Environmental Policy

Fences reduce water pollution
October 22, 2010 08:58 AM - Tom Marshall, Planet Earth Online

There are plenty of high-tech ideas to tackle pollution, but recent research suggests that some of the biggest gains in keeping our waterways clean could come from a more traditional technology - fences. Simply fencing off streams and drainage ditches so farm animals can't deposit manure in and around them could cut levels of faecal pollution dramatically, according to scientists.

Water Scarcity in American Southwest Gets Serious
October 21, 2010 10:18 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Water scarcity has always been a problem in the southwestern desert, with practically everyone relying on one river, the Colorado, to quench their thirst and the thirst of their crops. Increased water demands coupled with a long protracted drought in the Upper Colorado River Basin has created a potentially dire situation. The effects can be seen in Lake Mead, the giant lake along the border of Arizona and Nevada. Lake Mead has reached its lowest levels since 1937, the year the Hoover Dam was completed.

New Superfund Sites
October 20, 2010 02:34 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 announced today that a contaminated aquifer in Milford, Ohio, is one of nine new hazardous waste sites proposed to be added to the Superfund section of the National Priorities List. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. There are a total of 1,343 final and proposed sites on the NPL at this time. In the case of the Milford site, the source of the contamination has not been tracked down despite years of effort.

Maldives 'tourism boom' putting manta rays at risk
October 20, 2010 09:17 AM - Emily Shelton, Ecologist

Giant manta rays could be driven away from world-famous feeding site in five years because of disruption from tourist industry, warns leading marine biologist. Since being awarded MPA status in 2009 and receiving increased media interest, Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll has seen its tourism trade triple.

EPA: Blowing Big Coal’s Top on Mountaintop Coal Mining
October 18, 2010 08:54 AM - Bill DiBenedetto, Triple Pundit

If it were ever possible or even realistic to put the words Appalachia and victory in the same sentence, this might be one of those rare times: the Environmental Protection Agency's Region 3 Administrator Shawn Garvin has recommended the withdrawal of the mining permit for the nation's largest proposed mountaintop removal coal mine site, the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.

White House Lifts Ban On Offshore Drilling
October 16, 2010 10:25 AM - NPR

The Obama administration announced this week that companies able to meet new safety standards will be allowed to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, ending a six-month moratorium that had been scheduled to end next month. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the new rules imposed after the BP spill — the worst environmental disaster in the country's history — have strengthened safety measures and reduced the risk of another catastrophic blowout. "Operators who play by the rules and clear the higher bar can be allowed to resume" drilling, Salazar said at a Washington news conference. He added: "The oil and gas industry will be operating under tighter rules, stronger oversight, and in a regulatory environment that will remain dynamic as we continue to build on the reforms we have already implemented."

Striking Balance in the Arctic
October 16, 2010 10:04 AM - Wildlife Conservation Society

The Department of Interior is planning to assess Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve for energy development. Spanning 37,000 square miles across western Alaska, the NPR-A is the biggest piece of public land in the United States. For now, this Arctic landscape is mostly undeveloped and home to caribou, grizzly bears, wolves, and a wide variety of birds, among other northern wildlife. Sending public comments to the Bureau of Land Management, WCS has asked the government to permanently protect certain places within the NPR-A that are vital to wildlife. WCS also urged the BLM to form a scientific advisory panel for evaluating how to manage the land in the face of energy development and climate change.

Haiti Quakes
October 15, 2010 11:41 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that caused more than 200,000 casualties and devastated Haiti's economy in January 2010 resulted not from the Enriquillo fault, as previously believed, but from slip on multiple faults as well as primarily on a previously unknown, subsurface fault - according to a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience. In addition, because the earthquake did not involve a slip near the Earth's surface, the study suggests that it did not release all of the strain that has built up on faults in the area over the past two centuries, meaning that future surface rupturing earthquakes in this region are likely.

Ending Hunger in Africa
October 14, 2010 11:55 AM - Danielle Nierenberg, Worldwatch Institute

As hunger and drought spread across Africa, there's a huge focus on increasing yields of staple crops, such as maize, wheat, cassava, and rice. Although these crops are important for improving food security, they cannot cure malnutrition alone. There is no one-size fits all or single crop solution to solving global hunger, alleviating poverty, or protecting the environment and mitigating climate change. But the good news is that there is a multi-crop solution and it's already being spear-headed by farmers on the ground: vegetables.

Solar Power to Return to the White House
October 7, 2010 10:02 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Coinciding with its push for more renewable energy development, the executive branch of the US federal government has decided to install solar panels on the White House. This is a quarter century after President Reagan took down the previous solar panels installed by his predecessor, President Carter. The Obama Administration will install new solar panels as a way of promoting its clean energy program.

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