FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mead Gruver for the Associated Press:The bankruptcy of yet another major coal company helps draws attention to plans for financially troubled coal companies to cover the potentially huge costs of filling and restoring to a natural state mines that sooner or later might permanently close amid the industry’s downturn.St. Louis-based Peabody filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday. Peabody’s mines include the top-producing coal mine in the U.S., the huge North Antelope Rochelle mine in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.The mine produced 118 million tons in 2014, some 12 percent of production nationwide. So far, recent coal-mine closures have beset the industry in the east, not out west.Bankruptcy reorganization doesn’t change Peabody’s commitment to ongoing reclamation as a routine part of surface mining or to ongoing talks with states and the federal government about long-term bonding obligations, spokeswoman Beth Sutton said.“We see our land restoration as an essential part of the mining process, take great pride in the work that we do and have been routinely recognized for these programs,” Sutton said by email.Advocacy groups, however, warn the recent bankruptcy of several companies including St. Louis-based Arch Coal and Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources could leave taxpayers responsible for billions in reclamation costs should a wave of coal-mine closures come to pass.“Bankruptcy should never be used as a haven for a huge corporation to escape its obligations to clean up its mines,” Bob LeResche, chairman of the Powder River Basin Resource Council said in a statement.A key issue is a practice called self-bonding. Self-bonding allows coal companies to open their books to regulators and promise to pay for mine cleanup in lieu of posting bond for mine reclamation up front.Peabody alone has more than $1 billion in self-bonding obligations in Wyoming, Illinois, Indiana, Colorado and New Mexico. Almost three-quarters of that amount, $728 million, would cover Peabody’s three mines in Wyoming. Coal mine self-bonding among the top 12 coal-producing states tops $3 billion.The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has reached bankruptcy-court agreements with Alpha Natural Resources and Arch that would ensure the state would get priority access to funds to cover those companies’ self-bonding obligations. The agreements would help Wyoming secure about 15 percent of Alpha Natural Resources’ $411 million and Arch Coal’s $486 million in self-bonding in the state.Such agreements help ensure the companies remain on adequate footing to keep their mines open and continue routine reclamation work that’s far below the need for total reclamation, Wyoming officials say.“We are reviewing the filing and will be having communication with the company,” Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Keith Guille said Wednesday. “Wyoming residents have not had to pay for reclamation to date.”The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, meanwhile, has been reviewing coal self-bonding in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Indiana and Illinois in recent months.Peabody Chapter 11, helps draw attention to coal reclamation Peabody Bankruptcy Draws Attention to Coal Reclamation Responsibilities
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享BY Maria Gallucci in International Business Times: At a public hearing in Casper, Wyoming, this week, local coal miners and environmentalists squared off inside a spacious auditorium. Coal supporters slapped on stickers and bracelets reading “Friends of Coal” and hoisted posters saying “Coal = Jobs.” Coal’s critics dubbed themselves “Climate Voters” and passed out pamphlets warning that burning coal imperils “our lands, our future.”The Wyoming standoff is part of a broader review process by the Obama administration that could transform a major slice of the U.S. coal industry. Officials are scrutinizing a decades-old program that allows private companies to mine coal on federal lands. The decision they make could ultimately raise the cost of extracting coal in certain regions and, as a result, encourage greater use of lower-carbon energy.The Casper hearing on Tuesday was the first of six such events to be held in coal-rich states in May and June. The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, which is leading the review, will use public comments for an environmental impact study — a process that could take up to three years to finish. The Obama administration — which ends in January — said it won’t issue new coal leases until the review is completed. “We have an obligation to current and future generations to ensure the federal coal program delivers a fair return to American taxpayers and takes into account its impact on climate change,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in January when announcing the review and moratorium.Coal companies, which largely oppose the program review, have argued that any revisions would only hurt an industry that’s facing its worst downturn in decades. At the meeting in Casper, Wyoming’s Republican governor, Matt Mead, railed against what he said was an attack on the U.S. coal sector.