• WWF calls for more intensive beef production in Brazil

    More intensive beef production can limit deforestation in Brazil where the space used to rear cattle is ten times what you see in other countries, according to WWF Brazil CEO Denise Hamu. >> Read the Full Article
  • EU to ban six toxic chemicals in household plastics

    The European Union will ban six toxic chemicals within three to five years, three of which are commonly used in plastic household items, the European Commission said on this week. After years of heated debate, EU lawmakers agreed in 2006 on a far-reaching proposal to review the way chemicals are approved in Europe. The EU regulation on "Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals" (REACH), aims to make chemicals safer for human health and the environment by placing the burden on businesses to prove their products are safe before they can be placed on the market. In January last year, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identified 29 substances that present the greatest cause for concern regarding public health and the environment. These need to go through special scrutiny before they are authorised. A roadmap agreed by the EU executive and ECHA is expected to increase the number of chemicals on the list to 135 by 2012. Among the compounds are three plastic softening phthalates, a musk fragrance, a flame retardant and a hardener for epoxy resin, the Commission said. Although the most toxic phthalates have been banned in children's toys since 1999, a survey last October showed some are commonly found in products on supermarket shelves, including items regularly used by children, such as pencil cases and erasers. The decision is being taken under the REACH regulation on chemicals, adopted in 2006 in what has been billed as the most epic lobbying battle in the EU's history. >> Read the Full Article
  • EU Household Plastics Banning

    The European Union will ban six toxic chemicals within three to five years, three of which are commonly used in plastic household items. Among the compounds are three plastic softening phthalates, a musk fragrance, a flame retardant and a hardener for epoxy resin. Although the most toxic phthalates have been banned in children's toys since 1999, a survey last October showed some are commonly found in products on supermarket shelves, including items regularly used by children, such as pencil cases and erasers. The decision is being taken under the REACH regulation on chemicals, adopted in 2006 after major debate and discussion. >> Read the Full Article
  • DOE Transportation Budget Is All About EVs

    The 2012 Department of Energy budget submitted to Congress on Monday includes a 20-page section on Vehicle Technologies (VT), and nearly every word of it refers to vehicle electrification. In language of funding dollars, the VT budget jumps by 80 percent from $325 million to $588 million. >> Read the Full Article
  • New from BBC Earth: Wildebeest calves are born

    As one of the largest groups of wandering animals, you would have thought that when it comes to their young, they would be in trouble from the beginning. Alike many animals that reside on the Eastern African savannas, it's a dog eat dog world...or more lion and hyena eats everyone else! However these magnificent animals have an ingenious solution up their sleeves! Known as the "follower-calf" system, an incredible 80% of the Wildebeest females intuitively give birth within the same two to three week period. This synchronization reduces the probability of the tender young wildebeest to become prey to the predominant predator of the area, the hungry spotted hyaena. And this is not the only technique these bovid (family of cloven-hoofed mammals!) have against this harsh nature of the Serengeti plains. They also choose to give birth in the middle of the herd, rather than straying away to find a secluded place – a clear example of there being power in numbers! >> Read the Full Article
  • Oil Shale Development

    Oil shale, which is an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical compounds) from which liquid hydrocarbons can be extracted. Kerogen requires more processing to use than crude oil, which increases its cost as a crude-oil substitute both financially and in terms of its potential environmental impact. US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey announced today that they will take a fresh look at commercial oil shale rules and plans issued under the previous Administration and, if necessary, update them based on the latest research and technologies, to account for expected water demands in the arid West and to ensure they provide a fair return to taxpayer. >> Read the Full Article
  • Q: What would have happened without the Clean Air Act?

    Today, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In her testimony the Administrator highlighted the agency's ongoing efforts to develop sensible standards that update the Clean Air Act, while ensuring that the landmark law continues to provide Americans the protections from dangerous pollution that they deserve. These reasonable steps will ensure that the air our children breathe and the water they drink is safe, while also providing certainty to American businesses. >> Read the Full Article
  • Serengeti World Heritage Site in Grave Danger as Tanzanian Government Moves Forward With Highway

    Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete directly contradicted his own government's study by claiming that a planned highway in the Serengeti National Park will not be the environmental disaster conservationists and scientists are claiming it to be. >> Read the Full Article
  • Arizona Haze and NOx

    Four Corners Power Plant is one of the largest coal-fired generating stations in the United States. The plant is located on Navajo land in Fruitland, New Mexico, about 25 miles west of Farmington. It is located to the west of the Grand Canyon and many other national parks. It was the first mine-mouth generation station to take advantage of the large deposits of sub-bituminous coal in the Four Corners region. The plant’s five units currently generate 2,040 megawatts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a supplemental proposal to reduce emissions from the Four Corners Power Plant. The new proposal will reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from approximately 45,000 tons per year to 5,800 tons per year, 3,200 tons less than EPA’s initial proposal. The proposal will also work to protect public health in the area by ensuring residents have cleaner air with fewer harmful pollutants. It will also reduce atmospheric haze and promote viability. >> Read the Full Article
  • Cemex to Pay $1.4 Million for US Clean Air Act Prevention of Significant Deterioration & Operating Permit Violations

    Yesterday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department announced that Cemex, Inc., one of the largest producers of Portland cement in the United States, has agreed to pay a $1.4 million penalty for Clean Air Act violations at its cement plant in Fairborn, Ohio. In addition to the penalty, Cemex will spend an estimated $2 million on pollution controls that will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). "Emissions of harmful pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides can lead to a number of serious health and environmental problems, including premature death and heart disease," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Today’s settlement will help keep harmful air pollution out of Ohio communities, protect children with asthma and prevent region-wide public health problems." >> Read the Full Article