Green Gaze

Environmental groups disappointed with EPA rule on coal ash

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 19 December 2014 15:15

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 19 issued long-delayed federal regulations for coal ash, but failed to fix major pollution problems from the disposal of coal ash waste, including contamination of rivers and drinking water supplies, according to leading environmental groups.

“Today’s rule doesn’t prevent more tragic spills like the ones we are still trying to clean up in North Carolina and Tennessee. And it won’t stop the slower moving disaster that is unfolding for communities around the country, as leaky coal ash ponds and dumps poison water,” said Earthjustice attorney Lisa Evans.

New York Gov. Cuomo announces fracking ban

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Wednesday, 17 December 2014 14:50

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Dec. 17 that hydraulic fracturing will be banned in New York, following the release of a long-anticipated study that concluded fracking could pose "significant public health risks."

Also today, the Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees voted to approve only a fraction of the renewable energy projects promised by the governor, bringing just 122 megawatts of new solar projects online and falling short of the 280 megawatts of renewable energy the governor committed to this year.

How climate has changed Earth

Wednesday, 03 December 2014 10:49

In the more than two decades since world leaders first got together to try to solve global warming, life on Earth has changed, not just the climate. It's gotten hotter, more polluted with heat-trapping gases, more crowded and just downright wilder.

The numbers are stark. Carbon dioxide emissions: up 60 percent. Global temperature: up six-tenths of a degree. Population: up 1.7 billion people. Sea level: up 3 inches. U.S. extreme weather: up 30 percent. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica: down 4.9 trillion tons of ice.

State commission backs electric bill hikes, ‘solar tax’

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 09:06

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted for a rate plan submitted by We Energies that environmentalists say penalizes customers who conserve energy and jeopardizes the fledgling solar industry in southeastern Wisconsin.

Report: Pipeline incident occurs every 30 hours in U.S.

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 18 November 2014 05:40

With the U.S. Senate seet to vote on the Keystone XL pipeline today (Nov. 18), an analysis of federal records reveals the destructive toll of pipelines in the United States. In just the 16 months, there have been 372 oil and gas pipeline leaks, spills and other incidents, leading to 20 deaths, 117 injuries and more than $256 million in damages.

Flashback 2014: Keystone pipeline galvanizes environmental movement

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Friday, 12 December 2014 08:08

Environmentalists rallied in 2014 to defend the planet.

Hundreds of young people risked arrest protesting the proposed Keystone Pipeline XL in early March and forming the largest youth demonstration at the White House in a generation.

Annual Christmas Bird Count coming up

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 02 December 2014 07:01

It’s time for the 115th annual Christmas Bird Count, the world’s longest-running citizen science survey.

Each year, the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count mobilizes more than 70,000 volunteers in more than 2,400 locations.

Scientists urge White House action to protect bees

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Monday, 24 November 2014 13:23

More than 100 scientists called on leaders of President Barack Obama’s Pollinator Health Task Force to take action on pesticides to protect and promote healthy populations of bees and other pollinators.

“Bees have been quietly pollinating our crops for millennia, but now they need our help. It is vitally important that we take steps to reduce exposure of bees and other wildlife to these systemic, persistent neurotoxins,” said Dave Goulson, PhD, a bee expert and biology professor at the University of Sussex, and a leader of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) global Task Force on Systemic Pesticides.

House votes for Keystone pipeline, sends bill to Senate

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 14 November 2014 15:04

The GOP-controlled House approved the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Nov. 14, sending the bill on to the U.S. Senate to take up during the lame-duck session.

The Senate, currently under a Democratic majority, is expected to vote on a measure on Nov. 18, but the timeline could change.

Cruise ships dump a billion gallons of sewage in ocean

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 09 December 2014 03:42

Cruise ships dumped more than a billion gallons of sewage in the ocean this year, much of it raw or poorly treated, according to federal data analyzed by Friends of the Earth. The activsit group, releasing its annual report card on cruise ships, called for stronger rules to protect oceans, coasts, sea life and people.

The report shows that some of the 16 cruise lines graded are slowly getting greener; but more than 40 percent of the 167 ships still rely on 35-year-old waste treatment technology. Such systems leave harmful levels of fecal matter, bacteria, heavy metals and other contaminants in the water. By law, wastewater dumped within 3 nautical miles of shore must be treated, but beyond that ships are allowed to dump raw sewage directly into the ocean.

Greening the holidays: Reuse, recycle, repurpose

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 19:16

The arrival of Black Friday brings on the frenzy: Buy, wrap, waste; then buy more, wrap more, waste more.

Republicans: Keystone pipeline down, but not out

Written by The AP Thursday, 20 November 2014 07:20

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising the new Republican majority will quickly resurrect Keystone XL pipeline legislation killed by Democrats, potentially setting up an early 2015 veto confrontation with President Barack Obama.

“I look forward to the new Republican majority taking up and passing the Keystone jobs bill early in the new year,” the Kentucky Republican said this week, after the bill fell one vote short of the 60 votes needed to advance. He was joined by incoming Senate Energy Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who said the fight wasn’t over.

Congress, Senate could vote on Keystone XL

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 13 November 2014 08:41

Long-stalled legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline got new life on Nov. 12 after Senate Democrats suddenly abandoned efforts to block the measure in hopes of helping endangered Sen. Mary Landrieu keep her seat in energy-rich Louisiana.

Republicans responded swiftly to Landrieu's maneuvering, scheduling a vote in the House on Thursday on an identical bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy, Landrieu's Republican rival in a Dec. 6 runoff.