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Planet Experts looks back on the stories we reported this month and serves you up a piping hot dish of the absolute worst things to happen to, in and around the environment. Here they are: The Top 10 Most Depressing Environmental Stories of March 2015:

10) Arizona Is Punishing Its Solar-Powered Residents

solarWith an average of 193 clear days per year, Arizona is America’s sunniest state. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped the Salt River Project (SRP), one of the nation’s largest public power utilities, from penalizing Arizona residents that want to take advantage of their state’s most accessible resource. Starting in April, Arizona residents with rooftop solar panels will be forced to pay an additional “demand charge” on their utility bills equaling about $50 per month. In response, the CEO of SolarCity wrote a blistering open letter to the utility, calling the new charge “unsupportable by any economic analysis.” Read More

9) Mount Everest Is Gross

The tallest mountain in the world has become its most majestic landfill. After more than half a century of climbers braving the elements and the spiraling cost of admission to stand on the roof of the world, Everest is now covered in trash, poop and about 250 dead bodies. Read More

8) Ted Cruz Is an Idiot

Yes, 2016’s latest presidential hopeful is none too savvy when it comes to matters of science, which is unfortunate because he oversees the Senate subcommittee on NASA. Sen. Cruz (R-TX) thinks the agency should be pointing its satellites at outer space instead of using them to track climate change. And why is that? Well, the gentleman from Texas doesn’t believe in climate change, despite the fact that NASA’s own Kennedy Space Center is disappearing into the ocean… Read More

7) Pythons Are Swarming the Florida Everglades, and They’re Eating Everything

As its name suggests, the Burmese python is not native to Florida. Unfortunately, this reptilian carnivore can grow up to 19 feet long and is a prodigious breeder, making it both well suited to Florida’s mammal-filled swamps and almost impossible to eradicate completely.

Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus). (Image Credit: Karunakar Rayker / WikiMedia Commons)

Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus). (Image Credit: Karunakar Rayker / WikiMedia Commons)

At least 10,000 are believed to now inhabit the Everglades National Park and they are eating just about anything they can get their coils on. Read More

6) Cod Stocks Have Declined 90 Percent in the Gulf of Maine

Since 1982, the population of cod in the Gulf of Maine has declined by 90 percent. Environmental groups petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service early this month to end targeted fishing of the species, which is at about four percent of what a healthy stock should be. This story comes direct from the Center for Biological Diversity. Read More

5) Six Million Gallons of Sewage Spilled into the Rio Grande

In late February, an equipment failure at the Southside Water Reclamation Plant in Albuquerque, New Mexico resulted in the release of about six million gallons of sewage into the Rio Grande. Shortly thereafter, investigators discovered levels of E. coli in the river that “were off the charts.” Read More

4) The Coast Guard Is Excavating a 25,000-Pound Tar Mat From the Gulf of Mexico

Last week, BP announced that, five years after the Deepwater Horizon exploded and spilled over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the region was returning to its “baseline condition.” The next day, we learned that the Coast Guard is currently excavating a 25,000-pound clump of oil, sand and sediment (known as a “tar mat”) from East Grande Terre Island. NOAA called BP’s announcement “inappropriate as well as premature.” Read More

3) Florida Officials Can’t Use the Phrase ‘Climate Change’ to Describe Climate Change

In what is the most Orwellian story Planet Experts reported this week, government officials in Florida have revealed that they cannot use the terms “climate change” or “global warming” to describe climate change or global warming. The ban is the unofficial policy of Governor Rick “I’m not a scientist” Scott, who has been anything but open-minded where science and his state is concerned. There is a perverse tragicomedy in watching the video clip below, which features a Florida lawmaker mocking an official who absolutely refuses to let the words “climate change” leave his mouth.

It’s funny until you remember that this is real life. Read More

2) The Planet Just Experienced Its Warmest Winter on Record

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), temperatures measured between December 2014 and February 2015 made this the warmest winter in recorded history. On average, temperatures were 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, beating out the previous record-holder (2007), by 0.05 degrees. Read More

1) Big Oil’s Bomb Trains Keep Exploding

Four trains carrying crude oil derailed and ignited in the span of three short weeks: The first in Timmins, Ontario; the second in West Virginia; the third in Illinois; and the fourth in Gogama, Ontario. Thankfully, no one was killed during these incidents, but they are happening with alarming regularity. This has much to do with the fact that oil car traffic has increased by 4,000 percent in the last five years and the railways are not equipped to deal with the traffic. Read More

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