Mar 4, 2015

California to try again to add styrene to proposition 65 list of carcinogens.

The notice of intent follows two earlier efforts, one of which a state appeals court blocked after deciding the agency lacked sufficient evidence that styrene is "known" to cause cancer. 
Please continue reading from:   Environmental Health News

DNR awards grants for lake and river projects

MADISON -- Statewide lake and river groups as well as community organizations will receive $2.3 million in grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to develop management plans and improve water quality. 
Please continue reading from: Wisconsin DNR Weekly News

World Wind Industry Grows 44% in 2014

2014 was a record-breaking year for the wind industry as it grew 44% worldwide, says the Global Wind Energy Council.

The industry added 51.5 gigawatts (GW) bringing the world cumulative total to 369.6 GW. 

China, still the leader, set its own record by installing 23.4 GW - almost half the world's new capacity, and more than any country has added in one year. China has 115 GW of wind farms.

Europe added 12.8 GW, and Germany installed almost half of that with 5.3 GW of new wind, growing 58% from 2013. Germany now has 38 GW of onshore wind and 2.4 GW of offshore wind. Renewable energy currently supplies 25.8% of the country's electricity.

European countries are now connected to nearly 2,500 turbines as part of 74 different offshore wind farms, reports the European Wind Energy Association. Total installed capacity there reached 8,045.3 MW in 2014.

Other notable additions:

  • US added 4.9 GW
  • Latin America added 3.7 GW, mostly in Brazil (2.8 GW) - the significant newcomer
  • India added 2.3 GW

Denmark had a watershed year, with wind producing 39% of its electricity, as did Scotland at 32%, and the UK, Spain, Portugal, and Germany get at least 10% from wind. 

Wind energy now accounts for about 5% of global electricity demand. 

Wind Industry 2014


Please continue reading from: 
http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/26180

Mar 3, 2015

China’s biggest viral video right now is this two-hour-long documentary on pollution

The Washington Post: 

The most popular viral phenomenon on Chinese Internet right now has nothing to do with thecolor of a dress or a baby weasel riding a woodpecker. It's a 104-minute-long documentary about the environment.

Produced and narrated by Chai Jing, a former investigative reporter for Chinese state television, the film "Under the Dome" is in the style of a TED talk or an activist Al Gore documentary, looking at the grim state of air pollution in China and what can be done to remedy it.

The film takes aim at the lax practices and individual poor habits that lead to smog blanketing China's cities. After being uploaded on the weekend, it has generated hundreds of millions of views and social media posts by Chinese netizens.

....The film generated a huge, emotional response online, including angry comments directed at China's political authorities.

Please continue reading from: 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/03/03/chinas-biggest-viral-video-right-now-is-this-two-hour-long-documentary-on-pollution/
----
Shared via my feedly reader

Mar 2, 2015

Gates Foundation ditches McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Exxon/Mobil stock.

The Gates Foundation Asset Trust, which manages the investments for the $42.3 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, liquidated its positions of McDonald's Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp. in the fourth quarter. Please continue reading from: Environmental Health News

Rossi states that 1 megawatt energy catalyzer is being used for commercial heat production

E-catworld reports that Rossi has stated that the 1 megawatt energy catalyzer (ecat) has a unit that is being used by a customer for production heat.

There has been constant assertions that Rossi is a fraud and scam artist.

Russian Prof Parkhomov has recently claimed to have replicated the Rossi E-Cat. Parkhomov and published fully open research. Others are racing to replicate and extend the work.


JC Renoir posted these questions, and Rossi provided the answers.

Q: Can you say now if the 1 MW plant is working? A: Yes

Q: Is it already producing heat in the factory of the Customer? A: Yes

Q: Is the Customer making its production using the heat made by the 1 MW plant? A: Yes

There is an andrea rossi website with newer pictures of the newer 1 MW plants. (H/T NBF reader Alainco)




Read more » at Next Big Future

Feb 28, 2015

In 2013, measles killed more kids than car accidents or AIDS - The Washington Post

Please continue reading from: 

Measles killed 82,100 children under age 5 in 2013, ranking the disease at No. 7 on the list of the top causes of child death, according to recent statistics from the Global Burden of Disease study published in the Lancet. Lower respiratory infections like pneumonia were the number one killer, followed by malaria, diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies, congenital defects and meningitis. More small children died from measles in 2013 than died from drowning, road injuries or aids.

