CRUDE

Coast Guard takes over oil spill cleanup in 17th Street Canal

The Coast Guard says it will oversee cleanup efforts of an oil spill in the 17th Street Canal. According to a statement, about 900 gallons of waste lube oil was “discharged” in the canal that divides Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

“Initial reports indicate the discharge was accidental and originated from Delta Petroleum,” the Coast Guard said in a statement. The Delta facility is at Airline Highway and Labarre Road.

http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2016/02/oil_spill_metairie_17th_street.html

BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Changed Sea Life Near Shipwrecks

More than 2,000 shipwrecks at rest thousands of leagues beneath the Gulf of Mexico serve as an artificial reef for marine life and hold 500 years of maritime history deep within their hulls. But historic preservation laws couldn’t protect them from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion 41 miles off Louisiana’s coast six years ago this spring. Once the notorious wellhead came uncapped, it unleashed an estimated 4.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. About 30 percent of that ended up in areas of the deep sea that contain shipwrecks.

http://www.newsweek.com/bps-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill-changed-sea-life-near-shipwrecks-429966

Oil spill in Peru just the latest in a long history of pollution in the Amazon

Thousands of people in the northern Peruvian jungle are facing a water-quality emergency after the rupture of two major oil pipelines owned by state oil company Petroperú. The incident spilled at least 3,000 barrels of crude oil into rivers that at least eight indigenous communities rely on for water.

If this sounds at all familiar, it’s because oil spills in the Amazon aren’t really anything new. The western Amazon has been contaminated by widespread oil pollution for decades. This was indicated by a study of pollution records by Spanish researchers in 2014, and cited more recently by Think Progress, which says there have been at least 11 oil spills in the area since 2010.

http://www.humanosphere.org/environment/2016/02/oil-spill-in-peru-just-the-latest-in-a-series-of-oil-contaminations-in-the-amazon/

Oil train traffic tumbled in 2015

The number of carloads of crude oil being shipped by rail fell 16.8 percent in 2015 from year-earlier levels, the Association of American Railroads reported Wednesday.

Crude’s share of overall freight traffic declined to 1.4 percent from 1.6 percent in 2014.

http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Oil-train-traffic-tumbled-in-2015-6851818.php

North Dakota hits pipeline firm with more oversight charges

North Dakota is assessing an additional $100,000 fee to pay for an independent review of the construction of the biggest-capacity pipeline proposed to date to move crude from the state’s oil patch.

The state Emergency Commission voted Wednesday to charge Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners the to cover the cost of the third-party monitoring for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.8 billion, 1,130-mile pipeline to move nearly 600,000 barrels of crude daily from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline’s capacity is about half of North Dakota’s current production, and the state’s portion is the longest leg of the pipeline and the most expensive, at $1.4 billion.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2016/02/24/north-dakota-hits-pipeline-firm-more-oversight-charges/80858786/

Workers recover at least 3,000 gallons of oil from broken pipeline in Bayonne park, DEP says

An underground pipeline in a Bayonne park that was discovered to be leaking yesterday has spewed at least 3,000 gallons of oil and is currently undergoing repairs, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said today that the leaking pipeline — located in Halecky-IMTT Park at the east end of 27th Street — was reported to the DEP at 12:40 p.m. yesterday, but that it’s not known when the line actually broke.

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2016/02/workers_recover_at_least_3000_gallons_of_oil_from.html

Union workers protest Poland pipeline project

Members of a local labor organization are targeting Dominion East Ohio, as well as a valley contractor, over a Poland pipeline project.

A couple dozen men and women stood out in the rain Wednesday morning next to the Poland Post Office, protesting the hiring of DM Excavating in Brookfield to handle a pipeline replacement job for Dominion in the village.

http://wkbn.com/2016/02/24/union-workers-protest-poland-pipeline-project/

Pipeline spill leaks 149 barrels of briny oil wastewater

State Health Department officials say a pipeline leak in Dunn County spilled more than 6,250 gallons of oil and saltwater, a byproduct of oil production.

