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Garbage incinerators make comeback, kindling both garbage and debate
The New York Times
Rising from a denuded landscape not far from this area’s famed beaches, the nation’s first new commercial garbage incinerator in 20 years is about to be fired up, ready to blast up to 3,000 tons of trash a day into electricity for thousands of houses.
With landfills shunned, recycling programs stalled and the country’s record-setting trash output unyielding, new waste-to-energy plants are being eyed as a path to salvation.
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Health risks from West Lake Landfill still unclear
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
How dangerous is the radioactive West Lake Landfill in Missouri?
To environmental activists and some nearby residents, it’s a disaster waiting to happen, now more than ever because of the underground fire in the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill.
New York's ban on high-volume fracking rocks the foundations of 'shale revolution'
Natural Resources News Service via DCBureau
Emboldened by mounting scientific evidence and shifting poll data, Gov. Andrew Cuomo veered sharply away from America’s conventional wisdom about the wonders of high-volume hydraulic fracturing of shale formations when he banned the practice in New York State on Dec. 17. While the oil and gas titans hope to contain the uprising to one state, the environmental advocates who masterminded it are quietly optimistic that it represents a tipping point, signaling impending decline for fossil fuels’ decades-long hegemony.
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Trains plus crude oil equals trouble down the track
McClatchy DC News
Every day, strings of black tank cars filled with crude oil roll slowly across a long wooden railroad bridge over the Black Warrior River in Alabama.
The 116-year-old span is a landmark in this city of 95,000 people, home to the University of Alabama. Residents have proposed and gotten married next to the bridge. Children play under it. During Alabama football season, die-hard Crimson Tide fans set up camp in its shadow.
Too dirty for the US — high-pollution fuels exported
The Associated Press via The Gleaner Company
It's a dangerous trajectory the U.S. is stoking with record exports of dirty fuels, even as it reduces the pollution responsible for global warming at home.
The carbon embedded in those exports helps the U.S. meet its political goals by taking it off its pollution balance sheet. But it doesn't necessarily help the planet.
The politics of drinking water
On Jan. 9, 2014, American Water warned 300,000 customers in and around Charleston, West Virginia, that local tap water was no longer safe. Ten thousand gallons of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, a chemical used to clean coal, had leaked from a rusty holding tank into the Elk River, upstream of the water treatment facility. State officials warned that exposure to the licorice-scented solvent could cause “burning in throat, severe eye irritation, non-stop vomiting, trouble breathing or severe skin irritation such as skin blistering.”
Study: Earth's fresh-water resources at risk
Although western Lake Erie has become an international poster child for noxious algae, a new study suggests that many of the world’s much smaller, cleaner and calmer bodies of water are likewise in trouble if greater efforts are not undertaken to keep farm fertilizers and other nutrients out of them.
The study’s lead author, Dartmouth College biology professor Kathryn Cottingham, said that’s more evidence of how climate change, population growth and poor land-use practices are putting the Earth’s dwindling freshwater resources at risk.
BPA alternative disrupts normal brain-cell growth, is tied to hyperactivity
The Washington Post
In a groundbreaking study, researchers have shown why a chemical once thought to be a safe alternative to bisphenol-A, which was abandoned by manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy cups after a public outcry, might itself be more harmful than BPA.
University of Calgary scientists say they think their research is the first to show that bisphenol-S, an ingredient in many products bearing “BPA-free” labels, causes abnormal growth surges of neurons in an animal embryo.
Feeling old? It might be from heavy metal
Environmental Health News
High exposure to the toxic metal cadmium could prematurely age cells, potentially triggering a number of diseases as people age, according to a new study.
In a large national study, high exposure to cadmium was linked to shorter telomeres, "bits of DNA that act as caps" on chromosomes to help stabilize genes, said Ami Zota, a George Washington University assistant professor of environmental and occupational health who led the study. Shorten those caps too much, and cells weaken, leading to diseases.
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