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EPA withdraws rule excluding certain fuels from RCRA regulations
June 8, 2010 03:57 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

In December 2008, the US EPA excluded certain fuels derived from hazardous secondary materials which, when burned in industrial boilers under specified conditions generated air pollutant emissions comparable to those produced by burning fuel oil in those boilers. The 2008 conditional exclusion provided a regulatory compliance break for industrial facilities that were able to use potentially hazardous secondary materials as fuel in their boilers since they could do so without the burden of full RCRA documentation on the materials burned. They also, of course, saved money on fuel oil, and on disposal costs of the secondary materials if not burned. On June 8th, the agency changed its mind, and determined that these secondary materials that could be used a s fuels need to be classified as hazardous wastes

June 8, 2010 02:43 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

What are aerosols? In this case they are tiny particles of dust, soot, salts, mist and all sorts of small stuff suspended in the air. This is what causes a hazy day, light scattering and sun light absorption. Aerosols have a great effect on climate but little is known about them.

Solar Power Has Its Day
June 8, 2010 02:00 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There is Sunday of course which was originally and literally Sun's day as a vaguely religious observance. Now there is Solar Day which is not so much a day set aside to honor solar (power) but a day to show how solar power has grown and can be used. This is to be June 19 and will be an annual day of recognition for the growth of clean, solar energy. The premise of Solar Day is simple: a national day of recognition for solar energy, energy independence and protection of the planet.

Into an Ancient Glacial Lake
June 8, 2010 01:07 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Scientists have located the ideal drill site for the first ever exploration of an Antarctic sub-glacial lake, a development that it likely to facilitate a revolution in climate change research and which may lead to the discovery of life forms cut off from the main line of evolution for millions of years. Far below in the isolated dark strange life forms may have evolved isolated form the mainstream. Also down there are frozen relics of bygone ages and climates.

The Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico
June 7, 2010 02:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

While the Deepwater Horizon oil gusher continues to mire the Gulf of Mexico, another threat could be growing below the oil slicked surface. This is the "Dead Zone". Currently the most well known dead zone is about 8,500 square miles in size and lies in the Gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi River dumps high nutrient runoff from its vast drainage basin, which includes the heart of the U.S. agriculture business from the Midwest. This is equivalent to a dead zone the size of New Jersey. Dead zones are hypoxic (low oxygen) areas in the world's oceans, the observed incidences of which have been increasing since oceanographers began noting them in the 1970s.

Where is the oil going?
June 7, 2010 10:00 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico has steadily taken its toll on the waters of the gulf and surrounding coastlines. However, the prevailing currents will not allow the oil to be stationary. The Loop Current, which is a clockwise current in the Gulf that originates from Caribbean waters that flow north along the Yucatan, around the Gulf, and out to the Atlantic, will bring the oil around the southern tip of Florida. Then, the stronger Gulf Stream current will take it along the eastern seaboard and deep into the North Atlantic by as early as mid-July.

How to Contain an Oil Spill
June 4, 2010 01:19 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

At present there is a large oil release in the Gulf of Mexico. It is not the first of its kind. Obviously one must try to confine it and then clean it up but what it is the right and effective way? What is a waste of time and resources and what works? Ixtoc I was an exploratory oil well being drilled in the Bay of Campeche of the Gulf of Mexico, about 62 northwest of Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche in waters 160 feet deep. On 3 June 1979, the well suffered a blowout resulting in the third largest oil spill and the second largest accidental spill in history. What was effective then? Under pressure from the Louisiana Governor and other state and local officials, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued an emergency permit on May 27 authorizing the state of Louisiana to construct 45 miles of artificial berm — 300 feet wide at its base and rising six feet out of the gulf — in an attempt to protect delta wetlands and barrier islands from the encroaching oil. How effective will this be?

New Study Examines the Effects of Development Intensity on Stream Health
June 4, 2010 10:52 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The health of a waterway is entirely dependent on the status of its riparian zone, the area of land from which storm water flows. In urban environments, which are typically found along a waterway, that land is altered, and the flow of water to the stream or river is affected. These changes can have a devastating effect on the populations of aquatic life that reside there.

The Spreading No Fishing Zone in the Gulf Of Mexico
June 3, 2010 03:38 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has expanded some boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to capture portions of the slick moving beyond the current boundaries — the most significant expansion includes an area off southwest Florida that covers waters just to the west of the Dry Tortugas. Additionally, the agency reopened a 2,637 square mile area of the western most boundary south of Louisiana. Oil was projected to be in this area, but was never actually observed there.

EPA Takes a New Stance on Sulfur Dioxide in Final Rule
June 3, 2010 02:36 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is a highly reactive gas that is produced from the combustion of fossil fuels. The largest sources of SO2 are power plants (73 percent) and other industrial facilities (20 percent). The gas is strongly linked to negative effects on the human respiratory system such as asthma. Children, the elderly, and those already with asthma are particularly vulnerable to its effects. The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) says the new one-hour health standard will protect millions of citizens from short-term SO2 exposure.

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