Posted on May 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Agencies ready to tackle acid mine drainage at abandoned Pennsylvania Mine
USGS and EPA scientists take earth and water samples below the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine in Summit County, Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.
Tainted water at the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine.
By Bob Berwyn
*Extensive Summit Voice coverage of the Pennsylvania Mine is online here.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Nearly a century after miners finished digging millions of dollars worth of silver, lead and zinc out of the Pennsylvania Mine, heavy machinery will once again rumble through the high alpine Peru Creek Valley.
But instead of burrowing deep into the ground to find precious metals, the workers this time will be trying to clean up the big mess left behind when the mine was abandoned. For decades, water coursing through the mine shafts has been dissolving minerals, resulting in acid mine drainage that pollutes Peru Creek and the Snake River. Concentrations of some metals, especially zinc, are high enough to kill trout.
After years of studying the mine, experts with federal and state agencies now say they are ready to try and tackle the pollution. They will provide details on the cleanup plan at the May 29 meeting of the Snake River Watershed Task Force. The public meeting is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Keystone Center, 1628 St. John Road, Keystone. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, Summit County Colorado, water | Tagged: abandoned mines, acid mine drainage, Colorado, Environment, EPA, Pennsylvania Mine, water pollution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Shortage of honeybee colonies for agriculture growing
Bees help pollinate commercial crops and wild plants. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — U.S. beekeepers said they lost almost a third (31.3 percent) of their managed honeybee colonies during the 2012-2013 winter, more than double the “acceptable” loss rate of 15 percent.
Colony losses increased 42 percent from the previous year, with about 70 percent of the beekeepers surveyed reporting that they lost more than 15 percent of their honeybee colonies, according to the preliminary results of an annual survey.
An estimated one-third of all food and beverages are made possible by pollination, mainly by honey bees. A decline in managed bee colonies puts great pressure on the sectors of agriculture reliant on commercial pollination services. This is evident from reports of shortages of bees available for the pollination of many crops. (more…)
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: agriculture, Colony collapse disorder, Environment, EPA, honeybees | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New EPA rules will reduce toxic water pollution from fossil fuel power plants. Photo via Wikipedia under a GNU Free Documentation License.
Cutting discharges of selenium, lead and arsenic will protect the environment
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A federal appeals court this week cleared the way for the EPA to issue new regulations aimed at stemming mercury, arsenic, lead, and selenium water pollution from power plant discharges.
Steam electric power plants alone contribute more than half of the toxic pollutants discharged to water bodies by all industrial categories currently regulated in the Unites States. The proposed rule sets the first federal limits on levels of toxic metals in wastewater that can be discharged from power plants. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: energy, Environment, EPA, fossil fuels, power plants, water pollution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
EPA to hold hearings on Tier 3 standards
New York City smog.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — With more and more studies showing that tailpipe pollution from cars and trucks is linked to serious chronic illnesses, conservation groups hailed last week’s EPA announcement on new standards to reduce soot, smog and other dangerous emissions.“The new Tier 3 standards will make our cars cleaner, and that means we’ll have cleaner air to breathe,” said Mark MacLeod, of the Environmental Defense Fund.
“Reducing tailpipe pollution will provide healthier, longer lives for millions of Americans for less than a penny per gallon of gas. That’s why updating the standards has such broad support from U.S. auto makers, state health commissioners, and health advocates,” MacLeod said. (more…)
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, clean fuel, Environment, EPA, EPA tier 3 fuel standards, smog, tailpipe emissions | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Measures don’t meet Clean Water Act requirements
Florida’s Everglades are threatened by a new state water plan. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Watchdog grous are characterizing a proposed Florida water quality plan as a give-away to polluting industries, creating even more loopholes to spew sewage, manure, and fertilizer into Florida waters, according to watchdog groups who sued the state and federal government in 2008 for their failure to set pollution limits, as required by the Clean Water Act.
