EPA Curbs Ship Emissions
December 24, 2009 12:04 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The US EPA has finalized a rule setting tough engine fuel standards for large US flagged ships, a major milestone in the agency's coordinated strategy to slash harmful marine diesel emissions. The regulation harmonizes with international standards and will lead to significant air quality improvements throughout the country. "There are enormous health and environmental consequences that come from marine diesel emissions, affecting both port cities and communities hundreds of miles inland. Stronger standards will help make large ships cleaner and more efficient, and protect millions of Americans from harmful diesel emissions," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Port communities have identified diesel emissions as one of the greatest health threats facing their people especially their children. These new rules mark a step forward in cutting dangerous pollution in the air we breathe and reducing the harm to our health, our environment, and our economy."

Netherlands Advances Plan to Tax Miles Driven
December 24, 2009 06:59 AM - Dutch News.NL

The Netherlands is set to become the first country in Europe to replace road tax with a kilometer charge for all motorists, over 10 years since the idea was first put forward. If the legislation is passed by parliament, motorists will start paying tax on every kilometer they drive, which the government hopes will reduce traffic jams and pollution.

Avatar and the Fight To Live
December 23, 2009 03:59 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

In James Cameron's newest film Avatar an alien tribe on a distant planet fights to save their forest home from human invaders bent on mining the planet. The natives win because the planet literally fights off the invaders and not just the native defenders. For decades real indigenous tribes around the world have faced off with corporations determined to exploit their land. These corporations, much like the company in the film, usually have support from the government and access to armed security forces. Yet unlike the film, in which the natives triumph over the invaders, the real life stories of indigenous tribes rarely end with victory.

Duke Energy Resolves Clean Air Act Violations
December 23, 2009 06:15 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The US EPA and Duke Energy have reached a settlement in another New Source Review enforcement action. Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the nation, will spend approximately $85 million to significantly reduce harmful air pollution at an Indiana power plant and pay a $1.75 million civil penalty, under a settlement to resolve violations of federal clean air laws, the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The settlement also requires Duke to spend $6.25 million on environmental mitigation projects. The agreement, filed in federal court in Indianapolis, resolves violations of the Clean Air Act’s new source review requirements found at the company’s Gallagher coal-fired power plant in New Albany, Ind., located directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky.

EU calls for more U.S. involvement in combating climate change
December 23, 2009 05:37 AM - Justyna Pawlak, Reuters

The European Union called on the United States on Tuesday to play a bigger role in combating climate change, after Sweden described the Copenhagen summit last week as a "great failure." Following a meeting in Brussels to discuss how to rescue the Copenhagen climate process, EU environment ministers emphasized the need for concrete, legally binding measures to combat global warming.

Climate accord offers some grounds for hope
December 22, 2009 07:30 AM - T. V. Padma and Mohammed Yahia, SciDevNet

The UN Climate Change Conference ended on Saturday (19 December) with frustration and verdicts of failure from many delegates because it did not reach a binding agreement on how to tackle climate change — or any agreement at all on targets for carbon emissions. But some commentators say that important principles behind fighting climate change have been established for the first time, and some action could start immediately even without the existence of a universal agreement.

Federal Officials Promote Use of Coal Waste on U.S. Farms
December 22, 2009 06:59 AM - Yale Environment 360, Editor ENN

Federal officials are promoting the use of a chalky residue from coal-burning power plants as a fertilizer on U.S. farms, even as regulators simultaneously consider new rules for the waste, which contains small amounts of toxic metals. During the Bush administration, U.S. officials began promoting the agricultural use of a synthetic form of gypsum, a calcium-rich substance produced by the "scrubbers" that remove acid rain-causing sulfur from coal plant emissions.

The Legacy of Bhopal
December 22, 2009 06:51 AM - Sanjay Kumar, The Diplomat

Twenty-five years on, campaigners say the world’s worst-ever industrial accident is still claiming victims. Sanjay Kumar visits Bhopal in India and speaks to the locals who say their government has failed them badly. Bhopal is a beautiful city. Located about 750 kilometres south of Delhi and surrounded by lakes and lush greenery, Old and New Bhopal are a fascinating and thriving combination of Islamic and Hindu architecture vying for space in a city founded about 1000 years ago.

Toxic Releases Decrease Nationwide
December 21, 2009 04:08 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The USEPA released today the 2008 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report which provides information on toxic chemicals used and released by utilities, refineries, chemical manufacturers, paper companies, and many other facilities across the nation to all media whether it is air, water or solid waste. The TRI is compiled from data submitted to EPA and the States by industry. For the EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, the 2008 TRI data indicate a 9.1 percent decrease of 35.2 million pounds of on and off site chemical releases as compared with 2007. A total of 350 million pounds of chemicals were released during 2008 to the air, water or landfills by facilities in the mid-Atlantic region which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

U.N. climate talks end with bare minimum agreement
December 20, 2009 09:49 AM - Dominic Evans and Alister Doyle, Reuters

U.N. climate talks ended with a bare-minimum agreement on Saturday when delegates "noted" an accord struck by the United States, China and other emerging powers that falls far short of the conference's original goals. "Finally we sealed a deal," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "The 'Copenhagen Accord' may not be everything everyone had hoped for, but this ... is an important beginning."

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