“This administration is pursuing an unrealistic vision of a world without coal,” he said after two hours of public comments, local media reported. “Instead they should pursue a realistic vision that recognizes coal’s place in the world, and should invest to make it better.”In the U.S., demand for the black rock is slowing and prices are plunging thanks to sluggish growth in China’s economy, stiff competition from natural gas and growing concerns about climate change and air and water pollution. Dozens of American mining companies, including industry giants like Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc., have filed for bankruptcy in recent months as their earnings declined and debt loads soared.Most of the major coal firms operate mines on public land, primarily in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin and other Western states. Roughly 40 percent of U.S. coal, especially in the West, comes from federal property, meaning any changes to the BLM program would likely affect coal pricing and regulations across the overall market, said Mark Squillace, a law professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder and natural resources expert.“Whatever the federal government decides to do will influence the market for coal generally, particularly in the Western U.S.,” he said. Mining companies still hold leases for roughly 20 years’ worth of recoverable coal reserves on federal lands, so a shortage isn’t likely, he added.The BLM now manages more than 300 active coal leases spanning about 475,000 acres in 10 states. The coal lease program began in 1920 to enable the government to offer up selected tracts of public lands, with private companies placing competitive bids to lease that coal-rich acreage.Over time, however, the program has largely transformed into a model of “lease by application,” in which an individual coal company submits its own proposal to mine on public land. Critics say this approach discourages competition and allows coal companies to secure prices well below what they would pay to mine on private property.The U.S. Government Accountability Office found that about 90 percent of coal lease sales attracted only a single bidder, even though federal law requires multiple companies to compete for a lease, according to a December 2013 report. The Interior Department’s inspector general separately found that multiple deficiencies within the BLM program had “put the government at risk of not receiving the full value for coal leases.”Beyond leasing, coal companies are also under scrutiny for what they do with the coal once it’s mined from public lands. A 2012 Reuters investigation found that miners sell some of those coal reserves to “affiliates,” which are wholly owned subsidiaries. The companies in turn can hide profits and avoid paying full government royalties on exported coal, since they technically sold the coal to a domestic affiliated company.All told, taxpayers may have lost an estimated $28.9 billion in revenue from coal leases over 30 years, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, which favors use of renewable energy, found in a 2012 study.Full article: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/money/the-coming-war-on-coal/ar-BBtgJsF ‘Obama Administration Coal Mining Review Could Reshape Long-Suffering US Industry’
Lithuania planning 700MW offshore wind project, will meet 25% of nation’s electric needs FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享OffshoreWind.biz:Lithuania’s Ministry of Energy has submitted a draft government resolution to stakeholders for coordination on locations in the Baltic Sea suitable for offshore wind farms.The draft Government Resolution proposes the construction of a wind farm with a capacity of up to 700 MW. A wind farm of this capacity in the Baltic Sea would produce approximately 2.5-3 TWh of electricity per year, which is 25 percent of the country’s current electricity demand, the ministry said.The resolution also provides the exact area in the Baltic Sea where the development of wind turbines would be the most efficient. The territory planned in the Baltic Sea covers an area of 137.5 km2, with a distance from shore of approximately 29 kilometres, an average water depth of 35 metres, and an average wind speed of approximately 9 m/s.Lithuania plans to announce the first auctions for offshore wind in 2023. The power plants should be built and start generating electricity by 2030.[Adnan Durakovic]More: Lithuania opens with 700 MW offshore wind pitch
Dear EarthTalk: What is a “dead zone” in an ocean or other body of water?— Victor Paine, Tallahassee, FLSo-called dead zones are areas of large bodies of water—typically in the ocean but also occasionally in lakes and even rivers—that do not have enough oxygen to support marine life. The cause of such “hypoxic” (lacking oxygen) conditions is usually eutrophication, an increase in chemical nutrients in the water, leading to excessive blooms of algae that deplete underwater oxygen levels. Nitrogen and phosphorous from agricultural runoff are the primary culprits, but sewage, vehicular and industrial emissions and even natural factors also play a role in the development of dead zones.Dead zones occur around the world, but primarily near areas where heavy agricultural and industrial activity spill nutrients into the water and compromise its quality accordingly. Some dead zones do occur naturally, but the prevalence of them since the 1970s—when dead zones were detected in Chesapeake Bay off Maryland as well as in Scandinavia’s Kattegat