State environmental scientist Bill Suess (sees) says Marathon Oil reported the 149-barrel spill Tuesday at a well it owns about 6 miles north of Killdeer. The Houston-based company says in a statement the spill occurred on Monday and it is investigating the cause.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/24/pipeline-spill-leaks-149-barrels-of-briny-oil-wast/

 

SHALE

Pennsylvania fracking trial begins, pitting families against driller

Cabot Oil & Gas Co contaminated drinking water for two Pennsylvania families in its rush to begin fracking operations during the state’s natural gas boom, a lawyer told a federal jury in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday at the start of a civil trial.

Leslie Lewis, who represents two families from the town of Dimock, told a six-member jury that Cabot had shown “reckless disregard” for the safety of her clients and other local residents.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pennsylvania-fracking-idUSKCN0VW296

Criticism of New California Fracking Assessment

Three weeks after agreeing to take a hard look at offshore fracking’s threats to California’s coast, the Obama administration has released a draft environmental assessment from the Department of the Interior. Environmental group Center for Biological Diversity says that it fails to answer key questions about the risks of this controversial oil-extraction technique.

The draft analysis was required by a legal settlement, filed January 29, that resolved a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit over fracking from offshore platforms in the wildlife-rich Santa Barbara Channel. That settlement required a halt to offshore fracking in federal waters off California, pending the Department of Interior’s completion of a final environmental review.

http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/criticism-of-new-california-fracking-assessment

Fracking Cases in Pennsylvania Expose the Human Cost of Drilling

The environmental costs of fracking, from earthquakes to an alarming rise in methane emissions, has been well reported. The human cost of fracking, however, is not heard often enough. In Pennsylvania, two recent cases in Susquehanna County have put the controversial drilling process at the forefront.

As jury selection kicks off in the notorious fracking water contamination case in Dimock against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp, a family of maple syrup farmers in the same northwestern county will potentially lose their trees, and thus their livelihood, to make way for the company’s latest fracking pipeline project, the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline.

http://ecowatch.com/2016/02/24/fracking-pennsylvania/

Penn. Fracking Trial Begins; Driller Accused of Contaminating Drinking Water

Cabot Oil & Gas Co contaminated drinking water for two Pennsylvania families in its rush to begin fracking operations during the state’s natural gas boom, a lawyer told a federal jury in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday at the start of a civil trial.

Leslie Lewis, who represents two families from the town of Dimock, Pennsylvania, told a six-member jury that Cabot had shown “reckless disregard” for the safety of her clients and other local residents.

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2016/02/24/399696.htm

UK fracking traffic would increase local air pollution, finds study

The traffic generated by fracking in the UK would increase air pollution substantially at a local level at the busiest times, according to a study about the potential impact of lorry traffic.

The research found that the number of tankers taking water to and from drilling sites would increase hourly levels of nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) by as much as 30%.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/24/fracking-traffic-would-increase-local-air-pollution-study-tankers-water-nitrogen-oxide-emissions

Anti-fracking group trying to get ban on November ballot

Protect Monterey County announced Tuesday it’s gathering signatures to get an anti-fracking initiative on the November ballot.

Activists with the group held a press conference at the Monterey County Courthouse to share why they want to ban fracking in the county and to ask for the community’s support.

http://www.ksbw.com/news/Anti-fracking-group-trying-to-get-ban-on-November-ballot/38154656

U.S. Senate candidates talk fracking in Pennsylvania 

The race to see which Democratic challenger will take on Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey in November is getting fracking exciting.

During a debate at Carnegie Mellon University a few weeks ago, former state Department of Environmental Protection secretary Katie McGinty denied receiving campaign dollars from the fossil-fuel industry. Days later, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman released an ad claiming that McGinty received around $200,000 from that industry.

http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/us-senate-candidates-talk-fracking-in-pennsylvania/Content?oid=1897276

Coast Guard Drops Controversial Proposal to Ship Toxic Fracking Waste

In a win for clean water and public health, the U.S. Coast Guard quietly dropped its proposal today to allow barges on the nation’s rivers and inter coastal waterways to transport toxic fracking wastewater.

