Jeff Brady

Updated at 3:11 p.m. ET

President Trump has thrown his latest lifeline to the ailing coal industry, significantly weakening one of former President Barack Obama's key policies to address climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of its Affordable Clean Energy rule on Wednesday. It's supported by the coal industry, but it is not clear that it will be enough to stop more coal-fired power plants from closing.

Updated at 4:51 p.m. ET

Tens of thousands of students around the world skipped school school Friday to protest inaction on climate change. It was one of the largest turnouts so far in a months long movement that included the U.S. for the first time, in an event organizers call the "U.S. Youth Climate Strike."

President Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take immediate steps to help financially troubled coal and nuclear power plants.

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.

The Trump administration announced Thursday that it has temporarily waived a U.S. shipping restriction for Puerto Rico known as the Jones Act.

Under the law, only U.S.-flagged ships are allowed to move goods between any U.S. ports. Now foreign-flagged vessels also will be able to move shipments from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico and between ports there. The move is intended to boost the delivery of much-needed relief supplies after Hurricane Maria battered the U.S. territory last week.

The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration thanked President Trump in a tweet:

The U.S. power grid could become less reliable if too much electricity comes from renewable energy and natural gas, according to a study from the Department of Energy.

But not everyone is buying it. Environmentalists suspect the Trump administration is just trying to prop up an ailing coal industry.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry called for the study in the spring. The report doesn't say there is a grid reliability problem now — only that one could develop if more coal and nuclear power plants shut down.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET Friday

The U.S. State Department has signed and issued a presidential permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline. That reverses former President Barack Obama's 2015 decision to reject the controversial pipeline.

The day after his inauguration, President Trump placed a call to the acting head of the National Park Service, Michael Reynolds.

"I can confirm that the call took place. I can't comment on the content of the conversation," National Park Service spokesman Tom Crosson said in an email to NPR.

Trump reportedly was upset over the agency's retweeting of side-by-side photos that unfavorably compared the crowd sizes at his and former President Obama's inaugurations. The retweet was later removed.

When former Texas Gov. Rick Perry faces the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for his confirmation hearing on Thursday, his first test could be whether he remembers the name of the agency he's been picked to head.

The U.S. Department of Energy is considering the future of a public asset worth tens of billions of dollars: the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has found no evidence that hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking — has led to widespread pollution of drinking water. The oil industry and its backers welcome the long-awaited study, while environmental groups criticize it.

Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: The Senate voted against completing the Keystone pipeline.

The remaining portion of the Keystone pipeline project, if completed, will be fewer than 1,200 miles long — just a fraction of the existing 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines running beneath our feet in the United States.

The U.S. is in the middle of an oil drilling boom that few people saw coming. After decades of decline, crude oil production is rising again. Technologies such as hydraulic fracturing in places such as North Dakota are getting a lot of attention. But the Gulf of Mexico still accounts for more than one-fifth of domestic oil production.

A remarkable transformation is underway in western North Dakota, where an oil boom is changing the state's fortunes and leaving once-sleepy towns bursting at the seams. In a series of stories, NPR is exploring the economic, social and environmental demands of this modern-day gold rush.

North Dakota's oil boom isn't just about oil; a lot of natural gas comes out of the ground at the same time. But there's a problem with that: The state doesn't have the pipelines needed to transport all of that gas to market. There's also no place to store it.