December 17, 2008–A series of drinking-water contamination incidents have raised doubts about EPA's safety claims regarding hydraulic fracturing in domestic gas wells. And it's hard for people to get to the bottom of those claims when the identity of the chemicals injected during the process is protected as a "trade secret."
December 10, 2008–On Dec. 2, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could decide whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) allows EPA to weigh costs and benefits when determining the best technology available for the cooling water intake structures at existing power plants.
November 26, 2008–The last vestiges of the dam-building era continue. But the era of the dam removers is well under way, as communities try to improve river habitat, restore fish migrations, or remove hazardous dams that are crumbling or no longer serve a useful purpose (though dam removal can also have potentially adverse consequences, such as the release of toxic sediments, or reductions in species that had adapted to the dam environment).
In 2008, about 60 dams were removed, according to the advocacy group American Rivers. That adds substantially to the more than 300 dams that have been removed since 1999, and about 790 dams removed in the last 100 years, according to the group's tally.
October 1, 2008–Along with the usual spooky and spine-tingling sights we have come to expect in caves, another scary inhabitant is turning up — contaminants such as PCBs, pesticides, dioxins, gasoline, fertilizers, sewage, and caffeine.
These pollutants, which are leaching into caves from the surface and groundwater, can pose a threat to the delicate underground environments that are prized by many, and that provide benefits to people, plants, and animals on the surface. The presence of these contaminants underground also serves as a blunt reminder of how pervasive pollutants are.
September 3, 2008–The Gulf waters off of Louisiana aren't the only US area burdened by a "dead zone." There are similar, smaller areas with short- or long-term oxygen depletion off the shores of 20 states, as well as Canada and Mexico.