Strait, the mouth of the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the northern Adriatic—hints at mankind’s impact. A 2008 study found more than 400 dead zones worldwide, including in South America, China, Japan, southeast Australia and elsewhere.Perhaps the most infamous U.S. dead zone is an 8,500 square mile swath (about the size of New Jersey) of the Gulf of Mexico, not far from where the nutrient-laden Mississippi River, which drains farms up and down the Midwest, lets out. Besides decimating the region’s once teeming shrimp industry, low oxygen levels in the water there have led to reproductive problems for fish, leading to lack of spawning and low egg counts. Other notable U.S. dead zones today occur off the coasts of Oregon and Virginia.Fortunately, dead zones are reversible if their causes are reduced or eliminated. For example, a huge dead zone in the Black Sea largely disappeared in the 1990s following the fall of the Soviet Union, after which there was a huge spike in the cost of chemical fertilizers throughout the region. And while this situation was largely unintentional, the lessons learned have not been lost on scientists, policymakers and the United Nations, which has been pushing to reduce industrial emissions in other areas around the globe where dead zones are a problem. To wit, efforts by countries along the Rhine River to reduce sewage and industrial emissions have reduced nitrogen levels in the North Sea’s dead zone by upwards of 35 percent. 1 2
Sometimes you just have to take a step back and count your blessings. How lucky we are to live in this beautiful region of the country; to have the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop to our day-to-day business; to have at our disposal this natural resource perfectly suited for outdoor pursuits of every kind and difficulty; to have the country’s largest outdoor fly fishing festival right in our backyard.Oh, you didn’t know about that last one? The Virginia Fly Fishing Festival lays claim that title and is back for its 13th year this weekend April 20-21. Located on the banks of the South River in downtown Historic Waynesboro, Virginia, the festival continues to grow hand over fist with each passing year, and 2013’s event is no different. Having outgrown their old space, the festival has now moved across Main Street to accommodate more venders and instructors, a bigger and better casting area, and better access to wine. That’s right, some of Virginia’s top wineries will be on hand to offer complimentary tastings all weekend. Like any festival, there will be numerous venders offering raffles and drawings – including the BRO Roadshow tent – and of course, live music.Highlights from this year’s festival on the fly fishing side include lectures and clinics from the ultimate legends of the sport like Bob Clouser and Lefty Kreh as well as local legends like Beau Beasley and Don Kirk. Through in a children’s catch and release trout pond and a Women’s Fly Fishing Forum aimed at exposing women to the joys of fly fishing and you have fun for the whole family.Whether you are an avid angler, novice, beginner, or have never picked up a rod, this festival is sure to have what you are looking for. Don’t miss it!If you are interested in what fishing the South River is all about, check out this video and report from last year.View Larger Map
Six hours is a long time to sit in a car. Six hours on a curvy mountain road with two five year olds in the back (one of which gets car sick) is freaking hell. Sadly, my family has to drive through hell if we want to ski the steep and deep at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. And since Snowshoe is the closest we’ll get to champagne powder this season, we’re happy to pay the price. So six hours, two Red Bulls, 36 show tunes and one mild vomiting episode later, we’re sitting in our condo at the top of Snowshoe, giddy with anticipation for tomorrow’s powder.And I need a beer. Actually, I need some bourbon—something strong to settle the nerves and help me forget the vomit and show tunes. Unfortunately, I don’t have any bourbon. Fun fact: the closest liquor store to Snowshoe is one hour away. Fortunately, I do have the next best thing—Local Species, a special release from Virginia’s Blue Mountain Barrel House that’s aged in white oak bourbon barrels.Here’s how Blue Mountain describes Local Species: “A creation of deep-drawn well water, special barley malts, American hops and Belgian yeast. Aged in charred American White Oak bourbon barrels. A beer as original and beautiful as our native Brookie.”That’s some heady stuff, especially considering that Local Species is actually a mellow, supremely drinkable beer. Given the description and the fact that the bottle is corked (not capped), I expected a serious Belgian that challenged my palate. But this beer is incredibly light and creamy, with just a hint of that Belgian yeast coming in at the backend to let you know you’re drinking something artful. Honestly, I didn’t get much bourbon or oak out of the beer, although I did experience an unexpected tinge of white wine as the beer disappeared on my tongue.But if I’m being brutally honest with myself, I’m not in the right head space to actually taste this beer. I drink it damned fast, in like, seven big gulps, because, like I said, I’m coming straight off of a marathon of show tunes and vomit. And sometimes, you just need a drink.
