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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > Environmental News Network Summary (25th April-3rd May)

Environmental News Network Summary (25th April-3rd May)

Date : 3rd May 2002, Source : ENN

25th April 2002

FOSSIL FUELS MADE BEFORE FOSSILS COULD HAVE FORMED AND OTHER STORIES

Miners occasionally come across evil-smelling emanations from Earth's deep crevices. It turns out that these exhalations, composed of natural hydrocarbons such as methane, ethane, and butane, may be clues to the origins of life itself. All hydrocarbons were thought to have formed after the decay of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Now geochemist Barbara Sherwood Lollar of the University of Toronto in Canada has found areas where these gases are evaporating from rocks 4 billion years old, long before life appeared on the planet.

Source: California Academy of Sciences


MARINE ORGANISMS RIDE PLASTIC, THREATEN ECOSYSTEMS

Marine organisms traveling on flotillas of discarded plastic and other human-made rubbish are invading Antarctica and tropical islands and threatening native species, a marine biologist said Wednesday. Armies of barnacles, mollusks, sea worms, and corals are hitching rides on floating debris and moving into new areas where they can endanger native species and drastically change fragile ecosystems. Antarctica, the Seychelles, Madagascar, and areas which have the most endemic species are most at risk from the invaders.

Source: Reuters


SENATE FATTENS ENERGY BILL WITH TAX INCENTIVES FOR CONSERVATION, ALTERNATIVE FUELS

The Senate is on track to finish energy legislation this week after agreeing on $14 billion in energy tax breaks and staving off attempts to scuttle an agreement that would require ethanol in gasoline. Among a series of last-minute additions to the bill was a proposal, approved Wednesday, aimed at promoting the use of combined heat and power facilities to produce electricity. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., was approved unanimously after an attempt to kill it was defeated 60-37. These facilities are attractive to environmentalists because they use energy more efficiently than conventional power plants.

Source: Associated Press


TAIWAN FACES WORST DROUGHT IN DECADES, CONSIDERS ISLAND-WIDE WATER RATIONING

Facing its worst drought in two decades, Taiwanese authorities are considering rationing water island-wide, officials said Wednesday. "Although Taiwan's wet season is just around the corner, we will prepare for the worst," Premier Yu Shyi-kun told reporters.

Source: Associated Press


U.S. LAND WITH ANCIENT INDIAN ART TO BE PROTECTED

An oil company has transferred to the National Trust for Historic Preservation rights to Montana land that contains ancient rock paintings sacred to Indians, the company and the trust said this week. "We recognize that there are significant cultural values connected with this site. We believe that transferring our leasehold rights to an organization like the National Trust will be the most effective way to see that the interests of all parties are met," Denver-based Anschutz Exploration Corp. President William Miller said in a statement.

Source: Reuters


DROUGHT POINTS TO FIRE DANGER IN AMERICAN WEST

Snowpack is a fraction what it should be in Colorado, Utah will ask residents to "slow the flow," and western governors are reminding Washington they will need money for volunteer firefighters. It's only April and it already looks like it's going to be a long, hot, and fiery summer in the American West. Fears are rising that this year could vie with the 2000 fire season when 122,827 fires blazed over 8.4 million acres. It cost nearly $1.36 billion to fight the worst fires in nearly 50 years.

Source: Reuters


26th April 2002

GUNBOAT PETROLEUM: BURMAS UNOCAL/TOTAL PIPELINE

Tiny bats and huge wild elephants lived in the way of Unocal's Burma-Thailand pipeline. But that didn't stop the California multinational with a ruthless reputation from forging ahead. Colombia is in the news for a U.S.-backed military campaign to secure petroleum pipelines. On the other side of the globe, the case of Unocal and Total in Burma shows just how wrong such militarized pipeline projects can go, running counter to environmental protection and the safety of indigenous people.

