Oil Spill

Pollution Oil spilled into southern Lake Michigan Monday from a BP refinery in Indiana that was updated last year to accommodate an increasing amount of crude oil coming from Canada’s tar sands, Reuters reported. Lake Michigan is currently 60 percent covered in ice, and the company has not yet said how much oil was leaked. […]

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Natural Disasters The annual economic cost of natural disasters in China nearly doubled in 2013, costing the country $US 69 billion, Reuters reported. The most expensive disasters were floods and mudslides, followed by earthquakes and droughts. An extended period of heavy rainstorms and floods in the United Kingdom has taken a toll on the country’s […]

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“Five hundred times higher than safe levels is not protective of public health,” said Avinash Kar, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, in review of a proposal for a drinking water standard in California, Los Angeles Times reported. The carcinogen hexavalent chromium standard, which will be the first of its kind in the […]

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An interstate compact allocating supplies from the Red River does not allow Texas to pull water from within Oklahoma’s borders, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week. Writing for the court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor argues that if the drafters of the Red River Compact meant for Texas to be able to draw water from […]

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The most comprehensive study of water resources ever in the United States is proceeding slowly, according to a U.S. Geological Survey progress report. A substantial amount of new data are required for the project, which will be “an ongoing and continuous activity,” the report states. The most detailed studies, of streamflow ecology, will require most […]

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As part of the “fiscal cliff” package, Congress extended most of the provisions of the existing farm bill through September 30, 2013, which displeased almost everyone with a stake in the wide-ranging piece of legislation that addresses food stamps, biofuels research, crop insurance and conservation programs. Yesterday, President Obama signed a $US 9.7 billion aid […]

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To explain water quality in the Gulf, Dr. Nancy Rabalais looked upstream.

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Environmental and public health groups are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force the EPA to issue a rule on the chemical dispersants used in oil spill recovery, WaterWorld reports. Millions of gallons of chemical dispersants were used in the Gulf of Mexico after BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, and the groups claim […]

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Before adjourning for a five-week vacation, the House of Representatives passed a US$383 million drought-relief bill, the Hill reports. To pay for it, farmland conservation programs will be cut. Critics say that this is short-sighted because these programs protect, among others things, the soil’s ability to hold moisture. “If Congress is serious about assisting farmers […]

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Floods Almost two weeks after the devastating floods in southern Russia that claimed the lives of 171 people, three Russian officials have been detained on charges of negligence in their official duties, according to The New York Times. Beijing officials are also facing criticism from citizens and the media over their handling of the heavy […]

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The U.S. House Agriculture Committee published a draft version of the 2012 Farm Bill, which is estimated to save US$35 billion over 10 years. The committee will discuss the 557-page piece of legislation on July 11 (find the committee’s summary here). In the draft, grants for rural water and wastewater projects are cut in half, […]

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Researchers have warned that the steady decline in world water-monitoring stations will likely have a negative impact on water management, The New York Times reported. Asia Demonstrators in Cambodia took to the streets last Friday to lost each year in Asia due to leaks, costing water utilities $9 billion in revenue, according to a study […]

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Tough verdict on Rio+20 from author George Monbiot: governments have given up on the planet, he writes for the Guardian. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday secured metro Atlanta’s claim to water from Lake Lanier, granting Georgia a big legal victory in its long-standing water rights dispute with Florida and Alabama, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. […]

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Infrastructure Government officials in Alberta, Canada are telling people downstream of an oil spill to stay away from the Red Deer River, according to the Calgary Herald. Plains Midstream Canada estimates roughly 475,000 liters (125,000 gallons) leaked from one of its pipelines on Thursday. In April 2011, the company reported a spill of more than […]

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Despite fistfuls of money and decades of “action plans,” pollution in India’s Yamuna River, a Ganges tributary, has only gotten worse. The Hindu asks, “Is the Yamuna beyond help?” The Times of India reports that water in Maharashtra state designated for irrigation is being diverted by government agencies to power stations. Energy South Africa won […]

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Water Pollution Shell’s oil spill on the Niger Delta was at least 60 times bigger than the company said at the time, according to estimates by U.S. consultancy Accufacts, the Guardian reported. The textile suppliers for some of the world’s biggest clothing brands have violated China’s environmental laws by contaminating water supplies with chemicals from […]

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Under a new law, mining and oil companies in Peru will be required to hold talks with local communities about the effects of natural resource extraction on the environment and water supplies, Reuters reported. The law stops short of giving communities the power to veto potential projects. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez faces criticism from within […]

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Military Base Water Contamination From the 1950s to the 1980s people living at Camp Lejeune Marine Base near Jacksonville, N.C. unknowingly drank tap water contaminated with benzene and other chemicals. Lawsuits have been filed. Now, the state’s U.S. senators are criticizing attempts by military officials to redact information in a federal report about the base’s […]

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Energy South Africa may invest $78 billion in new nuclear power plants, a hydropower project and a coal-fired power plant in order to keep up with energy demand, Business Week reported. A European Union expert committee failed to reach a decision on a proposal that would label fuel from tar sands as highly polluting, pushing […]

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Beach-70

Closing in on nearly two decades in court, this “David and Goliath” fight seems far from over. Plaintiffs contend that no amount of money can repair the damage to the environment and to the lives of the 30,000 who claim to have been affected, while the U.S. oil company has denounced the Ecuadorean court system […]

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