Pollution

EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare / Proposed Finding Comes in Response to 2007 Supreme Court Ruling
April 18, 2009 07:36 AM - U. S. Environmental Protection Agency

After a thorough scientific review ordered in 2007 by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed finding Friday that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat. "This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation,” said Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This pollution problem has a solution — one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country’s dependence on foreign oil."

Water Fight
April 17, 2009 09:11 AM - Bryan Walsh, TIME

The Songhua river in northeastern China doesn't have the history of the Mekong, the spirituality of the Ganges or the sheer power of the Yangtze. But in November 2005, this 1,200-mile (2,000 km) waterway made headlines when a chemical plant in the Chinese city of Jilin spilled massive amounts of the toxic chemical benzene, creating a 50-mile (80 km) noxious slick.

Third-World Stove Soot Is Target in Climate Fight
April 17, 2009 06:51 AM - ELISABETH ROSENTHAL, The New York Times

"It's hard to believe that this is what’s melting the glaciers," said Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, as he weaved through a warren of mud brick huts, each containing a mud cookstove pouring soot into the atmosphere.

The World's Cleanest Countries
April 16, 2009 09:33 AM - Andy Stone, Forbes

The Environmental Performance Index, developed by Columbia and Yale Universities, ranks the environmental performance of 140 countries based on 25 categories ranging from air and water quality to biodiversity and the use of pesticides. This list looks at the top countries in each of six world regions and the ways in which each excel, as well as areas where the countries lag their peers.

EPA Publishes Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report
April 15, 2009 03:15 PM - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the national greenhouse gas inventory, which finds that overall emissions during 2007 increased by 1.4 percent from the previous year. The report, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2007, is the latest annual report that the United States has submitted to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.

EPA Evaluates Ocean Acidification as a Threat to Water Quality Under Clean Water Act

The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced steps to protect U.S. waters from the threat of ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act. Today, EPA issued a notice of data availability to be published in the Federal Register that calls for information and data on ocean acidification that the agency will use to evaluate water-quality criteria under the Clean Water Act. The notice responded to a formal petition and threatened litigation from the Center for Biological Diversity that sought to compel the agency to impose stricter pH criteria for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect American waters from ocean acidification. EPA's notice marks the first time that the Clean Water Act will be invoked by the agency to address ocean acidification.

Biomass energy 'could be harmful'
April 14, 2009 10:49 AM - BBC News

Biomass power - such as burning wood for energy - could do more harm than good in the battle to reduce greenhouse gases, the Britain's Environment Agency warns.

Chemical Firm Invista in Largest-ever Settlement for Self-Reported Environmental Violations
April 14, 2009 10:37 AM - Environmental Leader

After self-reporting environmental violations at 12 facilities in seven states, Invista will spend up to $500 million to correct the problems, on top of a $1.7 million civil penalty.

Groups File Suit to Block State Air Pollution Permit for Unneeded South Carolina Coal Plant
April 14, 2009 09:36 AM - Southern Environmental Law Center

South Carolina’s environmental agency illegally permitted an unneeded coal-fired power plant on the Great Pee Dee River that would emit 31 times more toxic mercury than the legal limit and millions of tons of costly carbon pollution, according to a lawsuit filed today by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of several advocacy groups.

The Dire Fate of Forests in a Warmer World
April 14, 2009 06:27 AM - Bryan Walsh, TIME

It's not easy to kill a full-grown tree — especially one like the piƱon pine. The hardy evergreen is adapted to life in the hot, parched American Southwest, so it takes more than a little dry spell to affect it. In fact, it requires a once-in-a-century event like the extended drought of the 1950s, which scientists now believe led to widespread tree mortality in the Four Corners area of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. So, when another drought hit the area around 2002, researchers were surprised to see up to 10% of the piƱon pines die off, even though that dry spell was much milder than the one before. The difference in 2002 was the five decades of global warming that had transpired since the drought in the 1950s.

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