroad track in Parrish. She’s been dabbing peppermint oil under her nose because the smell is so bad.

It has become more challenging and costly for New York City to dispose of its sewage sludge in recent years, city documents show.

New York was forced to find new methods after the federal government in 1988 banned the city’s longtime practice of dumping it in the ocean.

In recent years, New York City contractors had dumped the waste at landfills relatively close to the city, but those landfills have significantly reduced the amount of waste they will accept, according to a city budget document.

Sending it to other communities also has prompted complaints about the smell. Two landfills in Pennsylvania, for instance, quit accepting sludge from New York City after odor complaints and violations, according to the documents.

New York City projects higher disposal costs through fiscal year 2020, partly because the waste will have to be transported farther away from the city.

In her Facebook post announcing that the last container of sludge had been removed, Hall remarked, “This material does not need to be in a populated area ... period.”

“It greatly diminishes the quality of life for those who live anywhere near it.”

Researchers Gave Baboons a Tool. They Used It to Escape

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Animal researchers saw the 55-pound barrel as an “enrichment tool.“ Baboons, to whom it was given, apparently saw only a means for escape. Indeed, four baboons briefly escaped the Texas Biomedical Research Institute Saturday after propping a barrel against a wall of their open-air enclosure and using it to hop to the other side, per the San Antonio Express-News. “One of the baboons said, ‘I am going to try to make this leap,‘ and jumped on top of the wall and out,“ the Washington Post quotes an official as saying. In what he calls “typical monkey see, monkey do” behavior, three other baboons followed suit. The animals didn’t have long to enjoy their freedom, though: One returned to the enclosure on its own, while the others were tracked down within 30 minutes.

Two were captured near a tree line, but one reached a nearby road. A video shared by ABC News shows researchers chasing a baboon as cars whiz by. A passerby tells KSAT she saw “four guys clapping at the bushes. I just went about driving and then all of a sudden this brown big mass pops out.“ Luckily the escaped baboons are doing well, and they weren’t involved in any infectious disease research at the institute, where new vaccines and medicines are developed. But the barrels, which were to help the baboons mimic foraging behavior, will be removed to prevent future escapes. Noting the facility has housed baboons for more than 50 years—it currently has 1,100—a rep says “this was truly a unique incident,“ per the BBC.

Former President George HW Bush buoyed by tributes to wife

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In his first public comments since his wife’s death, former President George H.W. Bush said Wednesday that he used to tease his spouse of 73 years that he had a complex about how much people liked her.

That fact, he said, is buoyed by stories about Barbara Bush’s warmth and wit following her death. Tributes have rolled in from around the world, from former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to a U.S. Navy commander, who recalled Mrs. Bush handing out cookies to sailors on a battleship.

“I always knew Barbara was the most beloved woman in the world, and in fact I used to tease her that I had a complex about that fact,” the nation’s 41st president said in a statement released Wednesday.

His wife died Tuesday as their Houston home, where he held her hand, all day, before she died at age 92. They had been married longer than any other presidential couple.

The former president referred to his wife as “The Enforcer,” a term of endearment bestowed by her family as she ran their household while he pursued careers in the Texas oil business and later politics and public service. He said the outpouring of support and friendship toward his wife following her death “is lifting us all up.”

Their son, former President George W. Bush, told an audience at his presidential library in Dallas on Wednesday that his mother was “funny to the end.” He recalled a phone conversation they had this week.

“The day before she died, I said ‘Mom, I just want you know you’ve been a fabulous mother and I love you dearly.’ And she said, ‘I want you to know that you’re my favorite son — on the phone,’” Bush told the audience.

“I hope you don’t feel sorry for any of us, particularly me,” he added. He said he was at peace because his mother was at peace. “She believes in an afterlife and was joyously looking forward to that afterlife,” he said.

A tearful Laura Bush added that watching her mother-in-law taught her “how to be a first lady, and I’m so grateful for her example.”

Other tributes heralded the former first lady as a warm woman of strength devoted to not only her family, but to child and adult literacy programs.

Current first lady Melania Trump, who will attend Barbara Bush’s funeral on Saturday in Houston, praised her for putting “family and country above all else.” Among her greatest achievements, President Donald Trump added in a statement, “was recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection.”

Gorbachev, whose last years in office overlapped George H.W. Bush’s presidency, remembered Barbara Bush as warm and astute, saying “she immediately developed a warm relationship” with his wife. Gorbachev visited with the Bushes at the former president’s library at Texas A&M University, where Barbara Bush will be buried.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram to the former president offering his condolences.

Kuwaiti leader Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah sent letters of condolence to the Bush family, according to the state-run news agency KUNA. The Arab nation has long celebrated George H.W. Bush for securing its freedom from Iraqi occupation in the 1991 Gulf War, and Barbara Bush was warmly welcomed when she visited Kuwait in 1993 and 2001.

Former President Barack Obama said he and former first lady Michelle Obama would always be grateful to Barbara Bush “for the generosity she showed to us throughout our time in the White House.”

“But we’re even more grateful for the way she lived her life — as a testament to the fact that public service is an important and noble calling; as an example of the humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit,” Obama said.

Former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter called Mrs. Bush the “matriarch of a family dedicated to serving.”

