Skip to main content

Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

A glacier in Antarctica gets a new name and, once more, environmental regulations are under threat.
Victoria Land, Antarctica.

Victoria Land, Antarctica.

This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you stories on the exploitation of traditional Native American knowledge, California's plan to insure its natural environment against disasters linked to climate change, and the damning ethical lapses behind Netflix's Afflicted.

Here are a few more stories we've been following this week.

Maryland Is Going to Court Over the EPA's Rejection of Coal Emission Limits

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency denied a petition from Maryland demanding that the agency impose greater limitations on coal power plant emissions in upwind states, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The petition requested reductions in emissions from power plants in Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. In a statement, Maryland's congressional delegation called the EPA's decision a "dereliction of duty," and noted that the ozone pollution the emissions cause make it more difficult to protect vulnerable populations such as children and older adults. The EPA "fails to recognize that pollution does not stop at state borders," the delegation wrote. Now, the state is working on an appeal to the District of Columbia's Court of Appeals to overturn the decision.

The Trump Administration Is Going After More Greenhouse Gas Rules

First came carbon dioxide. Then came methane. Now, the Washington Post reports, the federal government is going after regulations for the organic compounds known as hydrofluorocarbons. The EPA announced this week its intention to undo rules that prevent the leaking and venting of these compounds from air conditioning and refrigerating units, claiming its new rule (which hasn't been finalized yet) would save companies millions in regulatory costs.

"This is climate vandalism," David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council told the Post. "They're just going through all these things that Obama did and trying to destroy them all."

A Glacier in Antarctica Has Been Quietly Renamed Following a sexual Harassment Scandal

The United States' Board on Geographic Names has given a new name to the glacier formerly known as Marchant, Earther reports. A recent Boston University investigation found that geologist David Marchant had sexually harassed a graduate student while they were doing fieldwork in Antarctica in 1999 and 2000.

The student, Jane Willenbring, now teaches at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Marchant, who has denied Willenbring's allegations, is currently on administrative leave from BU. In response to a proposal to rename Marchant Glacier, the board has officially changed the name to Matataua, for nearby Matataua Peak.

Willenbring told Earther she commends the board's decision: "Maybe to some people it would be a small thing," she said, "but any kind of acknowledgement gives people power."