Drew Holcomb’s musical remedy.It took Drew Holcomb some time to find his voice. On his new album, Medicine, which comes out January 27, the Americana tunesmith sounds quite comfortable in his own skin. He says that’s come from more than a decade on the road, playing by his estimate 1,700 shows, but during a recent phone interview the Tennessee troubadour recalled a time when he learned a valuable lesson about being true to himself.At 22, when Holcomb was a green upstart playing for small crowds, he was covering a Ryan Adams’ tune during a short set at a coffeehouse in New York City, when Adams suddenly walked in the door. Holcomb felt an understandable rush of nerves but managed to finish the song. Adams, who was there to see a friend play at the venue later in the night, ended up chatting with Holcomb at the bar after his set and even complimented his sound. But Adams said he noticed Holcomb was taking some obvious cues from his heroes like Steve Earle, and he encouraged the burgeoning songwriter to embrace his own identity.“At the time I was singing with this alt-county drawl, and I even had a bandana wrapped around my wrist like Steve Earle,” admits Holcomb. “He (Adams) offered me a lot of kindness and grace in that moment. He said, ‘you’ve got a great voice, don’t try to imitate other people.’”As the night progressed, Adams was coaxed on stage by the crowd, and he invited Holcomb to sing with him on his “Oh My Sweet Carolina.” It was a big confidence booster, but since then Holcomb has seen his own star rise. Backed by his versatile band the Neighbors, he’s toured with the likes of John Hiatt and the Avett Brothers and sold over 100,000 albums. On his upcoming tour to support his new effort, he’ll be headlining big theaters, including Nashville’s venerable Ryman Auditorium. He also has Southern dates in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia.A native of the Volunteer State, Holcomb grew up in Memphis but now calls Nashville home. During college at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, he started writing songs and playing small bar gigs. At school he also met his wife Ellie, a singer who became an integral part of the Neighbors (though as a new mother she no longer tours with the band). Holcomb and the group have released seven albums, but a breakthrough came with 2013’s Good Light, a critically lauded effort that hit number 5 on Billboard’s Folk Album chart.Holcomb says Medicine is an extension of the progress he’s made comfortably incorporating his smooth vocal delivery within a range of musical styles. He fills the new album—recorded in a fast eight days in East Nashville with producer Joe Pisapia (Ben Folds, KD Lang)—with optimistic ruminations as he moves from poignant ballads like the opening “American Beauty” and “You’ll Always Be My Girl” to the soulful rockers “Shine Like Lightning” and “Sisters Brothers.”“I spent most of my 20s trying to figure out who I was as an artist and what kind of records I wanted to make,” Holcomb says. “With Medicine we really took that to a whole new level. Something about stepping into my 30s and settling domestically with my wife and a kid gave me more freedom to make music that I wanted to make without listening to other voices. There was a purity to the approach, and that brought me back to what made me love making music in the first place.”More everyman than outlaw, Holcomb never lets his lyrics revel in darkness. That’s kept his independent-minded country-rock catalog extremely accessible, landing Holcomb songs on over 40 TV shows, including How I Met Your Mother, Parenthood, and Nashville. Even though he’s experienced plenty of tragedy, including losing his brother to a debilitating illness at age 14, he says his songs have always kept him looking to the bright side.“Music has always been a balm for sadness,” he says. “For me to sing a bunch of songs about really intense painful things would be a little bit dishonest, because that hasn’t been my personal experience. That’s a lot of what this record is about—finding my voice and becoming comfortable enough with it and not try to be someone I’m not.” •WINTER BLUEGRASS FESTIVALNo need to wait for the warmer months to hit your first bluegrass festival of the year. Bluegrass First Class is an annual three-day picking bash that’s taking place February 20-22 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville, N.C. Held for the past two decades, the fest brings a swarm of traditional bluegrass fans to the hotel for sets from a lengthy list of high lonesome heroes, this year including Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, the Lonesome River Band, Seldom Scene, Dailey & Vincent, and Flatt Lonesome. Also, certain rooms at the hotel are reserved for picking circles, so bring your instruments. BluegrassFirstClass.com
