February 4, 2009–Flood maps for riparian areas and coastal zones are in need of significant improvement, according to a new National Academies report. The benefits of implementing the improvements would substantially outweigh the costs.
January 21, 2009–In one of many last-minute actions, the Bush administration delayed a decision on a drinking water standard for the contaminant perchlorate (used in rocket fuel, explosives, fireworks, and many other industrial products, and also occurs naturally), but issued a temporary advisory recommendation. This has immediate implications for at least 31 large US utilities, and perhaps hundreds more.
January 21, 2009–The Southern Environmental Law Center's top 10 places in America's South that face "immediate, potentially irreparable threats in 2009" represent a cross-section of the major environmental issues facing these states.
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.