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SEC’s climate rule heats up debate on supply chain emissions
Author: Ellen Meyers, CQ-Roll Call

WASHINGTON — The business world is divided over whether the Securities and Exchange Commission should require emissions data from corporations’ suppliers and customers when the agency finalizes a rule on climate-related financial risk disclosure.

While the SEC sees broad support for its proposed rule to mandate standardized information on companies’ direct emissions and other material risks from climate change, agency staff members reviewing comments face a difficult task in striking a balance in the coming months on emissions from suppliers and other third parties.

A wide range of billion-dollar asset managers, investor coalitions and boutique firms focused on environmental, social and governance investing told the SEC they support the agency’s provisions to include Scope 3 emissions, meaning indirect releases from supply chains. But several trade groups say there is strong opposition.

“The SEC has also taken the correct approach by incorporating many of the elements set forth by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and by requiring disclosure of [greenhouse gas] emissions, including disclosure (for many companies) of Scope 3 emissions and third-party assurance of Scopes 1 and 2 emissions,” Ceres, a nonprofit organization that works with ESG investors and companies to address climate risk and other sustainability issues in capital markets, said Friday in a letter to the SEC.

Other supporters include BNP Paribas, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management, Seventh Generation Interfaith Inc. and Christian Brothers Investment Services Inc.

“As a starting point, the basis for the rulemaking initiative — that climate change poses a significant financial risk — is surely clear and unmistakable,” Ceres said in the letter. “It is likewise reasonable for the Commission to conclude that this risk is, or can be, material to investors. This is not a matter of conjecture; investors have repeatedly and emphatically expressed this view.”

If finalized, the rule would require public companies to report to the SEC on Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions, which address direct and indirect emissions from purchased electricity and other forms of energy.

But they would have to report Scope 3 emissions only if they are material or if companies have set reduction goals that include Scope 3. The proposal contains a broad safe harbor for liability for Scope 3 emissions disclosure and exemption for smaller issuers on Scope 3 emissions.

Scope 3 challenge

Scope 3 emissions have been a particularly controversial area in the proposal. During the agency’s information-gathering period, companies and industry coalitions voiced concern about lawsuits over emissions outside of companies’ direct control. Some legal experts have said the proposal’s provisions surrounding Scope 3 emissions would indirectly create disclosure requirements for third-party, nonpublic companies that work with major public corporations.

“For many issuers, it would be extremely difficult to access downstream information on customers’ use of their products,” the National Association of Manufacturers, which represents 14,000 member companies, wrote in a letter to the SEC on June 6. “For others, upstream emissions attributable to commodity production would present the biggest challenge. The unifying theme is that Scope 3 emissions are outside of a company’s control.”

That debate has trickled over to Congress. Eight Democratic senators, led by Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, called on the SEC to include a quantitative threshold for Scope 3 reporting to prevent underreporting in sectors that have most of their emissions coming from supply chains.

But 32 Republican senators, including John Hoeven of North Dakota, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, told the SEC that such requirements would be overly burdensome for farmers and agricultural producers.

At press time, public comments from some companies that would be affected by the proposal were available. Salesforce, Dell Technologies and Etsy were among the top firms that filed letters with the SEC, largely in support of the proposal. But dozens of major corporations met with SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and Commissioners Caroline Crenshaw, Hester Peirce and Allison Herren Lee, as well as agency staff, in the weeks after the agency announced its proposed rule in March.

According to memos published by the SEC, the agency held more than 50 meetings after it released the proposed rule. The SEC met with General Motors CEO Mary Barra twice to discuss the climate risk disclosure proposal, including Scope 3 emissions and the safe harbor provision.

SEC staff also focused on companies’ concern with Scope 3 emissions with chief accounting officers and controllers from dozens of corporations, including Google parent Alphabet, Bank of America, Mars, Verizon Communications and Wells Fargo in a May 17 meeting. The agency held talks with representatives from Dow, Amazon.com, The Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co. throughout the comment period.

Other corporations may have relied on trade associations to advocate on their behalf.

“A large majority of our members believe that the Commission should not require companies to report Scope 3 emissions at this time, because of significant data gaps and the absence of agreed-upon methodologies to measure Scope 3 emissions,” the Investment Company Institute, an association for regulated investment funds representing $29.7 trillion in U.S. assets under management, wrote in a June 16 letter to the SEC.

“These deficiencies seriously undermine the ability of most companies to report consistent, comparable, and verifiably reliable data,” the ICI wrote. “Any company calculating Scope 3 emissions will have to make a number of assumptions that can vary greatly in magnitude and will use different methodologies.”

The ICI and several other groups, including the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, a nonpartisan research group, suggested that the SEC should put off Scope 3 requirements while the agency works with the private sector to develop better calculations for indirect emissions from suppliers and other third parties.

But several ESG investors are pressuring the SEC to expand the Scope 3 reporting requirement beyond large issuers, arguing that the discretion around Scope 3 emissions being material to a firm may be an easy way out for companies to ignore impacts from their supply chains.

“Many companies fail to fully understand or assess the full impact of their Scope 3 emissions; leaving the determination of materiality up to companies is likely to lead to underreporting of these risks,” said Mercy Investment Services Inc., the asset management arm for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

Patriot Front arrests in Idaho unmask a new generation of hate groups
Author: Patrick Malone, The Seattle Times

Members of the white separatist organization Patriot Front spent hours in online chat rooms, meticulously planning how to avoid arrest when they carried out nighttime vandalism raids or tried to disrupt progressive events.

It held plans so tightly that members weren’t told of destinations until virtually the time of departure, and they shrouded their true identities even from each other, hiding behind pseudonyms.

But Patriot Front was unprepared for a casual onlooker to notice last Saturday as its members suspiciously toted tactical shields from a Toyota Camry to a U-Haul truck outside a hotel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Suspicious, the witness called police.

Thirty-one of the group’s members were unmasked when Coeur d’Alene police arrested them, allegedly on the way to disrupt an LGBTQ+ pride celebration at a nearby park.

The Pacific Northwest has long been fertile ground for separatist groups determined to carve out a whites-only homeland here. Patriot Front, formed less than five years ago and populated with mostly members in their 20s, represents a new generation of hate groups, with propaganda calculated to be welcoming to a broader swath of potential recruits.

