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Jeff Brady is a National Desk Correspondent based in Philadelphia, where he covers the mid-Atlantic region and energy issues. Brady helped establish NPR's environment and energy collaborative which brings together NPR and Member station reporters from across the country to cover the big stories involving the natural world. Brady approaches energy stories from the consumer side of the light switch and the gas pump in an effort to demystify an industry that can seem complicated and opaque. Frequently traveling throughout the country for NPR, Brady has visited a solar power plant in the Nevada desert that lights casinos after the sun goes down. In 2017 his reporting showed a history of racism and sexism that have made it difficult for the oil business to diversify its workforce. In 2011 Brady led NPR's coverage of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State—from the night legendary football coach Joe Paterno was fired to the trial where Sandusky was found guilty . In 2005,
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    Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET Part of the Republican tax overhaul that President Trump signed into law last week has homeowners around the country doing something unusual: rushing to pay their 2018 property taxes well before the due date. That's because the new law includes a $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes people can deduct on their federal returns. Before, if someone paid $24,000 in property taxes — as some people in higher tax states like New York and California do — and then paid $20,000 in state and local income taxes they were allowed to deduct $44,000 on their federal tax return. Now that number is capped at $10,000. The change could cost some people thousands of dollars. In response to questions from taxpayers and preparers, the Internal Revenue Service issued new guidance Wednesday. The IRS says taxes can be prepaid and deducted from federal returns if local authorities levy the taxes in 2017 and they are paid by Dec. 31. "I'm sending my checks in today," said

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    Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Meteorologists are calling it a bomb cyclone - a powerful winter storm that dumped as much as a foot and a half of snow along parts of the East Coast. The winds created blizzard-like conditions. Schools and government offices closed. Airlines canceled thousands of flights. NPR's Jeff Brady is in Philadelphia. And Jeff, this does not sound like just your average winter storm. What does it look like there? JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: No, it is not. It snowed steady all day long here in Philadelphia. We got about 4 to 6 inches of snow kind of depending on where in the city you are. Other places, though, got a lot more. New Jersey on the shore - the New Jersey Shore - got up to 18 inches of snow in some places. Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency in three counties there. In New England - also hit very hard by this storm. Eastern Massachusetts in the Boston area - there were reports of snow falling at 3 inches per hour. And

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    Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Federal government is in partial shutdown after Congress failed to reach an agreement to pass a spending bill. Members of the military and law enforcement will continue to work without pay, but Americans may not notice the effects of the shutdown until Monday, when most federal workers would be back at work. One exception is at national parks. NPR's Jeff Brady is in downtown Philadelphia at Independence National Historical Park. They were supposed to be open this morning. Right, Jeff? JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Yes, it was supposed to be open. I'm outside the building that houses the Liberty Bell, and the doors are locked. There's some gates up outside, and there's a guard out front. On the door, there's a little sign. You can just barely read it. But it says that the building is going to be closed today because of the partial government shutdown. And all morning, there have been a lot of disappointed tourists sort of milling around,

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    Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: It's been a little more than 24 hours since a 19-year-old man opened fire on his former classmates at a Florida high school, and an all-too-familiar cycle has begun. There are news conferences about the shooter, interviews with survivors and vigils like this one in Coral Springs, Fla., today. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Lord, give them peace as they come to grips with this new reality, as they process the loss of so many of their precious kids and even their colleagues, as they have their own overwhelming moments of grief and anxiety and fear and sadness. KELLY: In a moment, we'll hear how the weapon the killer used was the gun of choice in many recent mass shootings. First, though, to new court documents that show the accused shooter, Nikolas Cruz, has confessed to the shooting. He faces 17 counts of premeditated murder. His first court appearance was today in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. NPR's Jeff Brady

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    Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: The FBI got a tip last month that the man accused of killing 17 people in a high school shooting on Wednesday might be planning an attack, and they never followed up. The FBI says someone left a message on the agency's tip line, but nobody forwarded the call to the local field office. On top of that, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says his office received 20 calls about the alleged shooter over the last two years. He says his office will now scrutinize each call. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) SCOTT ISRAEL: If we find out, like in any investigation, that one of our deputies or call takers could have done something better or was remiss, I'll handle it accordingly. MCEVERS: Also today, families held the first two funerals for victims. NPR's Jeff Brady reports from Parkland, Fla. JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: At the Parkland amphitheater, there's a shrine to the 17 people who were killed. News of the FBI announcement brought swift

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkGOnpvlL8A The United States oil business is booming and the country could soon be the largest crude oil producer in the world. Despite this record-breaking production, climate change activists campaigning to move away from fossil fuels say they are making progress. Here's the idea underpinning the "keep it in the ground" movement: To address climate change, activists say known reserves of fossil fuels will have to be left untouched instead of burned. In the meantime, they want countries to transition to renewable forms of energy such as solar and wind. For oil, activists figure that if they can stop pipelines and other infrastructure from being built, it's more likely crude will be left in the ground, because there won't be a way to transport it to where it can be sold. One tactic used to block pipeline construction is protests like those against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana. Last month organizer Cherri Foytlin led cheers of "L'eau est la vie

