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Category Archives: Environmental Law

CRS – Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law, Claudia Copeland, Specialist in Resources and Environmental Policy. October 18, 2016: “The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research. Permit and enforcement provisions of the law are often referred to as the Ocean Dumping Act. The basic provisions of the act have remained virtually unchanged since 1972, when it was enacted to establish a comprehensive waste management system to regulate disposal or dumping of all materials into marine waters that are within U.S. jurisdiction, although a number of new authorities have been added. This report presents a summary of the law. Four federal agencies have responsibilities under the Ocean Dumping Act: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Coast Guard. EPA has primary authority for regulating ocean disposal of all substances except dredged spoils, which are under the authority of the Corps of Engineers. NOAA is responsible for long-range research on the effects of human-induced changes to the marine environment, while EPA is authorized to carry out research and demonstration activities related to phasing out sewage sludge and industrial waste dumping. The Coast Guard is charged with maintaining surveillance of ocean dumping.”

The Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience

Virtual Human Interaction Lab: “This experience is free to download and can be viewed on the HTC Vive. There are two ways to download: Steam:; Viveport: “Most people have never heard of ocean acidification—the process by which the ocean becomes more acidic as it absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) that has been emitted into the… Continue Reading

EPA IG Reports Drinking Water Contamination in Flint

Follow up to previous postings on water contamination in Flint, Michigan – see the EPA IG report, Management Alert: Drinking Water Contamination in Flint, Michigan, Demonstrates a Need to Clarify EPA Authority to Issue Emergency Orders to Protect the Public – and accompanying pocast and video, posted on October 201, 2016: “This report is an… Continue Reading

GAO – EPA estimates over $650 billion in expenditures for cities to upgrade water infrastructure

Water Infrastructure: Information on Selected Midsize and Large Cities with Declining Populations, GAO-16-785: Published: Sep 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 2016 “EPA estimates water and sewer utilities will need to spend $655 billion over the next 20 years to maintain, upgrade, or replace water infrastructure. Many midsize and large cities that lost a large… Continue Reading

GAO – Information on Federal Agencies’ Expenditures and Coordination Related to Harmful Algae

Environmental Protection: Information on Federal Agencies’ Expenditures and Coordination Related to Harmful Algae, GAO-17-119: Published: Oct 14, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 2016. “Harmful overgrowths of algae—called algal blooms—are a problem in all 50 states. These blooms can hurt aquatic plants and animals by producing toxins, consuming oxygen, and limiting light penetration in the water.… Continue Reading

White House honors innovators in sustainable seafood

Via NOAA – “The ocean…is not infinite in its bounty. After decades of decline, America has turned the corner on ending overfishing, and with the help of scientists, fishermen, fish farmers and managers today, our nation’s fisheries are among the most sustainable in the world. The shift wasn’t easy – it took hard work, collaboration, and… Continue Reading

National Geodetic Survey damage assessment imagery available online

“From October 7-10, 2016, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) collected damage assessment imagery for more than 1,200 square miles in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The aerial imagery was collected in specific areas identified by FEMA and the National Weather Service. Select the round icon with directional arrows using your mouse (or your finger) and… Continue Reading

Report – Investing in Urban Resilience

World Bank – “Natural disasters – such as Hurricane Matthew – and climate change are having devastating effects on cities and the 4 billion people who live in them today.  By 2030, without significant investment into making cities more resilient, natural disasters may cost cities worldwide $314 billion each year, up from around $250 billion… Continue Reading

Energy-related CO2 emissions for first six months of 2016 are lowest since 1991

EIA – “U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions totaled 2,530 million metric tons in the first six months of 2016. This was the lowest emissions level for the first six months of the year since 1991, as mild weather and changes in the fuels used to generate electricity contributed to the decline in energy-related emissions.… Continue Reading

WHO – Mapping Dangerous Levels of Air Pollution

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Bath have creative an interactive map demonstrating findings from their newly developed method for calculating air pollution which reveals that 92 percent of the world’s population live in places with dangerously high levels of pollution. The method uses satellite and ground-level data and airflow models to… Continue Reading

UNESCO – Water, Megacities and Global Change: Challenges and Solutions

Water, Megacities and Global Change: Portraits of 15 Emblematic Cities of the World “Each of the megacities in this publication has specific local conditions characterizing their geographic, climatic, hydrogeologic, demographic and economic situations. However, they also share similar water governance challenges with multiple actors focused on their own duties and concerns. As such, they can work together to… Continue Reading

Guardian – how the business of bottled water went mad

How did a substance that falls from the air, springs from the earth and comes out of your tap become a hyperactive multibillion-dollar business? by Sophie Elmhirst Right now, the global bottled water industry is in one of those strange and energetic boom phases where every week, it seems, a new product finds its way on to… Continue Reading