Their highly visible surfacing in Idaho surprised some of the men’s relatives, who were unaware of their activities.

Patriot Front is known to have orchestrated flash demonstrations to counter progressive events in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Houston and Austin, Texas, without facing arrest. But the wholesale roundup in Coeur d’Alene was different.

Six Washington men were among the Patriot Front members arrested for misdemeanor conspiracy to riot: Colton Michael Brown, 23, of Ravensdale; Justin Michael O’Leary, 27, of Des Moines; James Julius Johnson, 36, of Concrete; Spencer Thomas Simpson, 20, of Ellensburg; Mishael Joshua Buster, 22, of Spokane, and his brother Josiah Daniel Buster, 24, of Watauga, Texas, whom public records link to the same Spokane address. They have not been charged, and were released on $300 bail each.

The Seattle Times does not typically name suspects before they are charged, but is doing so in this story because of the high-profile nature of their arrests.

For a group protective of its plans, it is noteworthy that the social justice nonprofit Unicorn Riot in January released months of secretly recorded conversations of Patriot Front members on the voice chat platform Mumble.

The leak, which identified some Patriot Front members’ true identities, provided a rare glimpse behind the curtain of the secretive world of white supremacy — at times dystopian and at others mundane.

Chats included hate speech that demeaned Jewish, Black and LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants. They planned vandalism with graffiti or to post propaganda at colleges and culturally significant locations throughout Washington, and sometimes carried it out, often at night to avoid detection.

The leak also revealed tension between Patriot Front and other white supremacists, who viewed it as unserious and pandering to mainstream culture for its relatively subdued tactics. Even some Patriot Front members questioned its reluctance to use more inflammatory language in its propaganda and asked whether that undermined its relevance in the ecosystem of hate groups.

The group’s manifesto calls for “a hard reset on the nation we see today,” as it “faces complete annihilation as our culture and heritage are attacked from all sides.” It sometimes hoists a 20-foot-wide banner at demonstrations that reads, “Strong families make strong nations,” even as membership has fractured relationships in their households.

Jon Lewis, a research fellow with the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, said Patriot Front, with its emphasis on vandalism and posting of racist stickers, is not in the same category as more overtly violent domestic terrorist neo-Nazi groups such as Atomwaffen, which has reportedly had a significant Pacific Northwest chapter.

But he said their ideology represents a serious threat, particularly if more of its members press for increased aggression.

“Look at these guys who just got pulled out of this van, unmasked ‘Scooby-Doo’ style, and they’re sitting on the grass looking like idiots,” Lewis said, referring to images of the Idaho arrests. “It’s easy to think, ‘Hey these guys are clowns.’ But they had some sort of plan to violently riot against people showing up for a pride rally.”

“It’s less about Patriot Front being the totality of the threat and more about this group being a symptom of this broader disease, broader threat.”

Despite having members nationwide and a relatively high profile, its total membership was merely 300 as recently as last fall, according to the chats. Based on the latest available numbers, more than 10% of Patriot Front was hauled in by the Coeur d’Alene cops.

“They’ve never been correct”

The arrests came as a shock to Ellensburg resident Bruce Simpson, the father of Spencer Simpson. He said he heard his 20-year-old son come home at night after returning from jail in Idaho last week.

He waited until morning and then told him, “Well, I didn’t expect to read about you in The New York Times.”

Spencer replied, “Don’t worry, I am moving out. I can bunk with some guys in Texas or wherever,” according to Simpson.

But as of Thursday his son had not moved out, and Simpson said he worries forcing him to leave might only make matters worse. “If I thought that kicking him out would work, I would. But I really feel like he would be more vulnerable if we did that,” he said.

Bruce Simpson serves in the Air National Guard and works at Central Washington University, which his son attends, studying history. Describing himself as politically center-left, pro-LGBTQ+ rights and extremely anti-Donald Trump, he said he doesn’t know why his son embraced the Patriot Front ideology and has tried to convince him that worldview is wrong.

“I told him the problem with the far right is they’ve never been correct,” he said, pointing to the history of advances in civil rights.

Born in Ellensburg, Spencer Simpson led an “idyllic” life growing up, his father said, becoming an Eagle Scout and getting involved with the Civil Air Patrol. He described Spencer as an introvert who finished high school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and had just completed his college finals before traveling to Idaho.

Simpson said his son described the group’s plans in Idaho as nonviolent and that the group just wanted “to draw attention because we want our views to be heard.”

Other Washington-linked Patriot Front members and their families could not be reached for comment and in some instances did not respond to messages seeking interviews.

“Fun and accessible”

O’Leary, of Des Moines, was an aspiring member of the group on Aug. 13, 2021, when he was interviewed by a longtime Patriot Front member, according to one of the transcripts leaked by Unicorn Riot.

Until then, the extent of his right-wing activism was defying indoor mask requirements at his local Fred Meyer store, he said in the chat. He’d read the manifesto.

But O’Leary’s true desire, he told his interviewer, was to execute direct action. “I just wanted to do something, basically,” he told the screener. “And you guys just seemed like the most fun and accessible.”

He described himself as a “white-pilled” glass-half-full fascist and hopeful that racial separatism would eventually be the norm in the United States. Maybe not in his lifetime, O’Leary said, but “I think it’ll all work out in the end.”

“Nice,” his interviewer responded, welcoming O’Leary to Patriot Front. “Let’s go throw up some stickers.” Within a month, O’Leary would summit a mountain on what the group called a “hate hike” with his new comrades, including Brown.

The group’s frequent “hikes” or “camping trips” served as planning sessions and helped deflect suspicion from spouses and employers — in one case, as a private security company guard.

Bruce Simpson was surprised to learn that some of his son’s weekend “camping trips” had actually been Patriot Front activities in other states. For example, he said, he recently learned Spencer had traveled with the group last July to Philadelphia, where news accounts reported the white supremacists had marched and chanted slogans before being run off by local residents.

Brown can be heard on a leaked chat advising a teenage member, still in high school, to deceive parents and other family members about their plans. “That’s what we tell all of our parents, all of our loved ones and family members and friends that ask us where we go and do this mysterious stuff, where we just disappear for a weekend at a time.”