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    President Trump's announcement that he will withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal sent crude oil prices up slightly. U.S. drivers who have noticed higher prices at the pump may be tempted to blame Trump's Iran decision, but it's only one factor at play right now. Even before Trump's announcement gasoline prices were nearly 50 cents a gallon higher than a year ago. Trump's decision could eventually mean less oil on the world market from Iran because now the U.S. will reimpose economic sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the 2015 deal. "We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanctions," Trump said. Other nations that do business with Iran also could face U.S. sanctions. The Treasury Department issued guidance on how the sanctions will be reimposed. For oil and other petroleum products there will be a 180-day period in which people doing business with Iran will be able to wind down those operations before facing penalties. In the meantime, Tom Kloza

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    President Trump's goal of achieving "energy dominance" for the United States includes producing more oil and gas on federal land, but new government statistics show a mixed record on this front during his first year in office. Trump has cast himself as an ally of fossil fuel industries. At a 2017 event he told energy industry leaders, "You've gone through eight years of hell," referring to the time former President Obama was in office. But by two measures there was more oil industry activity on federal lands during the Obama years than Trump's first year. In 2017 the number of oil and gas leases fell to a 10-year low of 38,556. The number of acres leased also declined to a decade-low of 25,742,991. Some of the tables do show more activity. The number of leases issued in 2017 increased by about 42 percent and the number of wells that started drilling increased about 40 percent. These statistics come from the Bureau of Land Management's annual report on the agency's website . The numbers

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    Johanna Humphrey has a crayon problem. The Philadelphia resident ordered 24 boxes of crayons to hand out at her son's third birthday party. But retailer Amazon accidentally sent her twice that many and doesn't want the extras back. "Parents don't need this many crayons in their house," jokes Humphrey as she takes photos of the boxes with her smart phone to list them on her local " Buy Nothing Project " Facebook group. Humphrey wants to give the extra crayons to a local teacher. While Facebook makes money by selling stuff through advertising, it's also spawned hundreds of groups where the goal is to give things away. The Buy Nothing Project encourages people to share what they have with others, without money changing hands. In five years the project has spread around the world with the help of more than 3,000 volunteers. Johanna Humphrey is one of them. About three years ago she started the Buy Nothing group for her Roxborough/Manayunk neighborhood in Philadelphia. "I really primarily

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    President Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take immediate steps to help financially troubled coal and nuclear power plants. A draft plan marked "confidential" is being circulated around Washington. No one from the Trump administration has confirmed to NPR that the draft is an official document. Still, the White House issued a statement in response to news reports about the plan, saying the U.S. electric grid is at risk because of coal and nuclear plant shutdowns — called "retirements" in the industry. "Unfortunately, impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation's energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid. President Trump has directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources, and looks forward to his recommendations," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says in the statement. Coal and nuclear plants are in trouble because

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    Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit DAVID GREENE, HOST: All right. Here in the United States, there are 99 nuclear power plants operating today. The industry says more than half of them are at risk of closing over the next decade. To keep plants open, operators are lobbying for subsidies. NPR's Jeff Brady reports from one of the best-known nuclear plants in the country. JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Security is tight at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, where the country's worst nuclear disaster happened in 1979. Walk past the tall cooling towers, and there's razor wire, heavily armed guards and something that blows air on visitors to detect explosives residue. UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Air pump on. BRADY: The reactor where the accident happened is still shut down. We're headed to the one next door that has generated electricity since 1974. The control room is like stepping back in time. There's green panels with analog meters, flashing lights and old-style levers. DAVE MARCHESKIE: Everything is

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    The number of people graduating with nuclear engineering degrees has more than tripled since a low point in 2001, and many are passionate about their motivation. "I'm here because I think I can save the world with nuclear power," Leslie Dewan told the crowd at a 2014 event as she pitched her company's design for a new kind of reactor. Dewan says climate change, and the fact that nuclear plants emit no greenhouse gases, are the big reason she became a nuclear engineer. And she is not the only one. "The reason that almost all of our students come into this field is climate change," says Dennis Whyte, head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The surge in new engineers comes as the nuclear industry, just like coal, is struggling to compete against cheaper natural gas and renewable energy. The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates that more than half of the nation's 99 nuclear reactors are at risk of closing in the next decade.

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    Environmental activists are using a new strategy to block construction of oil and gas pipelines. It already has worked in New York where construction on the Constitution Pipeline has stalled. Now activists are trying the strategy in Oregon. The proposed Jordan Cove project includes a pipeline that would transport natural gas across the Cascades mountain range to the Oregon coast. There it would be turned into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export. At a recent protest rally supporters of the No LNG Exports campaign submitted more than 25,000 comments to encourage Gov. Kate Brown and her Department of Environmental Quality to reject the project. "The state of Oregon has the ability to deny the Clean Water Act permit and stop this project once and for all if this project would have negative impacts on Oregon's water ways, which we know it will," says Hannah Sohl, director of the group Rogue Climate. Activists like Sohl want to keep fossil fuels in the ground where they won't contribute

