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.
"WASHINGTON — Coal took another serious hit Wednesday — in the heart of coal country. American Electric Power, or A.E.P., the nation’s biggest consumer of coal, announced that it would shut its coal-burning boilers at the Big Sandy electric power plant near Louisa, Ky., a 1,100-megawatt facility that since the early 1960s has been burning coal that was mined locally."
"Wading into one of the hottest environmental debates in the nation, California on Tuesday released its first-ever regulations for hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," the increasingly common -- and controversial -- practice of freeing oil and gas from rock formations by injecting chemicals under high pressure into the ground."
"When a government deadline for new safety management programs at offshore drilling rigs and wells approached in November 2011, oil and gas industry leaders were bracing for tough scrutiny and plenty of penalties. But that scrutiny never materialized."
"After two federal judges recused themselves from a criminal case against former BP PLC managers indicted for their role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a third has made disclosures of his own."
"The Supreme Court [Monday] weighed whether a U.S. EPA rule issued Friday could resolve a dispute over stormwater runoff from logging roads."
"The Obama administration put a temporary stop to new federal contracts with British oil company BP on Wednesday, citing the company's 'lack of business integrity' and criminal proceedings stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. The action by the Environmental Protection Administration won't affect current contracts, but prevents BP and its affiliates from new government contracts 'until the company can provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets federal business standards,' the agency said."
"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A longtime Massey Energy executive has agreed to cooperate with investigators as they continue to try to work their way up the corporate ladder in their probe of the worst U.S. coal-mining disaster in nearly 40 years, federal prosecutors revealed Wednesday."
"Citing gross negligence and what it called the company's profits-first culture, the federal government on Thursday announced it had entered into a settlement with BP of all criminal claims stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, fining the company a record $4.5 billion and securing 11 felony pleas from the company for the 11 people killed in the April 2010 blast."
Various news organizations are reporting that Thursday may see announcement of a plea deal between BP and the Justice Department in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill. They say BP will plead guilty to criminal misconduct and pay a record criminal fine.
"In an effort to block a ballot measure in California that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods, shape a Senate race in Ohio with potential repercussions for fracking, and influence a host of House contests key to toxic chemical reform -- the chemical industry has been busy wielding its wallet, say environmental advocates."
"A year before people began dying of meningitis caused by a tainted drug from a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts, the Food and Drug Administration worried that compounders across the country might be selling another substandard drug, one possibly made with unapproved Chinese ingredients."
"An un-redacted version of a recently released Nuclear Regulatory Commission report highlights the threat that flooding poses to nuclear power plants located near large dams -- and suggests that the NRC has misled the public for years about the severity of the threat, according to engineers and nuclear safety advocates."
"Hair stylist Natalija Josimov combed the straightening solution through her client's hair. She snapped on the blow dryer, and a plume of white vapor wrapped them in a toxic cloud."
"In February 2011, a resident of a western Pennsylvania town noticed that her water was black and 'had a very strong metallic odor.'"
"A controversial American businessman dumped around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada in July, a Guardian investigation can reveal. Lawyers, environmentalists and civil society groups are calling it a 'blatant violation' of two international moratoria and the news is likely to spark outrage at a United Nations environmental summit taking place in India this week."