NEWS

FEDERAL NEWS

Rules & Revisions

EPA: Drinking Water Requirements for States and Public Water Systems

Lead and copper enter drinking water primarily through plumbing materials. Exposure to lead and copper may cause health problems ranging from stomach distress to brain damage. In 1991, EPA published a regulation to control lead and copper in drinking water. This regulation is known as the Lead and Copper Rule (also referred to as the LCR). Since 1991 the LCR has undergone various revisions, ...more

U.S. Supreme Court Takes up Clean Water Act Dispute

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals erred in a Clean Water Act (CWA) case that petitioners say would dramatically expand the law’s reach.

The case, County of Maui, Hawaii, v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, centers around whether or not the CWA requires permits for “nonpoint” sources of pollution that travel through regulated waterways...more

Fundings & Penalties

EPA's EJSCREEN: Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool

In order to better meet the Agency’s responsibilities related to the protection of public health and the environment, EPA has developed a new environmental justice (EJ) mapping and screening tool called EJSCREEN. It is based on nationally consistent data and an approach that combines environmental and demographic indicators in maps and reports....more

EPA Civil Cases and Settlements

Currently available civil cases are listed below. Each case has a brief description and a link to detailed information about the case. more

EPA Criminal Cases

The criminal enforcement program investigates and assists in the prosecution of knowing or negligent environmental violations. This year’s cases resulted in a total of 153 years of incarceration for individual defendants, plus fines of $2,829,202,563  for individual and corporate defendants, with an additional $3,092,631  in court ordered environmental projects and $147,520,585  in restitution. more

STATE NEWS

Texas Taxpayers and Renewable Energy

The City of Georgetown, Texas, and its mayor, Dale Ross, have become known internationally over the past couple of years due to the city’s claim that its municipal electricity utility uses 100% renewable energy.

But as recent developments show, Georgetown’s proverbial 15 minutes of fame came at great cost to taxpayers and electricity ratepayers. ...more

 

Deer Park terminal fire extinguished after three days of burning

A fire that broke out at a petrochemical storage facility over the weekend in the industrial Houston suburb of Deer Park has been extinguished, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday morning.

The fire burned through Tuesday after intensifying Monday night. Despite a tall black plume that billowed over the nation's fourth-largest city for three days, state and local officials emphasized that monitoring data show the air is still safe to breathe....more

Texas industrial polluters targeted in new report by environmental group

A new report on industrial air pollution in Texas calls for stronger enforcement of federal Clean Air Act standards and tougher penalties for “upsets” — releases of air pollutants caused by equipment failures, human error or other factors.

The advocacy group Environment Texas said 275 companies reported 4,067 breakdowns and other events that released more than 63 million pounds of air pollution in 2017. ...more 

Report: Harris County buyouts of flooded homes have been less than strategic

Long after the rains stopped and floodwaters receded, thousands of Texans whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Harvey tried to participate in buyout programs that would help diminish the property damage of future floods.

And while some homeowners have taken advantage, these buyouts did not always happen in the most strategic possible way, according to a new report by Texas A&M University and The Nature Conservancy....more 

Report: Texas coal power plants leaching toxic pollutants into groundwater

As the Trump administration considers weakening Obama-era safeguards for the disposal of toxic coal waste, a new report shows that groundwater near all of Texas’ 16 monitored coal-fired power plants is contaminated with pollutants — including known carcinogens — linked to so-called coal ash.

The report by the Washington D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project, released Thursday, analyzed on-site groundwater monitoring data that power companies are now required to report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under anObama-era regulation known as the “Coal Ash Rule.”....more 

As oil and gas exports surge, West Texas becomes the world's "extraction colony". How an oil boom is transforming West Texas and altering climate change math. 

What’s happening is unprecedented. In December, companies in the Permian Basin — an ancient, oil-rich seabed that spans West Texas and southeastern New Mexico — were producing twice as much oil as they had four years earlier, during the last boom. Forecasters expect production to double again by 2023.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and others say the drilling spree is ushering in a new era of American energy independence, but American demand isn’t driving it. Foreign demand is.

In late 2015, Congress cut a deal to lift 40-year-old restrictions on the export of crude oil. That opened the floodgates..”....more 

Today's Texas Air Quality Forecast

The latest forecast for air quality conditions in Texas' metropolitan areas. 

Texas Beach Watch

Texas Beach Watch provides the public with information about water quality at selected recreational beaches along the Texas coast. 

Rules & Revisions

 


ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Green New Deal

The need to protect our environment is something both parties can agree upon. So far this Congress, Republicans have introduced a variety of proposals that would curb carbon dioxide emissions while strengthening the competitiveness of our economy. Encouraging carbon capture technology, carbon taxes, and state clean energy programs are all ideas worthy of debate. The Democrats' Green New Deal resolution, however, is not...more 

Microbiology

There are 'Superbug' Genes in the Arctic. They Definitely Shouldn't Be There

A "superbug" gene that was first detected in India — and allows bacteria to evade "last resort" antibiotics — has now been found thousands of miles away, in a remote region of the Arctic, according to a new study.

