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.
"ALBANY, N.Y. -- State regulators claim a strong record of oil and gas drilling oversight, but their own reports reveal thousands of unplugged abandoned wells and other industrial problems that could pose a threat to groundwater, wetlands, air quality and public safety."
The Army Corpts of Engineers changed the operating schedule for the Clearwater Dam on the Black River in Missouri in the 1990s in response to requests by Missouri farmers. On October 3 Arkansas is going to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the Corps action has damaged the 23,000-acre Black River Wildlife Management Area 115 miles downstream. What's more, the state is arguing that the Corps should compensate it under the "takings clause," a favorite conservative legal weapon.
"Hundreds of thousands of active oil and gas wells go without government inspection in any given year, and fines for regulatory violations are too small to change drilling company behavior, according to an energy watchdog group's review of regulation and enforcement activities in six states."
Is the threat of lawsuits discouraging cleanup of abandoned mine drainage that impairs many U.S. waterways? That seems to be the case under an interpretation of existing water pollution law.
"Lawn product company Scotts Miracle-Gro Co will pay $12.5 million in criminal fines and civil penalties for illegally including insecticides in bird food products and for other violations, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday."
"California regulators have not been conducting the intensive workplace-safety inspections of Chevron's Richmond plant and the state's 14 other oil refineries that federal standards call for, a Chronicle investigation shows."
"By proposing to end a century of federal control over oil and gas drilling and coal mining on government lands, Mitt Romney is making a bid for anti-Washington voters in key Western states while dangling the promise of a big reward to major campaign supporters from the energy industry."
"The deadly Salmonella outbreak linked to Indiana-grown cantaloupe in 20 states is the latest in a series of foodborne illness crises that underscore the need to implement rules in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the Pew Health Group told Food Safety News on Tuesday."
"HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania appellate court panel yesterday struck down provisions in a new law regulating the state's booming natural gas industry that opponents said would leave municipalities defenseless to protect homeowners, parks and schools from being surrounded by drilling sites or waste pits."
"A settlement reached between environmentalists, the state's pollution regulators and the state's largest steel mill raises questions about the agency's actions -- and invites scrutiny of its leader."
"OTTAWA -- Late [Monday] night, Canada's House of Commons passed Bill C-38, the budget of the majority Conservative government, ignoring thousands of Canadians who spoke up for nature and democracy."
"KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cattle farmers complained on Wednesday that a federal agency is 'spying' on their operations by flying airplanes over Midwest cattle feedlots to see if they are complying with clean water regulations."
An explosion of flammable metal dust burned Wiley Sherburne, 42, an electrician at the Gallatin, Tenn., plant of the Hoeganaes Corp. Dust was everywhere at the plant. Sherburne died two days after being burned over 95 percent of his body. Combustible dust has killed or injured at least 900 U.S. workers in the past three decades, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has bogged down on efforts to strengthen regulations.
"With efforts to revamp the nation's chemical safety law stalled in Congress, the Obama administration's top environmental regulator vowed three years ago to act on her own to beef up the oversight of toxic substances. But key parts of the initiative by Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are still bottled up in an obscure White House office under intense pressure from industry lobbyists to back off."