environmental damage

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One of America's Most Toxic Places: a Town Called Picher

Only 3 residents remain

(Newser) - The former lead and zinc mining boomtown of Picher, Okla., has seen better days. It swelled to some 14,000 residents when bullet demand rose during both World War I and II, with Wired reporting previously that "most" of the lead found in bullets used by America during those... More »

Scientists: China's Bulldozing of Mountains Is Nuts

Chinese experts say environmental damage is already evident

(Newser) - China is bulldozing its mountains by the dozen to make way for cities—a move that could prove disastrous, Chinese scientists warn in Nature . The country is only a fraction of the way through its plan to flatten more than 700 mountains, move the debris into valleys, and build on... More »

Why Calif. Pot Farmers Open Fire on Scientists

In California, marijuana growers are damaging the environment

(Newser) - Think pot growers are kind, environmentally-minded hippies? Not in the so-called Emerald Triangle, a weed-farming region of California where illegal growers are spewing pollution, poisoning wildlife, and scaring scientists away from probing the environmental effects of pot-growing, Mother Jones reports. One wildlife ecologist received threats against his family, and researchers... More »

Air Pollution Is Going to Be China's Biggest Export

William Pesek: This 'geopolitical headache' has dangerous implications

(Newser) - Home to 16 of the 20 dirtiest cities on Earth, some of the world's filthiest waters, and deadly, particulate-filled air, China is growing so polluted that it is threatening both the Communist Party's leadership at home and the quality of life around the region, writes William Pesek in... More »

China's Growth Destroyed 80% of Its Coral Reefs

Alarming degradation found, 'window of opportunity' to save them closing

(Newser) - Thirty years of dynamic growth in China has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, but the environmental damage has been brutal. The latest evidence: More than 80% of its coral reefs are gone, thanks to development, overfishing, and pollution, reports AFP . A new report calls the damage "a... More »

Study: Electric Cars Hurt the Environment

At least in areas that burn fossil fuels for electricity

(Newser) - Buying a Model S or a Leaf might not be the proverbial tree hug you thought it was. Electric cars actually harm the environment more than their gas-powered counterparts in many places, a new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has concluded. That's in part because... More »

Sand Mining Craze Stirs Up Health Fears

But fracking companies love the tiny particles

(Newser) - The upper Midwest is home to the latest craze in American mining: sand. Mining companies are knocking on doors in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and nearby states to dig up tons of the stuff so oil and gas producers can inject it into the ground in a process known as fracking. Sand... More »

BP Faces $52B in Gulf Spill Fines

With trial to begin tomorrow, lawyers negotiating furiously

(Newser) - With the trials set to begin tomorrow for BP and the other companies involved in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP alone could conceivably face up to $52 billion in fines and compensation, reports the AP . Under the Clean Water Act, which requires a minimum of $1,100... More »

NZ Shipwreck Breaks Apart, Threatens New Oil Spill

Nearly 400 tons of oil could leak as storms pound wreck

(Newser) - A cargo ship that has been grounded off the New Zealand coast since October broke in two last night, spilling more debris and raising fears of further oil leakage, reports the AP . Nearly 400 tons of oil leaked into the ocean soon after the Rena ran aground, and 1,100... More »

London Olympics Blasted for Using Endangered Wood

Team USA will use basketball court for training

(Newser) - At next year’s London Olympics, the US basketball team will train on some pretty rare ground. The court is being made from eucalyptus wood logged in a 1,000-year-old Tasmanian forest that's home to endangered species such as the Tasmanian Devil, activists allege. The UN World Heritage Committee... More »

Arctic Ozone Took 40% Hit This Winter

Up from previous record of 30%

(Newser) - The ozone layer above the Arctic withered by 40% this winter, according to the UN's weather agency, a stark increase from the previous seasonal record of 30%. The loss was driven largely by frigid conditions in the stratosphere—though surface temperatures were actually warmer than normal—and lingering chemicals banned... More »

Toxic Sludge Reaches Danube

Hungarian spill moves into Europe's 2nd largest river

(Newser) - A spill of toxic waste has reached a branch of Europe's second largest river, the Danube. The sludge from a burst containment reservoir in Hungary has already devastated the first river it came into contact with, the Marcal, reports Voice of America . EU officials say that all fish and wildlife... More »

Oily Mist Coats Gulf Towns

Airborne oil could be trouble for humans, plants

(Newser) - Beach workers in Orange Beach, Alabama, have noticed that strong winds from the south—that is, from the oil-soaked Gulf of Mexico—bring with them a greasy mist. Few in the town believe BP's claims that the oil is gone—why would they, when, after a day at the beach,... More »

Gulf 'Dead Zone' One of the Biggest Ever

Low-oxygen marine wasteland measures 7,772 square miles

(Newser) - The Gulf of Mexico is seeing one of the biggest low-oxygen areas—or "dead zones"—on record this year. A dead zone forms in the Gulf around this time every year, but the 2010 incarnation is 7,722 square miles, just a few hundred short of the record... More »

Gulf Shrimpers, Out of a Job, Work for BP

Oil giant pays victims competitive wages to clean up its mess

(Newser) - For shrimpers on the Gulf of Mexico unable to practice their trade because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one employment option remains: working for BP, the company that destroyed their livelihood. The oil giant's "Vessels of Opportunity" program covers costs and pays trawlers close to what they would... More »

'Bottom Kill' Relief Wells No Sure Thing

BP estimates well will close by August, but huge challenges remain

(Newser) - The only technique BP has left in the fight to close the gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is the "bottom kill"—in which engineers pump mud into the well using parallel relief wells. Bottom kill is difficult and dangerous, but it has a track record... More »

Gulf Oil Spill Fallout Baffles Scientists

Scientists have little experience with oil from below

(Newser) - The Gulf oil spill will affect all living things in the area—but determining what those consequences will be is stumping the best minds in environmental science. There's never been an oil spill of the magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon accident on the ocean floor, and data is scarce on... More »

Tar Balls Hit Fla. Beaches as Obama Returns to Gulf

Residents plan 'last swim' before more oil arrives

(Newser) - Beachgoers in Florida got their first taste of the Gulf oil spill today as tar balls—some as large as hubcaps—washed up on Panhandle beaches. BP crews at some locations swept up the refuse, instructing visitors not to touch the balls. Although Florida has yet to declare swimming in... More »

Contract Worker Says BP Covers Up Spill's Worst

Firm wants images of dead wildlife kept to a minimum

(Newser) - BP is covering up the worst of the environmental damage from the Gulf oil spill, using its influence to keep images of crude-choked wildlife from becoming public, an anonymous contract worker tells the New York Daily News . The worker gave the newspaper a tour of the spill's most devastating views,... More »

BP Execs in Slammer? Unlikely

Expect a big fine, possible restrictions on future drilling

(Newser) - So if the government gets as tough on BP as President Obama promised yesterday, does that mean oil company execs will be wearing stripes? Experts on environmental law doubt it. A criminal investigation or prosecution is far more likely to end in a massive fine for the company. “It’... More »

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