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Trump’s EPA rolls back Obama-era regulations on coal; four men are charged in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
Trump cuts Obama-era climate change regulations
- The Trump administration is rolling back ambitious climate change regulations that were set under President Obama. [Vox / Umair Irfan]
- The new rule eliminates Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which ordered states to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, ultimately forcing them to switch from coal to natural gas and renewable energy. Rather than eliminate coal power, President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule encourages making power plants more efficient to drive carbon dioxide reductions. [Politico / Alex Guillén]
- The administration’s reasoning behind the rollback of the CPP: EPA was overstepping its boundaries by setting national restrictions on carbon emissions. [AP / Ellen Knickmeyer]
- Some, however, are concerned that this new rule violates the Clean Air Act, which asserts that EPA has to limit greenhouse gases if they pose a threat to public health. New York Attorney General Letitia James has already said her state and others plan to challenge the rule in court. [CNN / Ellie Kaufman]
- Experts are worried that the Affordable Clean Energy rule will tie the hands of future administrations from taking more radical stances against the growing threat of climate change. [NYT / Lisa Friedman]
- Rather than let the government set regulations, the new rule assumes that the forces of the market will naturally guide the country to a future of clean energy. [Washington Post / Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis]
- Though the use of coal has been declining, scientists say emissions need to be reduced drastically to help combat what they say is an existential threat from climate change. [NPR / Jeff Brady]
Did Russia have a hand in a plane crash that killed 298?
- Four people have been charged with murder in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 five years ago, which killed all 298 people on board. [NYT / Andrew E. Kramer]
- Three Russians with close ties to Russian intelligence and one Ukranian were charged, and international arrest warrants have been issued. [WSJ / James Marson]
- The most notable figure of the four is Igor Girkin, a former colonel in Russia’s FSB intelligence service. As minister of defense in a rebel-held Ukrainian city, he was the highest-ranking military officer in the area who was in direct contact with the Russian Federation. [BBC]
- The two other Russians, Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, are linked to the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence unit. The Ukranian, Leonid Kharchenko, has no military background but led a separatist combat unit in eastern Ukraine. [Washington Post / Anton Troianovski]
- A brief history lesson: After Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in 2014, Russian troops invaded Crimea, a region in eastern Ukraine that was later annexed. Fighting has continued ever since, and these Russian-backed separatists have long been suspected of shooting down the plane. [NYT / Richard Pérez-Peña]
- The Dutch-led investigation team, which included officials from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, and Ukraine, said trials will begin March 9, 2020. It has asked for the cooperation of Russia, which has denied any involvement in the plane crash. [CNN / Bianca Britton]
- Without Moscow’s help, it’s unlikely that prosecutors can get their hands on the suspects who are currently in Russia because the country’s constitution does not allow the extradition of nationals. [BBC]
- Society has taught us to strive for high self-esteem. But is the pursuit worth making ourselves miserable? [Vice / Shayla Love]
- Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, is the first Native American to become a US poet laureate. Her work confronts a society that tries to erase the experience of indigenous people, she said. [NYT / Concepción de León]
- An emaciated polar bear was found roaming the streets of a Russian city. Blame climate change, which is pushing animals to leave their usual habitats in search of food. [Fox News / Christopher Carbone]
- Google helped create the Silicon Valley housing crisis. Now it’s pledged $1 billion to help ease the problem. [The Verge / Sean Hollister]
- New York’s transit system banned a company’s ads for female-focused sex toys. The company is now suing, alleging free speech violations by the MTA. [CNN / Sara Ashley O’Brien]
“The Trump Administration’s outrageous Dirty Power Scam is a stunning giveaway to big polluters, giving dirty special interests the greenlight to choke our skies, poison our waters and worsen the climate crisis.” [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement on the new Affordable Clean Energy rule]
Watch this: Vox Borders: India is coming next week!
Vox Borders: India launches Wednesday, June 26, 2019. [YouTube / Johnny Harris]