Here in the United States, we have the luxury of signing up for "personal belief exemptions" from vaccine requirements and indulging vaccine skeptics in their unfounded beliefs about the "dangers" posed by measles vaccines. Currently there are 113 countries that can boast better measles vaccination rates than the United States. The only reason this is possible, of course, is the incredible effectiveness of vaccines at eradicating diseases like measles.

But these numbers serve as a stark reminder that in the developing world, where measles kills roughly 225 children each day, the situation is quite different. Children under 5 make up more than half of the 145,000 deaths attributed to the disease annually. In some particularly impoverished and malnourished areas, the disease has a fatality rate of 10 percent.

According to the World Health Organization, it costs about a dollar to immunize a child against measles. But a single case of the disease here in the United States costs about $11,000 to treat. Not a bad return on investment.


Green Chemistry Guide released

The City of Los Angeles and NPPR announce the availability of the Green Chemistry Guide collaborated on by renowned university professors, industry professionals, and the City of Los Angeles' engineers. This manual provides state agencies and technical assistance providers with tools and resources to better serve their clients who are looking for information and to […] 
Please continue reading: Green Chemistry Guide

Tesla Vs. Hydrogen .... Hydrogen is Silly

By Jeff Siegel of Alternative Energy Stocks

One of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's dreams may soon be coming to fruition.

During his time as governor, while singing the praises of renewable energy progress in the Golden State, the Terminator would often tell tree-hugging Californians about his dream of building a hydrogen highway that would enable hydrogen-powered vehicles to run from Mexico to Canada — via California.

Not only did Prius drivers and vegans applaud the governor's dream, but it even got a decent amount of support from former GM Chairman Bob Lutz and President George W. Bush.

Since that time, California has managed to build only 10 hydrogen fueling stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But we got word over the weekend that the California Energy Commission is about to spend $20 million to build about 50 new hydrogen fueling stations.

According to the LA Times...

Starting in October with a new fuel station in the city of Coalinga, near I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley, hydrogen cars will be able to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Such vehicles can go about 300 miles on a fill up.

Hydrogen is Silly

Those who believe hydrogen represents the future of personal transportation have been quick to applaud this news.

Certainly it represents a small but meaningful step in instigating some early growth in the hydrogen vehicle market.

But here's the problem...

No one really cares now that Elon Musk has shown the world a much better mousetrap... and in the process, has been quite vocal about why he actually thinks hydrogen is "silly."

Sure, the guy's got plenty of reasons to criticize potential competitors. But hydrogen isn't really much of a competitor, as Musk pointed out recently:

Hydrogen is an energy storage mechanism. It is not a source of energy. So you have to get that hydrogen from somewhere. if you get that hydrogen from water, so you're splitting H20, electrolysis is extremely inefficient as an energy process…. if you say took a solar panel and use the energy from that to just charge a battery pack directly, compared to try to split water, take the hydrogen, dump the oxygen, compress the hydrogen to an extremely high pressure (or liquefy it) and then put it in a car and run a fuel-cell, it is about half the efficiency, it's terrible. Why would you do that? It makes no sense.

If you're going to pick an energy storage mechanism, hydrogen is an incredibly dumb one to pick. You should just use methane, that's much, much easier. Or propane. The best case hydrogen fuel cell doesn't win against the current case batteries, so then obviously it doesn't make sense. That will become apparent in the next few years.

Too Late

Although I agree with Musk, there's no doubt that plenty of automakers are still getting quite aggressive on hydrogen.

Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, and Volkswagen don't really seem to be too interested in what Musk has to say about the issue. Of course, they also weren't too interested back when he first came on the scene with a silly dream of mass-producing a quality electric car.

You know how that dream turned out...

tslaa1

In any event, while there will likely be a few more opportunities to profit in the fuel cell space with companies like Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG) and Hydrogenics Corp. (NASDAQ: HYGS), over the long term, I wouldn't put too much faith in hydrogen vehicles getting as much love as electric vehicles.

