EPA: Blowing Big Coal’s Top on Mountaintop Coal Mining

If it were ever possible or even realistic to put the words Appalachia and victory in the same sentence, this might be one of those rare times: the Environmental Protection Agency's Region 3 Administrator Shawn Garvin has recommended the withdrawal of the mining permit for the nation's largest proposed mountaintop removal coal mine site, the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.

Super typhoon hits Philippines

The Philippines declared a state of calamity in a northern province after super typhoon Megi made landfall on Monday, cutting off power, forcing flight cancellations and putting the region's rice crop at risk. Megi, the 10th and strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, hit Isabela province at 11:25 a.m. (0325 GMT) and was heading west-southwest across the north of the main island of Luzon with winds of 190 kph (117 mph) near the center, forecasters said.

Philippines braces as Megi becomes super typhoon

A super typhoon bore down on the northeastern Philippines on Sunday packing winds of more than 250 kph (155), and evacuations began before it makes landfall on Monday morning. Typhoon Megi would be felt on Sunday night in the north of the main island Luzon, a rice and corn growing area, and the government advised up to 7 million people in its direct path to stock up on food and medicine. Government forecasters said waves off the east coast could be greater than 14 meters (46 ft), and advised against travel to the region as Megi could bring flash flooding, landslides and storm surges. Manila was not expected to be affected by the typhoon.

White House Lifts Ban On Offshore Drilling

The Obama administration announced this week that companies able to meet new safety standards will be allowed to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, ending a six-month moratorium that had been scheduled to end next month. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the new rules imposed after the BP spill — the worst environmental disaster in the country's history — have strengthened safety measures and reduced the risk of another catastrophic blowout. "Operators who play by the rules and clear the higher bar can be allowed to resume" drilling, Salazar said at a Washington news conference. He added: "The oil and gas industry will be operating under tighter rules, stronger oversight, and in a regulatory environment that will remain dynamic as we continue to build on the reforms we have already implemented."

Striking Balance in the Arctic

The Department of Interior is planning to assess Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve for energy development. Spanning 37,000 square miles across western Alaska, the NPR-A is the biggest piece of public land in the United States. For now, this Arctic landscape is mostly undeveloped and home to caribou, grizzly bears, wolves, and a wide variety of birds, among other northern wildlife. Sending public comments to the Bureau of Land Management, WCS has asked the government to permanently protect certain places within the NPR-A that are vital to wildlife. WCS also urged the BLM to form a scientific advisory panel for evaluating how to manage the land in the face of energy development and climate change.

The Art of the Eco-Friendly Wedding

This past Sunday, American Idol Season 9 runner-up Crystal Bowersox was married boyfriend Brian Walker in a small ceremony at a club where the two first met. What makes Bowersox worthy of a blog discussion here on ENN is the fact that her wedding was eco-friendly, ranging from her custom gown to the local, organic bakery she picked to cater the wedding. For one thing, her wedding dress was custom-made by Tara Lynn, a Vermont-based designer who is committed to designing Earth-friendly, sustainable fashion (her studio is also solar-powered!). The dress was a custom mix of hemp and cotton, and the train included seashells and beads...

Haiti Quakes

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that caused more than 200,000 casualties and devastated Haiti's economy in January 2010 resulted not from the Enriquillo fault, as previously believed, but from slip on multiple faults as well as primarily on a previously unknown, subsurface fault - according to a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience. In addition, because the earthquake did not involve a slip near the Earth's surface, the study suggests that it did not release all of the strain that has built up on faults in the area over the past two centuries, meaning that future surface rupturing earthquakes in this region are likely.

Portable Desalination System Designed for Use in Disaster Zones

A new system for desalination has been designed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The system uses solar power to push ocean water through a permeable membrane which is capable of removing salt and other minerals. Such a portable system would be ideal for disaster-torn regions of the world which have lost access to clean water.

How the Government Looks at Green Jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an agency of the US Department of Labor has been given the responsibility and funding for the collection and implementation of data on green jobs. After considerable study they arrived at a formal definition...

Scientists use seals, gliders to unlock ocean secrets

Scientists are outfitting elephant seals and self-propelled water gliders with monitoring equipment to unlock the oceans' secrets and boost understanding of the impacts of climate change. Oceans regulate the world's climate by soaking up heat and shifting it around the globe. They also absorb huge amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide, acting as a brake on the pace of climate change. But scientists say they need to ramp up a global monitoring network, with the Southern Ocean between Australia and Antarctica playing a key role. The Southern Ocean is a major "sink" of mankind's carbon emissions and an engine of the world's climate.