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Category Archives: Environmental Law

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

EPA Announces First National Regulations to Safeguard Disposal of Coal Ash

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) … announced [December 19, 2014] the first national regulations to provide for the safe disposal of coal combustion residuals (coal ash) from coal-fired power plants. The final rule establishes safeguards to protect communities from coal ash impoundment failures, like the catastrophic Kingston, Tenn., spill in 2008, and establishes safeguards toContinue Reading

NY Governor Cuomo Announces Ban on Fracking

New York Times: “The Cuomo administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, ending years of uncertainty by concluding that the controversial method of extracting gas from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks. “I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the greatContinue Reading

Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea

Via PLOS ONE – Marcus Eriksen, Laurent C. M. Lebreton, Henry S. Carson, Martin Thiel, Charles J. Moore, Jose C. Borerro, Francois Galgani, Peter G. Ryan, Julia Reisser. Published: December 10, 2014. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111913 “Plastic pollution is ubiquitous throughout the marine environment, yet estimates of the global abundance and weight of floating plastics have lacked data, particularly from the Southern Hemisphere and remote regions. HereContinue Reading

Huge defense bill includes expansion and protection of national parks

CNN: “Tucked inside the defense authorization bill that the Senate passed Friday was an unrelated public lands package that’s set to bring the biggest expansion to the National Park Service in decades. Despite some conservative opposition—a chorus that skewered the legislation as a pork-barrel land grab—the measure also establishes thousands of acres of new wilderness areas.Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – DOD Contract Services, Flood Insurance, Nuclear Weapons, DOJ Professional Misconduct

DOD Contract Services: Improved Planning and Implementation of Fiscal Controls Needed, GAO-15-115: Published: Dec 11, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 11, 2014. DOE and NNSA Project Management: Analysis of Alternatives Could Be Improved by Incorporating Best Practices, GAO-15-37: Published: Dec 11, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 11, 2014. Federal Subcontracting: Linking Small Business Subcontractors to Prime Contracts Is NotContinue Reading

NOAA Climate Resilience Toolkit

“Meeting the challenges of a changing climate – The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides scientific tools, information, and expertise to help people manage their climate-related risks and opportunities, and improve their resilience to extreme events. The site is designed to serve interested citizens, communities, businesses, resource managers, planners, and policy leaders at all levels of government. AContinue Reading

California drought, visualized with open data

USGS News release: ” A newly released interactive California Drought visualization website aims to provide the public with atlas-like, state-wide coverage of the drought and a timeline of its impacts on water resources. The U.S. Geological Survey developed the interactive website as part of the federal government’s Open Water Data Initiative. The drought visualization page features high-techContinue Reading

Evidence suggests California’s drought is the worst in 1,200 years

News release: “As California finally experiences the arrival of a rain-bearing Pineapple Express this week, two climate scientists from the University of Minnesota and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have shown that the drought of 2012-2014 has been the worst in 1,200 years.  Daniel Griffin, an assistant professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and SocietyContinue Reading

NIH scientists determine how environment contributes to several human diseases

“Using a new imaging technique, National Institutes of Health researchers have found that the biological machinery that builds DNA can insert molecules into the DNA strand that are damaged as a result of environmental exposures. These damaged molecules trigger cell death that produces some human diseases, according to the researchers. The work, appearing online Nov. 17Continue Reading