EJToday: Top Headlines
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Parts or all of Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine were ordered closed more than 60 times in 2009 and 2010, and the mine was repeatedly cited in recent months for allowing potentially explosive coal dust to accumulate, according to newly released government documents."
"In a landmark ruling on contaminated Chinese drywall, a federal judge in New Orleans awarded $2.6 million in damages Thursday to the owners of seven Virginia homes ruined by the tainted wallboard."
"The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season will produce an above-average eight hurricanes, four of them major, posing a heightened threat to the U.S. coastline, the Colorado State University hurricane forecasting team predicted on Wednesday."
"The Minerals Management Service has withheld information from regional staff in Alaska and has not had sufficient guidelines in place to analyze offshore drilling risks in the region, a government audit shows."
"The Food and Drug Administration said recent research raises 'valid concerns' about the possible health effects of triclosan, an antibacterial chemical found in a growing number of liquid soaps, hand sanitizers, dishwashing liquids, shaving gels and even socks, workout clothes and toys."
Rescuers continue to search for four missing miners in West Virginia. "The company that owns the West Virginia coal mine where at least 25 workers died this week has pressed its employees for higher productivity rates, sometimes at the expense of safety, according to regulators, lawyers who have sued the company and documents."
"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."
"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...."
"An O'Malley administration proposal to ease Maryland's stringent new storm-water pollution rules won legislative approval [Monday] night, capping a fierce debate over whether the Chesapeake Bay would suffer from giving developers more time and leeway in having to clamp down on rainfall washing off their building projects."
"Chemicals found in food cans, nail varnish and shampoos could be triggering early puberty in girls, putting them at greater risk of cancer and diabetes, scientists believe."
Rescue operations continue at the West Virginia mine where an explosion killed 25. "The Massey Energy Company, the biggest coal mining business in central Appalachia and the owner of the Upper Big Branch mine, has drawn sharp scrutiny and fines from regulators over its safety and environmental record."
"By trading oil for batteries, the struggling U.S. Postal Service could transform its fleet vehicles into overnight moneymakers that deliver much more than the daily mail. The cash-strapped agency has the potential to earn millions by storing and stabilizing some of the nation’s grid energy in mail trucks during off-peak hours."