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.
"Assisted by technological innovation and years of subsidies, the cost of wind and solar power has fallen sharply — so much so that the two industries say that they can sometimes deliver cleaner electricity at prices competitive with power made from fossil fuels. At the same time, wind and solar companies are telling Congress that they cannot be truly competitive and keep creating jobs without a few more years of government support."
"For years, climate scientists have been assailed from many sides -- through e-mail hacking, death threats, politician’s demands for documents, Freedom of Information requests (many having the strong smell of a fishing expedition). A Climate Science Legal Defense Fund set up last fall has taken on a formal affiliation with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an established nonprofit group offering aid and advice to government whistleblowers and scientists working on environmental issues."
"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."
EPA's "Documerica" photo archive, suppressed by the Reagan administration and forgotten for years, is being revived. It provides a stunning series of "before" pictures as a context in which to place the pollution control now under assault by Republicans. And it offers cash-strapped journalists a treasure-trove of copyright-free graphics.
"Prominent MIT researcher Kerry Emanuel has been receiving an unprecedented 'frenzy of hate' after a video featuring an interview with him was published recently by Climate Desk.
Emails contained 'veiled threats against my wife,' and other 'tangible threats,' Emanuel, a highly-regarded atmospheric scientist and director of MIT’s Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate program, said in an interview. 'They were vile, these emails. They were the kind of emails nobody would like to receive.'
"TOKYO — A powerful and independent panel of specialists appointed by Japan’s Parliament is challenging the government’s account of the accident at a Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and will start its own investigation into the disaster — including an inquiry into how much the March earthquake may have damaged the plant’s reactors even before the tsunami. "
"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."
"Ever wondered who the big greenhouse-gas emitters are in your neck of the woods? The answer is now just a click away."
EPA's Toxics Releaser Inventory is the foundation of much of what the nation knows about toxic pollution. But it consists of estimates from industry, sometimes dramatically understating the extent of pollution, and omits whole industrial categories.
Ongoing controversy over Pennsylvania's oversight (or lack thereof) of fracking for gas in the Marcellus Shale has brought a lot of readers to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's "Pipeline" reporting portal. The Post-Gazette offers interactive maps of drilling data from the Department of Environmental Protection. One big problem: "DEP's production data ... says there are 495 more wells producing gas, or ready to produce gas, than DEP has recorded as ever being drilled, and 182 of those wells don't even show up on the state's Marcellus Shale permit list."
Leading environmental news aggregator EHN picks Fukushima meltdown, fracking controversy, the Keystone XL pipeline, widespread bisphenol A exposures, and the Obama White House's environmental ambivalence as top stories by sheer volume in 2011 media coverage.
"Climate change dropped even further from the world's headlines and newscasts last year. Weird weather, Australia's carbon tax and Solyndra fracas weren't enough to stem a decline that started in 2009."
"OTTAWA — Contamination of a major western Canadian river basin from oilsands operations is a 'high-profile concern' for downstream communities and wildlife, says a newly-released 'secret' presentation prepared last spring by Environment Canada that highlighted numerous warnings about the industry's growing footprint on land, air, water and the climate."
"The Justice Department is helping British authorities in an investigation into the hacking of climate scientists’ emails, which caused an uproar among skeptics of global warming when they were released two years ago."
"Two teams of researchers who have engineered deadly and pathogenic flu viruses have reluctantly agreed to withhold vital details of their work for national-security reasons -- the first time any scientific team has been asked to do so."