“Shipping thousands of barrels of toxic wastewater down the rivers we drink from was a recipe for disaster,” said Rachel Richardson, director of Environment America’s stop drilling program. “For the sake of our drinking water and our safety, we’re glad to see this bad idea put to rest.”

http://ecowatch.com/2016/02/23/coast-guard-drops-ship-fracking-waste/

Internal fight over blame for Porter Ranch gas-leak costs: Shareholder sues Gas Co. directors

A Southern California Gas Co. shareholder and parent company Sempra sued the utility’s board of directors Tuesday in a derivative action alleging they failed to take steps to avoid the natural gas leak in Aliso Canyon.

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Rhoda Kanter against Sempra directors Debra Reed, Alan Boeckmann, James Brocksmith, Kathleen Brown, Pablo Ferrero, William Jones, William Ouchi, William Rusnack, William Rutledge, Lynn Schenk, Jack Taylor and James Yardley.

http://mynewsla.com/crime/2016/02/23/internal-fight-over-blame-for-porter-ranch-gas-leak-costs-shareholder-sues-gas-co-directors/

 

RADIATION

Fukushima disaster: Tepco admits late meltdown announcement

The operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant hit by a tsunami in 2011 has admitted that it should have announced sooner that there was a nuclear meltdown at the site.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company denied the meltdown for two months.

The company now says the public declaration should have been done within days of the disaster.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35650625

Lawson to open store at crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant

Lawson Inc. will open a convenience store at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex where decommissioning work is underway following the 2011 tsunami-triggered disaster there, sources said Tuesday.

From March 1, the store will be open from early morning to the evening, selling groceries typically found in regular convenience stores, but not alcoholic beverages and food items such as fried food, which needs to be cooked in store, they said.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/02/24/business/lawson-open-store-crippled-fukushima-no-1-nuclear-plant/#.Vs4VA-Z0c2g

Japanese nuclear reactors get tentative extension

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved Wednesday a draft of screening results for extending the operation periods of the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear power plant, saying the draft fulfills the criteria of the NRA’s new safety regulations.

The NRA’s decision, which came at a regular meeting, is an effective green light to extend the operation period of the reactors at the plant in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-wp-japan-nuclear-f1edc4ee-db13-11e5-891a-4ed04f4213e8-20160224-story.html

No radiation from Japan’s Fukushima disaster found in B.C. fish

Nearly five years after a massive earthquake resulted in the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, researchers in B.C. have found no detectable levels of contamination in fish along the West Coast.

Contamination in fish had been expected to increase, as levels for radioisotopes cesium-134 and 137 are getting higher in offshore sea water, according to Jay Cullen, a chemical oceanographer at the University of Victoria. But models showing how ocean circulation will carry that contamination suggest there is little reason for concern in B.C. “While we expect the contamination in fish to increase … we don’t expect those levels to approach levels that will be a danger to human health,” Cullen said.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/radiation+from+japan+fukushima+disaster+found+fish/11737813/story.html

 

CLIMATE

World’s biggest trees dying ‘alarmingly’ fast

The world’s biggest and oldest trees are dying at an alarming rate, according to a report by three leading ecologists.

Death rates among trees 100 to 300 years old, living organisms that also sustain birds and other wildlife, are accelerating in many parts of the world including savannahs, woodlands, forests, farming areas and even cities.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/world-s-biggest-trees-dying-alarmingly-fast-1.1169883

The Link Between Zika and Climate Change

Last year, a team of researchers made a surprising discovery: Aedis aegypti mosquitoes—the species that spreads West Nile Virus, dengue, chickungunya and, most recently, Zika—were living year-round in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. In a paper published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the researchers wrote that the mosquitoes had been living in the area since at least 2011, biting and reproducing in the summer months and likely riding out the winter underground. Previously, scientists had believed that the mosquitoes couldn’t survive year-round anyplace north of South Carolina.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/02/zika-and-climate-change/470643/

Scientists Turned Back the Clock on Climate Change

The world was a vastly different place 250 years ago. There weren’t 50 states, Taylor Swift feuds or viral videos anywhere in sight.

Another thing that was also less plentiful: carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Since then, CO2 has risen and with it, a host of other impacts have befallen our planet. That includes the rapid acidification of our seas at a rate unseen in at least 300 million years.