Source: Environmental News Network


SENATE OKS MAJOR OVERHAUL OF U.S. ENERGY POLICY

The Democratic-led Senate approved legislation Thursday to carry out the first major overhaul of U.S. energy policy in a decade, with greater focus on alternative fuels and energy conservation. The Senate bill, which passed 88 to 11 and includes $14 billion in tax breaks and subsidies, differs greatly from energy legislation approved last year by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Source: Reuters


INDEPENDENT STUDY SAYS POLITICS HAS PRE-EMPTED SCIENCE IN ASSESSING RISKS OF YUCCA MOUNTAIN

A decision on Yucca Mountain as the nation's nuclear waste dump should be postponed until more is known about its geology and how human-made barriers will perform over thousands of years, an independent study of the proposed site says. "A project of this importance ... should not go forward until the relevant scientific issues have been thoughtfully addressed," two researchers argue in an article to be published Friday in Science magazine.

Source: Associated Press


FORMER REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN URGED POLICY CHANGE ON PLANT EMISSIONS

In a memo to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney two weeks before a major policy reversal, former Republican National Committee chairman and lobbyist Haley Barbour urged the Bush White House to adopt a pro-industry stance on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants. "A moment of truth is arriving," Barbour wrote Cheney on March 1, 2001, in a two-page document on his lobbying firm letterhead that was copied into top White House officials and three Cabinet secretaries. "The question is whether environmental policy still prevails over energy policy with Bush-Cheney, as it did with Clinton-Gore," Barbour stated.

Source: Associated Press


FLOODING IN WESTERN AFGHANISTAN KILLS AT LEAST TWO PEOPLE, DESTROYS HUNDREDS OF HOUSES

Flooding in western Afghanistan has killed two people and destroyed hundreds of homes and shops, the United Nations said Thursday. More people were reported missing, including several refugees returning from Iran whose truck overturned in a flash flood. The flooding was caused by heavy rains on Tuesday. Most affected were Qala-i-Nau and Ab Kamari, 550 kilometers (340 miles) west of Kabul, where 500 houses were reported destroyed, according to U.N. spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva.

Source: Associated Press


BUSH ADMINISTRATION COULD ALLOW MINING OPPOSED BY ENVIRONMENTALISTS

The Bush administration is proposing to make it easier for the mining industry to dump its waste in the nation's waterways, according to draft regulations circulated by environmental groups. The proposed rules, drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, would affect a practice known as mountaintop removal mining, which has become more common in Appalachia in recent years.

Source: Associated Press


1st May 2002

XEROX SAVED $2 BILLION THROUGH ECO-DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING

The Xerox Corporation has announced that its efforts to design environmentally friendly products and manufacturing processes over the past ten years have resulted in more than $2 billion in costs saved or avoided, and the equivalent of 1.8 million printers and copiers reused or recycled. "In 1991 we pledged to be an environmentally responsible corporate citizen, and designing for the environment became fundamental to the way we do business," said Jack C. Azar, Xerox vice president of environment, health & safety.

Source: GreenBiz.com


KENYA PRESIDENT VOWS 'DRASTIC MEASURES' TO STOP DEFORESTATION

Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi said Tuesday he would take "drastic measures" to stop the degradation of his African nation's forests, including banning timber harvesting in protected areas and prosecuting offenders. Moi made his vow a day after dozens of wealthy homeowners gathered in the pouring rain to protest the unauthorized carving up of one of two remaining forests in Nairobi.

Source: Associated Press


NEW ZEALAND UNVEILS NEW CARBON TAX TO MEET TREATY

The New Zealand government on Tuesday unveiled a new carbon tax that will help the country meet its commitment to a global environmental agreement but also raise the price of fuel and other energy sources. The tax will not be levied before 2007 ,and only if the controversial Kyoto protocol actually comes into force, but has drawn criticism from industry and environmentalists alike.

Source: Reuters


MOST AMERICANS BREATHE POLLUTED AIR, SAYS SURVEY

More than half of all Americans breathe polluted air that can damage their health because the government doesn't fully enforce clean air laws, the American Lung Association said Wednesday. Standards are in place to cut back pollution, but since they are not being enforced, nearly 400 counties in the United States have smog levels above the legal limits, the group said.

Source: Reuters


NORTH AMERICAN BLACK BEAR POPULATION IS GROWING

Efforts to protect North Americas' black bears are working, although the animals need more protection from poachers who sell bear parts to Asia, according to a study released Tuesday. The survey, conducted for the World Wildlife Fund and World Conservation Union, said the number of bears had increased since the late 1980s both in Canada, where the animals are found across the country, and in the United States, where they can be found in 41 states.