In terms of price, performance, ease-of-use, and infrastructure demands, by the time the few automakers pursuing hydrogen actually have a decent number of these cars in the showrooms, electric cars will be even further advanced. Prices will have fallen further, driving ranges will have doubled (if not tripled), and high-speed charging infrastructure will be nearly as common as the infrastructure in existence today for internal combustion vehicles.

In other words, it's too late for hydrogen, because no one can put the electric vehicle genie back in its bottle.

...Please continue reading from Jeff Siegel, Editor of Energy and Capital, where this article was first published.

Despite Spending Billions on Wind and Solar, German Coal Use at Highest Level Since 1990

According to the Financial Times, Germany coal use is at its highest levels since 1990. This is despite the fact that renewables (including solar and wind) have ramped up significantly in the past decade. On June 9, 2014, Germany generated for the first time over %50 of the electricity demand from solar. In the past year, 147bn kWh was generated from renewable sources. The argument for the increase in coal use stems from the fact that German chancellor Angele Merkel decided to phase out nuclear power which left an energy gap that only coal or fossil fuels could quickly meet. It was announced on May 30,2011 that Germany would close all nuclear plants by 2022 per the New York Times in an anti-nuclear response to the Fukushima disaster.

global look at energy sources  indicates the energy load has been rising worldwide since 1965 along with corresponding increases in energy for coal and all other sources. Use of fossil fuels including coal has grown fastest worldwide.


Please continue reading from: 
http://www.rawscience.tv/german-coal-use-at-highest-level-since-1990-despite-rise-in-solar/

Feb 27, 2015

U.S. wastes $162 billion worth of food every year

About 60 million metric tons of food worth about $162 billion is wasted each year in the U.S., says a report by Resources Action Program, an antiwaste organization in Britain, Ron Nixon reports for The New York Times. "About 32 million metric tons of it end up in municipal landfills, at a cost of about $1.5 billion a year to local governments." 

That's particularly troubling, considering a report released in January by the Southern Education Foundation said that for the first time in at least 50 years, more than 50 percent of U.S. public school students are from low-income families, and some of the highest concentrations of poverty are located in states with large rural populations.

The U.S. isn't the only country wasting food. "The report estimates that a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed, and the total cost of that food waste could be as high as $400 billion a year," Nixon writes. "Reducing food waste from 20 to 50 percent globally could save $120 billion to $300 billion a year by 2030, the report found." (Read more

More than two-thirds of smokers die from smoking-related deaths, study says

Smokers are dying at increasingly high rates, and 67 percent of smokers die from smoking related illnesses, says a study published this week in BMC Medicine, Danielle Paquette reports for The Washington Post. Smoking rates are especially high in non-metro areas, where 26.9 percent of adults were smokers in 2010, according to a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Washington and in Germany. And recent reports have linked more diseases than previously thought to smoking. (Age standardized rates of all-cause mortality in current smokers and never-smokers, by smoking intensity)

The study, which consisted of 200,000 Australians, found that smoking 10 cigarettes a day doubled the risk of death, and smoking one pack a day quadrupled the risk of death, Paquette writes. Cigarette smoking is the top cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year—or one in every five deaths—says the Centers for Disease Control

"An Ohio State University study found employees who smoke tobacco cost employers roughly $6,000 more annually in health care and productivity than nonsmokers," Paquette writes. "Another study, from the New England Journal of Medicine, shows health-care costs for smokers tend to be, on average, 40 percent higher." 

Feb 26, 2015

EPA to investigate North Carolina for civil rights violations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accepted a civil rights complaint filed against the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and will investigate whether lax regulation of industrial pig farms disproportionately impacts communities of color. Please continue reading from: Environmental Health News

Tesla gearing up for release of batteries for the home

Gizmag 
Tesla home battery, which is currently produced for SolarCity's home energy storage system...
The same lithium-ion battery technology that powers Tesla's electric vehicles will be used to develop a battery for the home, according to a statement by CEO Elon Musk during a recent conference call with analysts. The batteries would be used by homes and businesses to store excess energy generated from solar panels during the day, and drawn from at night when panels sit idle. .. Continue Reading Tesla gearing up for release of batteries for the home 

Section: Environment 

Tags:  

Related Articles:

Feb 25, 2015

Green Chemistry Connection, An Online Community for Green Chemistry Practitioners, Launched Nationwide

Green Chemistry Connection,

An Online Community for Green Chemistry Practitioners,

Launched Nationwide

 

NATIONAL – The Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA) announces the national launch of the "Green Chemistry Connection," an online community of green chemistry practitioners and an information clearinghouse now available at www.GreenChemConnect.org.  

