THE LIGHTBULB Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler announces that new coal-fired power stations no longer have to meet the planned, stricter emission standards of the Obama era, during a press conference at the EPA headquarters in Washington in December. (AP Photo / Cliff Owen) The Sierra Club, one of the country's oldest environmental organizations, led a vocal campaign to drive Scott Pruitt away by helping to reveal various managerial and ethical errors by the former chief of the Environmental Protection Agency . Now with a recent ruling from the court, the group hopes that they can apply the same level of control to the replacement of Pruitt. In a December 26 ruling, the US district court ordered the release of about 20,000 emails from industry groups and 25 Trump officials – including acting chief Andrew Wheeler – in the next 10 months, along with calendars and other documents. With that timeline of 10 months starting as soon as the federal government reopens, the decision that the Sierra Club and other environmentalists expect to learn much more about the earlier work of Wheeler and that of other upcoming EPA delegates in the coming year. The first series of emails to be released concerns, for example, communication between the bureau and coal giant Murray Energy, for whom Wheeler once worked as a lobbyist, along with Wheeler's former employer Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting. The Sierra Club continued to release the reports after the EPA could not meet the Freedom of Information Act requests in time. It successfully submitted to the court that documents relating to Wheeler, which President Trump said he wants to nominate to run the agency permanently, should be made public as soon as possible. "This is a big win for the transparency and responsibility of the government," said Elena Saxonhouse, senior lawyer at the Sierra Club. "FOIA really requires that you get these documents from applicants within a time frame where they are still useful." The court rejected EPA's arguments that it was too overwhelmed by FOIA requests to respond to the legal deadlines. Informs the administrator's office of the EPA, for example, jumped from 203 during fiscal 2016 to 1,045 in the next 12 months, after Trump took office. The office had originally asked the court to complete the requests until 2022 – halfway through the next presidential term. The Sierra Club is also looking for documents from Bill Wehrum, the former corporate lawyer chosen by Trump to lead the Office of Air and Radiation of the EPA; Nancy Beck, a former lobby of the chemical industry that now serves as one of the top officials in the field of chemical safety and pollution prevention; and Albert "Kell" Kelly, a former head of a task force, wanted to reinvigorate the EPA toxic cleansing program, which once received a lifetime ban from the banking sector. The 127-year-old environmental group has become one of the strongest critics of the Trump government on environmental issues. During the time that Pruitt was working, the gust of the Sierra Club public archives revealed a pleasant relationship between Pruitt and company managers in industries that regulate the EPA. Earlier e-mails received by the group showed that Pruitt used government funds to buy a used mattress from the hotel in Trump's Washington and to arrange a Chick-fil-A franchise for his wife . Those and other news stories about the ethical and administrative negligence of Pruitt led the White House to request dismissal from Pruitt in July. The American magistrate judge Elizabeth D. Laporte quoted the departure of Pruitt – and Wheeler's later increase to the top of the agency – as one of the "persuasive reasons for the urgency" of the Sierra Club's requests for documents that relate to him. You read The Energy 202, our must-read-tipsheet about energy and the environment. No fixed subscriber?