Hate speech vandalism

In September 2021, Brown, who lives near Maple Valley, gained more authority when Patriot Front leaders designated his Washington crew its own network, splitting off members in Oregon and Idaho and enabling Brown to more tightly control the group’s activities, according to the chat transcripts.

Brown could not be reached for comment and his father hung up when a reporter called this week.

Brown presided over a conversation where Patriot Front members planned to mar a George Floyd mural in Seattle and post propaganda at Western Washington University and The Evergreen State College, near Seattle’s Northwest African American Museum and at construction sites, where they hoped workers would sympathize with their views.

If the group could stage a flash demonstration in Philadelphia last year, he said, it could certainly accomplish that in Seattle.

Patriot Front members in Washington, Oregon and Idaho were among the most prevalent and active in the leaked chat. It is one of 19 organizations in Washington designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, two fewer than were active five years ago.

Historically, they have included the now-bankrupt Aryan Nations in North Idaho, and the white nationalists who gather annually on Whidbey Island to commemorate the 1984 death of a neo-Nazi killed in a federal siege.

The planned Patriot Front action in Coeur d’Alene was part of a pattern of targeting LGBTQ+ people. The group in October 2021 defaced a pride mural in Olympia, created in response to hate crimes in the city, by spray painting over it with white paint and stenciling “Patriot Front” and “Reclaim America” messages.

Anna Schlecht, the former chair of Capital City Pride, recalls swiftly organizing volunteers to remove the Patriot Front messaging. “They clearly targeted something of immense value to the LGBTQ community,” Schlecht said. No arrests or charges were made after the defacement, although an anti-fascist group later posted photos of Patriot Front members, including Brown, carrying out the vandalism.

“It is important to stand up to fascism; that’s what this is,” Schlecht said. “They are trying to terrify a group of people to go back in the closet after decades of fighting for equality. We are going to be darn careful, but we are not going to go back into the closet.”

Dissent within

Patriot Front’s propaganda avoids racial epithets, although they’re plentiful in the leaked calls, where members call themselves fascists and Nazis, advocate racial segregation, dream of an all-white territory in America and compliment each other with superlatives like “Hitler-level.”

Thomas Ryan Rousseau, a 24-year-old from Dallas who is reported to be Patriot Front’s national leader, said in the chats that the absence of racial slurs on the group’s propaganda materials is intentional. He was among those arrested in Idaho.

But that has led to other white supremacist groups and even some Patriot Front members to grumble in the chats that the group is akin to alt-right talking heads “with better graphic design,” and is seen as “reactionary and moderate,” leading to calls for more direct action.

Day to day, members talked about making posters, designing banners and patches and cutting paint stencils. Direct confrontation like police suspect Patriot Front had planned in Coeur d’Alene isn’t how the group normally spends its time.

Some members, however, also belong to other white supremacist groups and claim in chats to have been present for high-profile moments in contemporary white supremacy, including the deadly 2017 Unite the Right demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A wedge developed between some white supremacist groups after that rally. That’s when Patriot Front formed as an offshoot of the organization Vanguard America.

Bruce Simpson said even after his arrest, his son is insisting he’ll remain a part of Patriot Front. “There is no remorse. He has said to both my wife and I, ‘no matter what I am not leaving the group.’”

Simpson said he has encouraged his son to apply for a job weighing bales of hay for a local exporter. It would be a graveyard shift. “Work nights. Sleep all day. Stay out of trouble,” he said.

Ukraine refugee’s diary to be published
Author: The Columbian

NEW YORK (AP) — The reflections of a 12-year-old refugee from the Russian invasion of Ukraine will be published this fall. Yeva Skalietska’s book is called “You Don’t Know What War Is: The Diary of a Young Girl from Ukraine.”

Union Square & Co. will release her account Oct. 25.

“Everyone knows what the word ‘war’ means, but practically no one knows what this word really represents,” Skalietska said in a statement released Wednesday. “I want the world to know what we have experienced.”

Skalietska’s book begins with her 12th birthday, shortly before the Russians attacked on Feb. 24. She had been living in Kharkiv with her grandmother when the bombing began. (Yeva’s parents separated when she was a baby, and her grandmother has raised her.)

“She describes the bombings they endured while sheltering underground, and their desperate journey to West Ukraine. She shares her confusion about why the Russians would attack them, since she speaks Russian and follows many of their customs,” according to Union Square’s announcement.

“After many endless train rides and a prolonged stay in an overcrowded refugee center in Hungary — because several countries in Europe refused them entry — Yeva and her beloved grandmother eventually find refuge in Dublin, where she bravely begins to forge a new life, hoping she’ll be able to return home one day,” the publisher said.

Union Square will donate a portion of the proceeds to Ukraine refugee organizations.

U.S. Steel part of groundbreaking study to snatch carbon emissions from the air and store them in concrete
Author: Patricia Sabatini, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

U.S. Steel Corp.’s Gary Works in Indiana will be the site of a study exploring the capture of carbon dioxide emissions from the air and storing them in concrete as a way to help reduce air pollution and battle the climate crisis.

The study will be funded by a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Prairie Research Institute received the award to lead the research.

U.S. Steel is committed to a lower carbon future, “but we know that one company’s actions are not enough,” said Rich Fruehauf, chief strategy and sustainability officer at the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker. “Achieving our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is going to take unprecedented innovation and collaboration.”

The study will focus on the advancement of a direct air capture and utilization system, which can remove 5,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from ambient air per year and then permanently mineralize it in concrete products, according to a news release Wednesday.

If built, the system would be larger than any existing direct air capture system, the release said.

The study will launch at the Gary Works using direct air capture technology developed by CarbonCapture Inc. The project will use the plant’s waste heat, energy and location to minimize energy and transportation costs.

Once carbon dioxide emissions are captured from the air, the liquified gas will be transported to Ozinga ready mix concrete plants. Technology from CarbonCure Technologies will be used to inject the liquid directly into concrete as it is being mixed. When injected, the carbon dioxide mineralizes and is locked away in the concrete for good.

“At scale, we think this solution will lead to the removal of massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere,” Adrian Corless, CEO of CarbonCapture, said in a statement.

