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Category Archives: Environmental Law

Safeguarding the Arctic

By Cathleen Kelly & Miranda Peterson |Why the U.S. Must Lead in the High North |Thursday, January 22, 2015: “While many Americans do not consider the United States to be an Arctic nation, Alaska—which constitutes 16 percent of the country’s landmass and sits on the Arctic Circle—puts the country solidly in that category. Consequently, it is with good reason that the United States has a seat on the Arctic Council. As Arctic warming accelerates, U.S. leadership in the High North is key not only to the public health and safety of Americans and other people in the region, but also to U.S. national security and the fate of the planet. In just three months, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will become chairman of the Arctic Council. The two-year position rotates among the eight Arctic nations—Canada, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, the United States, and Denmark, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands—and is a powerful platform for shaping how the risks and opportunities of increasing commercial activity at the top of the world are managed. To ready the administration for Secretary Kerry’s turn to hold the Arctic Council gavel from 2015 to 2017, President Barack Obama recently issued an executive order to better coordinate national efforts in the Arctic. The executive order is the latest signal from the White House that President Obama and Secretary Kerry are focused on preparing the nation for dramatic changes in the Arctic and protecting U.S. national interests in the region—even more so than their predecessors—and that the Arctic Council U.S. chairmanship is a priority for the administration.”

Simple soil mixture reverses toxic stormwater effects

EurekAlert: “A simple column of common soil can reverse the toxic effects of urban runoff that otherwise quickly kills young coho salmon and their insect prey, according to new research by Washington State University, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The affordable and remarkably effective treatment offers new promise for controlling toxicContinue Reading

Old ice in Arctic vanishingly rare

NOAA: “Since the 1980s, the amount of perennial ice in the Arctic has declined. This animation tracks the relative amount of ice of different ages from 1987 through early November 2014. The oldest ice is white; the youngest (seasonal) ice is dark blue. Key patterns are the export of ice from the Arctic through FramContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Environmental Litigation, Iranian Commercial Activities Update

Environmental Litigation: Impact of Deadline Suits on EPA’s Rulemaking Is Limited, GAO-15-34: Published: Dec 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 2015. Iranian Commercial Activities Update: Foreign Firms Reported to Have Engaged in Iran’s Energy or Communications Sectors, GAO-15-258R: Published: Jan 13, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 13, 2015.

Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview

CRS – Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview. Peter Folger, Specialist in Energy and Natural Resources Policy; Mary Tiemann; Specialist in Environmental Policy. December 22, 2014. “The development of unconventional oil and natural gas resources using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has created new demand for wastewater disposal wells that inject waste fluids into deep geologic strata. An increasing concernContinue Reading

Natural Hazards of 2014

“Going into the New Year, the USGS reflects on the natural hazards of 2014 as a reminder of the dangers we face and the need for preparedness to save lives and property. In 2014, several damaging natural earthquakes occurred around the world. A devastating landslide occurred in Washington State, while heavy rains and landslides also hitContinue Reading

Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview

CRS – Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview. Peter Folger, Specialist in Energy and Natural Resources Policy; Mary Tiemann, Specialist in Environmental Policy. December 22, 2014. “The development of unconventional oil and natural gas resources using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has created new demand for wastewater disposal wells that inject waste fluids into deep geologic strata. An increasingContinue Reading

Fracking Confirmed as Cause of Rare “Felt” Earthquake in Ohio

Seismological Society of America – “A new study links the March 2014 earthquakes in Poland Township, Ohio to hydraulic fracturing that activated a previously unknown fault. The induced seismic sequence included a rare felt earthquake of magnitude 3.0, according to research published online by the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA). In March 2014, a series ofContinue Reading

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Listing the African Lion Subspecies as Threatened

This Proposed Rule document was issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) For related information, Open Docket Folder Action Proposed rule and 12-month finding. Due Jan 27 2015. Summary – “We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a proposed rule and a 12-month finding on a petition to list the African lion (Panthera leo leo) asContinue Reading

Arrival of the Fukushima radioactivity plume in North American continental waters

John N. Smith, Robin M. Brown, William J. Williams, Marie Robert, Richard Nelson, and S. Bradley Moran.  Arrival of the Fukushima radioactivity plume in North American continental waters. PNAS 2014 : 1412814112v1-201412814. “The large discharge of radioactivity into the northwest Pacific Ocean from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor accident has generated considerable concern about the spread ofContinue Reading

Relative Impacts of Projected Climate and Land-use Change on Conterminous US Bird Species from 2001 to 2075

Via USGS news release, includes data files and photos :”Species distribution modeling was used to assess the relative impacts of climate and land-use change on fifty bird species for the conterminous United States. Species presence data, current and projected land-cover data, current and projected climate data, and topographic data were used in a maximum entropyContinue Reading

First Global Maps from Orbiting Carbon Observatory

“The first global maps of atmospheric carbon dioxide from NASA’s new Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission show elevated carbon dioxide concentrations across the Southern Hemisphere from springtime biomass burning and hint at potential surprises to come. At a media briefing  at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California;Continue Reading