EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
Western Wisconsin is in the middle of a sand rush -- as companies mine the silica used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to produce natural gas. The mining operations have stirred concerns about effects on land and groundwater and health impacts on nearby residents.
"The federal government and the West Virginia Coal Association want a judge to dismiss a lawsuit aimed at protecting Logan County’s Blair Mountain from surface mining and returning it to the National Register of Historic Places."
"The Obama administration [Tuesday] roundly denounced a proposal by Republican lawmakers that would release several million acres of protected public lands into local management plans, potentially opening them to timber harvests, oil and gas development, motorized recreation and other uses."
"The National Park Service is proposing a rule that would allow American Indian tribes to remove plants and minerals from national parks for traditional uses, a break from a Reagan-era policy that barred such activities, according to a draft obtained by Greenwire."
"Poverty in Appalachia is concentrated in the communities around mountaintop removal mines, and people living in those areas suffer greater risk of early deaths, according to a new scientific paper by a West Virginia University researcher."
"Despite strong pressure from the coal industry and its political allies, the Obama administration on Thursday finalized new guidance aimed at reducing the environmental and public health impacts of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia."
"The Fish and Wildlife Service has been flooded with public comments over a proposed management plan for the second-largest national wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states, including an 8,000-acre net decrease in potential wilderness area and significant changes in how livestock are managed."
"China on Thursday issued a second batch of quotas for exports of rare earths this year -- virtually making up for previous cuts -- after its commerce minister met with his EU counterpart to discuss this and other thorny issues between the two trading partners."
"Phosphate has been essential to feeding the world since the Green Revolution, but its excessive use as a fertilizer has led to widespread pollution and eutrophication. Now, many of the world’s remaining reserves are starting to be depleted."
"Minnesota state parks closed at night since the government shutdown last week have reported numerous incidents of break-ins, vandalism burglary and graffiti, a state enforcement officer said on Wednesday."
"Vast deposits of rare earth minerals have been discovered on the seabed of the Pacific Ocean amounting to 1,000 times those on land, media reported on Monday citing a study by Japanese researchers."
"The United Nations [Thursday] added 18 new sites to its global list of biosphere reserves, bringing the total to 581 in 114 countries."
A new report by a nonprofit conservation group concludes that "National park cultural resources are often ignored and consistently underfunded, many natural resources are being degraded, and throughout the (National) Park System, conservation efforts are failing to keep pace with the forces that threaten resources."
"Motorcyclists and ATV riders are revved up by a Republican plan that would remove restrictions on motorized access to 43 million acres of public land nationwide, while environmentalists say it would be a big mistake."
"The Obama administration on Monday extended its ban on mining on 1 million acres of federal lands near the Grand Canyon by six months, as it heads toward a possible long-term moratorium on mining in the area."