EJToday: Top Headlines
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"A federal study of hydraulic fracturing set to begin this spring is expected to provide the most expansive look yet at how the natural gas drilling process can affect drinking water supplies,... . The oil and gas industry strongly opposes this new approach."
"Maryland is failing to ride herd on water pollution in the state because of serious funding shortfalls and its own flawed enforcement practices, according to a Washington-based think tank."
"Environmentalists demanded Tuesday that Puerto Rico's government order new tests to determine whether coal ash being used for home and road construction in the U.S. island's south is free of toxic material."
"Environmentalist Jeff Spoelstra says an 80-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River that runs through toxin-laced land in southwestern Michigan was on its way to becoming safe again. ...Then, in January 2009, Lyondell Chemical Co. filed for bankruptcy protection. The Houston-based petrochemical giant argued in court that as it reorganized, it could avoid what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said were about $2.5 billion in cleanup costs...."
"Alleging that a Brandywine landfill is discharging toxic pollutants into local waterways, the Maryland Department of the Environment filed suit against the site's operator Friday in federal court. ... The landfill stores the waste byproducts of coal combustion from Mirant's Chalk Point Generating Plant in Aquasco."
The bad economy is thwarting municipalities trying to upgrade their sewage treatment plants to comply with the Clean Water Act. "Chris Hornback, senior director of regulatory affairs for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), said factory closings typically hit smaller communities harder than larger communities where larger numbers of users can make up for lost revenue more easily."
"Japan on Monday settled a suit by more than 2,000 victims of mercury poisoning, half a century after the country's worst industrial pollution disaster hit the fishing town of Minamata."
"BP America Inc. and two other oil and gas companies are lobbying for the new Senate climate and energy bill to recommend against federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing." A draft would bar public disclosure of chemicals in fracturing fluid, some of which are toxic.
"Cinders are dirty. Cinders are cheap. Cinders increase traction on snow- and ice-covered roads. What remains unclear is whether they do significant harm to the environment."
"One of the world's largest oilfield services companies continued to tell U.S. EPA it was complying with an agreement barring the injection of diesel fuel near drinking-water aquifers, documents show, after admitting to Congress that it had violated the pact."
"Scientific studies are turning up answers to a baffling mystery about the Great Salt Lake. The new findings help explain why concentrations of toxic mercury in the lake are higher than anywhere else in the country. The new studies suggest it's not so much our local pollution that's at fault -- it appears to be mainly the world's pollution."
"Responding to reports of environmental contamination in gas drilling areas across the country, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a nationwide scientific study to determine if the problems are caused by the practice of injecting chemicals and water underground to fracture the gas-bearing rock."
"A federal judge in Houston on Tuesday shot down a mammoth $100 million December verdict against BP's Texas City refinery, cutting the award to less than half a million and dealing the British oil giant a rare legal victory as it struggles to overcome several years of problems at the plant."