Overnight Energy: Hunters who killed bear cubs get jail time | EPA polluter penalties at lowest level since 1994 | 2018 was Earth's fourth hottest year on record | 'Doomsday clock' closest ever to global annihilation since Cold War

Overnight Energy: Hunters who killed bear cubs get jail time | EPA polluter penalties at lowest level since 1994 | 2018 was Earth's fourth hottest year on record | 'Doomsday clock' closest ever to global annihilation since Cold War
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ALASKA HUNTERS WHO KILLED BLACK BEAR AND CUBS IN DEN GET JAIL TIME: A pair of hunters who made headlines last fall after being charged with illegally killing a denning black bear and her two newborn cubs on an island in Alaska's Prince William Sound will get jail time.

Andrew Renner on Wednesday was sentenced to five months in jail with two months suspended and will pay a fine of $20,000, the District Court for the State of Alaska in Anchorage ruled. His 17-year-old son, Owen, was sentenced to suspended jail time, community works service and will have to take a hunter safety course.

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Both will have their hunting licenses suspended for ten and two years respectively and will each have to pay $1,800 in restitution for killing the black bears.

The father, son hunting team pleaded guilty last November to charges related to the unlawful killing of the bears, unlawfully trophy possession and falsification of the sealing certificate.

The U.S. Forest Service linked the duo to the slaying of the three black bears last April through a recording taken of the collared mother bear. The bears were under surveillance by a motion-activated game camera placed at the den as part of a government study. Troopers were able to recover footage from the den.

The footage showed the Renners together fired at least two shots at the mother bear while it slept in its den. After the defendants moved closer to the den, Andrew Renner pointed his rifle at the newborn cubs at point blank range and fired several shots, killing them, according to the Alaska Department of Law press release.

The father was heard on camera saying, "It doesn't matter, bear down," after the slaying of the bears, according to the state's charging documents.

The duo then butchered the mother bear for meat and returned two days later to collect the cub carcasses. The cubs were never recovered by authorities.

The two were formally charged last August.

"Protection of natural resources is of paramount importance," Alaska's assistant Attorney General Aaron Peterson wrote in its sentencing memo.

"This is one of the last places on earth where most residents can drive a short distance from their home and hunt big game -- that will only remain true if management is taken seriously and the punishments for violating the regulations designed to ensure healthy populations are severe."

Read more here.

 

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EPA POLLUTER PENALTIES AT LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 2014: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) levied the lowest civil penalties against polluters in nearly a quarter century last year, a new analysis of agency data found.

The $72 million in penalties for breaking the law in fiscal year 2018 was the lowest since 1994 and more than 85 percent below the two-decade average of $500 million, when adjusted for inflation. That's according to the analysis by Cynthia Giles, who led the EPA's enforcement office under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden to debate for first time as front-runner John Kerry: Play based on Mueller report is 'an act of public service' Obama photographed alongside Clooney on boat in Italy MORE.

Fiscal 2018, which ran from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018, was the first full fiscal year of the Trump administration, but nearly half of the penalties came from cases whose settlements were reached before President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE took office.

Giles's analysis, based on publicly available data from the agency, was first reported by The Washington Post Thursday. She is a guest fellow at Harvard University's Environmental and Energy Law Program.

More on the analysis here.

 

LAST YEAR WAS EARTH'S FOURTH HOTTEST YEAR, ANALYSIS FINDS: Earth's average temperature fell slightly last year, but 2018 was still the fourth hottest year since records began, a new analysis found.

Berkeley Earth, a nonprofit science organization, said Earth's average surface temperature last year was about 2.09 degrees Fahrenheit above the average temperature between 1850 to 1900.

The three hotter years were 2015, 2016 and 2017, the organization said. 2016 was the hottest year since records began, but that was fueled somewhat by an El Nino that year.

"The slight decline in 2018 is likely to reflect short-term natural variability, but the overall pattern remains consistent with a long-term trend towards global warming," the group said in its Thursday report.

It was the hottest year on record for about 4.3 percent of the world's surface, including Antarctica and nations Italy, Austria, Slovakia and France.

Read more on the report here.

 

'DOOMSDAY CLOCK' SETTING CLOSEST TO GLOBAL ANNIHILATION SINCE COLD WAR: The world is the closest it's been in more than 60 years to annihilation from nuclear war and climate change, a group of scientists warned Thursday.

The experts, led by former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), say increasing tensions between the U.S. and nuclear-armed Russia and North Korea, as well as growing global carbon emissions, are keeping the Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight -- a dire placement last achieved during the Cold War.

The metaphorical clock measures the symbolic point of annihilation on earth at the hands of humans. Today's setting is the second year in a row the clock has been so close to midnight, tying it with the setting it last achieved in 1953 at the height of the Cold War.

"I can say at this moment the blindness and stupidity of the politicians and their consultants is truly shocking in the face of nuclear catastrophe and danger," Brown told a crowd during the announcement Thursday.

"We're almost like travelers on the Titanic not seeing the iceberg ahead but enjoying the elegant dining and music."

The decision to keep the clock was made by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board in consultation with their board that includes 14 Nobel laureates.

"We have entered a period called the new abnormal -- we appear to be normalizing a very dangerous world in terms of the risk to nuclear war and climate change," said Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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"The 2019 time should not be taken as a time of stability but a stark warning," she said of the clock's settings. "It features an unpredictable landscape. This new abnormal is too normal and too volatile to accept."

The clock last moved in 2018 to two minutes to midnight after being placed at two minutes, 30 seconds to midnight in 2017, the year President Trump was inaugurated. The scientists started including climate change as a risk factor in addition to nuclear war in 2007 after an acknowledgement that human-burned fossil fuels were equally contributing to the globe's demise.

Read more here.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

-Porsche doubles production of electric car it hasn't yet released in run for Tesla's market, CNBC reports.

-Groups file suit to protect bighorn sheep in Colorado's San Juan Mountains, KRWG reports.

-Key court decisions slow down with Interior lawyers furloughed, E&E reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

-Alaska hunters who killed bears in den get jail time, hunting bans

-2018 was Earth's fourth hottest year, analysis finds

-Berkeley to start charging 25 cents for disposable cups next year

-GOP rep will 'probably' support measure to back Paris climate pact

-'Doomsday clock' setting closest to global annihilation since Cold War

-EPA polluter penalties fall to lowest level since 1994

-Ocasio-Cortez invokes Bible in response to White House on climate change