FROM Scott Edwards
Can Cap-and-Trade Survive a Papal Denunciation? A papal encyclical is the highest form of teaching from one of the world's most powerful religious leaders. Pope Francis' message on climate change insists there's a moral imperative to save the Earth and serve the least among us by limiting greenhouse emissions. Part of the argument is a critique of the cap-and-trade system, which is basic to California's war against air pollution — and it took many environmentalists by surprise.
Is 'Factory Farming' a Danger to Public Health? Twenty-five hundred cows produce as much waste as a city the size of Miami; many new, so-called "factory" farms are larger than that. Factory farms, officially called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFO's, are on the rise, with thousands of cattle, pigs and poultry all in the same space, producing millions of gallons of waste. But the waste from animals is not regulated like human waste, and there's widespread concern that it's polluting water supplies in many places. Now the EPA is under fire for failing even to gather enough information to find out how big the problem might be.
Coal: A Necessary Evil? Twenty-five miners are known to have died in this week's massive explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. The effort to rescue four men still unaccounted for may be a lost cause. Even before this week's tragedy, the Obama Administration took aim at surface coal mining with a new set of environmental regulations. The loss of human life in the Upper Big Branch mine will likely produce new safety measures for methane gas deep underground. The coal industry and miners themselves claim new rules threaten their economic survival. Can coal mining be made safer and cleaner, or does America's appetite for energy mean putting up with so-called "hidden costs?"
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?