ENN Weekly: March 7th - 11th

Industrial pollution dominated environmental news this week, led by the push-and-pull in the Senate Environment Committee over the Bush administration's utility pollution bill.

Industrial pollution dominated environmental news this week, led by the push-and-pull in the Senate Environment Committee over the Bush administration's utility pollution bill. A couple of related stories: Utility Pollution Bill Stalls in Senate; EPA Orders Smog, Soot Reductions to Benefit People Downwind from Power Plants. In addition, a variety of articles revealed the impact of industrial pollution elsewhere:
Indonesian Government Sues Newmont Mining over Pollution of Bay off Sulawesi Island
Somalia's Environment Minister Calls for Investigation of Suspicious Waste
China Raises Environmental Bar for Heavy Industry
Study Says Canadian Smelter Polluting U.S. Lake

Back in the U.S., Alaska won the lion's share of the media coverage, with the controversy surrounding the Bush administration's goal to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling taking center stage. Two related articles: Senate Tries New Strategy to Win Alaska Drilling; Canada Call US Alaska Oil Drilling Plan 'Big Mistake'. In other news from the Land of the Midnight Sun, scientists observing "rumblings" at Alaska's Mount Spur fear for the safety of skiers and snowboarders. Read more: Restless Volcano Creates Hazards in Alaska. And it seems that an out-of-the-way spot in rural Alaska could become the first U.S. location of a "tiny" nuclear reactor -- addressing the challenge of delivering cost-effective power to remote regions of the country.

The news of the week was chock full of innovation, discovery and mystery. Along the lines of innovation, word that by the year 2007 cars racing in the Indy 500 will run on ethanol: Ethanol to Fuel Racecars; a Minneapolis businessman with some innovative ideas (for better or for worse) about recycling bowed to pressure from environmentalists concerned about water and air pollution: Developer Drops Plans for Tire-Burning Power Plant amid Intense Opposition; and one state over, Wisconsin native Joe Schroeder's environmental stewardship has given birth to an invention that's sure to appeal to all critter-loving trap-shooters. Read all about Schroeder's "Ice Blasters."

Moving on to the week's notable discoveries, scientists "Down Under" revealed evidence that deforestation contributes to climate change. The story can be found here: Australian Scientists Prove Less Trees, Less Rain. In news with some intriguing environmental implications, a report from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment links breast cancer and second-hand smoke. Read the story and then participate in ENN's poll at the end of the article on whether cigarette smoke should be subject to regulation. Customs officers in Australia made a "discovery" of another kind: a bag full of highly endangered fish stashed in the luggage of a flight attendant. Follow this link to the details.

Several mysteries made headlines this week, notably the deaths of more than 30 dolphins in Florida. Read more here: Few Clues on Dolphin Deaths in Florida Keys. To the north, scientists are on the lookout for clues into the ages-old mystery of how the crust of the Earth forms, as a cluster of earthquakes in the waters off of Vancouver Island indicate that the tectonic plates are in the process of separating. Get the details at Pacific NW Undersea Quakes Intrigue Scientists. On a sad note, environmental activist Bruno Manser's disappearance in Borneo five years ago is a mystery that seems destined to remain so. Lacking evidence of Manser's survival, a Swiss court has declared the forest crusader, who would have been 50 years old, dead. Read more on Manser's work and his disappearance.

Finally, feral felines calling Wisconsin home might want to head for the hills... Hollywood Hills, that is. It seems that a rule proposed in Wisconsin this week would permit hunters to kill feral cats (Open Season on Cats in Wisconsin?). In contrast, the felines of West Hollywood enjoy a ban on declawing, and their canine arch-nemeses might soon win the protections of tail-docking and ear-cropping prohibitions (Claws out over Animal Rights in West Hollywood).

From pollution to pets, ENN will continue to keep you up to informed with the very latest environmental news and commentary.

Source: ENN