‘Progress Pride Flag’ colors have meaning
Author: Natalie Wallington, The Kansas City Star

In recent weeks, you may have noticed an uptick in the number of rainbow flags flying from porches, businesses and even government buildings for LGBTQ Pride Month. But what do all the colored stripes on these flags mean?

The “Progress Pride Flag” is a recent invention designed to make the rainbow pride flag more inclusive by featuring colors that represent different marginalized groups in the LGBTQ community. By flying it, many institutions and individuals are joining the Pride Month celebration with a nod to diversity.

What do the rainbow stripes on the Progress Pride Flag mean?

The six traditional rainbow stripes on the modern-day rainbow pride flag have the same meaning they always have: a coalition of diverse genders and sexualities making up the LGBTQ community.

The original rainbow flag, created by Kansas native Gilbert Baker, had a different meaning assigned to each of eight colorful stripes. Over time, the rainbow flag has been simplified into a six-stripe design with a unified meaning of representing all LGBTQ people. Some still consider these rainbow stripes to have unique meanings:

  • Red: Life
  • Orange: Healing
  • Yellow: Sunlight
  • Green: Nature
  • Blue: Harmony and/or serenity
  • Purple: Spirit

Baker’s original flag also included pink and turquoise stripes. Pink represented sex, while turquoise represented art and/or magic.

What does the triangle on the Progress Pride Flag mean?

The triangle on the flag’s left side was added more recently by nonbinary artist Daniel Quasar. This chevron design looks like an arrow pointing to the right, symbolizing forward progress. The colored stripes in this design have different meanings.

  • The light blue, light pink and white section represents transgender and nonbinary people. These colors reference the transgender pride flag created by U.S. Navy veteran Monica Helms.
  • The brown and black stripes represent marginalized communities of color. These colors reference the Philadelphia pride flag introduced by Amber Hikes.
  • The black stripe also represents those who have been lost to AIDS and those living with the condition today. This meaning references the Victory Over AIDS flag created by Sgt. Leonard Matlovitch.

Some versions of the Progress Pride flag also include a small yellow triangle containing a purple circle on the far left side of the chevron. This design references the intersex pride flag created by Morgan Carpenter, and represents another marginalized group within the LGBTQ community.

Doesn’t the classic rainbow flag already represent marginalized groups?

Yes. The six-stripe rainbow flag you’re probably used to seeing is meant to represent the entire LGBTQ community, including transgender and nonbinary people, people of color and intersex people. The addition of the chevron design is merely intended to highlight the unique experiences of these subgroups.

Some LGBTQ community members object to the inclusion of additional stripes and symbols on the classic rainbow flag, arguing that they contribute more to Pride-related marketing and branding than they do to solving challenges faced by the LGBTQ community. But that hasn’t stopped the Progress Pride flag from achieving significant popularity in recent years.

World’s dirtiest oil and gas fields are in Russia, Turkmenistan and Texas
Author: Naureen Malik, Bloomberg News

Oil and natural gas fields in Russia, Turkmenistan and Texas are the most climate-damaging on Earth, according to a first-of-its kind analysis that looks at greenhouse-gas emissions across entire supply chains and finds they vary widely. The dirtiest fields emit more than 10 times as much carbon dioxide equivalent as the least emissions-intensive sites, it finds.

Released Thursday by the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute, the Oil Climate Index plus Gas (OCI+) web tool ranks 135 global oil- and gas-producing resources — which together account for half of the world’s supplies of those commodities — based on a full life-cycle analysis of their 2020 emissions. Russia’s Astrakhanskoye natural gas field has the biggest footprint across its supply chain because of prolific leaks on pipelines and other infrastructure “downstream,” according to the analysis. Turkmenistan’s South Caspian basin and the Permian Basin in West Texas rank second and third; the majority of their emissions arise “upstream,” during production.

Created by researchers at RMI, Stanford University, the University of Calgary and Koomey Analytics, the OCI+ tool and an accompanying report conclude that significant fossil-fuel emissions occur not just at the point of combustion, but directly at the wellhead and during processing, refining, and transportation. RMI estimates that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas reporting program undercounts oil and gas industry emissions by a factor of two. The project received funding from the philanthropic organization of Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, which owns Bloomberg News.

Methane, a greenhouse gas that is the primary component of natural gas and a powerful global-warming agent, accounts for more than half of operational emissions at sites worldwide. Curbing the flaring and venting of the gas and ensuring that oil-field equipment is working properly can help significantly reduce upstream emissions, the report says, calling methane reductions “the highest priority for the oil and gas sector.”

The initiative draws on years of research by academics and nonprofit institutions, public data and satellite images. It boils down to the questions, “Who has the worst barrel, and who are the suckers buying the bad stuff?” said Deborah Gordon, senior principal of climate intelligence at RMI, the research lead. That’s where the spotlight needs to be to combat climate change, she said.

Oil and gas prices have surged after demand rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic and due to dislocations caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine. Despite growth in renewable power generation, global reliance on fossil fuels is poised to grow before tapering amid a transition to alternatives like wind and solar. Yet the urgency to cut emissions has grown. A United Nations-backed panel of scientists recently warned that emissions must be significantly reduced by 2030 to help avoid the catastrophic impacts that would result from warming exceeding the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5° and 2° Celsius.

The report recommends buying fuel locally as much as possible to save on transport-related emissions, but according to the OCI+ analysis, Europe might actually avoid some emissions by buying gas from the U.S. that is super-chilled into liquid and shipped across the ocean rather than from Russia. Sourcing gas from Russia is “horrid” because of leaks, Gordon said: On the OCI+ digital emissions map, Russia’s pipeline system jumps out in bright yellow and orange due to concentrated methane emissions. (New York City and Boston, which have aging pipe infrastructure, show up as smaller, less intense hot spots, while Russia’s liquefied natural gas export terminal in Siberia is a blip.)

For decades, policies have targeted reducing emissions from cars and power plants, which puts the responsibility on the consumer with little transparency on emissions from producers themselves, Gordon said. “Conventional wisdom is that the consumer is responsible for 86% of the emissions from the barrel.” But the research shows that’s not the case for the most polluting oil and gas fields, she said.