“We have record numbers of dead manatees washing up on southwest Florida right now, in the prime of our tourist season,” said Earthjustice attorney David Guest. “Where is the leadership? This is an absolute sell out. This bogus plan gives deep-pocketed polluters even more loopholes. And what do we, the public, get? More gross, slimy algae in the water.”
Earthjustice said the plan was developed in a shady backroom deal without public input, and pointed out that a federal court has to review the plan under the terms of an earlier settlement agreement. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, water, wetlands | Tagged: Clean Water Act, Earthjustice, EPA, Everglades, Florida, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Pollution from an abandoned mine turned the Blue River bright orange in April 2006. Bob Berwyn photo.
Public event planned Jan. 18 near Breckenridge
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Around the West, there are thousands of abandoned mines polluting streams and killing fish, and many volunteer cleanup efforts have been stymied by strict Clean Water Act liability provisions.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) for years has been working with the EPA to try and make it easier for Good Samaritan groups to tackle remediation projects without taking on responsibility for future pollution. Those efforts showed results in December, when the EPA issued new guidance specifying that Good Samaritans are generally not responsible for obtaining a Clean Water Act permit during or after a successful cleanup conducted according to a Good Samaritan agreement with EPA. Read the memo here.
Udall will be in Summit County Friday (Jan. 18) along with EPA Regional Administrator Jim Martin to discuss the new policy and the public is invited to attend the event, set for 11 a.m. at the Iron Springs Mill off Boreas Pass Road. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: abandoned mines, acid mine drainage, Colorado, Environment, EPA, good samaritan cleanups, Mark Udall, water pollution, water quality | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012. The Kulluk grounded after many efforts by tug vessel crews and Coast Guard crews to move the vessel to safe harbor during a winter storm. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter.
Company responds to violations by asking for permission to emit more pollution
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Environmental groups say numerous and ongoing violations of the Clean Air Act stemming from Shell’s ongoing efforts to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean are yet another sign that the company isn’t prepared to operate in the pristine environment off the north coast of Alaska.
Most recently, the EPA issued notices of violation for failures to install required air pollution control technology, for failures to maintain and calibrate the equipment it is using and for violating emission standards set to protect human health and ambient air quality. (more…)
Filed under: air quality, Arctic, Environment | Tagged: air quality, Alaska, Arctic oil drilling, Clean Air Act, EPA, Shell Oil, Shell Oil Arctic drilling violations | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Park Service to require compliance with 2006 emission standards
The Lake Powell environment will be a little bit cleaner thanks to new National Park Service regulations requiring cleaner-burning personal watercraft engines. Photo via Wikipedia.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — After getting a six-year reprieve from the National Park Service, jet ski riders at Lake Powell will have to make sure their personal watercraft meet 2006 emission standards established by the EPA back in 2006.
The park service delayed implementation of the regulation for ten years to minimize impacts to personal watercraft owners and provide time for people to plan for this new requirement.
“We are actively reaching out to the boating public about this change and will take the opportunity next summer to continue to educate park visitors on Lake Powell,” said Superintendent Todd Brindle. (more…)
Filed under: air quality, Colorado, Environment | Tagged: Environment, EPA, jet skis, Lake Powel, National Park Service, personal watercraft, Two-stroke engine | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 18, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.
House science committee claims top officials are circumventing federal record-keeping regulations
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Instead of spending its time doing something productive about global warming or ocean acidification, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee is of on yet another witch hunt, this time claiming that EPA officials have been conducting official business through secretive means such as aliases and private email accounts.
Remember, this is the same science committee that includes members who deny evolution and buy into the myth of creationism. The committee’s normal business is to oversee federal science activities, but under the leadership of reactionary conservative Republicans, this committee, like many others, has lost its way — No wonder Congress hasn’t been able to make any progress on issues that really matter to the American people. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, federal government | Tagged: Environment, EPA, House science committee, Lisa Jackson, politics, Republicans | Leave a Comment »