Saturday, December 27, 2008

Daily Grist: Top green stories of 2008, appeals court ruling closes Clean Air Act loophole, and more‏

Daily Grist


It Must Be Something We '08
The top green stories of 2008

We ran ourselves ragged this year trying to keep up with all the eco-related news, from seesawing gas prices to tainted baby bottles, from Bush admin shenanigans to a frenetic campaign season full of talk about green jobs, energy security, and drilling, baby, drilling. Relive the highs, the lows, and everything in between with our list of the year's top green stories.

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new in Grist: It Must Be Something We '08


QUESTION: Are all CARBON OFFSETS created equal? Answer this and other hard questions by clicking here.


Don't Cry Over Split Milk
Proposed USDA rule on organic milk generates controversy

Sustainable-food activists have complained that current USDA organic rules make it too easy to get large-scale, feedlot-style dairy farms certified as organic. Now USDA is trying to come up with a fix, and some family-scale organic farms are worried that they could be put out of business. Tom Philpott explains, and tells you how to weigh in.

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new in Grist: Organic Dairy Update

Start Up, Shut Down, Fight, Fight, Fight
Appeals court ruling closes Clean Air Act loophole

Green groups won an important victory for clean air last week when a federal appeals court ruled that chemical plants, refineries, and other industrial sites are still subject to pollution limits even during equipment malfunctions and when plants start up or shut down. Some refineries and other sites have used the Clean Air Act's start-up, shut-down loophole -- which the Bush administration expanded -- to evade enforcement actions. "For more than a decade, polluters have relied on this loophole at the expense of neighboring communities," said Earthjustice attorney Jim Pew.

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sources: Contra Costa Times, Earthjustice, Reuters

Soot to Kill
Air in 46 U.S. metro areas exceeds allowable soot levels

Over 100 million people in the United States, nearly one-third of its population, live in metro areas that violate federal standards for daily soot pollution on at least some days, the U.S. EPA said this week. However, missing from the EPA's list of officially sooty areas -- and thus exempt from further enforcement actions to clean up the pollution -- are at least five metropolitan areas that violated the annual standard for soot pollution and have been struggling with long-term soot problems, among them ultra-polluted Houston, Texas.

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sources: Associated Press, American Lung Association, U.S. EPA

We'll Guess a Hazard
EPA declares waste from oil-shale production 'non-hazardous'

Waste products from oil-shale development are not hazardous and thus would not have to be treated as such, the U.S. EPA ruled this week, thereby lowering the costs of developing oil-shale deposits on public lands in the U.S. West.

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sources: The Wall Street Journal, U.S. EPA

Tricks of the Trade
Obama says trade agreements must protect environment

Any trade agreements signed by soon-to-be-President Barack Obama must "[preserve] the planet we all share," the president-elect declared Friday. Chief trade negotiator nominee Ron Kirk concurred: "[A] values-driven agenda that stays true to our commitment to ... environmental sustainability is not only consistent with a pro-trade agenda, but it's also necessary for its success." Obama previously promised to work with Mexico and Canada to add stronger labor and environmental provisions to NAFTA.

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sources: Reuters, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News

On the 12th day of Gristmas...

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Oh, Say, Can You CEQ?
Nancy Sutley expected to be effective at CEQ, even in Carol Browner's shadow

Washington wags may wonder who will be top green dog in the Obama White House -- flashy "energy czarina" Carol Browner or shy, retiring Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley -- but folks who know Sutley say there's nothing to worry about. Janet Wilson reports.

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new in Grist: Savvy Behind the Scenes

Just Shot Me!
Ask Umbra's video advice on Jell-O shots

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Daily Grist is taking a break for a week, to celebrate Gristmahanukwanzakah. In the meantime, you can get your green news fix from our blog, Gristmill. Happy holidays!

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