The researchers also estimated a price for carbon, and OCI+ shows how accounting for life-cycle emissions would tack on more than $50 per barrel for the highest-emitting sites. If a fee reflecting the social cost to carbon were imposed today, the production-weighted average cost for the 135 fields would be $7 per barrel of oil equivalent, less than $1 for refiners and $4 for shippers, according to the analysis. The values are based on a cost of $56 per metric ton that was modeled by the U.S. government. (Carbon fees can be adjusted in OCI+ to account for different scenarios.)

Aging oil and gas fields become more GHG-intensive as more energy and water are needed to extract the fuel from underground. The average emissions of a typical large oil field will double over 25 years, according to past research. Two prime candidates for decommissioning are the Minas field in Indonesia and Wilmington in California, since they already require large injections, Gordon said.

The web tool also breaks out the share of sites’ emissions from flaring, or burning off excess natural gas. This practice is notoriously common in the Permian Basin, where oil is the most profitable fuel and natural gas is a nuisance byproduct.

“The Permian looks terrible,” Gordon said, but “if Texas cleans up its act and really focuses on not leaking methane and not flaring its gas, it will be there right at the top” of the lowest-emitting areas.

Farms in Central Washington boost their yield with solar energy
Author: John Stang, Crosscut.com

Two geodesic domes are being built in Nespelem, 16 miles north of the Grand Coulee Dam and the headquarters of the Colville Indian Reservation. Ricky Gabriel jokes that they look like Thunderdome from the dystopian 1985 movie Mad Max.

Gabriel, an Okanogan County contractor, sees the Nespelem domes as a challenging math puzzle, requiring precisely cut and fit wood braces to create the ball-like structures that will be covered by transparent crystal plastic to become greenhouses.

The domes consist of 20 straight sides that create half-balls that are almost 20 feet tall and 35 feet in diameter. They each make room for roughly 1,000 square feet of crop space to grow a variety of vegetables and flowers, spread out horizontally and stacked on shelves vertically.

This story is published in partnership with the Energy News Network, a nonprofit news organization that covers the transition to clean energy.

These compact growing spaces also leave room for solar energy to grow outside. An adjacent two rows of solar panels will be capable of producing 20 kilowatt-hours a year.

The solar cells will provide electricity to heat and run the watering equipment for the domes. The food and surplus electricity will go directly to nearby homes. And the planning and execution of this so-called agrivoltaic project will be an example to be spread across the grid to planners, farmers and engineers interested in learning more about this new way of using farmland to grow both food and electricity at the same time.

“The community is very excited about it,” said Tauni Bearcub, the project’s manager for Konbit (pronounced “kone-beet”), a Boulder, Colorado, company specializing in food-growing programs with an emphasis on Native American lands. She is also a member of the Colville nation.

The project is due to be ready by July — less than a month after President Joe Biden ordered emergency measures to boost supplies to U.S. solar manufacturers and declared a two-year tariff exemption on solar panels from Southeast Asia. This will be Washington’s first venture into agrivoltaics, the mingling of solar-power panels with growing crops.

The idea of agrivoltaics first surfaced in 1981 in Germany as a proposal by scientists Adolf Goetzberger and Armin Zastrow that solar panels and agriculture can share the same land to make it more profitable. The concept took off about 10 to 12 years ago as the costs of solar power dropped. This practice, also known as agrophotovoltaics in Germany and solar sharing in Asia, remains more common in Europe than in the United States.

In the United States, agrivoltaics has gained toeholds mostly east of the Mississippi River while also popping up in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and now Washington in the West.

“The East Coast has been a little more proactive on this one,” said Chad Higgins, an associate professor in the biological and ecological engineering department at Oregon State University.

Agrivoltaic sites are small. Jordan Macknick, lead energy water and land analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, estimated that crops and solar panels jointly use only about 50 acres of land nationwide. The Nespelem site is about one-third of an acre.

Macknick said agrivoltaics does not appear practical for farms with hundreds and thousands of acres, but these projects are more appropriate to install on a small scale. “The sweet spot is 20 acres or less,” he said.

There are three types of agrivoltaic ventures. The first is solar panels among crops. Second is grazing by sheep or other animals munching grass in the shade of solar panels, which can be found in New York and Minnesota.

The University of Minnesota installed 30 kilowatts’ worth of solar panels on a dairy farm in 2018 to conduct a 2019 study on how the cows interact with the solar panels. That study determined that the cows sought the shade of the solar panels, causing them to graze less. The university plans follow-up studies on the cows’ reproductive performance plus the long-term effects on their health, milk, fat, and protein production, as well as weight and body condition.

The third type of agrivoltaics involves flowers, in which bees wander around the solar panels collecting pollen to make honey. Such projects can be found in Vermont, Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin.

The hair-care company Aveda keeps beehives on its campus in Blaine, Minnesota. It added a 900-kilowatt array of solar panels to the field of flowers used to generate electricity for its campus.

National acreages on the grazing and beekeeping agrivoltaics are not available.

Solar panels and farming flourish best on the same types of level, loose soil that accommodates both crops and steel beams. Even with growth in agrivoltaics, the need for clean power is likely to increase tensions over rural land use in many places. Estimates for the amount of land required to meet Biden’s 100% clean electricity goal by 2035 range from an area bigger than Delaware to a footprint the size of South Dakota.

“There’s going to be massive pressure on agricultural lands from solar,” Higgins said last September at a Washington State University Extension Service video conference in San Juan County on agrivoltaics. Higgins did not respond to several email and phone requests for an interview. San Juan County farmland — which is also very expensive real estate — has been steadily shrinking in recent years, and he offered agrivoltaics as one answer to that challenge.

Agrivoltaics requires a delicate balancing act among sunlight, costs, solar panels and crops. The solar portion and the crops portion have a very complicated relationship.

A major challenge comes in deciding what crops will be grown. There are limits on the height — usually six to eight feet — of the solar panels, which translates to how much expensive steel must be used. The height and angles of the panels affect the shade and sunlight reaching each row of crops. It’s worth noting that not all crops need sunlight all day, and some do better when shaded some of the time. The space between the rows of solar panels must accommodate the biggest piece of farm equipment to be used. Another wrinkle is that the types of crops may change from year to year.

