What Environmental News to Watch the Week of Oct. 17

 Las Vegas

Here’s a list of some top environmental stories, events and other controversies to watch for this week.

Deal reached to slash powerful greenhouse gases. About 200 countries adopted an amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol in Rwanda on Saturday to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, a hugely powerful greenhouse gas. Dean Scott is the one to watch for news from this story.

Volkswagen proposed settlement decision on Tuesday. A federal district court judge decides Tuesday whether to grant final approval to the proposed $14.7 billion Volkswagen settlement, which would allow hundreds of thousands of Volkswagen diesel owners to sell their cars back to VW, or wait to see if a technical fix is approved by the EPA and California regulators. Patrick Ambrosio is reporting.

Deepwater Horizon spill on the Hill.  Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) hosts a briefing Monday on the aftermath of the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent spill into the Gulf of Mexico with representatives from NOAA, Interior Department and National Academies of Sciences. Alan Kovski is covering. 

What will be the parting words in the final presidential debate? Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump squares off with Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in their third and final debate Wednesday night before the election at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Rachel Leven will listen for any mention of climate change.  

President Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton. President Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are hitting the campaign trail to spark excitement for Hillary Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaign. Renee Schoof is watching for any climate change-related news to come out of these speeches. 

Oral arguments for EPA’s approval of certain pollutants.  On Thursday, oral arguments begin in a West Virginia courtroom to resolve claims about the EPA’s liability under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Clean Water Act in a case brought on by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition about the agency’s approval of 1,546 total maximum daily load plans--the max amount of pollutants that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards. Amena Saiyid will be watching. 

So what’s a light bulb anyway? The Energy Department proposes to broaden its definition of light bulbs, which is based on feedback from the industry including General Electric Lighting. Rebecca Kern is shedding light on the proposal.

EPA wastewater policies go before D.C. Circuit. Oral arguments kick off Friday before the D.C. Circuit about the EPA’s decision to limit an Eighth Circuit ruling that affected the agency’s mixing zone and blending policies involving wastewater in a case brought by the Center for Regulatory Reasonableness. Amena Saiyid will have the news.  

Activists urge Colorado county to extend fracking moratorium. Industry says kill it. Environmentalists in Boulder County, Colo., are calling on county commissioners to extend a moratorium on fracking that’s set to expire Nov. 18, but industry says recent legal decisions mean the local restriction is illegal. Tripp Baltz has the news.

Alaska communities concerned about upstream mines. Some Alaska communities are wary of possible contamination in their local waterways from mineral mines upstream in British Columbia, which could affect fishing and tourism, and they say there’s not enough protection and accountability. Correspondent Steve Quinn has the story coming this week.