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/scientists-climate-change-ocean-acidification-20070

Increased flooding in US coastal cities caused by climate change, study says

Rising sea levels are putting increasing pressure on US coastal cities, with a new analysis showing that human-driven climate change is to blame for three-quarters of the coastal flooding events over the past decade.

The Climate Central research shows that coastal flooding days have more than doubled in the US since the 1980s, the primary drivers of which have been the warming of the atmosphere and oceans. The findings are based on a separate study, released on Monday, that found the Earth’s seas are rising at a pace unseen in the past 2,800 years.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/23/us-coastal-cities-flooding-climate-change-sea-level-study

Climate Change Takes from the Poor, Gives to the Rich, Study Finds

Fish and other important resources are moving toward the Earth’s poles as the climate warms, and wealth is moving with them, according to a new paper by scientists at Rutgers, Princeton, Yale, and Arizona State universities.

“What we find is that natural resources like fish are being pushed around by climate change, and that changes who gets access to them,” said Malin Pinsky, professor of ecology and evolution in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.The stronger and more conservation-oriented the natural resource management in a community, the higher the value that community places on its natural resources, whether those resources are increasing or diminishing, Pinsky reports. If wealthier communities and countries are more likely to have strong resource management, then these wealthy groups are more likely to benefit, thus exacerbating inequality.

http://www.njtvonline.org/news/uncategorized/climate-change-takes-from-the-poor-gives-to-the-rich-study-finds/

Heathrow 13: climate change protesters avoid jail

Six women and seven men have avoided jail for trespassing at Heathrow, following a protest against the possible expansion of the airport.

The activists, dubbed the Heathrow 13, were given sentences of six weeks suspended for 12 months, meaning they would not have to go to prison immediately.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/24/heathrow-13-climate-change-protesters-avoid-jail

Researchers grow cyberforests to predict climate change

It can take Mother Nature 1,000 years to grow a forest. But Nikolay Strigul, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Washington State University Vancouver, can grow one on a computer in three weeks.

He and Jean Lienard, a mathematics postdoctoral researcher, created the first computer simulation that grows realistic forests down to the branches, leaves and roots of individual trees. They are using the simulation, detailed in a new paper in Royal Society Open Science, to determine how drought, warmer weather, more frequent wildfires and other climate-related changes will affect forests across North America.

http://phys.org/news/2016-02-cyberforests-climate.html

We can’t solve climate change without teaching it: Why more classes are heading outside

Standing waist-deep in Connecticut’s West River, Nyasia Mercer’s mind is far from the cold, murky water lapping against her rubber waders. The high-schooler is thinking of people. The ones who swim here. Fish here. The ones who unwittingly dump liquid waste into nearby sewers. And how few of them know what swirls through their neighborhood waterway.

“It’s sad,” Mercer says. “A lot of these things could have been prevented if the community knew how. A lot don’t know how to advocate for themselves.”

http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-02-24/we-can-t-solve-climate-change-without-teaching-it-why-more-classes-are-heading

Every year could bring a heat wave if climate change continues

Without reductions in planet-warming emissions, blistering heat waves of the strength that now typically occur once every 20 years could happen annually on 60 percent of the Earth’s land areas by 2075, scientists have warned.

And intense heat waves – defined as three exceptionally hot days in a row – will become far more extreme if greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, said a new study published in the journal Climatic Change.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-heatwave-emissions-idUSKCN0VX26N

 

POLLUTION

India Just Had Its Most Polluted Year, Greenpeace India Says

India just had its most polluted year on record, Greenpeace India says in a new report, for the first time pushing it above China in terms of the average amount of pollution its citizens were exposed to.

The non-governmental organization said it analysed particulate levels measured by satellites belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration using a method it said was the best way to compare pollution exposure.

http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2016/02/24/india-just-had-its-most-polluted-year-greenpeace-india-says/

180+ Infrared Videos Show Methane Pollution All Across America

Just as the worst methane leak in California’s history is sealed and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledged that America pollutes much more methane than previously estimated, Earthworks—the group that filmed the videos revealing the scope of the methane disaster in Los Angeles County—released a map of 180+ infrared videos of oil and gas methane pollution events across the country.