 

NEWMOA created the Green Chemistry Connection in order to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, and expertise on one easy-to-access and use web platform. NEWMOA conducted a "soft-launch" of the website in 2014 in the northeast with more than 115 members. With the re-launch of the website for a national audience, NEWMOA hopes to expand the conversation on green chemistry and further enhance the quantity and quality of information available on the Network.

 

"Perhaps there is nothing more important when attempting to change the status quo than effective communication. Green chemistry seeks to change the status quo to a more sustainable society and economy through innovation... [GreenChemConnect.org] will allow everyone interested in designing a thriving, prospering, sustainable world in discovering the power and potential of green chemistry to meet environment/health goals at the same time as meeting economic and job creation goals." Paul Anastas, Yale University

 

GreenChemConnect.org brings together federal, state, and local programs, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and private companies that are working on green chemistry initiatives. The goal for the Green Chemistry Connection is to broaden the understanding and adoption of green chemistry practices and principles in business, education, government, health care, and society as a catalyst to growing a sustainable economy.

 

Through www.GreenChemConnect.org, members can network and share information. Some of its features include:

                    Discussion forums for sharing ideas or posting questions

                    Blogs for sharing views, expertise, and experience

                    News complied from multiple sources

                    Announcements about upcoming events and activities

                    Notices about jobs

                    Groups for connecting with members interested in a particular topic

                    Library of links to green chemistry websites, publications, videos, case studies, curriculum and training materials, promotional materials, and resource lists

                    A Member Directory of organizations, companies, and academic researchers Social media sharing through other social networking sites, such as LinkedIn


According to John Warner, President of the Warner Babcock Institute of Green Chemistry, "This portal has an excellent potential to bring green chemistry community together in an effective way. I look forward to watching this grow."

 

NEWMOA developed this website using Word Press and administers and maintains the Network. It is funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx™). NEWMOA thanks the New England Green Chemistry Initiative (NEGCI) Steering Committee and Government Programs and Strategies Workgroup for their involvement and support with developing this Network.

Turning smartphones into personal, real-time pollution monitors

Source: American Chemical Society (ACS),

As urban residents know, air quality is a big deal. When local pollution levels go up, the associated health risks also increase, especially for children and seniors. But air pollution varies widely over the course of a day and by location, even within the same city. Now scientists, reporting in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, have used smartphone and sensing technology to better pinpoint where and when pollution is at its worst. Please continue reading from: (GLRPPR) Environmental News

Feb 24, 2015

Raht Racer velomobile may let riders pedal "as fast as a car"

Gizmag 
The prototype Raht Racer – Raht standing for Recumbent Human Automobile Transit
With their sleek shells providing both protection from the elements and an aerodynamic advantage over bicycles, human-powered velomobiles do offer an intriguing alternative to cars. Unfortunately, though, they can't go as fast as automobiles, meaning that they often still have to be ridden along the side of the road. Minneapolis-based inventor Rich Kronfield wants to change that, with his Raht Racer. It's an electric-assist velomobile that amplifies the rider's pedaling power, reportedly allowing them to move as fast as the cars around them. .. Continue Reading Raht Racer velomobile may let riders pedal "as fast as a car" 

Section: Urban Transport 

Growing a mature forest in ten years instead of 600 to 1000 years

Next Big Future
With his company Afforestt, eco-entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma is creating mini-forest ecosystems using an accelerated method. It's based on the practices of Japanese forester Akira Miyawaki, as well as on Sharma's own experiences gleaned from his former career in car manufacturing.

