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.
"In the last 150 years, prospectors and energy companies have drilled as many as 12 million holes across the U.S. in search of oil and gas. Many were plugged after they dried up. But hundreds of thousands were simply abandoned and forgotten, often leaving no records of their existence. Government reports have warned for decades that abandoned wells can provide pathways for oil, gas or brine-laden water to contaminate groundwater supplies or to travel up to the surface."
"Gov. Terry Branstad and state lawmakers are working to put the state agriculture department in charge of key water-quality programs, a move critics fear will undercut the state's ongoing struggle to clean waterways choked with silt, algae and worse."
Neighbors say the land dumping of drilling mud strips the paint off of their houses. The Texas Railroad Commission says it's not a problem.
"Average lead levels at [Chicago's] Perez Elementary School were at or above federal limits during three three-month periods in 2010, the data show."
"In an unprecedented policy shift, inspectors in Pennsylvania have been ordered to stop issuing violations against drillers without prior approval from Gov. Corbett's new environmental chief."
"An estimated 352,000 pounds of lead washed into Lake Coeur d'Alene on Jan. 18 after flooding related to a rain-on-snow event."
"The federal government promoted some uses of coal ash, including wallboard or filler in road embankments, without properly testing the environmental risks, according to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general."
Minnesota's Pollution Control Agency is trying to address the impact of dissolved chlorides in Twin Cities lakes -- road salt harming aquatic life. It may require changes in what it means to be a good neighbor in the snowy state.
"The operator of an Indiana County (PA) coal-fired power plant is liable for more than 8,600 violations of the Clean Water Act that polluted the Conemaugh River with metal discharges, a federal judge ruled, which would lead to a maximum civil penalty of more than $300 million."
"HOLBROOK, Pa. -- A waste hauler and his company were charged Thursday with dozens of criminal counts for what prosecutors said was years of dumping millions of gallons of wastewater from natural gas drilling, sewage sludge and restaurant grease into streams and mine shafts."
"They’re our dirty little forgotten secret: the city’s 161 closed garbage dumps. Forty one of them are still active, spewing gases and discharging a toxic slurry into sewers and waterways. City staff say we shouldn’t be worried, even while reserve funds to maintain the sites have been emptied in Rob Ford’s budget juggling. Truth is, our track record isn’t very good when it comes to putting these oozing mounds to bed."
"A Seattle-based seafood company that operates mostly in Alaska will pay $1.9 million in penalties as well as cleanup costs for the ammonia and other waste it discharged from its processing plant in the Aleutians."
"Recent studies suggest that smog-filled air kills more people and causes more breathing problems than previously thought, U.S. EPA scientists say in a new draft paper, but due to a procedural twist, the findings can't be taken into account as Administrator Lisa Jackson decides whether to set stricter limits than the George W. Bush administration chose in 2008."