“For the most part, the solar part of the equation is much more straightforward,” said Macknick of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“Ag needs to adapt to whatever solar array is there,” said Byron Kominek, a co-owner of Jack’s Solar Garden of Longmont, Colorado, which has four acres of solar panels and works closely with the lab.

One universal truth appears to be that the generation of electricity is the bigger and more reliable money-maker on these farms. Macknick estimated that the electricity sales from a site could reach up to twice as much as the crop sales.

Another complicating factor is regulations. Agrivoltaics combines industrial and agricultural rural land uses, a concept that does not fall neatly into zoning regulations almost anywhere. Macknick and Higgins said land-use rules vary from county to county.

When Jack’s Solar Garden, which produces 1.2 megawatts of electricity a year, was first proposed five years ago, its host county would allow only 100 kilowatts to be produced on its farmlands, so they had to get the local zoning rules changed.

Insurance is another headache, with competing priorities from usually separate entities: Developers want a restricted site, while farmers want easy access. Oregon State University is just opening an experimental agrivoltaics farm with many different governments and owners involved.

“The insurance conversations were spicy. Who is liable for what?” Higgins said, adding that the attorneys “ran through months and months and months of ‘what if’ solutions.”

In the video conference, Higgins noted that a major obstacle to deploying electric cars in great numbers is their limited range coupled with the lack of rural charging stations. Strategically placed agrivoltaic farms could serve future rural and interstate highway charging stations, he speculated.

Enter Konbit, whose projects include extremely small farms, including the agrivoltaic operation in Nespelem. “If you grow food on microfarms, why not add photovoltaics?” said Konbit founder Sanjay Rajan.

Rajan is a longtime Colorado entrepreneur specializing in financing small ventures such as boosting textiles being produced in India and providing food for the poor, especially Native Americans. Originally an engineer, he has M.B.A.s from Columbia University and the London Business School.

Rajan brought in Hugo Grisetti, a longtime architect of geodesic domes from Brooklyn, to design the Nespelem domes.

The Colville nation does not have an energy department, and Konbit is not connected to Nespelem Valley Electric Co-Op. The $100,000 Nespelem project is being paid for with federal grants. A $48,000 annual National Renewable Energy Laboratory grant will be used to gather data from the Nespelem project for three years. The actual annual operating budget still needs to be pinned down. “It’s a prototype. We don’t know yet,” said Konbit’s Bearcub.

The Colville reservation is divided into four districts, and Bearcub hopes to eventually install one set of domes in each district.

Macknick said of the Nespelem project, “We’re hoping it will be a model to really expand.”

These machines to help people breathe were recalled a year ago. Many still use them
Author: Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times

In Rochester, New York, Diane Coleman has relied on a machine to help her stay alive, but she worries that it might be slowly undermining her health.

Her ventilator was among millions of breathing devices that Philips Respironics recalled last summer over safety concerns about numerous models of its ventilators, BiPAP and CPAP machines.

The reason: Polyester-based polyurethane foam used to muffle noise in those machines could degrade, giving off chemical gases and bits of black debris that could be swallowed or inhaled.

The possible risks: headaches, dizziness, nausea, irritated eyes and airways, and “toxic or cancer-causing effects,” according to federal regulators. The Food and Drug Administration put the recall in its most serious category, involving “a reasonable probability” that a product “will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.”

Yet a year later, many patients are still awaiting replacements — and some are using the recalled machines despite those possible risks.

Coleman said her machine underwent some initial repairs, but she is seeking a new one after federal regulators sought more safety testing of the replacement foam used for such fixes. The 68-year-old, who is president and chief executive of the disability rights group Not Dead Yet, has a form of muscular dystrophy and uses her ventilator roughly 22 hours each day.

She is nervous about how it could affect her, but “it’s not like I can stop using it.”

Home ventilators are typically provided through an equipment vendor rather than being owned by the patient, complicating the process of changing machines. And even used ones cost thousands of dollars, online listings show. The CPAPs and BiPAPs that help people breathe while they sleep can cost more than $1,000, and insurance companies limit how often they will pay for replacements.

The vast scope of the Philips recall — which covers numerous models manufactured for more than a decade — has sent a flood of people to seek new machines at a time when supply chains are already strained.

As of this spring, Philips said that repairing and replacing devices would take until “approximately the end of 2022” for the majority of users. Philips spokesperson Steve Klink said in a statement that the recall was “a complex undertaking because of the sheer volume of devices to be remediated, and the outreach to every individual patient.” The company said it expects to replace or repair roughly 5.5 million devices globally, the bulk of which are CPAP or BiPAP machines.

“In an average year, we produce and distribute around 1 million sleep devices,” Klink said. Despite challenges with the supply chain, “we have scaled up by more than a factor of three, but inevitably it still takes time to remediate over 5 million devices. While we are working as fast as we can, we acknowledge that this has been worrying for patients.”

The danger of stopping a ventilator that sustains someone’s oxygen flow is obvious. Even switching to a different model can be precarious. Halting recalled CPAP or BiPAP machines can also be “unacceptably risky” for certain patients, physicians warned in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The devices are commonly used to treat sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep, which can increase the risk of heart problems and leave people dangerously drowsy during the day. The FDA has advised patients who use the recalled CPAP or BiPAP machines to talk to their doctors about whether to stop.

Tom Wilson, who administers a Facebook support group for CPAP users affected by the recall, said he has read comments from group members who say they haven’t had any communication with Philips despite registering their devices with the company as much as a year ago. Some have paid out of pocket to get other devices.

“It becomes a choice between continuing to use a potentially cancer causing device or spending $1,000 or more, especially for those with severe obstructive sleep apnea,” Wilson said in an email.

In New Jersey, Chloe Berger said she stopped using her CPAP machine and suffered debilitating migraines and exhaustion. “I couldn’t maintain a job. I was just too tired,” said Berger, 30, a therapist who said she had to give up one job, then another, because she was struggling to stay awake.

Berger said she paid out of pocket for a different machine in April, roughly two months before Philips sent her a replacement. Waiting had taken an emotional and mental toll on her, she said. “You feel like you’re swimming upstream, and nothing is happening.”

