Archive for Environment

Full Text of “Clean Power Plan” Rule

It is here along with the rule history, technical documents, fact sheets, and toolbox for various communities.

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EPA Report on Fracking and Its Impact on Water

The 1000 page report – Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources – and its more readable executive summary have just been published. Both sides of this question claim victory; here is FactCheck’s summation.

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The Imminent Loss of Large Herbivores

We count ourselves privileged to have seen close up the beauty of elephants, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, and other large plant-eating animals. Sadly, due to humanity’s incessant demands and practices, these large animals are threatened with extinction in the not-too-distant future; already, many are present on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. The article Collapse of the world’s largest herbivores in Science Advances makes for sobering reading and is one of the first reviews of this dire state of affairs.

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Deepwater Horizon Five Years After

On April 20, 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began; it took three months to finally cap the flow of oil. In that time period, over 200,000,000 gallons were released into the ocean. Five years later: what have we learned? it such an occurrence either preventable or stoppable? what are the long-term effects or has not enough time passed to truly gauge the extent of the ecological damage? what other energy options are currently available to prevent more deepsea drilling? (A point of transparency here. We worked for a major oil company back in the day and have firsthand experience of North Sea oil platforms and deepsea drilling rigs.) For reports that address these and other topics, we recommend: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (an ongoing series from NOAA); The BP Oil Disaster Five Years Later (Diane Rehm Show, April 19, 2015); Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Recent Activities and Ongoing Developments (CRS, May 12, 2014); 5 years after BP spill, drillers push into riskier depths (Houston Chronicle with this observation: “…drillers have been hit by a steady string of “well losses,” reportable incidents when a drilling operation temporarily loses control of a well. Since the Macondo blowout [Deepwater Horizon], 22 such incidents have been reported to authorities.”); An Ecosystem Services Approach to Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico (National Academies Press 2013, also consult its Deepwater Horizon Collection of documents); Double, double, oil and trouble (The Economist, April 17, 2015); Emerging from Deepwater (Royal Society of Chemistry, April 20, 2015 with important links); Using Natural Abundance Radiocarbon To Trace the Flux of Petrocarbon to the Seafloor Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (Environmental Science & Technology, web publication, 12-12-14); Gulf of Mexico Environmental Recovery and Restoration (BP, March 2015); Rebuttal to the BP report (Natural Resources Damage Assessment Trustees, March 16, 2015); Deepwater Disaster: Five Years On (Huffington Post, April 18, 2015); BP oil spill plus 5: Why it’ll happen again (The Washington Post, April 20, 2015); and Deepwater Horizon five years later (podcast, Science, April 3, 2015).

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Recent Reports on the Water Sector

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Water Scarcity Still Rated as Top Risk

The World Risks 2015 from the World Economic Forum ranks “water crises” as the top global risk in terms of impact (Table 1, executive summary). The report goes on to state how environmental risks have increased over time : “The nexus of food, water, energy and climate change has been identified by the US National Intelligence Council as one of four overarching mega trends that will shape the world in 2030.” (Referencing the NIC’s Global Trends 2030)

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How Clean Are New Jersey Beaches?

As people travel to the Jersey shore this summer, they can be comforted by the fact that New Jersey ranks #3 in the nation (out of 30 states listed) in cleanliness of its beach water. In fact, New Jersey contains more “superstar beaches” than any other state. The Natural Resources Defense Council issued Testing the Waters 2014: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation beaches that compiled statistical information the states have on their beach quality. State rankings are found in the executive summary. See how your state fared.

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