Environment

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Pez diablo: "devil fish." That's what locals in the Mexican state of Tabasco call the armored catfish that has invaded their waters.

Also known as suckermouths, the species is popular with aquarium owners because the fish eats the algae that pollute tanks. But in the wild, that same behavior erodes shorelines and devastates underwater plant life.

A Mexican social enterprise called Acari is trying to do something about it — by creating a taste for these aquatic terrors.

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The Environmental Protection Agency employs more than fifteen thousand workers and spends eight billion dollars a year. The Trump administration thinks the EPA is too big and doing too much.

The agency’s new leader, Scott Pruitt, has been undoing much of President Obama’s legacy on climate change, refocusing the EPA on a more conservative agenda.

This archipelago in the Gulf of Alaska is home to one of the busiest commercial fishing ports in the country. Inside the Ocean Beauty seafood plant in Kodiak, where a maze of conveyer belts carry gutted salmon past workers in hairnets and gloves, manager James Turner ticks off everything that contributes to his monthly electricity bill: canning machines, pressure cookers, freezers lights.

"We use a lot of power here," he says.

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Among the many buildings destroyed in Northern California wildfires this week, was a nonprofit private school that serves 125 students who have autism.

Anova school — located in Santa Rosa, Calif., inside the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts — serves students age 5 to 22 who have been diagnosed "with high functioning autism, social and emotional challenges, learning differences, and other neurodevelopmental impairments," according to the school website.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it will let farmers keep spraying the weedkilling chemical dicamba on Monsanto's new dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. The decision is a victory for the biotech giant and the farmers who want to use the company's newest weedkilling technology.

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Friday News Roundup - Domestic

Oct 13, 2017

The biggest news stories this week included President Trump questioning news networks’ broadcasting licenses, proposing an IQ test for him and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and escalatingd his feud with Senator Bob Corker, but there was some movement on actual policy and governance.

The speed and ferocity of the wildfires raging through Northern California's wine country have caught many residents off guard and left state officials scrambling to contain the flames.

But for fire researchers, these devastating blazes are part of a much larger pattern unfolding across the Western United States. So far this year, fires in the U.S. have consumed more than 8.5 million acres — an area bigger than the state of Maryland.

If the mayor of Paris holds sway, gas-powered cars will be gone from her city by 2030. Instead, citizens will get around via public transport, bicycles, and electric cars — and Paris will be on its way to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo's call on Thursday for an end to petrol-fueled cars on Paris roads by 2030 follows a previously announced plan to eliminate diesel cars from the city by 2024, when Paris will host the Summer Olympics.

Air pollution in counties of the San Francisco Bay Area this week has been the worst since 1999 when officials began collecting data.

"The pollution is so high it's comparable to high pollution days in China," says Lisa Fasano at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The worst hour so far was measured on Tuesday in Napa, Calif., with an Air Quality Index of 404 for small particulate matter — so high it's off the chart, as you can see below.

On Capitol Hill Thursday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry defended a controversial proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants. "There's no such thing as a free market in energy," he said in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "Governments are picking winners and losers every day."

It was a remarkable statement, coming days after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt derided such tipping of the scales as he moved to repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

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It's in the name Old Faithful, the geyser in Yellowstone National Park that blows over a hundred feet in the air every 90 minutes or so. It's enchanted millions of visitors for generations.

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On Fire, Out West

Oct 12, 2017

Wildfires continue to spread in the western United States, blazing through nearly every state west of the Rockies and leaving at least 17 people dead in California.

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EMILY COCKS: We were asleep, and my husband woke up. And I looked at my phone. It was 12:42. And I stood up and looked out the window, and the entire ridge across from our house was on fire.

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In Ticino, Switzerland, the streets aren't paved with gold. But the sewage pipes are packed with it.

And across the country as a whole, some $3 million worth of gold and silver is thrown out in wastewater every year.

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is vowing to speed the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites, part of a shift away from climate change and toward what he calls the "basics" of clean air and water. The EPA's Superfund program manages the cleanup of some of the most toxic waste sites. Pruitt says the EPA will soon name a top 10 list of sites to focus on.

One potential site for that list is the Tar Creek Superfund site in far northeast Oklahoma, where a team of agency officials recently visited.

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More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, the island's power grid remains in shambles, and authorities say it will take months to fully restore electricity.

Nearly 90 percent of the island is still without power, which means millions of people remain without electricity weeks after the storm, says José H. Román Morales, president of Puerto Rico's Energy Commission, which regulates the island's electric power authority.

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