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Teacher Of the Year Challenges Trump On Immigration

Teacher of the Year hands Trump messages from young immigrants. WaPo: "Mandy Manning only had a moment with President Trump, but it was all she needed. Manning, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year recipient, had brought with her from Spokane, Wash., a stack of letters that her immigrant and refugee students wrote ahead of her trip to the White House, where she accepted the award Wednesday. The letters were addressed to the president, and all Manning wanted to do was give them to him. Some chronicled their experiences coming to the United States — from Syria, Iraq, Uganda, Burma, El Salvador — because they 'felt it was important for the president to understand the really rigorous and difficult process and length of time it takes to come to the United States as a refugee,' Manning said."

Zinke, Alexander Want Drilling in National Parks

Zinke and Lamar Alexander's big plan? We wust kill the planet to save the national parks. Common Dreams: "Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke joined with U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to argue that the best way to fix the national parks is by pillaging public lands for fossil fuels. Their CNN op-ed published Wednesday focuses on the $11.6 billion repair backlog the parks face—'our parks are being loved to death,' they write. They say revenue to address the infrastructure repairs can come through their proposed legislation, the National Park Restoration Act (S.2509). Lamar is the sponsor of the bipartisan legislation, which he introduced at the behest of Zinke, and as the Interior Department noted in a press release, it 'follows the blueprint laid out in Secretary Zinke and President Trump's budget proposal, the Public Lands Infrastructure Fund.​'"

Disgraced Banker Resigns As EPA Superfund Chief

EPA Superfund chief Kelly resigns amid ethics allegations. The Intercept:
"Albert Kelly, a ALBERT KELLY, A senior adviser to Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency, resigned Tuesday. Kelly, who was overseeing the agency’s Superfund program, left amid questions about his banking career. Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta, Pruitt’s head of security, also abruptly resigned, leading many to question whether Pruitt would be next. As The Intercept reported in December, Kelly was the chair of SpiritBank in Bristow, Oklahoma, until he was banned for life from the banking industry by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Kelly, or 'Kell' as he’s known by his friends, had provided several loans to Pruitt, including mortgages and funding for his share of a Triple-A baseball team, the Oklahoma City RedHawks. While Kelly was its chairman, SpiritBank became financially unstable and unable to pay back most of $30 million it received from the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program."

NC Launches Environmental Review Board

North Carolina is launching an environmental justice advisory board. ThinkProgress: "North Carolina is hoping to grapple with its long history of environmental injustices with the formation of an Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board, which will advise the state’s Department of Environmental Quality on issues related to environmental justice. 'I am excited to kick off a very important endeavor,' North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan told ThinkProgress via an emailed statement. 'One that we hope will change the way North Carolina strategically approaches and integrates environmental protection and social justice to ensure no North Carolinian is overlooked or left behind as we tackle the environmental challenges of the day.'"

U.S. Scientists Join France's "Make Our Planet Great Again" Program

Six more US scientists selected for Macron’s ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ program. The Hill: "French President Emmanuel Macron’s climate science initiative “Make Our Planet Great Again” has attracted six more U.S.-based scientists to do their research in Europe. CNN reported Wednesday that the six U.S.-based scientists were selected as part of a larger group of 14 given grants to study climate science and biodiversity. The grant winners hail from U.S. universities like Duke, Yale, Florida State and MIT. The $70 million initiative was created last year after President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement. The joint initiative between France and Germany offers the international community an opportunity to conduct their research at European institutions. Trump said he pulled out of the international agreement because it was “unfair” to U.S. interests. The U.S. is the only country in the world that is not supporting it."

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