The findings underscore just how far and wide antibiotic resistance genes have spread,...more 

Deadly drug-resistant TB a 'blinking red' global threat

Deadly, drug-resistant tuberculosis -- as lethal as Ebola and tough to treat in even the best hospitals -- is a "blinking red" worldwide threat, the head of a global health fund warned in an interview with AFP.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is on a mission to eradicate the three epidemics and plans to spend around $12 billion on it over the next three years...more 

Air Quality

Air Pollution: Current and Future Challenges

Great progress has been made in achieving national air quality standards, which EPA originally established in 1971 and updates periodically based on the latest science. One sign of this progress is that visible air pollution is less frequent and widespread than it was in the 1970s.

However, air pollution can be harmful even when it is not visible. Newer scientific studies have shown that some pollutants can harm public health and welfare even at very low levels. EPA in recent years revised standards for five of the six common pollutants subject to national air quality standards. EPA made the standards more protective because new, peer-reviewed scientific studies showed that existing standards were not adequate to protect public health and the environment...more

Bangkok schools closd over 'unhealthy' pollution levels

Toxic smog in Bangkok has forced more than 400 schools to close for the rest of the week, to protect children from its harmful effects.

Thailand's capital city is experiencing some of its worst-ever air pollution levels, caused by ultra-fine dust particles known as PM2.5...more 

Black, post-apocalyptic snow blankets part of of Siberia

Toxic, black snow has turned part of a coal-mining region in Siberia into a post-apocalyptic landscape.

Residents in three Russian cities have been tweeting images and videos showing cars, streets and buildings covered in gross-looking, black snow.

Authorities have attributed the black snow to coal-processing plants in the area. The director of one of the plants told The Siberian Times that a shield meant to prevent coal powder from escaping has failed, resulting in the soot-colored snow....more 

Green Snow Raises Pollution Concerns in Russian City

Pollution is turning the snow green in the Russian city of Pervouralsk, the latest in a series of incidents fueling growing concerns about the environmental health of the country that could threaten President Vladimir Putin's popularity, The Independent reported Monday.

One video shared by ND News Feb. 15 shows a patch of green snow outside a pre-school close to a local chrome plant that residents blame for the phenomenon....more 

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

 

11 Surprising Uses For Pee and Poop

When most animal bodies process nutrients, they expel waste in the form of liquids and solids — generally referred to as urine and feces. Waste is usually smelly and unappetizing (for people, at least) but it can also be surprisingly beneficial. Pee and poo have a wide range of applications; providing nutrients for diverse ecosystems, serving as a foundation for expensive perfumes, or even fueling robots....more 

Giant 'Fatberg' of Grease and Baby Wipes Jams British Sewers

A 210-foot-long (64 meters) monster made from grease and used baby-wipes has clogged up a sewer in Sidmouth in southwestern England. British officials said in a statement they expect that removing the gooey blob, which will happen in "exceptionally challenging work conditions," ...more 

How to Pee a Brick (And Help Save the Planet While You Do It)

At the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, contributing to a sustainable future might be as easy as using the men's bathroom.

Dyllon Randall, a senior lecturer in water quality engineering at UCT, has been leading an effort to turn human urine into the zero-waste building material of tomorrow. While about 90 percent of urine is made of water, the remainder contains vital nutrients — like phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium  ...more 

New model predicts how ground shipping will affect future human health, environment

The trucks and trains that transport goods across the United States emit gases and particles that threaten human health and the environment. A University of Illinois-led project developed a new model that predicts through 2050 the impact of different environmental policies on human mortality rates and short- and long-term climate change caused by particulate and greenhouse gas emissions...more 

California's San Bernardino County slams the brakes on big solar project

California's largest county has banned the construction of large solar and wind farms on more than 1 million acres of private land, bending to the will of residents who say they don’t want renewable energy projects industrializing their rural desert communities northeast of Los Angeles.

Thursday’s 4-1 vote by San Bernardino County’s Board of Supervisors highlighted a challenge California could face as it seeks to eliminate the burning of planet-warming fossil fuels.

State lawmakers passed a bill last year requiring utility companies to get 60% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and 100% from climate-friendly sources by 2045....more

Massive East Coast solar project generates fury from neighbors

The company sPower wants to build a 500-Megawatt solar project on the 6,350-acre site in western Spotsylvania County, with 3,500 acres being used to house 1.8 million solar panels. The land, currently owned by seven different landowners who plan to sell it to the company, has already been cleared for timber in anticipation of the project. sPower has said the project "will be safe, reliable, quiet and screened from public view."

But a vocal contingent of activist-residents are working to pressure county officials to deny special use permits for sPower, arguing it would have disastrous environmental, economic and cultural impacts on the area. They point out that the proposed site is nearly half the size of Manhattan....more