Offshore oil and gas drilling from 2012-2017 would be focused in the western and central Gulf of Mexico and off the shores of northern and southern Alaska, if the Dept. of Interior's proposed plan and draft programmatic environmental impact statement, released Nov. 8, 2011, are accepted as is. A 60-day public comment period ends Jan. 9, 2012.
On Nov. 9, 2011, EPA signed a consent decree that requires the agency to receive from and approve a State Implementation Plan for DC, VI, and 43 states that don't have a fully approved one. Each state can determine how it wants to reduce haze. In some cases, the plan will rely on actions already taken, such as reductions in emissions from power plants or vehicles.
The chosen include 24 improving recreational access to rivers and waterways; 23 to construct new trails or improve recreation sites; 20 to create and enhance urban parks; 13 to conserve significant landscapes; and 11 to establish new national wildlife refuges; national park units, etc.
The agency says the remaining 17 sites covering ~285,000 acres in six states have the best solar gain and energy transmission traits, the fewest conflicts with environmental, cultural, and historic resources, and the best compatibility with each state's efforts. Public meetings commence Nov 30 and a 90-day public comment period ends Jan. 27, 2012. A variance process could be used to approve additional solar development elsewhere.
Overcome limited budgets for travel and visuals on ocean stories with Google Earth's new realm. Place your story in the context of many mapped layers of ocean features, as well as a realistic rendition of subsea and above-surface views, and add your own text, photos, images, video, narration, sound clips, and multimedia.
Researchers at Southern Methodist University, funded by Google, have estimated relative geothermal potential in the US with a new map based in part on oil and gas drilling data. Google says the newer geothermal technologies that are being explored in the US and other countries suggest there may be decent geothermal prospects in all 50 states.
The agency would add slightly more acreage to the lists of sensitive land and water areas where fire retardant could be dropped only in cases where human life or public safety is threatened. There would be no significant changes in the formula of the retardant, or the general strategy used to determine when and where it's appropriate to drop retardant.
The naturally-occurring erionite causes malignant mesothelioma and evidence suggests it is much more toxic than asbestos. Concern is rising as development that disturbs erionite deposits occurs in 12 western states.
Wetland acreage in the US declined during 2004-2009, reversing a slightly positive trend of net wetland gains during 1998-2004, according to the latest assessment from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, released Oct. 6, 2011.
As part of its push to improve the nation's power system, the Obama administration is trying to expedite construction of 7 transmission lines, in various stages of planning and design, spanning 3,100 miles in 12 states.