Posted on March 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Officials say a “hydrocarbon” plume of underground pollution hasn’t yet threatened Parachute Creek, four miles north of Parachute, in western Colorado.
Possible oil spill may be getting close to groundwater in the area
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — State, local and federal officials are tracking a mysterious underground plume of what they are calling “hydrocarbon” pollution near Parachute, Colorado.
The pollution was first reported March 6 during construction activities in the area and confirmed March 16 by the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association, which said in a prepared release that Parachute Creek has not been impacted and that there are no known threats to health and safety.
The construction activities involved locating underground pipelines – a standard safety practice prior to construction. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, energy, Environment, oil and gas drilling, Parachute Colorado, Parachute Creek, pollution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 11, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Study scrutinizes Fildes Peninsula, on King George Island
Parts of the greater Antarctic ecoregion may not be as pristine as they should.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A high concentration of research stations and the associated intense human activity is compromising the integrity ecosystems on parts of South Georgia island, according to a team of German researchers who have been gathering data in the area for several decades.
Along with land-based impacts like tire tracks and discarded industrial waste, leakage from port facilities and ships is also affecting marine ecosystems, said University of Jena professor Dr. Hans-Ulrich Peter, head author of a report authored for the German federal environmental agency.
The report recommends designating the Fildes Peninsula, part of King George Island, as a formally managed area under the Antarctic Treaty, which would include legally binding standards for the use of the region. The proposed measure could reduce the conflicting interests between science, tourism and the protection of geological and historical sites as well as keeping its environment intact. (more…)
Filed under: Environment | Tagged: Antarctica, Environment, Fildes Peninsula, King George Island, pollution, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands | 5 Comments »
Posted on September 7, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Environmental hazard, health benefit … depends who’s talking.
Economic and health arguments used to try and stem growing community efforts to reduce plastic pollution
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — With growing awareness that plastic trash is having serious impacts on aquatic environments, especially in the oceans, communities around the world are moving to reduce the reliance on single-use plastic bags and other sources of plastic.
At the same time, the industry is pushing back, setting up a classic environmental battle. Instead of figuring out a way to be part of the solution instead of the problem, plastic bag manufacturers are making an economic argument, trying to show with questionable studies that plastic bag bans impact sales and employment.
It’s a pretty typical tactic, commonly used by the energy industry, but it has the potential to be effective. In one recent example, a conservative think tank, the National Center for Policy Analysis, issued a press release purporting to show that employment at stores affected by a bag ban fell by 10 percent in the past year, and that sales dropped by 6 percent compared to nearby areas without a ban, where sales supposedly grew by 9 percent during the same time. Here’s a link to the study. (more…)
Filed under: Environment | Tagged: business, Environment, oceans, plastic bag bans, plastic waste, pollution | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 21, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Sinclair’s Casper refinery. Photo courtesy Sinclair.
Settlement with EPA includes mandatory pollution control upgrades
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —As part of a crackdown on polluting refineries, the EPA has reached a settlement with two subsidiaries of the Sinclair Oil Corporation in Wyoming alleged to have violated air pollution limits.
Under the agreement, Sinclair Casper Refining Co. and Sinclair Wyoming Refining Co. will pay stipulated penalties totaling $3,844,000 and spend approximately $10.5 million on additional pollution control equipment and other projects to resolve the allegations. (more…)
Filed under: air quality, Environment, federal government | Tagged: Clean Air Act, EPA, oil refineries, pollution, Sinclair Oil Corporation, Wyoming | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 8, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Candy wrappers, styrofoam and other debris showing up in high percentage of dead birds along West Coast
A U.S. Geological Survey photo shows the remains of an albatross along with flotsam in ingested along the way.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite its vastness the Pacific Ocean is not immune to increases in plastic pollution, with concentrations off the coast of the Pacific Northwest reaching the level of the notoriously polluted North Sea, near the densely populated coast of northern Europe.
A new study led by a University of British Columbia researcher focused on the stomach contents of seabirds beached along the coastline from Canada down through Washington and Oregon.
