The Stream, April 19: Colorado Lawsuit Seeks Environmental Damages from ExxonMobil, Suncor Energy

The Global Rundown

Two Colorado counties sue ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy, claiming the companies negatively contributed to climate change. Water levels in Nigeria’s Goronyo dam fall to 10 percent of capacity, jeopardizing the water supply of millions. The U.S. Senate blocks a Coast Guard bill that would have exempt ship ballast water from the Clean Water Act. Scientists develop a 10,800 square foot replica of the Mississippi delta coastline to aid in a water-diversion plan. Researchers in Sweden discover a moss capable of removing arsenic from drinking water. Planned hydropower plants in the Balkans could lead to one in 10 European fish species to be near extinction, a study warns.

“It is the largest systematic construction plan with negative environmental impacts that I know of, since world war two.” –Steven Weiss, a professor at the University of Graz, in reference to the ecological impacts of planned hydropower plants in the western Balkans. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro are in the process of developing their hydropower capacity, but research shows that 49 of Europe’s 531 freshwater fish could face extinction or loss of their Balkan distribution if the countries follow through with their plans. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

2 million Number of people who rely on Nigeria’s Goronyo dam basin, which provides water for  nearby farmers, fishermen, and families. Water levels in the dam have dropped to 10 percent capacity, and authorities have begun rationing household water use. Al Jazeera

10,800 square feet Size of a model of the lower Mississippi river delta, which scientists recently unveiled at Louisiana State University. The massive replica will help researchers design a new water-diversion plan intended to fight coastal erosion. The Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Scientists at the University of Stockholm have discovered a moss with the ability to remove arsenic from drinking water. According to researchers, the aquatic moss can purify arsenic-contaminated water in just one hour. Science Daily

On The Radar

The U.S. Senate voted against a Coast Guard bill that environmentalists feared would remove important water protections. Through an updated version of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), the bill proposed an exemption of ship ballast water from the Clean Water Act. If approved, the exemption could have fueled the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes and beyond. The Hill

Colorado’s Boulder and San Miguel counties are seeking environmental damages from ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy, alleging that fossil fuel releases by the two companies have led to significant changes in Colorado’s temperature and climate. The plaintiffs claim that the environmental changes harmed their property and impacted the health, safety, and welfare of state residents. In recent years, rising temperatures have also decreased snowpack, which is essential for Colorado’s agriculture and domestic water supply.  U.S. News & World Report  

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