pollution

Highest carbon dioxide level in human history

The pandemic put the global economy in lockdown last year but it did not prevent a rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, scientists said on Monday. Measurements at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii averaged 419 parts per million (ppm) during May, the highest concentration of the …

Majority want more oversight of CAFOs, poll finds

A majority of Americans say they want more stringent oversight of large scale livestock operations, according to a national poll by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future released Tuesday. The polling follows a recent recommendation from the nation’s leading public health association to temporarily halt the creation of new concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, and increase their oversight and regulation.

Complaints about North Carolina’s hog industry vanished in state bureaucracy

For years, complaints about hog pollution in North Carolina disappeared after they were filed with state authorities, FERN's latest story with The Guardian and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting says. But as a result of a settlement with environmental justice groups, the state this year began posting complaints online – exceeding in six months the number of complaints in the prior decade.

JBS, under fire for taking Trump’s tariff bailout, is accused of polluting a Colorado river

In a new lawsuit, environmental advocates say a Colorado beef-packing plant owned by JBS has been dumping polluted wastewater into a river for years. The suit comes as the Brazilian company is under fire for taking millions in President Trump's tariff bailout payments. (No paywall)

Environmental groups call for ban on new factory farms

Leaders from Food & Water Watch, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and Des Moines Water Works gathered in Iowa Monday to call for a national ban on large-scale industrial, or “factory,” farms. In calling for the ban, the groups cited the negative impacts that confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have had on farmers, animals, eaters, and the environment.

Tyson ordered to pay $2 million in fish kill fine

Tyson Poultry will pay a $2-million criminal fine for polluting a stream near its southwest Missouri plant. The pollution killed an estimated 108,000 fish.

Tyson farm proposal defeated in Maryland

After two years of community protests, a proposal to build 13 chicken houses on a farm in Wicomico County, Maryland, was defeated last week. Neighbors worried about potential air and groundwater pollution from the influx of chickens.

Coalition urges Iowa legislators to end new factory farm development

A coalition of 55 environmental, agricultural, and food-safety organizations signed a letter urging the Iowa General Assembly pass a moratorium on new and expanded factory farm development in the state. Iowa currently houses nearly 23 million hogs, a record for the state and the highest number in the country.

16 percent of global population dies early because of pollution

Nine million people died prematurely in 2015 because of air, water and soil pollution — three times the number that died of tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria combined, says a study published in The Lancet. The exact cause of death ranged from lung cancer to heart disease, but the total amounted to 16 percent of all deaths globally.

Coho salmon die in ‘witch’s brew’ of stormwater runoff

Coho salmon face fatal levels of pollution in 40 percent of their range in the Puget Sound Basin, chiefly because of stormwater runoff, says a study published in the journal Ecological Applications.

EPA may cut funding for federal antipollution lawsuits

For years, the EPA has reimbursed the Justice Department for prosecuting Superfund lawsuits “to force polluters to pay for cleaning up sites they left contaminated with hazardous waste,” says the New York Times. Now, with the Trump administration in charge, the EPA may end those payments, which, at about $20 million a year, amount to a quarter of the funding for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department.

China faces widespread soil pollution from plastic mulch

To boost food production, China has spread polyethylene film across 49 million acres — 12 percent of the country’s total farmland — despite warnings that the synthetic mulch is toxic and degrades the soil.

Montana ranchers worry new radioactive waste rule isn’t enough

Since 2013, nearly 233,000 tons of radioactive waste, much of it from the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota, has been disposed of at a site near Glendive, Montana. Now, after years of prodding, the state has finally proposed a rule for handling oilfield waste, but area ranchers and farmers think the plan leaves them deeply vulnerable.

Using a plastic bag in Kenya could land you in prison

Kenya has passed the strictest plastic bag ban in the world, punishing anyone who sells or uses plastic bags with four years in prison or a $40,000 fine. Proponents of the law say that marine animals often end up strangled by or ingesting plastic. “If we continue like this, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish,” said Habib El-Habr, an expert on ocean trash working with Kenya’s UN environment program.

Study: Trump’s Justice Department easier on polluters than its predecessors

The Trump administration has allowed polluters to pay less than half the amount in civil penalties they were forced to pay under the three previous administrations, says a report by the Environmental Integrity Project.

Some tuna has 36 times the amount of pollutants because of where its caught, says study

Where your yellowfin tuna was caught can dramatically change the level of pollutants in its flesh, say researchers at the University of San Diego’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography, after testing 117 yellowfin tuna from 12 locations in a first-of-its-kind global study.

‘Dead zone’ is largest ever recorded, covers one-seventh of Gulf of Mexico

Marine scientists estimate the low-oxygen "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico covers a record 8,776 square miles, or one-seventh of the basin. "This large dead zone size shows that nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and developed land runoff in the Mississippi River watershed, is continuing to affect the nation’s coastal resources and habitats in the Gulf," said NOAA.

Study: climate change will boost ag runoff 20 percent this century

The harmful effects of fertilizer runoff are likely to be exacerbated by climate change, as more extreme precipitation washes excess nutrients into U.S. waterways, causing dead zones, says a study published in Science. “The authors found that future climate change-driven increases in rainfall in the United States could boost nitrogen runoff by as much as 20 percent by the end of the century,” says The New York Times.

States sue EPA over chemical spill rule

The attorneys general of 11 states have sued the EPA for delaying implementation of a chemical-spill rule at industrial sites, including fertilizer plants, by two years. “The set of regulations, called the Chemical Accident Safety Rule, would require industrial facilities to take new steps to prevent accidents and also to conduct more robust examinations of the causes of accidents that do occur,” says Reuters.

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