ZS – Si Amigo y no le digas a mama pero … ¡la marihuana es legal aquí! BRO – What do you miss most about Asheville? ZS – Absolutely. I’d say 99% of the songs I’ve released solo or with The Hermit Kings, I wrote in the mountains of western North Carolina. Specifically Asheville. There’s a rhythm to those mountains and a soothing energy that shaped my songwriting in a way that really allowed me to play off of silence. They say that a writer’s medium is the page but a musician’s blank page is silence, and that really resonated with me back home. Here, there’s a natural rhythm as well, but it’s different. It’s livelier and older somehow. Some of the songs I brought with me felt unfamiliar when I first played them here. The songs I’m writing now, and there’s been about fifteen in the first three months, have a new soul to them. It’s pure and exposed and a little breathier than my earlier writing. I hope this new feeling is present in the EP I plan to release this summer. BRO – La próxima vez que esté en Barcelona, ¿puedo comprarte una cerveza? ZS – People kept asking me, “What are your plans when you get to Spain. I generally replied with a shrug and, “Sometimes planes fall out of the sky.” It wasn’t until I was in line at the Newark airport that I found a place to stay here. A fan of my music that I’d only met once before offered me a room in his flat in Garcia (kind of like the Brooklyn of Barcelona) and we’ve become great friends since. For the kind of soul-searching I needed to do, I felt that I need to let fate sort of take the wheel. I guess when I stepped off the plane, the first thing I thought was, “I hope the jamon – a Spanish ham – is as good as they say it is.” And it totally is. If you happen to find yourself in Barcelona next week, Zaq will be playing a set at Big Bang Bar. If you’re like me, you’ll be hoping he ends up stateside in the not so distant future, particularly in the Western North Carolina region, and you can catch his songwriting wit here. I fell in love with the former Asheville based songwriter’s last band, The Hermit Kings, just before they disbanded. Since then, I managed to catch him live just once, though it was a terrific songwriter showcase that so aptly put on display Suarez’s songwriting acumen. I recently caught up with Zaq to chat about his move to Spain, his collaborations, and to drop my first ever Spanish Trail Mix question on him. ZS – Well, this latest EP is a collaborative effort between myself and four of my best friends, two girls and two boys. We all had some time this summer and decided to make a record. We called ourselves “In Between Jobs” for the fun of it. “Desperate Man” was a fun tune to write. It’s meant to be from two perspectives. The first is a man pleading with a woman and offering to be anything for her. He’s desperate for her, but his desperation gets him nowhere. The second is the woman’s perspective. She hardly knows this guy and sees him as a stalker. His intentions are good, but he’s not putting the effort in that’s needed to start a friendship or relationship, so she threatens him out of self-preservation. The brige is meant to be the fear of an undefined threat. It’s just a desperate man in the story, and there’s no real bad guy, just a misunderstanding and a lesson to be confident in yourself and communicate clearly. Regrettably, I hopped on the Zaq Suarez train a bit late. “At some point, I could feel that the sponge of my soul was clogged thick with gunk and muck. I moved to a place where I only knew one person and didn’t speak the language, hoping to find an opportunity to wring out that puppy and get back to a pure version of myself.” BRO – Tell me about that moment you stepped off the plane in Spain? What was going through your head? BRO – We are featuring “Desperate Man” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song? BRO – Has the move supercharged your songwriting? Since I last saw him, Suarez his up and moved to Barcelona, Spain. According to Suarez, he just needed a change. Having been in Barcelona for a few months now, Suarez is experiencing a surge in creativity. He just released an EP with a project called Zaq Squares & In Between Jobs, which was recorded in Asheville last summer and features a cohort of musician friends. One of them, Raina Aguar, now lives in Spain and the two regularly collaborate still. And Suarez has yet another project in the works, Of The Stars, that is set to release an EP this summer. ZS – Damn. You trying to make me homesick? I really miss the mountains and my dear friends and, of course, that sweet lager bier, but what I maybe miss the most is the accent. I’ve made so many friends here from Belgium, Ukraine, France, Poland, England, Scotland, Uzbekistan, Canada, and Spain. They all tell me sooner or later that they couldn’t understand what I was saying until the second or third time we hung out. You don’t realize how many colloquialisms you use until you’re around people who can’t fathom them. My favorite thing that people don’t understand is the phrase “get outta here.” People get either really offended that you’re asking them to leave or they seem to get genuinely concerned that they have to leave where they are currently. It’s amazing and, after explained, always ends in a good laugh. In the meantime time, be sure to check out “Desperate Man” on this month’s Trail Mix. Take a listen to new cuts from Steve Poltz, The Moth & The Flame, Uncle Walt’s Band, and Over The Rhine while you are surfing through.
