Pollution

Well beneath sunken rig has serious oil leak
April 25, 2010 07:51 AM - Chris Baltimore, Reuters

An oil well on the ocean floor beneath a drilling rig that exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico began spewing oil on Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The well, 5,000 feet beneath the ocean surface, was leaking about 1,000 barrels per day of oil, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said, in what the agency called a "very serious spill." Remote underwater vehicles detected oil leaking from the riser and drill pipe, the spokeswoman said. "We are classifying this as a very serious spill and we are using all our resources to help contain it," Coast Guard Petty Officer Connie Terrell said.

Colorado Law Will Retire or Retrofit Coal-Fired Power Plants
April 24, 2010 09:16 AM - SustainableBusiness.com, Matter Network

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter on Monday signed into law the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act--legislation that requires Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 80% from several Front Range coal plants by the end of 2017, most likely sooner. Xcel will work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to submit a plan to the Public Utilities Commission by Aug. 15, detailing how it will retire or retrofit 900 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired capacity. Xcel will give primary consideration to replacing or repowering those plants with natural gas, renewables, greater efficiencies and other cleaner energy sources. "This law is a template for tomorrow that allows us to transform our energy portfolio, our economy and our environment by working strategically and collaboratively," Gov. Ritter said. "By shifting our oldest and least efficient coal plants to cleaner, Colorado-produced natural gas, we send a strong message to the rest of the country that we absolutely can cut air pollution and protect public health while also creating jobs and protecting ratepayers." Governor Ritter was joined at the Capitol signing ceremony by members of a broad coalition that supported House Bill 1365, including Xcel Energy Chairman and CEO Dick Kelly, lawmakers, power producers and conservationists.

Four New Jersey Cities to Clean Up Contaminated Sites
April 23, 2010 11:02 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The New Jersey cities of Trenton, Jersey City, Newark, and Camden are set to receive a total of $2.3 million dollars from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help them assess and clean up contaminated and abandoned sites. The funding will be channeled through the EPA's Brownfields Program. The clean up projects will help revitalize commercial and industrial properties by removing the toxic pollution that has hindered their redevelopment.

Rig sinks in Gulf of Mexico, oil spill risk looms
April 23, 2010 06:10 AM - Bruce Nichols and Anna Driver, Reuters

An oil drilling rig that had burned for 36 hours in the Gulf of Mexico sank on Thursday as hopes dimmed for 11 missing workers and the risk of a major oil spill loomed, officials said. The fire went out as the Deepwater Horizon, operated by Transocean Ltd, sank below the surface at 10:21 a.m. CDT (1521 GMT), about 42 miles off the Louisiana coast. The rig was drilling BP Plc's Macondo project with 126 workers on board when it was ripped by an explosion and fire on Tuesday night. Some 115 workers escaped, including 17 helicoptered to New Orleans area hospitals with injuries.

Earth Day 2010
April 22, 2010 03:43 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

What is Earth Day? It has spread and is celebrated all over the world. Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970. Earth Day is celebrated in the spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold free events for the public on the National Mall this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The events will feature interactive, fun and educational exhibits related to environmental protection.

What Country Is the Best at Protecting the Environment?
April 22, 2010 09:06 AM - Remy Melina, LiveScience

After dropping more than 20 spots this year in one ranking that measures how well countries are working to protect the environment, the United States is taking steps to improve its environmental impact. The 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks 163 countries based on 10 indicators of environmental protection, such as levels of air pollution, marine protection laws, water quality, and their rate of planting new trees. The EPI is composed biannually by a team of environmental experts at Yale University and Columbia University.

Toyota Motors Sustainable Mobility Seminar
April 20, 2010 02:55 PM - Kathleen Neil, Contributing Editor

Since the time my father sat me behind the wheel of a surplus World War II Jeep and taught me to drive a standard transmission, I have admired the durability and dependability of internal combustion engines. It was simple, there were really only two things to remember: always be sure there was gas in the spare tank and whenever possible park on a downward slope. The past two days in La Jolla, California, Toyota Motor Company has persuaded me that there can be good and green driving though computers. The Prius 2010 Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) is not the car I would hand over to my twenty-something son. It would be a waste. The seamless transition from electric to hybrid and back to electric that I experienced with my driving habits would not work for him since the driver really doesn’t feel it when you depress the accelerator pedal and the on-board (computer) system decides what the road and your foot are telling it are the optimal power sources.

The Icelandic Cauldron
April 19, 2010 03:48 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

At this point most people know that a volcano erupted in Iceland spewing forth tons of ash that have grounded countless flights. What is less known is the intense thermal emissions (at least 60 megawatts, or 60 million watts) emanating from the vent at the base of the massive plume. This is just the energy released by heat into the atmosphere. This thermal emission, equivalent to the energy consumption of 60,000 homes, represents only a small proportion of the total energy being released by the volcano as its molten lava interacts violently with ice and water.

Mercury surprise: Rice can be risky
April 19, 2010 09:22 AM - Janet Raloff, Science News

Ask toxicologists how best to avoid mercury poisoning and they’ll almost certainly advise against eating too much of the wrong types of fish. (Never mind that there’s considerable confusion about what the wrong types are.) But a new study out of China shows that for millions of people at risk of eating toxic amounts of mercury-laced food, fish isn’t the problem. Rice is.

Icelandic volcano eases but eruptions continue
April 17, 2010 10:14 AM - Reuters

An Icelandic volcano that is spewing ash into the air and wreaking havoc on flights across Europe appeared to be easing up on Saturday but could continue to erupt for days or even months to come, officials said. Iceland's Meteorological Office said the cloud of ash above the volcano had shrunk to a height of 5 to 8 kilometers (3.125 to 5 miles) from 6 to 11 km (3.75 to 6.875 miles) when it started erupting earlier this week. The office said that the volume of magma under the volcano appeared to be decreasing and that heavy pulsing earlier in the day had steadied and the volcano appeared less volatile.An Icelandic volcano that is spewing ash into the air and wreaking havoc on flights across Europe appeared to be easing up on Saturday but could continue to erupt for days or even months to come, officials said. Science | Green Business Iceland's Meteorological Office said the cloud of ash above the volcano had shrunk to a height of 5 to 8 kilometers (3.125 to 5 miles) from 6 to 11 km (3.75 to 6.875 miles) when it started erupting earlier this week. The office said that the volume of magma under the volcano appeared to be decreasing and that heavy pulsing earlier in the day had steadied and the volcano appeared less volatile.An Icelandic volcano that is spewing ash into the air and wreaking havoc on flights across Europe appeared to be easing up on Saturday but could continue to erupt for days or even months to come, officials said. Iceland's Meteorological Office said the cloud of ash above the volcano had shrunk to a height of 5 to 8 kilometers (3.125 to 5 miles) from 6 to 11 km (3.75 to 6.875 miles) when it started erupting earlier this week. The office said that the volume of magma under the volcano appeared to be decreasing and that heavy pulsing earlier in the day had steadied and the volcano appeared less volatile.

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