Controversial Tar Sands Pipeline Moving Forward Despite Heavy Protest
August 31, 2011 10:06 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The massive international pipeline, known as the Keystone XL pipeline, would connect Alberta, Canada's booming tar sands to refineries in Texas and the Gulf Coast. It would be the longest pipeline outside of Russia and China, and would carry North America's largest oil deposit to the market. The project has sparked protests from environmental groups because large areas of boreal forests would be destroyed and sensitive habitats would be affected. Also, protesters oppose the pipeline for reasons relating to global climate change and breaking our addiction to oil. The Keystone project has just passed a key hurdle by getting the go-ahead from the US State Department.
Is Gibson Guitars Unfairily Bullied or Have They Really Screwed Up... Again?
August 31, 2011 08:45 AM - Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit
Last week, for the second time in two years, federal agents raided the facilities of Gibson Guitars, probably the most well-known guitar maker around the world. Although the two raids are the result of different cases, the accusations then and now are similar — violations of the Lacey Act, a law requiring that all wood products and plants imported into the U.S. come from legal sources. On November 2009, federal agents seized guitars and fingerboard blanks that were suspected to be produced from illegally harvested Madagascan rosewood and ebony. Last week the agents seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. From a Reuters report the latest raid is related to a shipment of sawn ebony logs from India that was imported by Gibson illegally, violating the Lacey Act.
August 29, 2011 01:49 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
REACH is a European Union Regulation of December 2006. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. Its 849 pages took seven years to pass, and it has been described as the most complex legislation in the Union's history and the most important in 20 years. It is the strictest law to date regulating chemical substances and will affect industries throughout the world. REACH entered into force in June 2007, with a phased implementation over the next decade. Five years after its adoption, the European Commission is preparing to review the controversial REACH regulation, which required chemical manufacturers to justify that their products are safe for consumers. It's a potential can of worms, according to EU officials. From the moment it was tabled until its eventual adoption in 2006, the REACH regulation gave rise to one of the most epic lobbying battles in the EU's history, pitting green campaigners against the chemicals industry.
Scientists call for better management of the deep sea
August 26, 2011 09:19 AM - Tamera Jones, Planet Earth Online
The deep sea is in trouble. A recent study has found that it's being damaged by human activities, and that this is only likely to get worse. Scientists are now calling for better management and conservation of entire deep-sea ecosystems.
Hybrid Midsize Sedan?
August 25, 2011 12:43 PM - Kathleen Neil, Contributing Editor, ENN
There seem to be a lot of people looking for a quality, affordable, and safe midsize sedan, but a hybrid midsize sedan? Mingling with everyone at the Toyota 2012 Camry event at Paramount Studios Hollywood yesterday I’d have to say, the mainstream car world just isn’t that concerned about how green their drive is at this point. The economy isn't helping, nor is the way most people are experiencing the modern electronic world as a bad case of button overload; and general interest in iconic brands like a Prius Hybrid or a Chevy Volt is limited. In the last two years my automotive interest has been focused on hybrids and electric vehicles. Yesterday in Hollywood I drove both the hybrid 2012 Camry and the non-hybrid 2012 Camry and I got to look more closely at the interface between the car most people are looking for and the dream of a greener driving world. The comparison was great fun. I admit I'm still more excited about the Plug-in Prius, which is now looking like it will be available starting around spring 2012 in 15 launch states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Availability is planned to open up to all other states in 2013. Much of the innovation in the development of the Prius appears to be showing up in the 2012 Camry Hybrid
Madagascar may authorize exports of illegally-logged rosewood
August 24, 2011 07:44 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
A meeting scheduled for August 25th between rosewood traders, the Ministry of Forest and Environment, and other government officials may determine the fate of tens of millions of dollars' worth of rosewood illegally logged from Madagascar's rainforests parks.
Are Mermaids real? Vampires?
August 23, 2011 12:09 PM - BBC Earth
1. Vampires Tales of vampires which have been the inspiration for horror movies the world over originate from a small flying mammal that weighs less than two ounces. Of the three species of vampire bat the one that has contributed to the misunderstanding and fear of bats more than any other is the infamous common vampire bat. Perhaps an unfair reputation considering that they rarely kill their prey, in fact they can feed without their incision even being noticed due to specially adapted blade like incisors. They are found in the deserts and rainforest of the tropical and subtropical regions of Central and South America, making their homes in caves, mines and tree hollows. If they are unlucky in their night-time search for sustenance for two consecutive nights they will die. Luckily for nursing mothers other bats will regurgitate blood meals to them. So how has this inconspicuous creature become the stuff of nightmares? When explorers returned to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century, news of the bloodsucking creatures augmented the ancient myths of human vampires. Myths which had come about to explain blood dribbling from the mouths of semi-decomposed corpses. These South American night feeders carry and spread the deadly rabies virus and are considered an agricultural pest due to their paralytic affect on cattle herds. While bats may prefer bovine blood they have been known to attack humans. So beware the reality of the vampire myth! 2. Dragons With a reputation reaching back over 1,000 years, the stories that surround this outsized reptile are recalled by cultures all over the world. For instance, in England, St George’s day is celebrated in honour of the man who saved his town - and a princess - by slaying a dragon. As a result of this story, dragons are now considered to be a key part of England's heritage. Portraying one in bold colours across its national flag, Wales makes it clear that dragons are a part of the country's national heritage. It is believed that the ferocious, red dragon that appears on the flag symbolises the strength and courage of the Welsh people. With such an iconic position within the heritage of two cultures, it is not surprising that the dragon is not as mythical as some may think. At three metres long (9.8ft) and weighing around 70kg (150lb), the Komodo dragon is a living, breathing representative of this family of creatures which many think are only found in fairytales. A member of the monitor group, it is the largest living species of lizard. Although populations are now only found on a few volcanic Indonesian islands, fossil evidence suggests that they evolved in Australia and dispersed westward to Indonesia. Whether we celebrate its strength or revel in man's ability to overcome its fearsome spirit, the dragon has burst forth from the story books and is still alive and well in the 21st century.
Seeking Protection for Coral Sea "Hotspot"
August 23, 2011 08:58 AM - Kieran Mulvaney, Discovery News
The Coral Sea is perhaps best known and celebrated for the area that occupies much of its western edge: the Great Barrier Reef, which fringes the northeastern Australian coast. The world's largest coral reef, it was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1981 in recognition of its extensive biological diversity and richness; six years earlier, the Australian government established the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which regulates some activities (such as fishing) in some areas and bans them altogether in others.
New Jersey DEP Will Provide Green Job Training Through EPA Brownfields Grant
August 19, 2011 02:36 PM - EPA Press Release
(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection a $300,000 workforce development and job training grant to help fund DEP's program to recruit, train and place residents of the City of Camden in green jobs assessing and cleaning up brownfields and other contaminated sites.
BrightSource Glad to See Carbon "Tax" Down Under
August 19, 2011 08:56 AM - Susan Kraemer, Green Prophet
Israel's BrightSource Energy is among the large-scale solar developers happy with the Australian government's new carbon "tax" that was just carefully shepherded through parliament by Prime Minister Julia Gillard despite the sort of astroturfing hysteria normally perpetrated only in American media.