Posted on August 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Microbeads are bad juju for world’s waterways and oceans
This image captured by an electron microscope shows polyethylene microbeads widely used in shower gel. Photo courtesy Thompson/Bakir/Plymouth University.
FRISCO — Simple, everyday uses of some cosmetics and cleaning products releases huge amounts of plastic micropollution into the environment, potentially at levels harmful to marine life.
Scientists at Plymouth University recently tried to quantify the well-known environmental problem by studying brands of facial scrubs that listed plastics among their ingredients. They used vacuum filtration to sort out the plastic particles and analyzed the debris with electron microscopes, finding that each 150ml of the products could contain between 137,000 and 2.8 million microparticles. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, microplastic beads, plastic pollution, pollution | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 25, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Drainage from the abandoned Pennsylvannia Mine in Summit County, Colorado, has been poisoning Peru Creek and the Snake River for decades, @bberwyn photo.
Common sense tweaks would require more monitoring as well as reclamation
FRISCO — Congress, under fierce lobbying pressure from the mining industry, may not have the political wherewithal to make meaningful changes to mining laws.
But public land agencies could tweak their regulations to reduce the chances of another event like the spill from the Gold King Mine that tainted the Animas and San Juan rivers earlier this month.
A coalition of community and environmental groups hopes to spur those changes at the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture with a formal petition under the Administrative Procedures Act. The petition seeks four key changes to mining rules that would go a long way toward averting future toxic spills.
The rules changes would:
- Limit the lifetime of a mine permit,
- Impose enforceable reclamation deadlines and groundwater monitoring requirements on mines
- Require regular monitoring and inspections,
- And limit the number of years that a mine can remain inactive.
Filed under: BLM, Environment, rivers, US Forest Service, water, water quality | Tagged: Animas River spill, Environment, Grand Canyon, mining law reform, mining laws, pollution, uranium mining | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The confluence of Havasu Creek with the Colorado River (river mile 157) is a popular place for boaters to stop and admire the striking blue-green water of Havasu Creek. The turquoise color is caused by water with a high mineral content. At the point where the blue creek meets the turbid colorado river there often appears a definite break. NPS photo by Erin Whittaker.
Fish in the Grand Canyon show levels of mercury and selenium that exceed risk thresholds for wildlife
FRISCO — Pollution runs deep in the Colorado River, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists who recently documented traces of mercury and selenium contamination in fish living in the Grand Canyon.
Similar studies have documented mercury contamination in fish in Rocky Mountain National Park. In the bigger picture, the USGS has also documented mercury contamination in 25 percent of U.S. streams. In the Arctic, polar bears are being exposed to similar contaminants. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment | Tagged: Colorado River, Environment, Grand Canyon, Mercury, pollution, Selenium | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 11, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Containment and treatment ponds near the Gold King Mine have helped reduce the flow of contaminants into Cement Creek and the Animas River. Photo via EPA.
Emergency work at spill site is reducing pollution discharge
FRISCO — Environmental experts say that, so far, there’s no sign of widespread fish mortality in the Animas River after the Aug. 5 spill from the Gold King Mine, near Silverton that sent about 1 million gallons of tainted water surging downstream.
The discharge included heavy metals like zinc, which can kill trout, but in an Aug. 10 update, the EPA said that fish cages placed directly in the Animas River by Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists indicate one mortality out of 108 fish tested. The agency is working with the New Mexico Department of Game Fish and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate reports of impacts to wildlife. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Animas River, Colorado, Environment, EPA, Gold King Mine, Gold King mine spill, pollution, San Juan River | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Polluters are asking a federal court to roll back protection for important wetlands. @bberwyn photo.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce leads effort to overturn Waters of the U.S. rule
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — A new federal wetlands rule that helps protect water quality and important wildlife habitat will face a federal court challenge from groups representing some of the country’s biggest polluters.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Portland Cement Association last week filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, seeking to overturn the so-called Waters of the U.S. rule. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality, wetlands | Tagged: Environment, pollution, water quality, waters of the U.S., wetlands | 3 Comments »
Posted on May 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A new study raises more questions about public health risks in oil and gas development zones.
Findings confirm health risks to people living near oil and gas wells
FRISCO — Careful air sampling near active natural gas wells in Carroll County, Ohio showed the widespread presence of toxic air pollution at higher levels than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for lifetime exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati.
The study reinforces the need for more extensive air quality monitoring in fracking zones around the country, where exposure to the poisonous emissions are likely to lead to increased risk of cancer and respiratory ailments. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, fracking, Ohio, oil and gas, PAHs, pollution, public health | 5 Comments »