Trees are planted close to each other to simulate natural conditions of growth and competitions. For the same reason, Afforestt plants trees randomly. This method has been developed by Dr. Akira Miyawaki after extensive and exhaustive research and has been proved to work in over 3000 locations, including Gobi Desert and Central Africa.

If a piece of land is free from human intervention, a forest will naturally self-seed and take over within a period of around 600 to 1,000 years. Akira Miyawaki's methodology amplifies that growth process to establish a mature, native forest in ten years.

It takes six steps.

1) you start with soil. We identify what nutrition the soil lacks. 
2) we identify what species we should be growing in this soil, depending on climate.
3) We then identify locally abundant biomass available in that region to give the soil whatever nourishment it needs. This is typically an agricultural or industrial byproduct — like chicken manure or press mud, a byproduct of sugar production — but it can be almost anything. We've made a rule that it must come from within 50 kilometers of the site, which means we have to be flexible. 

Once we've amended the soil to a depth of one meter

The soil is amended before saplings are planted. Photo: Afforestt

4. we plant saplings that are up to 80 cm high, packing them in very densely — three to five saplings per square meter. 

5. The forest itself must cover a 100-square-meter minimum area. This grows into a forest so dense that after eight months, sunlight can't reach the ground. At this point, every drop of rain that falls is conserved, and every leaf that falls is converted into humus. The more the forest grows, the more it generates nutrients for itself, accelerating growth. This density also means that individual trees begin competing for sunlight — another reason these forests grow so fast.


A freshly planted sapling. Photo: Afforestt

6. The forest needs to be watered and weeded for the first two or three years, at which point it becomes self-sustaining

But after that, it's best to disturb the forest as little as possible to allow its ecosystem — including animals — to become established.


An Afforest project transforms a barren piece of land into a lush, dense forest on a residential estate. Photo: Afforestt

Read more »

Finance goes from helping to hurting the economy when debt passes 100% of GDP

Next Big Future:
A new study from the Bank for International Settlements shows exactly why rapid finance sector growth is bad for the rest of the economy.

When private sector debt passes 100% of GDP, that point is reached. Another way of looking at the same topic is the proportion of workers employed by the finance sector. Once that proportion passes 3.9%, the effect on productivity growth turns negative. Ireland and Spain are cases in point. During the five years beginning 2005, Irish and Spanish financial sector employment grew at an average annual rate of 4.1% and 1.4% respectively; output per worker fell by 2.7% and 1.4% a year over the same period.

People who might have become scientists, who in another age dreamt of curing cancer or flying to Mars, today dream of becoming hedge fund managers.

Nextbigfuture notes that the USA has at least a double problem. There are too many highly qualified people going into finance and too many becoming lawyers.

Why does financial sector growth crowd out real economic growth? (31 pages)

In this paper we examine the negative relationship between the rate of growth of the financial sector and the rate of growth of total factor productivity. We begin by showing that by disproportionately benefiting high collateral/low productivity projects, an exogenous increase in finance reduces total factor productivity growth. Then, in a model with skilled workers and endogenous financial sector growth, we establish the possibility of multiple equilibria. In the equilibrium where skilled labour works in finance, the financial sector grows more quickly at the expense of the real economy. We go on to show that consistent with this theory, financial growth disproportionately harms financially dependent and R&D-intensive industries.

The productivity of a financially dependent industry located in a country experiencing a financial boom tends to grow 2.5% a year slower than a financially independent industry not experiencing such a boom



Read more »

Feb 23, 2015

Fresh nuclear leak detected at Fukushima plant in Japan.

Sensors at the Fukushima nuclear plant have detected a fresh leak of highly radioactive water to the sea, the plant's operator announced on Sunday, highlighting difficulties in decommissioning the crippled plant. Please continue reading from: Environmental Health News

Feb 22, 2015

Storing medicines in plastic bottles can cause cancer, birth defects.

Doctors have found proof that Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles used for storing medicines pose health hazard to people, especially women. 
Please continue reading from: Environmental Health News

Wind Produced 10 Percent of Texas Electricity in 2014, Grid Operator Says

Yale Environment 360 : More than 10 percent of the electricity used in Texas last year came from wind turbines, according to the Electric General locations of wind plants in Texas.
Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state's electric grid. Wind's share of the Texas electric mix grew from just over 6 percent in 2009 to 10.6 percent in 2014. During that period, wind power generation actually doubled — rising from 18.8 million megawatt-hours to 36.1 million — while total electricity generation in Texas also rose by 11 percent. The share of electricity generated by wind power in Texas is more than double the U.S. figure of 4.4 percent. The growth in wind generation in Texas is a result of new wind plants coming online and grid expansions that have allowed more wind power to flow through the system to consumers, the council said. 

Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought – Quartz

As we've written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America's apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch's brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.

When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they're designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

"There's growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals," Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study's lead author, told Quartz.

Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.

Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country's surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that's not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world's almonds, a market worth $4 billion.

In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But vanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health.

"The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe," he says. "It's a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product."


Please continue reading from: 

Duke Energy faces federal criminal charges for coal ash pollution, expects to pay $102 million - Daily Journal

RALEIGH, North Carolina — Federal prosecutors filed multiple criminal charges against Duke Energy on Friday over years of illegal pollution leaking from coal ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants.

The three U.S. Attorney's Offices covering the state charged Duke with nine misdemeanor counts involving violations of the Clean Water Act. The prosecutors say the nation's largest electricity company engaged in unlawful dumping at coal-fired power plants in Eden, Moncure, Asheville, Goldsboro and Mt. Holly.

Duke said Friday in statements and court filings that it has already negotiated a plea agreement under which it will admit guilt and pay $102 million in fines, restitution and community service. The company said the costs of the settlement will be borne by its shareholders, not passed on to its electricity customers.

The investigation into Duke began last February after a pipe collapsed under a coal ash dump at the Eden plant, coating 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge. However, prosecutors allege in court filings that Duke's illegal dumping had been going back for years, to at least 2010.

"We are accountable for what happened at Dan River and have learned from this event," said Lynn Good, Duke's president and CEO. "Our highest priorities are safe operations and the well-being of the people and communities we serve."

The separate cases will be consolidated under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court in Raleigh. Any proposed settlement in the case would be subject to approval by a judge.

Environmental groups on Friday hailed the charges as vindication for their years of efforts to get regulators to hold Duke accountable for the pollution leaking from coal ash dumps at 14 power plants scattered across the state. The ash, which is the waste left behind when coal is burned to generate electricity, contains such toxic heavy metals as arsenic, selenium, chromium and mercury.

"It's not just a slap on the wrist," said Kemp Burdette, of Cape Fear River Watch. "A $100 million fine is a significant one. It confirms what we've been saying all along. It's good to finally have somebody say, 'You're right. Duke was illegally polluting waterways across North Carolina and it was criminal. It wasn't an accident.'"


Please continue reading from: 
http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/72c518e4da934f16bdaea18c96663670/US--Duke-Energy-Coal-Ash-Settlement/

India’s toxic air is taking away three years from your life.

The life expectancy of more than half of India's population could increase by 3.2 years if the country can meet its air quality standards, according to a new study by economists and public policy experts at the universities of Chicago, Yale and Harvard. 
Please continue reading from: 
Environmental Health News

Russia has special fuel for Mach 5+ hypersonic missiles

Russia has invented special fuel formula enabling Russia's hypersonic aerial vehicles to fly faster than five times the speed of sound.

Unlike the US and China, who have concentrated on developing boost-glide vehicles, Russia and India are designing the so-called "hypersonic cruise missiles." While a boost-glide air vehicle first lift to an extreme altitude and then coast down to a target re-entering the atmosphere, cruise missiles travel on a non-ballistic, extremely low altitude trajectory evading early warning radar systems.

A Russia-India joint cruise missile research group will develop the world's first hypersonic cruise missile by 2023, the company's CEO was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying Wednesday.
Read more »

Feb 20, 2015

Israel scales up Reverse Osmosis Desalination to slash costs with a fourth of the piping

The traditional criticism of reverse-osmosis technology is that it costs too much. The process uses a great deal of energy to force salt water against polymer membranes that have pores small enough to let fresh water through while holding salt ions back. However, Sorek desalination plant in Israel will profitably sell water to the Israeli water authority for 58 U.S. cents per cubic meter (1,000 liters, or about what one person in Israel uses per week), which is a lower price than today's conventional desalination plants can manage. What's more, its energy consumption is among the lowest in the world for large-scale desalination plants.

Sorek sets significant new industry benchmarks in desalination technology, capacity and water cost. It provides clean, potable water for over 1.5 million people, comprising 20% of the municipal water demand in Israel

Sorek Overview

Capacity: 624,000 m³/day (26,000 m³/hour)
Technology: Reverse Osmosis (RO)
Project Type: Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT)
Location: Sorek, Israel
Footprint: 100,000 m² (10 ha)
Commission Date: 2013

Technological leadership - innovative design incorporating vertical arrangement of 16" membranes in a large-scale facility, resulting in a reduced footprint hence saving costs. Also utilizes IDE's proprietary Pressure Center Design, Double Line Intake and ERS (Energy Recovery System) for increased efficiency and reduced energy consumption

Read more »

Superbug Outbreak Has Killed Two at UCLA Medical Center

Popular Science - This week, doctors at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center discovered that a contaminated medical tool had been spreading antibiotic-resistant bacteria…

Olive oil ingredient leads cancer cells to their death

GizmagAn ingredient found in extra-virgin olive oil called oleocanthal has been known as a compound capable of killing a variety of human cancer cells, but how this process actually played out was not understood. Now, a team of researchers has uncovered not only how oleocanthal destroys cancer cells, but that it is able to do so while leaving healthy cells unharmed... Continue Reading Olive oil ingredient leads cancer cells to their death 

Section: Medical 

Tags:  

Related Articles:

Feb 19, 2015

Pesticides, pollutants found in marine life in lagoon, off coast.

Flame retardants and pesticide byproducts are showing up at potentially toxic levels in sharks, rays and other marine life in the Indian River Lagoon and in the ocean just off Brevard County. 
Please continue reading from: - 
Health News

China could build 200 nuclear reactors in the next 15 years

Westinghouse CEO Danny Roderick said that a "realistic" assessment of future business in China would place Westinghouse in the vicinity of a 25 percent to 30 percent market share. He estimated that China could build 200 reactors in the next 15 years.

China is expected to build up its own nuclear power plant export business with its own 1,400 MW version of the AP1000, Platts reported.

Roderick said that Westinghouse is expected to provide reactor coolant pumps to Chinese plants, which could amount to deals worth $800 million.

Read more »

Honey found to have high-levels of Roundup herbicide glyphosate

A study from the scientific research company Abraxis and Boston University turned up information about the honey you put on your toast that isn't very sweet. Fifty-nine percent of the honey products they tested contained the herbicide glyphosate.
Unsafe levels of glyphosate in honey?
Glyphosate is what is called a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide that is the star ingredient in Monsanto's signature weed and plant killer Roundup, a product marketed since 1973 and used extensively by commercial food producers, homeowners and some government agencies around the world. The run-off from Roundup usage even manages to bring a level of glyphosate in our drinking water.
There is considerable debate still about just how safe glyphosate is for plants, humans and other animals but the maximum limit of quantification (LOQ) for honey is considered to be 15 parts per billion (ppb). Sixty-nine samples of honey products were tested and 41 had glyphosate levels between 17 and 163 ppb, with the mean average being 64 ppb. Those 28 that did not have levels above 15 ppb may have had levels just below it, the tests did not record levels under 15ppb.
Also tested by Abraxis and Boston U. were both pancake and corn syrup, soy sauce, soy milk and tofu. Of those, concentrations above the method LOQ for soy sauce, which is 75 ppb, were found in ten of the twenty-eight samples tested at a range of between 88 and 564 ppb, which translates to a mean of 242 ppb. The other products did not test above their maximum ppb guidelines.
"Sad news" on levels of glyphosate
Sustainable Pulse is an agency that provides detailed information on GMOs and sustainable food production and the director, Henry Rowlands, was not surprised at these test results. Mr. Rowlands did not sound optimistic that the FDA will do anything about it.
"This sad news shows just how widespread glyphosate is in our food," he said. "With the increase in GM crops being cultivated worldwide it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid.
"If you ask anyone if they feel there should be 'allowed' levels of toxic chemicals such as glyphosate in their bodies the answer will of course always be 'no,' he added. "It is a fact that the scientific and regulatory process cannot evidence 'safe' levels for these chemicals."
The use of the chemical is so widespread it has been found in mother's breast milk, and in particularly high concentrations in U.S. women. It is easily picked up by bees and even some organic honey products contained glyphosate.
Of the 69 honey products tested by Abraxis and Boston U., 11 were organic and five of those tested above 15 ppb, results ranging from 26 to 93 ppb, with a mean of 50 ppb.

Source
http://www.digitaljournal.com/science/honey-found-to-have-high-levels-of-roundup-herbicide-glyphosate/article/426458

Feb 18, 2015

Waste-to-energy plant in Bristol faces $90K in OSHA fines

A Bristol plant that burns garbage to produce energy is facing more than $90,000 in proposed fines for violations of workplace health standards. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the violations at Covanta Energy Bristol Inc. include allowing combustible dust to accumulate on exposed surfaces and failing to determine the level of employees' exposure to ash containing toxic metals. Please continue reading from: OSHA News

Trains Hauling Crude Oil Across North America Just Keep Exploding

Mother Jones: A train hauling more than 100 tankers from North Dakota's booming oil fields derailed during a snowstorm on Monday in West Virginia. The accident sparked massive explosions that prompted the evacuation of two nearby towns, and an oil spill that threatened the water supply of thousands of local residents. The train was heading to Yorktown, Virginia, and came off its tracks 33 miles southeast of Charleston, West Virginia. A state of emergency was declared.

Oil spilled into the Kanawha River, and one home was destroyed during the inferno that continued for 10 hours after the derailment, according to CNN. One person was injured. Dramatic footage shows fire and smoke billowing through the snowy sky:

Another explosion just happened here at the train derailment: pic.twitter.com/ZqoSCVRoAH

— Matt Heckel (@WSAZmattheckel) February 17, 2015

Bakken crude is regarded as potentially more flammable than traditional crude, thus posing an increased hazard. And since the derailment of a train hauling Bakken crude killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, in July 2013, the type of tankers involved in these accidents has become the subject of intense scrutiny. Both Canada and the United States have called for tougher safety standards, including upgrading the tankers. In mid-January, Canada announced it would take older tankers, known as the "DOT-111", off the network years sooner than the United States will, putting the two countries at odds over increased safety measures on the deeply integrated system.

Here's a diagram of the weaknesses in the older DOT-111 model tanker, which is still in operation across the network:

Chris Philpot

You can read an in-depth Mother Jones report about the DOT-111 tankers here.

The train operator, CSX, has said that the train was not pulling DOT-111 tankers. Instead, the company says it was using a tougher, newer model, the "CPC 1232", according to Reuters.

But even newer cars like these are evidently not invincible: when a 105-car CSX train derailed in Lynchburg, Va., last April, a fiery CPC-1232 tanker careened into the James River and spilled 30,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil. And Washington state regulators are investigating CPC-1232 tankers, after a BNSF train carrying Bakken crude oil across Idaho and Washington in January was found to have leaking cars. The CPC-1232 also doesn't quite live up to the US regulators' proposed rules to upgrade the system, according to Bloomberg, which reports that:

The draft rule also would require that new cars be built with steel shells that are 9/16th of an inch thick, people familiar with the plan said. The walls of the current cars, both DOT-111s and the newer CPC-1232 models, are 7/16th of an inch thick.

The West Virginia accident on Monday is the second major derailment in three days across North America's booming oil-by-rail network. A Canadian National Railway train detailed northern Ontario, Canada, on Saturday night, again resulting in an inferno and an oil spill: 29 railway cars in the 100-car train derailed. Seven caught fire, according to CTV.


GM Will Soon Use Wind to Power Its Factories

GM Will Soon Use Wind to Power Its Factories

General Motors today announced that it will soon use wind to power its manufacturing operations. GM has signed an agreement with Enel Green Power to procure 34 megawatts of wind power from 17 wind turbines for its 104-acre Toluca Complex in Mexico.

The post GM Will Soon Use Wind to Power Its Factories appeared first on WIRED.