EPA Disapproves Certain Aspects of Texas’ Clean Air Program

Every state government has their own agency for the protection of the environment which they operate in conjunction with federal laws and statutes. When those state laws do not match up with their federal counterparts, the potential for conflicts increase. A recent example of this is the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) clean-air permitting program. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared that certain aspects do not meet federal Clean Air Act requirements.

Report on Minerals Management Service’s Environmental Decisions Regarding Off-Shore Oil and Gas

On August 16, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued a report (CEQ Report) summarizing the findings of a thirty-day review of the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Minerals Management Service's (MMS)[1] environmental polices for oil and gas exploration and development in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). CEQ found that MMS’s reliance on the "tiering process" (where prior programmatic environmental reviews are incorporated into later site-specific analyses) was not transparent and led to confusion and concern regarding whether MMS sufficiently evaluated and disclosed environmental impacts.

EPA to issue more rules in climate fight

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will roll out more regulations on greenhouse gases and other pollution to help fight climate change, but they will not be as strong as action by Congress, a senior administration official said. The agency "has a huge role to play in continuing the work to move from where we are now to lower carbon emissions", said the official, who did not want to be identified as the EPA policies are still being formed. President Barack Obama, looking to take the lead in global talks on greenhouse gas emissions, has long warned that the EPA would take steps to regulate emissions if Congress failed to pass a climate bill.

Hurricane Earl

Hurricane Earl is still a powerful category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale as it approaches the North Carolina coast September 2. NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite observed the high rates rain was falling within Earl in some areas more than 2 inches per hour. Hurricane Earl became the most powerful hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season early on September 2 when its sustained winds reached 120 kts (~138 mph). It was still intensifying when the TRMM satellite passed near its location on 2 September 2010. The TRMM Microwave Imager data were used in the rainfall analysis that showed heavy rainfall, particularly in the northwest quadrant of Earl's very distinct circular eye.

Top Climate Skeptic Reverses Course, Now Urges Bold Action

Bjørn Lomborg may not be a household name around here, but that's through no fault of his. In November 2001, this Danish environmental author and economics professor was selected "Global Leader for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. Controversy may as well have been his middle name, especially after his book The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World came out in 2001. However, Lomborg has a new book entitled Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits in which he proposes an aggressive $100 billion annual fund specifically targeting global warming solutions...

France to Have 3,000 MW of Offshore Wind by 2015

According to Agence France Presse (AFP), the French government will launch next month a tender for contracts of 10 billion euros ($12.6 billion) to build 3,000 MW of offshore wind capacity. 600 wind turbines will be implemented within five to ten sites in Normandy, Brittany and the regions of Pays de la Loire and Languedoc. They are scheduled to start producing electricity by 2015.

Test shows water problem near natgas drill site

U.S. government officials urged residents of a Wyoming farming community near natural gas drilling sites not to use private well water for drinking or cooking because of chemical contamination. "Sample results indicate that the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds in groundwater represents a drinking water concern," the Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement about tests of 19 water wells around the town of Pavillion. The Wyoming investigation precedes a national study by the EPA into the safety of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking", in response to concern in Congress and in some communities near gas rigs in many states that human health is threatened by the process.

Indonesian Volcanos

The geography of Indonesia is dominated by volcanoes that are formed due to subduction zones between the Eurasian plate and the Indo-Australian plate. Some of the volcanoes are notable for their eruptions, for instance, Krakatau for its global effects in 1883, Lake Toba for its supervolcanic eruption estimated to have occurred 74,000 Before Present which was responsible for several years of cold of volcanic winter, and Mount Tambora for the most violent eruption in recorded history in 1815. Indonesia's Mount Sinabung has recently erupted, two days after it sprang back into life after over 400 years of inactivity.

Priceless rock art in National Conservation Lands being defaced, destroyed, stolen

Ongoing investigations of sites within our National Conservation Lands in the Southwest and southern California are uncovering evidence of cultures and traditions dating back thousands of years. These sites are providing a one-of-a-kind opportunity to research, study, and assess how these different cultures lived and adapted. Something new is being found all the time. Yet, most have never heard about these efforts, let alone the sites and the cultural treasures they contain. One unit within the National Conservation Lands, Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado, has been focal point of these research efforts. It has by far the greatest known concentration of archeological sites in the nation – 6,400 so far -- including cliff dwellings, villages, great kivas, and rock art. But it is not alone.

The Environmentalist’s Paradox

The signs are all around. Many places in the world show degradation of the air, water, and soil. Species becoming extinct as natural habitats are being destroyed. The emissions of greenhouse gases that can alter the planet's climate are unacceptable. All the environmental issues put together amount to a very serious threat to human welfare. Yet at the same time, all accepted measures of well-being show that, on average, quality of life is improving around the globe. How does an environmentalist call society into action under such conditions?