Neonicotinoid pesticides tied to crashing bee populations, 2 studies find

Neonicotinoid pesticides tied to crashing bee populations, 2 studies find

AAAS / Science

A bee with a transmitter glued to its back was one of the specimens in a study that used the radio technology to track what happened to bee colonies exposed to a widely used pesticide.

By Miguel Llanos, NBC News

A widely used farm pesticide first introduced in the 1990s has caused significant changes to bee colonies and removing it could be the key factor in restoring nature’s army of pollinators, according to two studies released Thursday.

The scientists behind the studies in Europe called for regulators to consider banning the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoid insecticides. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency told msnbc.com that the studies would be incorporated into a review that’s currently under way.

A pesticide trade group questioned the data, saying the levels of pesticide used were unrealistically high, while the researchers said the levels used were typical of what bees would find on farms. Continue reading “Neonicotinoid pesticides tied to crashing bee populations, 2 studies find”

Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms

The New York Times


March 28, 2013

Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms

By

A Disastrous Year for Bees: For America’s beekeepers, who have struggled for nearly a decade with a mysterious malady called colony collapse disorder that kills honeybees en masse, the last year was particularly bad.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor.

The pesticide industry disputes that. But its representatives also say they are open to further studies to clarify what, if anything, is happening. Continue reading “Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms”

Illinois Introduces Strongest Fracking Disclosure Bill in the Country

Illinois Introduces Strongest Fracking Disclosure Bill in the Country

3/11/2013

Illinois would have the strongest protective oversight rules on fracking in the country under legislation introduced on Feb. 21 in the General Assembly. The bill includes nearly all the key elements for an effective chemical disclosure policy identified in a previous Center for Effective Government report. The bill represents stronger model legislation for states that want to protect the public from the health and environmental risks of fracking. Continue reading “Illinois Introduces Strongest Fracking Disclosure Bill in the Country”

Environmental Protections Threatened by Sequestration and Funding Cuts

Federal agencies have started feeling the impact of the across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, that went into effect March 1. Plans to furlough employees and cut programs are underway at many of the agencies charged with issuing and enforcing public health and safety standards. For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these additional funding cuts will further drain already decreasing resources and impair the agency’s ability to protect our air, water, and health. Continue reading “Environmental Protections Threatened by Sequestration and Funding Cuts”

The Hagy Story: Loopholes Shield Fracking Industry While Families Pay the Price

Laurel Peltier

In 1989, Dusty and Tamera Hagy bought 81 rural acres in Jackson County, West Virginia. Twenty-one years later, the Hagys sued four natural gas drilling firms alleging the natural gas wells drilled on their property in 2008 contaminated their drinking water and caused physical harm.

The Hagys’ water contamination lawsuit demonstrates how the natural gas industry has built a near-perfect “federal legal exemption’s framework” that when combined with lax or absent state regulations and the legal system’s high costs, inherently approves of citizen collateral damage with no restitution.

The consequence of this framework is that the burden of proof is placed on plaintiffs who, at best, are forced to settle with natural gas companies, thereby sealing the case from public scrutiny, scientific examination and legal precedence. Because the Hagys didn’t sign a non-disclosure agreement with the natural gas companies involved, their legal case gives the public a rare window into how fracking lawsuits play out in reality. Continue reading “The Hagy Story: Loopholes Shield Fracking Industry While Families Pay the Price”

100 Million+ Americans Exposed to Toxic Drinking Water

Environmental Working Group

A new Environmental Working Group analysis of 2011 water quality tests by 201 large U.S. municipal water systems that serve more than 100 million people in 43 states has determined that all are polluted with unwanted toxic chemicals called trihalomethanes. These chemicals, an unintended side effect of chlorination, elevate the risks of bladder cancer, miscarriages and other serious ills.

“Many people are likely exposed to far higher concentrations of trihalomethanes than anyone really knows,” said Renee Sharp, a senior scientist at EWG and co-author of the analysis. “For most water systems, trihalomethane contamination fluctuates from month to month, sometimes rising well beyond the legal limit set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.” Continue reading “100 Million+ Americans Exposed to Toxic Drinking Water”

New Satellite Data Confirms Major Arctic Ice Loss

WunderBlog

Dr. Jeff Masters

The stunning loss of Arctic sea ice extent in recent years is undeniable—satellite measurements have conclusively shown that half of the Arctic sea ice went missing in September 2012, compared to the average September during 1979 – 2000. But the extent of ice cover is not the best measure of how the fire raging in Earth’s attic is affecting sea ice—the total volume of the ice is more important.

Arctic sea ice volume in thousands of cubic kilometers during the September minimum in 1979 compared to 2012, as estimated by the University of Washington PIOMAS model. Arctic seas ice volume has declined by more than a factor of five. Image credit: Andy Lee Robinson Continue reading “New Satellite Data Confirms Major Arctic Ice Loss”

Fort Collins Bans Fracking as Democracy Comes Alive in Colorado

Gary Wockner

“If you don’t fight for what you want, you deserve what you get.” —Van Jones

Almost exactly nine months ago on May 22, 2012, I wrote an editorial in the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper, Fort Colllins Should Ban Fracking. And yesterday, on Feb. 19, a sharply divided Fort Collins City Council voted 5-2 to ban fracking in the City of Fort Collins.

Nine months ago the conversation around fracking was relatively new in Colorado and few people and environmental groups were directly addressing it. Now, nine months later, very much has changed—fracking is in the news constantly, many environmental groups are engaged in the fight to stop fracking and the issue is escalating wildly throughout the public across the state.

What has changed in a mere nine months?

Continue reading “Fort Collins Bans Fracking as Democracy Comes Alive in Colorado”

Confirmed: Tar Sands Toxic Liquid Waste Contaminating Local Waterways

As tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. yesterday to urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, more evidence emerged that the public isn’t getting the full story of the environmental impacts of tar sands.

Media yesterday reported on an internal government memo revealing a Canadian government study on a tar sands tailings pond that found that toxic liquid ponds do leak toxic chemicals into the environment—despite repeated denials of officials.

Continue reading “Confirmed: Tar Sands Toxic Liquid Waste Contaminating Local Waterways”

Toxic Fracking Wastewater Dumped into Sewer, Why No Arrest?

Ohio State Rep. Bob Hagan

Ohio State Rep. Bob Hagan participates in a rally outside of Wells Academy/Steubenville High School Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in Steubenville, Ohio. Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat has been vocal on earthquakes being studied for ties to deep injection disposal of fracking wastewater. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Do we have two different systems of justice—one for the wealthy businessperson and another for the common folk?

Well it sure seems so, as the Ohio governor and business interests joined hands in the latest incident where at least 20,000 gallons of toxic and potentially radioactive fracking wastewater was dumped into a storm drain that empties into a tributary of the Mahoning River in Youngstown, Ohio. The governor got his enforcers to overlook the violations as the poisonous brine seeped into our valley and flowed to other communities downstream. Continue reading “Toxic Fracking Wastewater Dumped into Sewer, Why No Arrest?”