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.
"Regulators who are supposed to police offshore oil and gas drilling are spread too thinly, poorly trained and hampered by outdated technology, according to a study by an Interior Department review board appointed after the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico."
"Oxygen levels fell significantly in deep-sea areas of the Gulf of Mexico contaminated by oil plumes from the BP spill. But although researchers found a 20% decline in dissolved oxygen, the drop was not steep enough to create biological 'dead zones' that some scientists feared might form in the wake of the BP disaster." Those were the findings of a government study.
"One of Northern California's largest polluters may be trying to orchestrate a last-minute deal with Sacramento lawmakers to evade state environmental laws, potentially increasing its toxic emissions and skirting two court rulings."
"SMELTERVILLE, Idaho -- They call themselves 'the leaded.' They grew up in the shadow of a giant lead smelter here, and were contaminated with some of the biggest lead releases in the nation's history."
"New oil and gas drilling is probably the most visible activity people associate with threats to groundwater in Texas. But it's not usually the source of known contamination, according to state records. Instead, old or abandoned oil and gas wells, petroleum storage facilities and even existing water wells are most frequently identified as problems."
People who live on the Gulf beaches of Alabama say that winds from the South are bringing in an oil sea mist that coats metal objects, sunglasses, and people's hair. Not trusting the government or BP to investigate it scientifically, they are hiring their own independent scientists.
"The federal government is warning residents in a small Wyoming town with extensive natural gas development not to drink their water, and to use fans and ventilation when showering or washing clothes in order to avoid the risk of an explosion."
"A federal judge has ordered Patriot Coal Corp. to spend millions of dollars to clean up selenium pollution at two surface coal mines in West Virginia. Environmental groups said it was the first time a court had demanded restrictions on selenium, a trace mineral commonly discharged from Appalachian surface mines, where the tops of mountains are blown away to expose coal."
"The company that runs the trans-Alaska pipeline remains under federal investigation and is in the middle of major changes after an internal probe this summer raised serious concerns about how it handled a major pipeline leak and emergency shutdown in May."
"Edmonton -- A study set to be published on Monday has found elevated levels of mercury, lead and eleven other toxic elements in the oil sands' main fresh water source, the Athabasca River, refuting long-standing government and industry claims that water quality there hasn't been affected by oil sands development."
"A study released on Thursday finds that 39 sites in 21 states where coal-fired power plants dump their coal ash are contaminating water with toxic metals such as arsenic and other pollutants, and that the problem is more extensive than previously estimated."
The application of sewage sludge (renamed "biosolids" by industry PR) to fields has created worries about smell, disease, and toxic contaminants. Federal efforts to track sludge problems have been fragmented, haphazard, and delayed -- which does not inspire confidence in industry-backed federal assurances that sludge is safe. The assurances have preceded the evidence that would support them.
"Cruise ships and large commercial ships will be banned from dumping any kind of sewage -- even highly filtered wastewater -- along California's coast out to three miles from shore, under new rules from the Obama administration."
"Chemtura Corp, a producer of specialty chemicals, will pay $26 million to clean up 17 contaminated sites located in 14 U.S. states, under an agreement announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice."