Environmental Policy

New Jersey Threatened with Mandatory Water Fluoridation
February 14, 2012 08:20 AM - Editor, Organic Consumers Association

Despite objections from environmentalists and utility officials, New Jersey is under threat of mandatory fluoridation, which is the addition of fluoride chemicals into the public drinking water ostensibly to reduce tooth decay. Despite admission by the Federal Government that American children are fluoride over-exposed and that fluoride's benefits are primarily topical, New Jersey legislators are crafting a law that will force fluoridation on the entire state, reports the Fluoride Action Network (FAN).

Arctic Warming Continuing, Approaching Tipping Point?
February 14, 2012 07:20 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Last year the Arctic, which is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth due to global climate change, experienced its warmest twelve months yet. According to recent data by NASA, average Arctic temperatures in 2011 were 2.28 degrees Celsius (4.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above those recorded from 1951-1980. As the Arctic warms, imperiling its biodiversity and indigenous people, researchers are increasingly concerned that the region will hit climatic tipping points that could severely impact the rest of the world. A recent commentary in Nature Climate Change highlighted a number of tipping points that keep scientists awake at night.

Tetrachloroethylene Toxicity EPA Risk Assessment
February 13, 2012 11:04 AM - Editor, ENN

Tetrachloroethylene, also known under its systematic name tetrachloroethene and many other names, is a chlorocarbon. It is a colorless liquid widely used for dry cleaning of fabrics and is sometimes called "dry-cleaning fluid". It has a sweet odor detectable by most people at a concentration of 1 part per million (1 ppm). It is also used in the cleaning of metal machinery and to manufacture some consumer products and other chemicals. Confirming longstanding scientific understanding and research, the final EPA risk assessment characterizes this material as a likely human carcinogen. The assessment provides estimates for both cancer and non-cancer effects associated with exposure to it over a lifetime.

Wolves return, will they be hunted in National Parks?
February 11, 2012 08:06 AM - Elizabeth Shogren, NPR

Gray wolves were taken off the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana last year and put under state control. But they're still on the list in neighboring Wyoming. That's because Wyoming has been the most aggressive about wanting to kill wolves.

Call for new indicators of sustainable development
February 10, 2012 08:39 AM - T.V. Padma, SciDevNet

The world must develop different indicators on sustainable development that are not biased against developing countries, a major conference has heard. Bharrat Jagdeo, former president of Guyana, said current assessments and rankings use indicators such as access to potable water and sanitation, or malaria levels, which automatically rank developed countries higher.

Himalayan Ice melt less than thought
February 10, 2012 07:04 AM - Miguel Llanos, msnbc.com

Estimates from satellite monitoring suggest the melt rate from the Himalayas and other high-altitude Asian mountains in recent years was much less than what scientists on the ground had estimated, but those monitoring the satellite data warn not to jump to the skeptical conclusion. The region's ice melt from 2003-2010 was estimated at 4 billion tons a year, far less than earlier estimates of around 50 billion tons, according to the study published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

Hertz First To Trial Wireless EV Recharging
February 9, 2012 06:17 AM - Editor, Justmeans

The Hertz Corporation and Hertz Global EV are implementing the first wireless charging system for electric vehicles (EVs) in the car rental industry. Hertz has the most diverse fleet of EVs for both rental and carshare. "Hertz is committed to its Global EV program, introducing electric vehicles into our rental fleet on three continents — North America, Asia and Europe," commented Mark P. Frissora, Hertz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We're excited to participate in Plugless Power’s pilot program so that we can be on the ground floor of this new technology; learning key findings about EV wireless charging. As we move forward our goal is to have a variety of charging options for EV customer use, aligned with the charging equipment installed by EV manufacturers."

Price of gorilla permit increases to $750/day
February 7, 2012 08:14 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Rwanda has raised the price of a permit to see mountain gorillas to $750 per day starting June 1, 2012, up from $500. While the price is steep, the program each year raises millions of dollars in revenue for gorilla conservation, including $8 million in Rwanada alone in 2008, according to a 2011 study published in PLoS ONE.

Once, men abused slaves. Now we abuse fossil fuels
February 6, 2012 04:51 PM - Andy Gryce, Population Matters

Pointing out the similarities (and differences) between slavery and the use of fossil fuels can help us engage with climate change in a new way, says Jean-Fran├žois Mouhot, visiting researcher at Georgetown University, USA. In 2005, while teaching history at a French university, I was struck by the general disbelief among students that rational and sensitive human beings could ever hold others in bondage. Slavery was so obviously evil that slave-holders could only have been barbarians. My students could not entertain the idea that some slave-owners could have been genuinely blind to the harm they were doing. At the same time, I was reading a book on climate change which noted how today's machinery — almost exclusively powered by fossil fuels like coal and oil — does the same work that used to be done by slaves and servants. "Energy slaves" now do our laundry, cook our food, transport us, entertain us, and do most of the hard work needed for our survival.

Donna Resevoir and Canal
February 6, 2012 08:12 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

During the week of February 6-12, 2012, representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) will be in the area of South Alamo, Texas, to speak with residents about the contamination in the Donna Reservoir and Canal. This effort is being made to provide local residents with information about the health risks of consuming fish taken from the Donna Reservoir and Canal. The possession of contaminated fish taken from the reservoir is prohibited by the TDSHS and has been since 1993.

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