<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Gazette RSS - environment]]> http://gazette.com/rss/environment Sat, 21 Oct 2017 11:47:15 -0600 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[EPA crews working on Gold King cleanup find contamination 100 times higher than danger thresholds for wildlife]]> http://gazette.com/epa-crews-working-on-gold-king-cleanup-find-contamination-100-times-higher-than-danger-thresholds-for-wildlife/article/1613606?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/epa-crews-working-on-gold-king-cleanup-find-contamination-100-times-higher-than-danger-thresholds-for-wildlife/article/1613606?custom_click=rss

SILVERTON – A little toxic-lead pollution in Colorado’s mountains lasts long after jobs go away.

Environmental Protection Agency crews conducting Superfund cleanup-prep investigations along Animas River headwaters revealed this week that they’ve found contamination at century-old mine sites at levels 100 times higher than danger thresholds for wildlife.

This lead and dozens of other contaminants are spreading beyond waste-rock piles into surrounding “halos” where they are absorbed by plants and then can be ingested by bugs and transferred from the insects to birds to, ultimately, mammals. EPA officials said tissue samples from deer will be tested to assess ecological harm.



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Fri, 20 Oct 2017 22:09:38 -0600
<![CDATA[After six tests, the mountain hosting North Korea's nuclear blasts may be exhausted]]> http://gazette.com/after-six-tests-the-mountain-hosting-north-koreas-nuclear-blasts-may-be-exhausted/article/1613604?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/after-six-tests-the-mountain-hosting-north-koreas-nuclear-blasts-may-be-exhausted/article/1613604?custom_click=rss

TOKYO - Have North Korea's nuclear tests become so big that they've altered the geological structure of the land? Some analysts now see signs that Mount Mantap, the 7,200-foot-high peak under which North Korea detonates its nuclear bombs, is suffering from "tired mountain syndrome."

The mountain visibly shifted during the last nuclear test, an enormous detonation that was recorded as a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in North Korea's northeast. Since then, the area, which is not known for natural seismic activity, has had three more quakes.

"What we are seeing from North Korea looks like some kind of stress in the ground," said Paul G. Richards, a seismologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.



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Fri, 20 Oct 2017 07:05:44 -0600
<![CDATA[Exposure to air pollution before birth may shorten our lives]]> http://gazette.com/exposure-to-air-pollution-before-birth-may-shorten-our-lives/article/1613406?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/exposure-to-air-pollution-before-birth-may-shorten-our-lives/article/1613406?custom_click=rss

Pollution affects us even in the womb: Women who are exposed to air pollution during pregnancy have babies with shorter telomeres (a genetic biomarker), a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics found.

The length of telomeres -- caps at the end of chromosomes, similar to shoelace tips -- is considered a marker of biological aging.

Based on their results, the researchers theorize that pre-birth exposure to air pollution may lead to negative health consequences later in life.

Vulnerable period

The researchers looked at 641 mother-newborn pairs, who were recruited between February 2010 and December 2014 to participate in the Belgium-based Environmental Influence on Ageing in Early Life study.



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Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:08:51 -0600
<![CDATA[Silver mine waiting on resolution with agency]]> http://gazette.com/silver-mine-waiting-on-resolution-with-agency/article/1613288?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/silver-mine-waiting-on-resolution-with-agency/article/1613288?custom_click=rss

A dispute between a mine owner in Ouray hoping to restart a silver mine and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is now being reviewed by a legislative water committee.

Ouray Silver Mines wants to reopen a mine that produces silver, gold, lead and copper and would bring 152 jobs to Ouray County, along with, its proponents say, a 10 to 20 percent boost to the county's tax base.

But that mine is on hold, due to issues with water quality at a nearby creek tied to the mine that the mine owners say they have worked on for 18 months without any concerns raised by CDPHE until now.

Sneffels Creek, the surface water source near the mine, is about halfway between Ouray and Telluride, as the crow flies.



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Sun, 15 Oct 2017 14:12:25 -0600
<![CDATA[Huge, 'mysterious' hole appears in sea ice near Antarctica]]> http://gazette.com/huge-mysterious-hole-appears-in-sea-ice-near-antarctica/article/1613167?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/huge-mysterious-hole-appears-in-sea-ice-near-antarctica/article/1613167?custom_click=rss

A huge, mysterious hole has been spotted in sea ice near Antarctica, researchers reported this week.