THERMOMETER – GHG emissions in the US have risen in 2018: greenhouse gas emissions in the United States have risen by 3.4 percent last year, the latest findings being that scientists warn the world about emissions reductions to mitigate the effects of climate change to go. It could not happen at a worse time: the findings of the independent economic research agency Rhodium Group mean that the nation can meet even less the standards laid down in the climate agreement 2015 by The Post, Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis. "The findings also underline how the world's second-largest emitter, once a global leader in urging climate action, has not taken the trouble to mitigate the effects of a warming world," Mooney and Dennis write. Why it happened: "The strong increase in emissions was mainly fueled by a booming economy, researchers found, but the rise, which could be the second largest in the last 20 years, would probably not have been so strong without Roll back Trump, said Trevor Houser, a partner at Rhodium. "Women walk in the midst of a heat wave in Tokyo on July 23, 2018. (Kyodo News via Getty Images) – Man it's a hot one: last year was the fourth warmest year ever according to the Copernicus Climate Service funded by the European Union, Axios reports. The European agency found that the average world temperatures by more than 0.4 degrees Celsius or 0.72 degrees Fahrenheit were higher than the average in 1981-2010, so the last five years almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit are warmer than the pre-industrial average. What do American scientists say: we do not yet know, because NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have not yet released their figures during the partial closure by the government. Debris that in the Chesapeake Bay has been washed away from the record rains that surround a sailboat in Annapolis, Md. Hopping (AP Photo / Brian White, File) – Chesapeake Bay stumbles: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation gave a D rating for the bay, the first time in ten years that the health of the bay has diminished, reports Rachel Chason of The Post . The foundation publishes a report every two years. The decrease was partly the result of precipitation in the regional area that led to increased pollution and low water clarity. "Simply put, the bay suffered a massive attack in 2018," said William Baker, the foundation's president, at a press conference on Monday. "The continuous improvement of the bay was undone in 2018, and showed how fragile recovery is." POWER PLAYS The Pavilion Clock Tower in the old post office, which remains open during the partial elimination of the government, can be seen above the Trump International Hotel, Friday 4 January. , 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon) – "This smells bad at least": Ethics watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed an FOIA request asking for an explanation of why the historical clock tower the Trump International Hotel in Washington remained open despite the closure of the government. The tower is a National Park Service facility and was opened on Friday, reports the Associated Press. "The Trump administration seems to have done its best to keep the attraction in the federal building that houses the Trump hotel open and staffed with Rangers from the National Park Service, even though other federal agencies close everything but the most essential services , "AP reports. CREW has filed a request with the General Services Administration, owner of the Trump hotel, for additional information on the opening of the tower, how it is financed and whether there was communication between the office and the Trump organization regarding the facility . A cyclist uses the bicycle lane on 15th Street near the White House in Washington when the snow begins to fall. (AP Photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais) – How the shutdown can affect your weather forecast: while the National Weather Service is considered critical during the partial shutdown of the government, Angela Fritz of The Post reports that the shutdown of the service and activities on influences important ways, with effects that can last themselves after the shutdown. Predictors and managers work without paying, which makes a stressful job even more. "Weather models are not maintained, launched or improved, and emergency managers are not trained", writes Fritz. A new global forecasting model that starts in February is likely to be delayed and the current system runs badly without someone on deck being able to repair it. – NOAA nominee resigns from his company: Trump's candidate for leading the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has resigned from his post as the officer and director of AccuWeather, the company announced last week. Barry Lee Myers also sold all his interest in the company and its sub-units. Myers, who has been waiting for confirmation for more than a year, will have to wait a bit because Trump will have to appoint Myers again after the senate has not confirmed him before the end of the last conference. – Door turns: Former House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) And former Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) Have new lobby performances at Washington lobby firm Akin Gump, the company announced Monday. Smith will join as a senior consultant, while Ros-Lehtinen joins as a senior adviser. OIL CHECK Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey speaks at the Democratic Party Convention in Massachusetts in 2018 in Worcester, Massachusetts (AP Photo / Elise Amendola, File) – High court rejects Exxon effort to block climate research: the Supreme Court refused a Massachusetts Monday stop research on the actions of ExxonMobil in the field of climate change, pave the way for the public prosecutor of the state to obtain internal data of the company. The Supreme Court refused the oil giant's appeal to an earlier ruling that Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts had the power to request documents and statements to investigate whether Exxon investors and the public were misled by climate change, reports Reuters. DAYBOOK Today the annual conference of the National Council for Science and the Environment 2019 will be continued. Coming Up The Center for Strategic and International Studies is organizing an event on "The launch of the Stephenson Ocean Security Project" on Wednesday. The USAID holds an event on Wednesday about "Emerging Markets for American smart grid suppliers and investors in Africa, Asia and Latin America". The Environmental and Energy Study Institute organizes an event on "Reframing Energy for the 21st Century" on Friday. EXTRA MILEAGE – "Let's go guys": hours before Gavin Newsom was sworn in as the new California governor, his predecessor Jerry Brown left with a few friends from the governor's office: šŸ‘‹ @JerryBrownGov departs from the governor's office (with some assistance from Cali and @ColusaBrown)– Governor Newsom Press Office (@GovPressOffice) 7 January 2019