Environmental activists in Appalachia have long suspected that water samples from mountaintop removal mines are sometimes tampered with, but now someone has been caught at it. IMO, this kind of thing is a natural consequence of letting the extractive industry buy politicians…or lab techs or anybody else.
I hope this case strengthens the campaign in Tennessee and other states to keep regulatory authority for coal mining (primacy) with the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and not the states.
“A Raleigh County man pleaded guilty Thursday to repeatedly faking compliant water quality standards for coal companies, in a case that raises questions about the self-reporting system state and federal regulators use as a central tool to judge if the mining industry is following pollution limits.”
The Charleston Gazette | Lab official admits faking coal water quality reports.
Wildfire can drastically increase the probability of debris flows, a potentially hazardous and destructive form of mass wasting, in landscapes that have otherwise been stable throughout recent history. Although there is no way to know the exact location, extent, and severity of wildfire, or the subsequent rainfall intensity and duration before it happens, probabilities of fire and debris-flow occurrence for different locations can be estimated with geospatial analysis and modeling efforts. The purpose of this report is to provide information on which watersheds might constitute the most serious, potential, debris-flow hazards in the event of a large-scale wildfire and subsequent rainfall in the Sandia and Manzano Mountains.
USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5161: Potential Postwildfire Debris-Flow Hazards—A Prewildfire Evaluation for the Sandia and Manzano Mountains and Surrounding Areas, Central New Mexico.
Good OpEd on the homogenisation of global food systems…
The homogenisation of global food systems means that any fast-food outlet must depend on a long, complex and increasingly vulnerable supply chain to source products whose ingredients are derived from a tiny range of plant and animal species. While there are an estimated 30,000 edible plant species, just three (wheat, rice and maize) now account for more than 60% of the calories consumed by 7 billion people across the world.
If we disturb the supply chains or the productivity of these major crops we are in trouble – wherever we live. Precisely because of their global significance and the consequences of their failure, virtually all our agricultural research, funding and promotion focuses exclusively on squeezing more out of these major crops grown as monocultures.
In a Warming World We Can’t Keep Depending on the Same Few Crops.
“Water level measurements obtained during this study clearly show that stream levels drive daily trends in groundwater levels. Combined with the detection of pharmaceuticals in groundwater collected several meters away from the stream, these results demonstrate that addition of wastewater to this stream results in unintentional, directed transport of pharmaceuticals into shallow groundwater,” said Paul Bradley, the study’s lead author.
USGS Release: Pharmaceuticals from Treated Municipal Wastewater Can Contaminate Shallow Groundwater Following Release to Streams (9/22/2014 10:00:00 AM).
Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can affect the reproductive system and cause the development of characteristics of the opposite sex, such as eggs in the testes of male fish. Wild- caught fish affected by endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been found in locations across the county. Estrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemicals are derived from a variety of sources from natural estrogens to synthetic pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals that enter the waterways.
USGS Release: Endocrine Disruption May Make Fish More Prone to Disease (9/8/2014 7:57:38 AM).
A U.S. judge has ruled that BP’s recklessness caused 2010’s massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a move that could cost the company billions. Earlier this week Halliburton, the company in charge of sealing the completed Deepwater Horizon well that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the gulf, agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle claims arising from its negligence.
BP’s Recklessness Caused Gulf Oil Spill, U.S. Judge Rules.
On World Water Day, the World Resources Institute (WRI) has released a study that maps for the first time the water resources available to support fracking in the world’s largest shale exploration areas. The study, “Global Shale Gas Development: Water Availability and Business Risk,” found that 40 percent of countries with the largest shale energy resources could suffer from water stress: competing demands on their renewable water supply that could make it problematic to use that water for fracking.
Groundbreaking Study: Water Demand Impacts Fracking Worldwide.