The massive recall has already spurred class-action lawsuits from users across the country.

“They’ve botched the whole thing,” said Dena Young, senior counsel at Berger Montague, who said that most of the people represented by her firm had not gotten a replacement or repair. As they wait, “some of them are still using the Philips because they don’t have a choice.”

Federal investigators have also taken interest: In April, Philips said the U.S. Department of Justice had subpoenaed the company in regards to events leading to the recall.

Consumer safety advocates argue that the halting process underscores the shortcomings of the recall system, which relies heavily on private companies to inform consumers and take action.

“It isn’t actually easy for the FDA to take products off the market,” said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, a nonprofit research center that has raised concerns about the safety of medical products. “It should be a lot easier than it is.”

But the actions that the FDA has taken so far in the Philips recall also show that the agency “has more power in recalls than they usually use,” Zuckerman said.

The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health told Philips last month that it was seeking to order the company to turn in a plan that could include not only repairing and replacing the recalled devices, but also providing refunds. In a November report, an FDA investigator found that Philips had failed to start taking appropriate action years earlier when the company first became aware the foam could be breaking down. Emails showed that the company was aware of “foam degradation issues” as early as October 2015, the FDA investigator found.

Within three years, more emails indicated that Philips had gotten more complaints about crumbling foam in ventilators and said that testing had confirmed that it broke down in high heat and high humidity, but the firm “made the decision not to change the design,” according to the FDA report in November. The FDA investigator noted that dating to 2008, Philips had gotten more than 222,000 consumer complaints that included keywords such as “contaminants, particles, foam, debris, airway, particulate, airpath and black.”

Klink, the Philips spokesperson, said there had been “limited complaints” about foam breakdown in prior years that were assessed on “a case-by-case basis.” He said the 220,000 complaints mentioned by the FDA were identified through “broad word searches” and that a company review found that a much smaller number — about 3% of them — were about alleged foam degradation. The company said that when its executive committee became aware of the issue and its possible significance early last year, it took “adequate actions” that led to the voluntary recall.

This year, the FDA found that Philips’ efforts to alert patients were insufficient, concluding that many patients were probably still unaware of the health risks nine months after the recall had begun. In March, it ordered the company to notify health professionals, device distributors and users of the recalled machines after estimating that only 50% of patients and consumers who had gotten recalled CPAPs and BiPAPs within the last five years had registered with the company for a replacement.

Philips said it had some 2.6 million devices registered for the recall in the U.S. — which it said represented the “vast majority” of affected devices nationwide — but was continuing to try to increase awareness, including by working with durable medical equipment suppliers to reach out to patients.

Craig Lykens, whose 6-year-old son, Gil, uses a recalled ventilator, was dismayed recently to discover that their unit had yet not been registered for replacement. The device is provided through a medical equipment vendor, which hadn’t registered it based on the mistaken belief that Philips was not replacing machines, Lykens said.

The family, who live outside Washington, D.C., could have tried to switch to another kind of ventilator, but Lykens said that probably would involve Gil staying overnight at a hospital so doctors could monitor how he fared with a different machine — something the family was reluctant to do amid COVID-19, which is especially risky for kids with his genetic condition.

Some kids do better on certain models of ventilators, Lykens said. Fearing their child might fare poorly on the wrong one, when faced with the possible risks from foam particles, “we stay and face the long-term threat.”

In Philadelphia, Meghann Luczkowski likewise worried about what would happen if Miles, her 8-year-old son, were switched to a different ventilator. Miles has a rare form of dwarfism that causes a “floppy airway” that needs to be reopened with mechanical ventilation. He had briefly been put on a different ventilator in the past but couldn’t maintain safe levels of oxygen and suffered “blue spells” in which his skin changed color.

His Philips machine has been “his lifeline,” allowing him to live at home with his family. But Luczkowski said they had begun noticing black buildup when they changed a filter in the machine.

“It’s a very scary thing to hear that the machine that keeps your child alive could suddenly be the thing that’s harming them,” Luczkowski said.

Dr. Alon Y. Avidan, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, estimated that roughly a fifth of his patients have been affected by the recall, which has caused a significant imbalance between supply and demand “that is affecting our patients’ ability to receive treatment from CPAP in a timely and efficient manner.”

He urged patients to talk to their doctors to weigh the risks and benefits of continuing to use a recalled device. Some patients “do not have good alternatives except to stop the therapy,” he said, which “is not a good situation by any means.”

In December, Philips said that its testing of one set of CPAP and BiPAP devices included in the recall found that the level of chemical emissions “is not typically anticipated to result in long-term health consequences for patients.” That testing did not explore the health risks from ingesting bits of foam, however, nor did it look at other devices covered by the recall. The Center for Devices and Radiological Health said in May that it was not convinced that such testing was enough to downgrade the estimated harm from the tested machines.

Philips has also pointed to two analyses that did not find a higher incidence of cancer among patients who used Philips devices rather than those of other manufacturers. Another study from Sweden found signs of an increased incidence of lung cancer, but said the findings were inconclusive and might be related to regional differences in cancer risks.

Concerns have continued to mount. From April 2021 through April 2022, federal regulators have gotten more than 21,000 reports about medical issues potentially tied to the recalled devices — or malfunctions likely to cause injuries if they recurred — including 124 reports linking them to deaths. Cancer has been a stated concern: Since 2020, more than 1,100 such reports about Philips CPAP or BiPAP machines have included the words “cancer,” “tumor” or “tumour,” said Madris Kinard, chief executive of Device Events, which gathers data to track problems with medical devices.

Those medical device reports, which can be submitted by health professionals and patients as well as manufacturers, do not require verification that the device caused the injury or death; Philips stressed that submitting such reports “is not evidence that the device caused or contributed to the adverse outcome or event.”

However, Zuckerman said “it’s assumed that a lot of deaths and other serious injuries don’t get reported at all.”

In La Quinta, California, Matthew P. Stone counts himself as relatively lucky. The 61-year-old, who had been using a Philips CPAP machine for sleep apnea, had been able to fall back on an old device from another manufacturer.

