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Bonnie Wirtz was tending to her Minnesota farm one summer evening in 2012 when a crop duster buzzed low overhead. The aircraft sprayed chemicals on her property, missing its target next door. Soon the fumes seeped into her home through the air conditioner, and Wirtz wound up in an emergency room, coughing and bewildered and worried about the health of her 8-month-old son.

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Everyone’s talking about the Trump administration’s plan to repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. They should be. However, another alarming rollback and important anniversary are speeding by unnoticed. 

Oct. 15th was the 5th anniversary of the U.S. clean car standards. They’re cutting tailpipe pollution, boosting fuel efficiency in cars, saving families at the pump and helping combat the climate change that is making extreme weather like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria more destructive. 

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The Environmental Protection Agency is beefing up security measures surrounding Administrator Scott Pruitt to an unprecedented level, CNN has learned, as members of Congress are asking if the costs are a “potential waste or abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

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As head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Pruitt has spent more than $900,000 on expensive flights, unnecessary upgrades to his office, and a 24-hour security team. In addition to spending far more than his predecessors, Pruitt’s extravagant purchases have all served the same purpose: hiding him and his actions from the American people.

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I wrote my first story about the coal industry back in 2001, published a book called Big Coal in 2006 and have been following the industry ever since. And if there’s one central truth that I’ve learned during that time, it’s this: Virtually no coal industry leader, lobbyist or hack politician believes coal has a future in America. Everyone else knows it’s a dead industry walking. The only question now is how much money they can extract, and how much damage they can do to our health, our economy and the climate, before Big Coal sinks into the tar pit of history.

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