Lawmakers question whether Ryan Zinke illegally mixed politics with official government travel

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s visit to a small town south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, less than three weeks before a special election, is drawing scrutiny to determine whether the official trip was really an opportunity to throw his support behind the Republican hoping to fill the open congressional seat.

Several politicians were on hand for the February event in East Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, reportedly organized to announce how much funding Pennsylvania will receive in abandoned...

Budget deal will help Puerto Rico prepare for future ‘extreme weather’ — but it’s not enough

A small shred of good news for protecting Puerto Ricans from future climate impacts appears to have snuck into the 2018 budget deal that Congress passed last week.

The two-year budget, signed by Trump last Friday, includes nearly $100 billion in funding for disaster recovery. Of this, $28 billion is given to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for disaster relief, long-term recovery, and mitigation efforts for those impacted by major disasters in 2017, such as Hurr...

Planes, horse reins, and helicopters: Ryan Zinke under scrutiny again for travel practices

“Shame on you for not respecting the office of a Member of Congress.”

That’s how the lead spokesperson for the Department of the Interior responded to a Politico reporter investigating her boss, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Ben Lefebvre, an energy reporter for Politico, wanted to learn more about Zinke’s use of government helicopters to travel to destinations within a reasonable driving distance from Washington.

Lefebvre reported Thursday that Zinke ...

To prevent climate catastrophe, Democrats need to learn a ruthless lesson from Senate GOP

Congressional Republicans, especially GOP senators led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have all but destroyed the possibility of bipartisan deal-making on major issues.

The widely criticized and wildly unpopular GOP tax bill is the inevitable byproduct of that destruction — but the end of a livable climate for America and the world is also inevitable unless Republicans become less ruthless or Democrats become more ruthless.

Murkowski ready to prioritize Arctic drilling over healthcare

In an op-ed published in a local Alaskan paper last week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced that she supports repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, saying that she “always supported the freedom to choose.”

Murkowski was a key vote in stopping repeal of the Affordable Care Act earlier this year, but there’s one crucial difference this time around: repealing the individual mandate is tied to the Republican’s tax bill, which also inclu...

Republican lawmaker who wants to abolish the EPA joins bipartisan climate caucus

A freshman Florida congressman, whose first piece of legislation would have abolished the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has joined the Climate Solutions Caucus, a group formed in early 2016 to bring Republicans and Democrats together to advance meaningful climate change legislation.

In February, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), introduced H.R. 861, which would “terminate” the EPA on December 31, 2018. Nine months later, the same Republican lawmaker is now a member of the Climate Sol...

Trump complains about the cost of the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico

Visiting Puerto Rico on Tuesday — the first time since a devastating hurricane hit two weeks ago — President Trump downplayed the criticism leveled at his administration’s slow response to the island’s crisis, while emphasizing the cost of recovery.

“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack — because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico,” Trump said in a press briefing. A beat later, he added, “...

Interior Department launches third investigation into Sec. Zinke’s alleged misconduct

From taking chartered flights for non-business-related matters to allegedly calling Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) to threaten her if she did support the Republicans’ attempt repeal Obamacare, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s alleged misconduct is under growing scrutiny not only from the press but from with his own agency.

Speaking at a right-wing think tank last Friday, Zinke vowed not to change his travel habits, but his defiance came as the Department of the Int...

Senate, House, and Trump all poised to rip open pristine Arctic landscape in hunt for oil

Forces in Congress are moving to open the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, bypassing debate by including the controversial move in the upcoming appropriations bill.

Alaska’s coastal plain, 1.5 million acres of protected land known as Area 1002, is the primary breeding ground for a unique herd of 195,000 porcupine caribou — which are, in turn, a staple for the indigenous Gwitchin tribe, who say their way of life would be irreparably change...

Puerto Rico faces a humanitarian crisis as Trump rants about the NFL

Puerto Rico is facing wide-scale humanitarian disaster following a brutal hurricane, but President Trump doesn’t seem to paying the situation much attention. Instead, he’s turned his focus to other issues — namely, Black athletes protesting police violence.

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico last week, killing at least 15 people and devastating the U.S. territory. The storm uprooted buildings and laid waste to the island’s infrastructure. The worst ...