“We are heading into another busy year for the Smokies,” says Chase Pickering, Friends of the Smokies board member, “visitation was at an all-time high last year, and that trend looks like it’s going to continue for 2019. It’s amazing to think you can do something as simple as getting a license plate to support your national park. Having a bear on the plate is just a bonus.” ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Twenty years after the launch of the program, drivers in Tennessee and North Carolina have raised more than $15 million in support of Friends of the Smokies through specialty license plate sales. The iconic black bear is depicted on both states’ plates and contributes to their popularity on both sides of the mountains. Both specialty plates fund a variety of projects and programs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including those related to the park’s black bear population. Last year, the plates also provided support for a new Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) program, a coordinated volunteer effort to provide valuable information to hikers at trailheads about trail safety, trail difficulty, and proper preparation before beginning a hike. ### The Tennessee Smokies plate underwent a multi-year redesign and hit the roads in winter 2018. It features a silhouette of a black bear against the original orange and purple sunset design. Less than six months later, sales increased by 30% over the same time in the previous year. A black bear was added to the North Carolina Smokies plate in 2007 and sales have seen a steady increase since then, placing the Smokies plate among the most popular in the state with representation in all 100 counties. The North Carolina Smokies plate was designed by Micah McLure. The Tennessee Smokies plate was designed by Kristin Williams. For more information or to get a plate visit BearPlate.org or stop by your local Tennessee County Clerk’s Office or North Carolina Vehicle and License Plate Office. “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the banks of the mighty Mississippi, there are generous people who support this national park with our specialty license plates,” said Tim Chandler, Executive Director and COO of Friends of the Smokies. “These plates provide meaningful and dependable support for the critical projects we fund in the Smokies.” Friends of the Smokies is an official nonprofit partner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has raised $65 million to support critical park programs in North Carolina and Tennessee. Discover and donate at FriendsOfTheSmokies.org.
After years of improvement, air quality in the U.S. is declining Tokyo considers starting Olympic races at 3 a.m. to avoid climate-change-related heat waves An analysis of 163 studies that included more than 23,000 people with dementia found that spending time outdoors was more effective than drugs in counteracting aggression and agitation in dementia patients. Researchers found that outdoor activities, including gardening, were more effective than anti-psychotic medication in controlling aggressive behavior and are suggesting that policymakers prioritize non-drug treatments of aggressive and agitated dementia patients. An analysis of studies finds that access to the outdoors is more effective than drugs in treating dementia Research suggests that an uptick in driving and natural gas use have contributed to the increase in pollution, even as coal use declines. Wildfires in the West have also contributed to the growing number. Researchers also suggested that relaxed enforcement of the Clean Air Act might have also contributed to the rise in pollution. The analysis shows that the increase in air pollution between 2016 and 2018 was associated with nearly 10,000 additional premature deaths. Finding it harder to breathe while out for a hike or a bike ride? The feeling isn’t just in your head. A new study shows that damaging air pollution, which had been declining for decades, began increasing across the U.S. in 2016. The data found that fine particulate pollution increased 5.5 percent across the country between 2016 and 2018, after decreasing nearly 25 percent between 2009 and 2015. Nick Muller, a professor at Carnegie Melon and one of the co-authors of the study, calls the change “a real about-face.” Tokyo, host of the upcoming 2020 summer Olympic games, is considering starting the marathon and race walking events as early as 3 a.m., reports Kyodo, a Japanese news agency. The middle of the night start time is being considered after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to move the races to Sapporo over concerns about heat. Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said last week that she believes the races should be held in the city. “We have made many preparations and there’s no change in my thinking that [the races] should be held in Tokyo,” she said. Worldwide, there are more than 50 million people living with dementia. Seventy-five percent of dementia patients suffer from aggressive behavior, agitation and anxiety.