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    In some parts of the country people are learning their drinking water contains pollution from a group of chemicals called Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). These chemicals have been linked to illnesses, including cancer. But a lot of questions remain including how exactly they affect people's health and in what doses. These chemicals have been around for decades but the issue gained urgency in recent years as water suppliers tested for and found PFAS pollution as part of an Environmental Protection Agency program. The EPA is working on a plan to manage PFAS but members of Congress are pushing the EPA to move faster . A few states already have established strict new standards to limit the compounds in drinking water. And in some places, such as the Philadelphia suburbs , PFAS pollution has become an issue in mid-term election races. As scientists and policy-makers work to limit human exposure to the compounds here are a few key points that are worth knowing. 1. PFAS chemicals

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    In the basement of a suburban Philadelphia home, half a dozen high school freshman boys recently met to munch on chips and pretzels — and to talk about sexual assault in the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. A Jewish group called Moving Traditions brought them together as part of its programs to encourage teenagers to talk about this and other difficult issues. Temple Sinai in Dresher, Pa., sponsors this local group. Volunteer group leader Cody Greenes, 35, introduced the week's topic by asking the boys to raise their hands if they've heard of the #MeToo movement . Then Greenes led a discussion about the historical power differences between men and women and how that can play out when it comes to sex. After talking about the larger issue, Greenes posed the question: "Do we believe that verbal consent is necessary?" Most of the boys said yes, but one, David Levin, argued it isn't always simple. He described a situation on a bus where both people already said they're

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    Two years ago in North Dakota, after months of protest by thousands of indigenous and environmental activists, pipeline opponents celebrated when the Obama administration denied a key permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). A few months later, the Trump administration reversed that decision and approved construction . Pipeline opponents worried that a spill from the Dakota Access Pipeline would pollute drinking water for the nearby Standing Rock Sioux reservation. "It turned out to be a massive gathering — a world-wide gathering," recalls current Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council Chairman Mike Faith. Faith says the protests sent a message to the world that Native Americans were standing up for themselves, encouraging indigenous people from around the world to join the demonstrations. Among them was Leoyla Cowboy who left her job and home in New Mexico. "I'm still here. I haven't really left," laughs Cowboy. The demonstrations changed the course of her life. At the protest camp

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    The Trump administration plans to eliminate an Obama-era requirement that new coal-fired power plants have expensive technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions. This latest administration effort to boost fossil fuel industries comes as leaders from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Poland to discuss how to keep greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere. And amid reports that CO2 emissions are rising again , as well as the administration's own report that climate change is causing more severe weather more frequently and could eventually hurt the U.S. economy. The Environmental Protection Agency proposal would revise its "New Source Performance Standards" for coal power plants, allowing coal-fired generators to emit more CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity generated. This would ease an Obama-era rule that was a central target in critics' accusations of a "war on coal." The coal industry argues the existing Obama administration requirements made it all but impossible to build new

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    At a major climate meeting in Poland, nearly 200 countries are trying to reach a deal on dramatically reducing carbon emissions. But a recent U.N. report found that may not be enough to avoid dangerous impacts from the warming climate. In fact, the world is falling so far short of what's needed, it said, that it might be necessary to pull massive amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air. The problem is that there's no feasible — let alone economical — way to do that yet. But there are a number of efforts underway to find one, including in the small, picturesque town of Squamish, British Columbia, an hour's drive north of Vancouver. Carbon Engineering has been working for nearly a decade on the technology behind a "direct air capture" pilot plant, which sits just outside its office. The process of capturing CO2 starts with an "air contactor," which looks like an oversized semitrailer with a huge fan on top. In front there's a black grill with a solution containing potassium hydroxide

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh2DwRkLIQE Mention the Philadelphia Eagles and last year's Super Bowl win comes to mind. But so does that time fans booed and pelted Santa Claus with snow balls. It happened 50 years ago on Saturday. The game on Dec. 15, 1968 between the Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings wasn't memorable, but what happened at halftime was. The basic story has been repeated over the decades, but this is what it boils down to. The Eagles were having a bad season. This game wasn't going well, either, so the fans held on to their anger for the halftime show. "Poor, little, old Santa Claus got bombarded while my dad and I sat in the stands with our hands over our heads," remembers Gail Wehmeyer, an Eagles fan and season ticket holder since 1961. Wehmeyer says fans behind her didn't have great aim. So she got pelted, too. The man in the suit was 20-year-old Frank Olivo. He's since died, but he spoke about that day with ESPN seven years ago. "I remember watching a fellow make a

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    In another proposed reversal of an Obama-era standard, the Environmental Protection Agency Friday said limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants is not cost-effective and should not be considered "appropriate and necessary." The EPA says it is keeping the 2012 restrictions in place for now, in large part because utilities have already spent billions to comply with them. But environmental groups worry the move is a step toward repealing the limits and could make it harder to impose other regulations in the future. In a statement, the EPA said it is "providing regulatory certainty by transparently and accurately taking account of both costs and benefits." The National Mining Association welcomed the move, calling the mercury limits "punitive" and "massively unbalanced." When coal is burned it releases mercury into the air, where it can cause health risks to people including neurological disorders, heart and lung problems and compromised immune