Keystone XL — Americans are divided

Dozens of national and regional groups have been fighting the Keystone XL pipeline, saying it could contaminate groundwater and will ratchet up carbon emissions, hastening climate change. But the general public may not feel the same. A recent poll showed most still believe the pipeline will create “significant” jobs and help provide oil to the US.

Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico blooming big

The Gulf of Mexico has a bad case of “gulf hypoxia” this year, and if you’re not a doctor, that means we got one heckuva Dead Zone simmering just off the coast of Louisiana all the way to Florida. Check out how the problem may have started in your state and what the EPA is doing about it.

What middle-size cities offer: Clean Air

Air pollution continues to plague many large U.S. cities, where coal plants and tailpipe emissions poison the air with asthma-aggravating, cancer causing ozone and particle emissions. But the picture, and the air, is much clearer in Peoria, Springfield and a few dozen other mid-sized meccas, according to the American Lung Association’s annual report. See what the air rates where you live.

Happy Earth Day 2013 . . . Americans are turning activist

I remember 2007, when we started this website. People were tip-toeing toward greener behaviors. Activists were writing kids’ books explaining the greenhouse effect and urging tots to turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth. Scholars had assembled tomes, politely pointing out that we’d be running out of oil pretty soon. How things have changed on this Earth Day 2013…

The state of our oceans, in a clamshell

Our oceans, long taken for granted, are being stressed by pollution, over-fishing and climate change. Plastic gyres, swirling pools of plastic refuse, occupy several spots in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The largest one, in the North Pacific, is estimated to exceed the size of Texas….These linked, but disparate problems — pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, jobs at risk — won’t be solved easily. That’s why several environmental and conservation groups working around the globe have formed the Global Partnership for Oceans. The groups hope that together they can work to save the marine environment before human pressures cause natural fisheries to collapse.

Why buying organic matters

If you value your drinking water, food, local economy, farmers, children, adults, animals and the health of the planet, you’ll want to take three minutes to see a cool new video that debuted at the annual Farm Aid event held in Milwaukee last week.
Underwritten by Anvil Sportswear, the biggest buyer of American-grown organic cotton in the U.S., this fun short film enumerates why it’s important to buy organic. In fact, it lists many, many reasons to go organic. And there are many.

EPA proposes new controls on sulfur and nitrogen oxide pollution from power plants

As Congress settles in to debate how to control the primary greenhouse gas contributor, carbon dioxide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it’s going after sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from power plants.

The EPA is proposing regulations that would reduce air pollution, specifically smog and ozone that contribute to asthma and heart attacks, from these gases across a broad swath of the U.S.

Investigation finds Clean Water Act enforcement ‘decimated’ since 2006

By Barbara KesslerGreen Right Now

What happens when regulation takes a holiday? Financial institutions run amok, industry encroaches on national parks, endangered wildlife is left in the lurch, and apparently, too, the nation’s water is put at risk.

This week, two Congressional leaders, Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.) and James Oberstar (D-Minn.) unveiled the results of their joint investigation into the Clean Water Act, which shows that there has been a recent, dangerous lack of enforcement of the Clean Water Act.

In a letter to President Elect Barack Obama, the two lawmakers explained that since a 2006 Supreme Court decision narrowed the scope of the Clean Water Act, making it more difficult to assemble a case against clean water violators, hundreds of enforcement actions have been stalled or sidelined.
All told, the report discovered that some 500 potential clean water cases have been dropped or put on hold since the court’s ruling in Rapanos v. United States, a case that asked whether certain wetlands that empty into a river in Michigan were subject to federal clean water protections. That decline in enforcement represents roughly a halving of enforcement actions.

Beach Bummer, NRDC Report Finds Pollution Worse On Some US Beaches

By Barbara Kessler

Before dunking yourself in the ocean for a last summer hurrah, you may want to check out the NRDC’s latest report on the state of the nation’s beaches. It found that the number of closings and advisory days along U.S. freshwater and ocean coasts was at the second highest level in 18 years of tracking, mainly due to increased pollution along the Mid-Atlantic region and Great Lakes waters.

Vatican Declares Pollution A Sin

By Barbara Kessler Thank God. It’s now officially wrong to pollute the environment. In fact, according to the Vatican, which came out with seven new categories of moral turpitude related to the “phenomenon of globalization,” it is a sin. Bishop Gianfranco Girotti...