Source: Reuters


2nd May 2002

CHANGING CLIMATE, SHRINKING HABITATS AND OTHER STORIES

Computer models suggest that Earth's changing climate will cause most places to have radically different ecosystems within 50 years. The study, led by Townsend Peterson of University of Kansas, determined the geographical ranges of 1,870 mammals, birds, and butterflies in Mexico and then calculated where each species could survive given current climate change trends.

Source: California Academy of Sciences


May 3rd 2002

U.S. PROPOSES LIMITED RESTRICTIONS ON AIR POLLUTION FROM OCEANGOING SHIPS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing the first federal limits on air pollution from large ocean-going ships, but environmentalists said the proposal would provide little improvement over existing voluntary standards. "It's a sham regulation. It's a very toothless standard," said Russell Long, executive director of the California-based Blue water Network. The environmental group had filed a lawsuit that forced the EPA to act against pollution from the ships, including oil tankers and cruise ships.

Source: Associated Press


NEW ZEALAND QUESTIONS CLAIMS THAT ORGANIC FOODS ARE TASTIER, HEALTHIER

A review of international studies found no convincing evidence to back claims that organically grown foods were healthier or tastier than those grown using chemicals, New Zealand researchers said on Wednesday. Diane Bourn, a food science lecturer at Otago University, said the bulk of around 100 reviewed studies, mainly from Europe, but some from the United States and Australia, were poorly done.

Source: Reuters


SOUTHERN MARYLAND TORNADO WAS A KILLER TWISTER

A killer tornado that tore through southern Maryland Sunday was the fiercest twister to hit the mid-Atlantic state in modern history, a monster storm capable of tossing cars the length of a football field, officials said Monday. The most powerful category of tornado, the F5 packed winds of 261 to 318 mph and left two dead and 95 injured in the town of La Plata, Md., 25 miles south of Washington. When it touched down Sunday evening, it ripped roofs off many homes and stores, obliterated other houses, tore down power lines, and ripped up large trees.

Source: Reuters


HONG KONG, CHINA'S GUANGDONG TO CLEAN UP BAD AIR

Hong Kong and Guangdong, China's fastest growing province, unveiled aggressive targets on Monday to cut growing air pollution, which is choking southern Chinese cities and spooking foreign investors. Both areas are now shrouded in smog many days of the year after decades of booming economic growth in southern China's Pearl River Delta. Hong Kong's famous Victoria Harbor is often shrouded in haze, and respiratory complaints are common.

Source: Reuters


EPA WANTS SNOWMOBILES BANNED FROM YELLOWSTONE, GRAND TETON

The Environmental Protection Agency wants snowmobiles banned from Yellowstone and neighbouring Grand Teton national parks because the agency says even limited numbers could produce enough pollution to violate clean air standards. The EPA released a report Monday that repeated an assertion the agency made three years ago: Banning snowmobiles is the "best available protection" for air quality, wildlife, and the health of people who work and visit the parks.

Source: Associated Press


POWERFUL BIRD OF PREY GETS A BOOST IN PANAMA

With talons three times more powerful than a Rottweiler's jaws and fierce enough to crush a human arm in a single movement, the harpy eagle is still too weak to survive deforestation, making it one of Latin America's most threatened birds of prey. Fearful the harpy eagle soon will become extinct, the U.S-based World Center for Birds of Prey has set up a leading center in Panama to breed them in captivity and later release them in greater numbers into the wild.

Source: Reuters


E.U. HALFWAY TO KYOTO TARGET, BUT EMISSIONS ARE UP

The European Union is almost halfway to achieving the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions it signed up to under the Kyoto climate change agreement, but emissions are creeping up again, data showed Monday. The European Environment Agency (EEA) said the 15-nation bloc's emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the other gases blamed for global warming covered by the Kyoto pact were 3.5 percent lower than in 1990 but slightly higher than in 1999.

Source: Reuters



Document last updated on Tuesday 30 August 2011

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