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.
"Each day, American municipalities discharge treated wastewater back into natural sources at a rate that would fill an empty Lake Champlain within six months. Growing pressure on water supplies and calls for updating the ancient subterranean piping infrastructure have brought new scrutiny to this step in the treatment process, which is labeled wasteful and unnecessary by a spectrum of voices."
"Mike Partain didn’t believe the rumors about a place called Baby Heaven until he visited a Jacksonville, N.C., graveyard and wandered into a section where newborns were laid to rest. Surrounded by hundreds of tiny marble headstones, he started to cry."
"Starting Feb. 1, drilling operators in Texas will have to report many of the chemicals used in the process known as hydraulic fracturing. Environmentalists and landowners are looking forward to learning what acids, hydroxides and other materials have gone into a given well."
"On a bus tour, California Coastal Commission members strive to find out what's keeping the public from some of the state's most desirable beaches. One thing they didn't see: 20 pathways that were set aside on paper but have yet to be built."
"The Obama administration today released a new draft 'action plan' that directs agencies across the federal government to work together on ocean planning and conservation."
"A $50 billion, 50-year proposal aspires to stop coastal land loss in Louisiana, build new levee systems to protect cities and even begin to slowly reverse the trend of eroding marsh that has turned the entire southern portion of the state into one of the nation's most vulnerable regions to sea level rise."
"With billions of dollars at stake, local and state officials around the country are questioning the cost and benefit of continued work to control combined sewer overflow (CSO), including here in Seattle, where more than $1.2 billion in ratepayer dollars are on the table."
"The longtime practice of dumping huge rocks and chunks of concrete along the coastline to stop erosion is coming under fire from those who favor letting the shoreline retreat naturally. San Francisco's efforts to protect Ocean Beach is the latest battleground."
"The Louisville Water Co. has sharply lowered the levels of hexavelent chromium, a suspected carcinogen, in drinking water after solving a puzzle about the source of the pollutant."
"Something that has been missing from San Francisco Bay since World War II appears to be making a comeback: Harbor porpoises are showing up in growing numbers, and researchers are trying to understand why they're returning."
"A new report by the American Society of Civil Engineers takes a dim view of the state of the country’s 54,000 community-based drinking-water systems and its 15,000 public wastewater treatment facilities. The systems are rusty, aging and seriously inadequate for meeting future needs, the study warns."
"Nigerian coastal and fishing communities were on Thursday put on alert after Shell admitted to an oil spill that is likely to be the worst in the area for a decade, according to government officials."
"As of this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has declared three 'unusual mortality events' (UME)—unexplained death clusters—for multiple species of marine mammals on four US coastlines: the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, the Bering Sea, and the Chukchi Sea."
"In a sign that the Obama administration is willing to clear the regulatory decks for oil drilling in Alaska's remote Arctic waters, the Interior Department on Friday gave a conditional green light allowing Royal Dutch Shell PLC to explore for oil this summer in Alaska's Chukchi Sea."
"BP and the oil industry drilling in the Gulf of Mexico lacked the proper safety attitude to handle the large risks of deepwater drilling, leading to the many bad decisions behind the nation's worst offshore spill, a panel of expert engineers said today.
More specifically, the industry needs to radically redesign the blowout preventers that are meant to be a last line of defense against runaway wells or else risk a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the National Academy of Engineering concluded.