But Stone, like others, has been galled by the way the recall has played out. At one point, Stone said, he tried to lodge a complaint with federal regulators and was referred to a Southern California number that kept cutting out before he could leave a message.

“I am so incredibly disappointed,” he said, “at the lack of advocacy by anybody involved.”

Stars find relationship at heart of ‘Pam & Tommy’
Author: Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times

Lily James knew of Pamela Anderson only as “the icon from ‘Baywatch’ and Playboy.” Sebastian Stan knew something of Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee’s reputation for debauchery. But when James and Stan got working on the limited series “Pam & Tommy,” which turns on the infamous sex tape stolen from the couple, the two actors found themselves struck by … innocence.

“There was a certain innocence to them that was in the script,” Stan says, “a lot of it in that initial, comet-like meeting that happened between them that led to three, four days in Mexico and, suddenly, a wedding. There was this instant pull, and it lasted for them. We were both conscious of trying to find that authentic kind of primal attraction, being protective of that and conveying that in the best way we possibly could.”

That high-speed collision of Anderson and Lee is depicted in the second episode. As presented by showrunner and writer Robert Siegel, director Craig Gillespie and the whole creative team, (especially cinematographer Paula Huidobro of “CODA,” editor Tatiana S. Riegel, who worked with Gillespie on “I, Tonya,” and the all-in hair-and-makeup department led by Barry Lee Moe, David Williams and Jason Collins), it’s a wild ride of two people falling head over heels in love — with a not-inconsiderable boost from mind-altering substances. The series doesn’t shy from portraying the couple’s explosive sexuality. It has loads of fun doing so. But as the poet sang, “Only true love can leave beauty innocent.”

Stan says, “We would meet at Craig’s house and he’d be like, ‘We’re gonna do this and all these push-ins, and these are gonna be the songs …’ When I watch that episode, I almost feel like I’m high.”

“High on love, high on drugs, high on everything,” agrees James from a separate Zoom screen. “It felt like them against the world, which felt so intoxicating to watch, and I think even more upsetting to see the world banging down their door.”

The actors’ transformations into the famous couple went viral before the show ever aired, but the stars solemnly attest to their determination to honor Anderson and Lee — and especially their relationship — despite the outsize personalities in the series and its crazy events. Seriously, four days knowing each other, then a beach wedding.

James laughs: “There’s no sense in falling in love!”

The Brit best known for “Downton Abbey” and “Cinderella” clearly enjoys the absurd. When the notion of her in the role came up, she thought, “‘Whoa, me? Pamela Anderson? That’s completely insane.’ I was just shocked I would be in anyone’s mind when it came to casting, and I was hungry for that.”

When she started researching, she was overwhelmed by the abundance of material. But when she found early Anderson interviews, “It would be like gold dust. Although she’d already ridden to huge fame, it’s that word Sebastian used: ‘innocence.’ The newness of her career, of ambition, of a relationship, of love — love feels so important for her energy. I began to see real anchors of behavior, mannerisms and physicality.

“We were working through the script in the garden. Craig was like, ‘Let’s just get it on its feet.’ We went out to his driveway and acted out the scene with the car outside the club — we were looking like Lily and Sebastian, so it was kind of weird without the whole —” she waves her hands to indicate makeup and costumes — “but there was something so playful …‘This is cool, this is gonna come alive.’”

She looks down, smiling at the memory.

Stan says the scene in which the two actors felt most connected involved a bedroom fight — James cheers in assent as he invokes their nickname for it, “‘The John Cassavetes Scene’ in Episode 5.”

She interjects, “This is what I was going to say!”

“We were like, ‘It’s good in a oner!’ We had this wide shot,” he says, still enthused. “‘You could just keep it as a oner!’ “ he says of wanting a long, uninterrupted shot.

James shares his enthusiasm. “We were texting the showrunner this shot of the monitor: ‘Do this whole fight in this one wide shot!’ It was so physical,” she says. “It went from 1 to 100, like fights do.”

But in all the excitement, James emphasizes they were “really trying to explore that personal relationship to understand how deeply painful and unforgivable it was to rob that (tape) from them. To steal something so private.”

Other Papers Say: Airline passengers deserve better
Author: The following editorial originally appeared in the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune:

In a supreme bit of irony, the day after U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with airline leaders about the massive number of recent flight disruptions and cancellations, his own flight was canceled, forcing him to drive from Washington, D.C., to New York.

That underscores the frustration airline passengers have experienced. Ready and eager to travel at last as COVID-19 fears have ebbed, passengers are finding themselves the victims of overbooking, delays and cancellations as airlines attempt to recoup lost revenue despite often severe staffing shortages magnifying the disruptions.

As Buttigieg told The Associated Press, “This is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure that the airlines are delivering.”

The options, unfortunately, appear limited, although Buttigieg has said he is prepared to take enforcement action against airlines that underperform on customer service.

Everything has been more challenging since the pandemic began. Airlines have been hit hard by a shortage of pilots, who can be especially difficult to replace given high training demands. It takes months to hire and train a pilot to meet federal safety standards.

Buttigieg has urged airlines to hire more customer service workers to rebook flights. But that does little good if there are no flights available for rebooking.

We recognize the predicament airlines are in. Strapped for revenue during the worst of the pandemic, they urged many pilots to take early retirement. Now they lack the personnel to handle the surge in consumer demand.

Nevertheless, it’s time to take stock when disruptions become the norm instead of the exception. Passengers in European Union countries have had broad consumer protections in place since 2004. They include compensation when airlines delay or cancel a flight and meals and hotel stays for overnight delays.

By contrast, the shabby treatment of airline passengers in the U.S. is an old story that gets worse. As far back as 2010, Sen. Amy Klobuchar co-sponsored a Passenger Bill of Rights that called for protections so basic one would have hardly thought they needed to be stated. The new rules required airlines to provide passengers with food, water and toilet facilities during prolonged delays on the tarmac.

Airlines can’t control the weather, but what prevents them from booking a hotel for stranded passengers?

Consumers continue to have too few rights when it comes to air travel. As Transportation secretary, Buttigieg can fine airlines that continue to have massive disruptions. But before doing so, he said he wants to see what happens the July 4th weekend and the rest of the summer.

We urge Buttigieg to keep the pressure on airline executives to do better.

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