The map, created with the help of FracTracker Alliance, includes two new videos that epitomize the national methane pollution problem.

http://ecowatch.com/2016/02/24/infrared-videos-methane-pollution/

States Just Asked The Supreme Court To Halt Another Pollution Rule

If you live in one of these 20 states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, or Wyoming — your attorney general just asked Justice John Roberts to let power plants keep putting mercury the environment.

In a petition filed Tuesday, those states asked the Supreme Court to stay the Mercury Air Toxics Standard, which was issued by the EPA in 2014 and has been bouncing around the courts ever since.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/02/24/3753069/petition-to-stay-mercury-rule/

A Town Demands Protection from Pesticides

Almost a year ago, National Geographic told the story of Aixa, now eight years old, who lives in Avia Terai, a town in Argentina surrounded by soybeans and other crops treated with pesticides. Included was a photograph by Marco Vernaschi that showed tumors and blotches covering Aixa’s face and body.

The dramatic photograph brought attention to the problems of Avia Terai, giving its residents the courage to speak out about their concerns. Now conditions have improved in the town. Residents have sought advance notice of aerial pesticide spraying and are lodging complaints. Farm workers are demanding better on-the-job protections, says Alejandra Gomez, a lawyer and co-founder of Red Salud, a volunteer network of doctors, lawyers, and scientists. And authorities have taken some action, so pesticides are no longer sprayed in Aixa’s neighborhood or close to schools on weekdays.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/160223-photograph-aixa-argentina-avia-terai-pesticides-glyphosate/

The EPA’s New Toxicology Tests May Save Some Animals

When Congress reauthorizes a decades-old toxic chemicals law this year, the Environmental Protection Agency could finally do a safety review of any chemical registered under the law. And just how many chemicals are registered? 84,000.

Yikes.

The bulk of those chemicals—62,000 or so—were grandfathered in when the Toxic Substance Control Act passed in 1976, and the EPA has limited power to require testing of chemicals on the market prior to that law.

http://www.wired.com/2016/02/animal-testing-tsca/

EPA did not disclose Ringwood contamination

Environmental regulators knew three months ago that a chemical that likely causes cancer was found for the first time at the Ringwood Superfund site, but on Tuesday defended their decision not to immediately disclose the information to the public, saying they do not consider it an imminent health threat.

Community leaders are angry they were not informed sooner. They said they should have been told shortly after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received information in late November that the chemical 1,4-dioxane was detected at high levels in the groundwater just a few hundred feet from homes.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/epa-did-not-disclose-ringwood-contamination-1.1516597

Residents sue Marathon refinery over pollution

A lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court, claiming air contaminants, noise and odor from Marathon’s refinery in southwest Detroit is causing a continuous nuisance that’s harming people who live nearby.

The lawsuit is seeking class action status, damages of more than $5 million  for area residents, and a court order to stop Marathon from releasing contaminants into the air and to cut noise and odor.

http://michiganradio.org/post/residents-sue-marathon-refinery-over-pollution#stream/0

OR DEQ Seeks $1.5 Million To Test, Regulate Air Pollution

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Director Dick Pedersen told state lawmakers Tuesday his agency needs $1.5 million for air pollution work in light of the recent discovery of airborne heavy metals in Portland.

Recent air testing found unhealthy levels of cadmium and arsenic in the air in Southeast Portland. Regulators have linked the heavy metals to a facility that uses metals to make colored glass but the detections have raised a lot of questions about why regulators didn’t know until now how much cadmium and arsenic Bullseye Glass was emitting.

http://www.opb.org/news/article/deq-seeks-15-million-to-test-regulate-air-pollution/

‘Disgusted’ residents sound off on Portland air pollution

Activists on Tuesday accused state regulators of dragging their feet after discovering serious air pollution in Southeast Portland and beyond, some of them telling lawmakers they could face life-threatening ailments.

Worried residents told a House committee they’ve lost faith in the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s ability to keep the public safe in light of revelations that two Portland glass companies released toxic heavy metals into the air.

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/02/disgusted_residents_sound_off.html

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