Barbara Bush’s funeral will be held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, which she and her husband regularly attended. The church will host a public viewing Friday. The funeral Saturday will be by invitation only.

An “uplifting celebration” of Barbara Bush’s life will be held Thursday evening outside Houston City Hall. City officials encouraged people to wear blue, her favorite color, along with pearls, which became her signature neckwear jewelry. City Hall was being bathed in blue lights in her honor.

Teacher Set to Lose His Job Over Whole-Grain Pancakes

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Kyle Byler is a beloved 8th-grade teacher at Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Hand Middle School and says his students “worked their butts off” during last week’s standardized testing. While they were focusing on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, he plugged in an electric griddle and made each kid a single whole-grain pancake to eat during the test. He’s likely to be fired for it, reports Lancaster Online. Per Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) stats, all but 5% of Hand’s students hail from low-income families, and “for some, whole-grain pancakes may be the only hot meal they’ve gotten that day,“ says Lancaster Education Association president Jason Molloy. But after the assistant principal walked into the class during the test, Byler was told he’d be fired for causing a distraction.

The 38-year-old teacher, who has been with the school as a social studies teacher since 2013, says that’s hogwash. “I don’t understand what I did wrong. There was no infraction whatsoever.“ To wit, the PDE has no rule that bans making or serving food during the testing, though a rep for the department said that making the pancakes could have hindered Byler’s ability to “actively” monitor the testing. Though more than two dozen students staged a 2-hour protest on Friday, Lancaster Online reports the school board is expected to green light Byler’s termination at its Tuesday-night meeting. Lancaster Online’s Facebook post on the issue is full of comments in support of Byler, with many recalling being fed snacks by teachers during their own testing, and one noting, “this is as stupid as the lunch ladies that have gotten fired at other schools for paying for school lunches for kids.“

U.S. Grocery Stores Graded on Food Waste, and One Gets an ‘F’

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As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s apparently not an adage that America’s grocery stores have taken to heart, at least according to a new report from the Center for Biological Diversity and the Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign. They scored 10 US supermarkets on their efforts to reduce food waste and conclude that “unfortunately, US grocers focus on donating and recycling food waste, rather than preventing it—and they’re not even tracking food waste throughout their entire operations.“ And they’re certainly not reporting it, something the organizations see as key to accountability. Of the 10, only Ahold Delhaize (the company behind Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Peapod, etc.) publicly reports it. How the various chains did on Accountability, Prevention, and Recovery & Recycling, out of a possible score of 60:

  1. Walmart: B, 32
  2. Ahold Delhaize: C, 26
  3. Kroger: C, 24
  4. Albertsons: C, 22
  5. Target: D, 17
  6. Trader Joe’s: D, 16
  7. Whole Foods: D, 14
  8. Costco: D, 14
  9. Publix: D, 11
  10. ALDI: F, 7

The report does identify some missed opportunities and offer recommendations, including:

  • ALDI has a “strong food-waste reduction program” in place in the UK but hasn’t replicated those efforts in the US yet.
  • Trader Joe’s and Costco rely on bulk-purchasing business models but haven’t extended those models to include whole crop purchases.
  • As evidence of the lack of understanding about the issue, the report notes that one company touted its use of “buy-one get-one free” specials as a way to reduce waste by unloading products near their expiration date. But “data shows that buy-one-get-one-free offers are correlated with food waste through over-purchasing.“
  • The report recommends the companies commit to zero surplus food waste by 2025, which one—Kroger—has done.
See the report in full at Medium.

‘Friendly’ African Warthog Captured in Florida

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African warthogs, not surprisingly, are not native to Florida so state wildlife officials are investigating how one wound up loose in a suburban neighborhood. Per the AP, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officials told that it captured the tusky animal last month after a five-day search about 50 miles north of West Palm Beach. That included failed attempts to capture it with traps and a rope snare before a wildlife officer spotted it and tackled it. The newspaper reports the officer got some cuts on his legs in the process. Under state law, owning a warthog requires a permit but no one in that area had one. Officials said the beast is tame and is friendly when offered food.

California Rejects Border Duties for Its National Guard Troops

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California has rejected the federal government’s initial plans for National Guard troops to the border because the work is considered too closely tied to immigration enforcement, two US officials tell the AP. The state informed federal officials it will not allow its troops to fix and repair vehicles, operate remotely-controlled surveillance cameras to report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol, operate radios, and provide “mission support,“ which can include clerical work, buying gas and handling payroll, according to officials with knowledge of the talks who spoke condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. The state’s position infuriated some federal officials because the restrictions California officials wanted to impose on what the state’s troops would not do were considered onerous, the officials said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown last week pledged 400 troops to the Guard’s third large-scale border mission since 2006, allowing President Trump to boast support from all four border-state governors and helping put him above the lower end of his threshold of marshaling 2,000 to 4,000 troops that he wants as a border security mission. But the Democratic Brown conditioned his support by insisting that California’s troops have nothing to do with immigration enforcement. He was not specific about jobs his troops would or would not perform or how he would distinguish between immigration-related work and going after criminal gangs and drug and gun smugglers. Talks between US and California officials soured Friday and over the weekend after state authorities told federal officials that they would not participate in the above-mentioned jobs outlined for an initial phase across the border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, the officials said. The other border-state governors—all Republicans—have openly embraced Trump’s plans.

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