The hole, which was detected about a month ago, is roughly 30,000 square miles or the size of the state of Maine. It's the largest hole spotted in the Weddell Sea since the 1970s, scientists say.

"In the depths of winter, for more than a month, we've had this area of open water," Kent Moore, professor of physics at the University of Toronto – Mississauga, told National Geographic.

This is the second year in a row that scientists have seen such a massive hole in Antarctica's sea ice, though this one is bigger than the one from last year. 

Read the full story at USA Today.



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Sat, 14 Oct 2017 17:26:52 -0600
<![CDATA[Congress proposes health study and some cash on table to address toxic Widefield water]]> http://gazette.com/congress-proposes-health-study-and-some-cash-on-table-to-address-toxic-widefield-water/article/1612760?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/congress-proposes-health-study-and-some-cash-on-table-to-address-toxic-widefield-water/article/1612760?custom_click=rss

Congress likely will ask for a study to define the human health impacts of a toxic firefighting foam used by the Air Force for decades, fouling drinking water south of Colorado Springs and in many other locales.

The study - seen as a positive by those impacted - is ordered in the National Defense Authorization Act being hammered out in conference committee. But Colorado's federal lawmakers say there's not nearly enough money in the act to clean up chemicals that flowed locally from Peterson Air Force Base to the Widefield Aquifer. They also say the military is moving too slowly in addressing the crisis, first made public last year.

"I'm glad the Air Force has acknowledged the problem but I think they have dragged their feet



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Thu, 12 Oct 2017 09:23:21 -0600
<![CDATA[Wind and solar's future hangs on taxes, not clean power plan]]> http://gazette.com/wind-and-solars-future-hangs-on-taxes-not-clean-power-plan/article/1612998?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/wind-and-solars-future-hangs-on-taxes-not-clean-power-plan/article/1612998?custom_click=rss

The Trump administration's decision to end the Clean Power Plan may be deeply symbolic, but the battle that matters most for renewable energy will be over taxes.

Wind and solar have been the fastest growing sources of electricity in the U.S. since 2014 as utilities closed a record number of aging coal-fired generators. That's largely because it's become cheaper to build renewable plants than keep coal plants open.

Clean-energy's fiscal advantage stems in part from two tax credits that Congress extended in 2015. Both measures are scheduled to be phased out in the 2020s, but Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday called for them to be eliminated. That could upend wind and solar's edge.



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Wed, 11 Oct 2017 10:24:20 -0600
<![CDATA[Trump's rescinding Clean Power Plan angers Colorado environmentalists]]> http://gazette.com/trumps-rescinding-clean-power-plan-angers-colorado-environmentalists/article/1612918?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/trumps-rescinding-clean-power-plan-angers-colorado-environmentalists/article/1612918?custom_click=rss

EPA chief Scott Pruitt announced the "war on coal is over" Monday, as the Trump administration announced its repeal of President Obama's Clean Power Plan.

The plan was announced two years ago to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants to curb global warming.

Pruitt made the announcement in Hazard, Ky., the heart of Appalachian coal country, where he was joined by Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader.

The announcement came as no surprise, as Trump promised a repeal on the campaign trail to bring back mining jobs. In April signed an executive order to review the EPA plan, which has been tied up in court, with an eye toward eliminating it. The order rejected previous government



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Wed, 11 Oct 2017 07:22:05 -0600
<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Utilities to move forward with Martin Drake decommission plan despite reversal of Clean Power Plan]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-utilities-to-move-forward-with-martin-drake-decommission-plan-despite-reversal-of-clean-power-plan/article/1612873?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-utilities-to-move-forward-with-martin-drake-decommission-plan-despite-reversal-of-clean-power-plan/article/1612873?custom_click=rss

Colorado Springs Utilities' plan to decomission Martin Drake Power Plant will not change despite the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief's Monday announcement that he will override the Clean Power Plan.

The Obama-era plan limited carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants such as the downtown Drake.

Utilities is on track to decommission Martin Drake no later than 2035. Earlier decommissioning dates are being studied and will be presented to the Utilities Board in December, said spokeswoman Amy Trinidad.

