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Bipartisan group defends sequoia tree bill in California despite environmental groups’ opposition

Bipartisan group defends sequoia tree bill in California despite environmental groups’ opposition

Science
June 23 (UPI) -- A bipartisan trio of lawmakers defended the "Save Our Sequoias Act" on Thursday despite more than 80 environmental groups signing a letter to Congress opposing the act earlier this month. The bill introduced on Wednesday is aimed at expediting reforestation and protection efforts in California's Sequoia National Forest. But more than 80 environmental organizations signed a letter to members of Congress earlier this month, arguing that the bill could do even more damage to giant sequoias by weakening environmental regulations. "Protecting the iconic Giant Sequoias is an important goal, but this legislation would weaken existing environmental law to expedite potentially harmful logging projects that undermine the ecological integrity of sequoia groves and will do nothing to...
Brazil cuts environment budget despite climate summit pledge

Brazil cuts environment budget despite climate summit pledge

Science
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has approved a cut to the environment ministry budget a day after he vowed to boost spending to tackle deforestation.At a US-led climate summit, he promised to double the money reserved for environmental enforcement and to end illegal deforestation by 2030.But the budget signed off on Friday did not include his spending pledge, or additional proposals made by Congress.His government has weakened protections and wants to develop protected areas.Critics say the president's promises on Thursday were linked to a controversial deal Brazil is negotiating with the US to receive financial aid in return for protecting the Amazon, the world's largest rainforest, and other areas.Illegal Amazon rainforest plots sold on FacebookAmazon under threat: Fires, loggers and v...
Co-op to pay bonuses despite withholding £65m in state funds

Co-op to pay bonuses despite withholding £65m in state funds

Business
The Co-op Group is to hand annual bonuses to senior executives despite refusing to repay £65m in business rates relief it received from the government to support it through the pandemic.Sky News can reveal that the mutual's remuneration committee has decided to reward chief executive Steve Murrells and senior colleagues for their work last year - a move that insiders say could spark a fierce backlash from members and employees. The size of the bonuses to be handed to executives will be disclosed in the Co-op's annual report in the coming weeks, and was unclear on Thursday. Image: Tesco led the way in repaying business rates relief Confirming a report by Sky News, the Co-op said it would give back only part of the state support it rece...

The U.S. solar industry posted record growth in 2020 despite Covid-19, new report finds

Finance
Peter Cade | Stone | Getty ImagesU.S. solar installations reached a record high during 2020 as favorable economics, supportive policies and strong demand in the second half of the year offset the impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.Installations grew 43% year over year during 2020, reaching a record 19.2 gigawatts of new capacity, according to a report released Tuesday from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenize.During the fourth quarter alone, the U.S. added slightly more than 8 gigawatts of capacity — a new quarterly record. To put the number in context, during all of 2015, 7.5 gigawatts were added. One gigawatt is enough to power roughly 190,000 homes. The U.S. currently has 97.2 GW of total solar capacity installed, enough to power roughly 17.7 million homes.Calif...

US prison guards refusing vaccine despite COVID-19 outbreaks

Health
A Florida correctional officer polled his colleagues earlier this year in a private Facebook group: “Will you take the COVID-19 vaccine if offered?”The answer from more than half: “Hell no.” Only 40 of the 475 respondents said yes.In Massachusetts, more than half the people employed by the Department of Correction declined to be immunized. A statewide survey in California showed that half of all correction employees will wait to be vaccinated. In Rhode Island, prison staff have refused the vaccine at higher rates than the incarcerated, according to medical director Dr. Justin Berk. And in Iowa, early polling among employees showed a little more than half the staff said they’d get vaccinated.As states have begun COVID-19 inoculations at prisons across the country, corrections employees are ...