Toxic algae is killing dogs in the southeast

Dog owners: beware. A toxic blue-green algae has killed four dogs in North Carolina and Georgia this week. The dogs died after swimming in, and most likely drinking, algae-contaminated water, leading to liver failure.

Toxic algae can bloom in freshwater and saltwater and may be hard to spot. Look for foam or scum on the water and blue, red, vibrant green or brown colors on top of the water that can resemble spilled paint. Toxic algae can also smell very bad, though animals may be attracted to the odor. Symptoms of exposure in dogs include diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, drooling, difficulty breathing or seizures. If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, take the animal directly to the vet.

The Trump administration has released plans to weaken the Endangered Species Act

On Monday the Trump administration announced plans to weaken the Endangered Species Act during a time of record global extinctions. Under the new rules, officials will be able to attach a price tag to saving a plant or animal, even though Congress decided that economic costs should not be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to save a species. Blanket protections for newly listed animals will also be removed.

Since President Nixon signed it into law in 1973, protection under the Endangered Species Act has saved over 1,400 species of plants and animals. In total, ninety-nine percent of plants and animals given protection under the law have been saved. There are currently about 1,600 plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Pennsylvania will use Dieselgate settlement to buy more diesel vehicles

Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf announced that the state will spend $8.5 million from the Volkswagen Dieselgate settlement to fund 34 cleaner energy projects. Critics, however, point out that much of the money will go to fund diesel instead of electric vehicles.

The money will buy new school buses, public buses, garbage trucks, and electric-vehicle charging stations. While the projects include two new electric buses, one-third of the projects will replace old diesel vehicles with new ones. Several projects include natural gas or propane vehicles. In total, the state of Pennsylvania was awarded $118 million from the Volkswagen emissions scandal known as Dieselgate.

Kim Dinan: