EJToday: Top Headlines
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EPA's official investigation of a massive 2009 fish kill in West Virginia's Dunkard Creek ended by blaming the pollution squarely on Consol Energy's Blacksville No. 2 mine. But an EPA biologist said that coal mine drainage alone was not enough to explain the problem -- and that contamination of mine pools by methane and water from the Marcellus Shale formation was possibly an additional cause.
"LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- An Amish farmer examines young trees and shrubs he planted last fall along the stream running through his farm. A few trees are starting to peak from shelters built to protect them from pests and 'green death,' when new trees are swallowed up by old growth. When the trees and shrubs are fully grown, they'll form a buffer to keep grazing animals and stormwater carrying manure fertilizers out of the water."
"FREDERICK -- Randy White had just buried a daughter, dead at 30 with a brain tumor. Now his other daughter had been diagnosed with growths in her abdomen. When doctors told White in 2009 that their conditions were likely caused by something in their environment, the Frederick native thought of Fort Detrick. His children had grown up near the Army base."
"WAYNESBURG, Pa. -- A surge in mining damage to waterways, houses and roads has sparked a fierce debate in southwestern Pennsylvania's coal region about whether regulations are strong enough to protect property and natural resources."
"The Housing Authority of Baltimore City often cites a lack of funds to explain its refusal to pay nearly $12 million in court-ordered judgments to former public housing residents who suffered permanent lead-paint poisoning as children. But the city's public housing agency has paid private lawyers about $4 million since 2005 to defend against those lead-paint claims. In May and June alone it spent $228,000 on legal fees, a total that works out to more than $5,000 per day, including expenses."
Despite confident assurances from leaders in the go-go shale gas industry that pollution problems don't exist, records from Pennsylvania's environmental agency show that faulty casings and cement do indeed cause pollution of drinking water.
"At the recent Shale Gas Insight conference in Philadelphia, the CEO of one of the largest Marcellus Shale drilling companies in Pennsylvania was unequivocal in his message that methane contamination of drinking water supplies from faulty gas wells is at an end.
"In a class action lawsuit filed Thursday, Kennedy Krieger Institute is accused of exposing poor black children to 'dangerous levels' of lead as part of a housing experiment in the 1990s."
"Alexandria's controversial coal-burning power plant, once considered one of the largest single sources of air pollution in the Washington area, will probably close by October 2012, its owner and the city announced Tuesday.
The surprise announcement culminates a 12-year battle to close the six-decade-old Potomac River plant, which local activists and environmentalists blame for causing or contributing to dozens of cases of serious illness each year.
"The legacy of George Washington's centuries-old logging venture in the Great Dismal Swamp is contributing to the possible demise of a valuable ecosystem as a barely contained fire burns on the Virginia-North Carolina border, experts say."
"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia regulators should examine whether hundreds of additional abandoned coal mine sites need new water pollution treatment under a legal settlement announced last week, a member of a Department of Environmental Protection advisory committee said Wednesday.
Mining engineer John Morgan urged the Special Reclamation Fund Advisory Council to look into the matter in the wake of a deal between DEP and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy to set pollution discharge limits at certain abandoned sites.
"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State officials are insisting that a huge Alpha Natural Resources coal-slurry impoundment in Raleigh County is safe, even as new tests that might confirm that analysis have continued to be delayed, records showed Monday."
West Virginia Gov. Tomblin's "administration weakened an executive order on the regulation of Marcellus Shale gas drilling just hours before the order was signed and publicly announced, according to records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. ... The governor's office has refused to make public its correspondence with industry lobbyists who were helping craft state drilling policies."
"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Governor's Office is refusing to make public correspondence between it and the oil and gas industry regarding potential new regulations on Marcellus Shale drilling operations."
"A giant underwater 'dead zone'in the Chesapeake Bay is growing at an alarming rate because of unusually high nutrient pollution levels this year, according to Virginia and Maryland officials. They said the expanding area of oxygen-starved water is on track to become the bay’s largest ever."
"Poverty in Appalachia is concentrated in the communities around mountaintop removal mines, and people living in those areas suffer greater risk of early deaths, according to a new scientific paper by a West Virginia University researcher."