The research group closely examined 67 dead northern fulmars and found that 92.5 per cent had plastics like twine, Styrofoam and candy wrappers in their stomach. On average, each of the dead birds contained 36.8 pieces. The average total weight of plastic was 0.385 grams per bird. One bird was found with 454 pieces of plastic in its stomach. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Bird Studies Canada, Environment, Fulmar, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, North Sea, Pacific Ocean, plastic pollution, pollution, University of British Columbia | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 30, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Careful study shows near-toxic levels of PFCs building up in five endangered sea turtle species. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Nasty, persistent pollutants are becoming more pervasive in the marine food chain
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Persistent and toxic pollutants are building up the marine food web to the point that they are measurable in sea turtles near levels known to be harmful to other animals.
Researchers at the Hollings Marine Laboratory and four partner organizations for the first time measured concentrations of 13 perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) in five endangered species of sea turtles. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Environment, PFCs, pollution, sea turtles | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 26, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Dolphins off the coast of Florida have been exposed to more mercury than captive dolphins fed a controlled diet. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
Results suggest that Florida coastal waters have high levels of the toxic metal
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new study by researchers from The Johns Hopkins University and The National Aquarium shows that wild dolphins have higher levels of mercury than their captive cousins, suggesting that mercury pollution in the oceans is a continuing problem.
The captive animals were fed a controlled diet, while the wild mammals dined on marine life that may carry more of the toxic metal.
The study found lower levels of mercury in the captive animals, particularly compared to wild dolphins tested off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, a state that is in the path of mercury-laden fumes from power plants. The aquarium dolphins are fed smaller fish from North Atlantic waters, where mercury pollution is less prevalent. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, water | Tagged: dolphins, Environment, Mercury, oceans, pollution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 23, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Abandoned mine cleanup planned to reduce toxic heavy metals loading
Toxic devastation at the abandoned Saints John Mine in Summit County, Colorado.
Sterile ponds below the abandoned Saints John Mine.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — As the first hard rock silver mine in Colorado, the Saints John Mine, above Montezuma, helped fuel the state’s rush to riches during what’s now a legendary era.
But inevitably, the mines played out and the miners moved on. leaving behind a toxic legacy that’s not unique to Saints John. Across the West, thousands of streams and lakes suffered a similar fate.
Beautiful as Saints John Creek may look, it’s heavily polluted with cadmium, copper, lead and zinc that leaches into the water from weathered waste rock and from the underground workings of the former mine. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: acid mine drainage, Colorado, Environment, Montezuma Colorado, pollution, Saints John Mine, water quality | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 30, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Gotta keep ‘em clean!
Cape San Blas, Florida.
SUMMIT COUNTY — I spent much of Sunday reading and re-reading a very discouraging study on toxic oil pollution along Gulf Coast beaches. Despite all the chamber of commerce and government propaganda on how well everything has been cleaned up, it turns out that there are alarmingly high levels of carcinogenic oil-related PAHs still accumulating in the shallows all along the northern Gulf Coast, including beaches where our family waded and swam last spring and summer. You can read the story here. Just another reason to try and end our addiction to oil as soon as possible … (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Morning photo, photography | Tagged: beaches, BP oil spill, Deepwater horizon oil spill, Florida, Gulf Coast of the United States, Oil spill, pollution, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 6, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
EPA grants to help states monitor and report conditions
EPA grants to help with beach monitoring.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —A new round of EPA grants totaling almost $10 million will help states monitor and assess the state of their beaches — something that’s sorely needed, according to the Surfrider Foundation’s State of the Beach report findings, which explains the challenges of tracking the condition of beaches around the country.
The EPA is also launching the new BEACON website to provide timely information on beach conditions, advisories and closures.
Inconsistencies in testing, closure and advisory standards, notification procedures and even the terminology used in regulations varies from state to state, creating a confusing picture for consumers. The federal BEACH Act was aimed at elimination some of the inconsistencies, but it will take time for jurisdictions to get on the same page. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Summit County news, water | Tagged: beach closures, beach pollution, Environment, EPA, NRDC Testing the Waters, oceans, pollution, Surfrider Foundation | 1 Comment »