Environment: Lawsuit highlights herbicide ‘death spiral’

A ladybug enjoys a leisurely stroll in an organic Austrian corn field.

A ladybug enjoys a leisurely stroll in an organic corn field.

Court challenge aimed at protecting whooping cranes, endangered bats

Staff Report

FRISCO — Hoping to forestall a DDT-type disaster, environmental groups and farmers last week moved to block the EPA’s approval of a new herbicide that could threaten endangered species.

In a federal court, the groups said the approval violates the Endangered Species Act because the EPA failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the impact of Enlist Duo on two endangered species in those states, the whooping crane and the Indiana bat.  Continue reading

Environment: EPA says Keystone XL pipeline could add 1.37 billion tons of ‘extra’ greenhouse gases to atmosphere

sdg

sdg

Oil price drop should be bigger factor in evaluations

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — In case there was ever any doubt (and there wasn’t), the EPA this week made it clear that construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline would result in a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

The agency’s formal comment letter to the State Department focused on shifting market conditions, including the recent dip in oil prices, pointed out that the overall analysis for the pipeline failure to explore alternative routes that would not put critical land and water resources at risk. Continue reading

50-foot section of failed Montana oil pipeline was exposed on bed of Yellowstone River near site of spill

Cleanup hampered by icy conditions

Cleanup crews try to contain oil from a pipeline spill in the Yellowstone River, near Glendive, Montana. Photo courtesy EPA.

Cleanup crews try to contain oil from a pipeline spill in the Yellowstone River, near Glendive, Montana. Photo courtesy EPA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Sonar surveys show that the failed Poplar Pipeline in Montana is exposed on the river bed for approximately 50 feet near the site of a breach that may have spilled as much as 50,000 gallon of oil into the Yellowstone River.

After the spill, oil sheens were spotted on the river as far as 60 miles downstream, according to the EPA. Residents in the town of Glendive, a few miles from the spill, were warned not to drink their tap water after testing found traces of oil in the town’s water supply, but after additional testing, the town’s drinking water system was deemed safe on Jan. 23.

According to the EPA, the bottom of the river bed is about one foot below the pipeline in one area, though the last official inspection of the pipeline in 2012 indicated that it was buried about eight feet below the riverbed. The EPA said the exposed section of pipeline doesn’t explain how the spill happened, but the information will help investigators determine the cause of the breach. More EPA updates at this web page. Continue reading

Environment: EPA eyes new rules for oil spill dispersants

Public comment sought on proposed standards

Dispersant being applied to the Gulf of Mexico.

Dispersant being applied to the Gulf of Mexico.

Staff Report

FRISCO — When BP’s failed Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spewed millions of gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico nearly five years ago, the emergency response included the massive use of oil dispersants, chemicals meant to break up potential oil slicks before they reached the shoreline. Continue reading

XTO Energy to pay $5 million for fracking violations

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USA – fracking nation.

Clean Water Act penalties, cleanup costs assessed for West Virginia operations

Staff Report

FRISCO — ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy, Inc. will pony up about $3 million to restore eight West Virginia sites where the company illegally filled wetlands and polluted the water during fracking operations. The company will also pay a civil penalty of $2.3 million for violating the Clean Water Act, with impacts along more than a mile of stream and 3.38 acres of wetlands. Continue reading

Environment: Chinese, Texas companies fined $1.26 million for selling ‘dirty’ ATVs and motorcycles

Motorized recreation on Tenderfoot Mountain, Summit County, Colorado.

EPA fines ATV and motorcycle companies for violating Clean Air Act certification requirements. bberwyn photo.

Clean Air crackdown?

Staff Report

FRISCO — The EPA has dinged two Texas companies and four manufacturers in China  with $1.26 million in civil penalties after selling more than 11,000 motorcycles and ATVs that violated clean air rules. The companies will also be banned from selling 2015 vehicles in the U.S.

“EPA’s vehicle certification regulations are an important way we help reduce air pollution and protect public health,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Failing to provide honest and accurate information to EPA compromises our ability to protect clean air for Americans.” Continue reading

Will the EPA act on neonicotinoid pesticides?

Honeybees may get some relief from deadly pesticides. bberwyn photo.

Honeybees may get some relief from deadly pesticides.

Conservation advocates hopeful that agency will propose new restrictions

Staff Report

FRISCO — Conservation advocates say the EPA may be close to cracking down on systemic neonicotinoid pesticides suspected of playing a key role in the decline of honeybees.

According to Friends of the Earth, a top EPA regulator discussed the agency’s stance on neonicotinoids at a Dec. 8 meeting of state pesticide regulators. The agency was charged with assessing the effects of the pesticides under June 2014 presidential memorandum.

At this point, there is no formal proposal for new pesticide restrictions, which would come in the form of a proposed rule subject to public input. Continue reading

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