Ditch Yucca Mountain? Not so fast say some lawmakers

The U.S. Energy Department's push to scrap a long-planned national nuclear waste dump in Nevada has run into stiff opposition as lawmakers on Wednesday questioned the Obama administration's decision. A bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a resolution of disapproval in the House of Representatives on Tuesday aimed at making the department stop efforts to shelve the project and maintain all records relating to the proposed storage site.

EPA adds sources for greenhouse gas reporting

Before reporting even begins, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to include additional emissions sources in its first-ever national mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting system. EPA expects that the data from these sectors will help provide a better understanding of where GHGs are coming from. "Gathering this information is the first step toward reducing greenhouse emissions and fostering innovative technologies for the clean energy future," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

Human health linked directly to forest health

Gland, Switzerland – Environmental degradation is causing serious detrimental health impacts for humans, but protecting natural habitats can reverse this and supply positive health benefits, according to a new WWF report. "Our research confirms what we know instinctively: Human health is inextricably linked to the health of the planet," says Chris Elliot, WWF's Executive Director of Conservation.

Peruvians harvesting water from fog

Catching fog with nets is the solution to water scarcity for people who live beyond the reach of utility lines in this sandy hillside shantytown overlooking Peru's capital, Lima. Lima, which along with Cairo is one of the world's two driest capitals, gets only a few drops of rain each year. But thick fog from the Pacific Ocean blankets the coastal hills surrounding the city for eight months a year as hot tropical sun mixes with cold waters of the Humboldt current. Using nets similar to those used in volleyball, residents condense fog, drip-by-drip, into drainage pipes running down the hill into tanks that store hundreds of liters of water for irrigation, bathing and cooking.

Volcano erupts in Iceland

A volcano erupted in the south of Iceland overnight, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate the area and diverting flights after authorities declared a state of emergency, officials said on Sunday. Shortly before midnight, the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, the island's fifth largest, started to spew smoke and lava from several craters along a rift which is popular with hikers. Police sent rescue teams to evacuate about 500 people living in the rural area near the site. No injuries or damage to property were reported. Three Red Cross care centres were opened in nearby villages to assist the evacuated population.

Horses Never Forget Human Friends

Human friends may come and go, but a horse could be one of your most loyal, long-term buddies if you treat it right, suggests a new study. Horses also understand words better than expected, according to the research, and possess "excellent memories," allowing horses to not only recall their human friends after periods of separation, but also to remember complex, problem-solving strategies for ten years or more.

Weather Anomalies of Winter 2010

To the average person, the weather this winter, especially in February, has certainly been a departure from those winters of the past few years. There has been record snowfall in the mid-Atlantic region, bitter cold in the Deep South, and remarkably mild weather for the Pacific Northwest and New England. However, if the United States can be taken as a whole, some more modest trends appear.

EU countries block bluefin tuna ban

A U.S.-backed proposal to ban the export of Atlantic bluefin tuna prized in sushi was rejected Thursday by a U.N. wildlife meeting, with scores of developing nations joining Japan in opposing a measure they feared would devastate fishing economies. It was a stunning setback for conservationists who had hoped the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, would give the iconic fish a lifeline. They joined the proposal's sponsor Monaco in arguing that extreme measures were necessary because the stocks have fallen by 75 percent due to widespread overfishing. "Let's take science and throw it out the door," said Susan Lieberman, director of international policy with the Pew Environment Group in Washington. "It's pretty irresponsible of the governments to hear the science and ignore the science. Clearly, there was pressure from the fishing interests. The fish is too valuable for its own good."

Deal nearing on Senate climate bill

The Senate is close to wrapping up talks ahead of introducing a compromise climate change bill, said a top Democratic lawmaker who discussed ideas with industry groups on Wednesday. "We're planning to button up our efforts somewhere I hope next week," Senator John Kerry told reporters after meeting with a coalition that represents automakers, forestry and paper companies, Big Oil, steel, mining, electricity and others. Kerry is working with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman on a bill to require U.S. industry to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases associated with global warming.

Waste Management To Deploy First Plasma Gasification System

S4 Energy Solutions LLC, a joint venture by Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE: WM) and InEnTec LLC, announced plans to develop a plasma gasification facility at Waste Management's Columbia Ridge Landfill in Arlington, Oregon. The planned facility will convert municipal solid waste into fuels and energy. Construction is expected to begin in the early summer, with startup scheduled by year end. With the S4 system, waste materials are prepared and fed into a first phase gasification chamber that operates at temperatures of approximately 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. After the first phase, the waste materials flow into a second closed chamber where they are superheated to temperatures between 10,000 and 20,000 degrees Fahrenheit using an electricity-conducting gas called plasma. The intense heat of the second stage plasma gasifier rearranges the molecular structure of the waste, transforming organic (carbon-based) materials into a synthesis gas (syngas).