People & Population

New Oil Train Regs Go Backward on Public's Right to Know Risks

Since U.S. oil production started booming, the news has been full of tanker trains blowing up. Under a May 2014 emergency order, the Federal Railway Administration increased requirements that railroads disclose oil train routes. But a new regulation issued May 1, 2015, leaves the public — and firefighters — with less information about the risks they face. Photo: The latest oil train derailment and explosion, today, in ND/Curt Bemson via AP.

China’s Texas Hold ’Em: Chemical Plants Flank Historic Black Community

"TEXAS CITY, Texas — Renetta Trylas had not heard about plans to build one of the world’s largest methanol plants less than 3 miles from her neighborhood, even though it has been more than six months since the land was leased by Chinese entrepreneurs behind the project."

Source: Aljazeera America, 04/17/2015

"How Brain-Damaging Mercury Puts Arctic Kids at Risk"

"In the frozen far north, in Arctic Quebec, the Inuit have relied on the same nutritious foods culled from the oceans for centuries: beluga whale, fish, seal, and walrus. But some of these traditional foods have become so contaminated with brain-damaging mercury that the IQs of schoolchildren in remote Arctic villages are abnormally low."

Source: National Geographic, 03/31/2015

Many Along Texas Border Still Live Without Safe, Drinkable Water

"Turn on the faucet. Fill a glass with water. Drink it. Acts so commonplace you perform them without thinking twice. Flora Barraza cannot. Neither can José Garcia, nor the cooks at Los Pasteles Bakery No. 2, nor the elderly at the Epoca de Oro Adult Day Care. Along the Texas-Mexico border, nearly 90,000 people are believed to still live without running water. An untold number more — likely tens of thousands, but no one is sure — often have running water of such poor quality that they cannot know what poisons or diseases it might carry."

Source: Texas Tribune, 03/09/2015

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