Environmental Policy

2013 PCB dredging on the Hudson
November 5, 2013 02:50 PM - Editor, ENN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that more than 612,000 cubic yards of river bottom sediment contaminated with PCBs were removed from the upper Hudson River during 2013, exceeding the annual goal of 350,000 cubic yards for this historic dredging project. This is similar to the amount dredged in 2012 when more than 650,000 cubic yards were removed. The Superfund cleanup required by the EPA calls for the dredging of approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the upper Hudson River between Fort Edward and Troy, New York. The project began in 2009 and is about 73% complete, putting the dredging on track to be finished in two years. To date, about 1.9 million of the 2.65 million cubic yards million have been removed. Filling of previously dredged areas with clean sand and gravel will continue over the next several weeks, weather permitting. About 280 local area contractors, subcontractors, vendors and suppliers have provided goods or services related to Hudson River dredging.

The Juncture of Politics and the Environment
November 5, 2013 08:41 AM - Duncan Jefferies, Triple Pundit

When announcing his plan to kick-start the U.S. economy in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared that the country had "nothing to fear but fear itself." In just 100 days, through a flurry of legislation and investment, his government dragged the country up off its knees — a towering political achievement.

We're burying ourselves in our own garbage
November 5, 2013 07:07 AM - Population Matters from Nature

Solid waste — the stuff we send down our chutes, discard at work and put on the curb every week — is a striking by-product of civilization. The average person in the United States throws away their body weight in rubbish every month. When waste management works well, we give it little thought: out of sight and, usually, quickly out of mind. Discarded materials are collected, some are recycled or composted, and most are landfilled or incinerated. But the global view is troubling. In the past century, as the world's population has grown and become more urban and affluent, waste production has risen tenfold. By 2025 it will double again1. Rubbish is being generated faster than other environmental pollutants, including greenhouse gases. Plastic clogs the world's oceans and rivers, causing flooding in developing-world cities. Solid-waste management is one of the greatest costs to municipal budgets.

Do dams bring more harm or more good?
November 4, 2013 09:01 AM - Editor, ENN

As China forges ahead with its goal to generate 120,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020, they are damming more and more rivers. According to China, this is a safe strategy that will curb pollution, control floods, and minimize climate change. Conservationists and scientists across the globe however, disagree.

President Obama Signs Executive Order, Addresses Preparedness for Climate Change Impacts
November 4, 2013 06:00 AM - Editor, ENN

On Friday, President Obama established a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with the impacts of climate change. The Executive Order directs federal agencies to modernize Federal programs to support climate-resilient investments, manage me lands and waters for climate preparedness and resilience, provide information, and plan for climate change related risk.

UK Government Panel weighs in on fracking risks
November 3, 2013 09:04 AM - Staff, ClickGreen

Government health chiefs have admitted there is a risk to public health from exposure to emissions from shale gas extraction under the current monitoring framework. And scientists at Public Health England (PHE) admit that in the absence of regulations in the UK, drilling operators could potentially use a "wide range of chemical, many of which are classified as highly toxic and/or carcinogenic". It confirms that the risks from small-scale drilling for exploratory purposes are "clearly different from the risks from commercial scale operations".

Safe passage at last for the Pronghorn
November 1, 2013 04:56 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

U.S. Highway 191 in Trapper's Point, Wyoming is safer today for motorists and pronghorns alike as a result of a newly built 8-part overpass/underpass system designed to facilitate the travel and migration of local populations of pronghorn, mule deer, moose, elk and other wildlife safely over the highway. While the overpass was completed in time for last year’s migration, the pronghorn were hesitant to use the system last year making researchers nervous. However, this year the pronghorn were less confused by the alteration and used the passages willingly.

Wind Turbine Arrangement: Staggering Results
October 31, 2013 03:48 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Location and organization apparently matters after all! Or at least that is what Cristina Archer, Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware has discovered with regard to wind turbine efficiency. Dr. Archer headed up a team of researchers from UD's College of Earth, Ocean and Environment to conduct studies on the effects of various wind turbine organizational placement patterns. Using a wind farm near Sweden for the basis of their study, they compared existing tightly paced, grid-like layouts to six alternate configurations. They tried multiple spacing distances in various styles of rows: straight arrays, linear but equal offsets and a staggered theatre style where any turbine in front does not obstruct the view from any one behind.

Sandy’s path of destruction felt in the Caribbean too
October 29, 2013 04:17 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Last year at this time much of the United States eastern seaboard was closely monitoring Super Storm Sandy. Hour by hour people watched with horror as she blew across the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas ultimately charging up the Atlantic, swinging west to crash into the Mid-Atlantic states at full force. Damage to New York and New Jersey was extensive to be sure, but the larger populations and greater affluence to the north have largely overshadowed recovery of the Caribbean nations.

Mercury Sediment Carried Forth by California Floods
October 29, 2013 01:59 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Mercury contamination in sediment has been a big concern in the Central Valley lowland areas of California. But associate researcher from the University of California, Michael Singer has unearthed new information and considerations utilizing modern topographic datasets and modeling to track mercury-laden sediment. Singer hypothesizes that the progradation process resulting from 10-year flooding events within the valleys below the Sierra Nevada Mountains are the key to understanding and tracking the presence of mercury. Singer has connected the mercury amalgamation process, which was used to extract gold from the mountains during the 19th century with the current high incidence of mercury in regional delta sediment.

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