Utilities also is moving forward with contract negotiations for 100 more megawatts of renewable solar energy, part of its "Energy Vision" plan to reduce energy consumption and increase use of renewable



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Tue, 10 Oct 2017 12:56:44 -0600
<![CDATA[Environmental groups denounce Trump override of climate plan ]]> http://gazette.com/environmental-groups-denounce-trump-override-of-climate-plan/article/1612849?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/environmental-groups-denounce-trump-override-of-climate-plan/article/1612849?custom_click=rss

HAZARD, Ky. — The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that he will sign a new rule overriding the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era effort to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

"The war on coal is over," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared in the coal mining state of Kentucky.

For Pruitt, getting rid of the Clean Power Plan will mark the culmination of a long fight he began as the elected attorney general of Oklahoma. Pruitt was among about two-dozen attorney generals who sued to stop President Barack Obama's push to limit carbon emissions.



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Mon, 09 Oct 2017 15:05:23 -0600
<![CDATA[Fountain's Willow Springs Ponds given all clear on PCE monitoring]]> http://gazette.com/fountains-willow-springs-ponds-given-all-clear-on-pce-monitoring/article/1612806?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/fountains-willow-springs-ponds-given-all-clear-on-pce-monitoring/article/1612806?custom_click=rss

Good news came late last month for a popular fishing spot in Fountain.

The water and fish in Willow Springs Ponds no longer need to be checked regularly for tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, after years of quarterly samplings have confirmed that the chemical's levels consistently tested below the maximum stipulated by the state's water quality standards, according to Kathy Andrew, manager of El Paso County's Environmental Division.

The pollution, which was discovered in the ponds 30 years ago, was traced to the Schlage lock manufacturing facility in Security, where solvents containing PCE were used to clean metal parts.

PCE, a probable human carcinogen, is a synthetic chemical that is used commercially as an industrial



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Mon, 09 Oct 2017 07:06:03 -0600
<![CDATA[Interior Dept. rejects 25 endangered species petitions, including several linked to climate change]]> http://gazette.com/interior-dept.-rejects-25-endangered-species-petitions-including-several-linked-to-climate-change/article/1612598?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/interior-dept.-rejects-25-endangered-species-petitions-including-several-linked-to-climate-change/article/1612598?custom_click=rss

WASHINGTON - The federal Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday declined 25 separate petitions to list a variety of species as endangered or threatened, including the high-profile Pacific walrus, which is contending with sharp climate change trends in the Arctic where it spends much of its life atop floes of floating sea ice.

The agency also declined a listing petition for the Florida Keys mole skink, a subspecies of lizard that lives on beaches and in coastal forests that face rising seas and were just swept by Hurricane Irma. The service determined that while the skink's habitat could shrink by as much as 44 percent at the high end, most of the habitat and soils that the species needs "will remain into the foreseeable future," at



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Thu, 05 Oct 2017 08:36:05 -0600
<![CDATA[Colorado aboard plan to promote electric vehicle use across West]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-aboard-plan-to-promote-electric-vehicle-use-across-west/article/1612536?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-aboard-plan-to-promote-electric-vehicle-use-across-west/article/1612536?custom_click=rss

Colorado has joined a coalition of western states aiming to electrify more than 5,000 miles of highways.

The Regional Electric Vehicle West Plan, signed by the governors of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming on Wednesday, commits states to expanding electric vehicle charging stations on Interstates 25, 70 and 76, among others in the region. The plan also hopes to encourage electric vehicle manufacturers to market a variety of car options, incorporate charging station infrastructure into building codes and promote education on electric transportation.

"This framework is another example of the innovation and bipartisan collaboration happening around energy here in the West," said Colorado Gov. John



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Wed, 04 Oct 2017 14:35:27 -0600
<![CDATA[Scientists mapping Greenland have produced some surprising - and worrying - results]]> http://gazette.com/scientists-mapping-greenland-have-produced-some-surprising-and-worrying-results/article/1612543?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/scientists-mapping-greenland-have-produced-some-surprising-and-worrying-results/article/1612543?custom_click=rss

Greenland, the world's largest island and home to its second largest ice sheet, is a land of ragged cliffs, breathtaking fjords and unimaginable amounts of water on either side of the freezing point. It has also, until now, been something of a mystery.

Greenland drew some pointed attention during the world wars and the Cold War, thanks to its strategic location. But it is only today, thanks to rapid climate change, that scientists are beginning to take the full measure of all the earth, rock and ice in a place that's now raising seas by nearly a millimeter every single year.



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Wed, 04 Oct 2017 13:54:29 -0600