Duking It Out
Judge orders Duke Energy coal plant to comply with Clean Air Act
In what environmentalists are calling a precedent-setting case that closes a perceived loophole in the Clean Air Act, a federal judge has ordered utility Duke Energy to conduct a formal assessment of its under-construction Cliffside Stream coal-fired power plant to make sure it will be using the best-available technology to curb its mercury emissions.
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The Gas We Pass On
U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions up 1.4 percent in 2007
U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions hit 8 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2007, up 1.4 percent from the year before and up about 16.7 percent from 1990 levels, according to the Energy Information Administration. The agency said much of the increase was due to two main factors: "unfavorable weather conditions, which increase demand for heating and cooling in buildings, and a drop in hydropower availability that led to greater reliance on fossil energy sources for electricity generation."
What's All the Ruckus?
Human-caused noises in oceans messing with wildlife, experts say
Loud noises in the world's oceans, caused by ships, powerful sonar, and oil and gas exploration, are negatively affecting a range of sea critters, including whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and others, according to a report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Increased noise levels have not only been scaring animals and shortening the distance over which they can communicate with each other, but some loud noises may directly cause tissue damage while others can spur animals into surfacing too quickly, leading to injuries similar to the bends.
Playing It Unsafe
One in three toys tested has worrisome levels of toxic chemicals, group says
A study of some 1,500 popular children's toys sold in the United States found that one in three tested contained "medium" to "high" levels of a range of toxic chemicals including arsenic, lead, mercury, and others, according to green group the Ecology Center. "Our hope is that by empowering consumers with this information, manufacturers and lawmakers will feel the pressure to start phasing out the most harmful substances immediately, and to change the nation's laws to protect children from highly toxic chemicals," said EC's Jeff Gearhart.
GRIST COLUMNS AND FEATURES
Long forgotten, chestnuts are coming back with a vengeance, and make a delicious holiday pudding
Back in the 1940s, Nat King Cole first crooned the words, "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire." "The Christmas Song" became an instant holiday classic, but chestnuts themselves were already nearly extinct in this country, victims of a devastating blight. Now the iconic nuts are roaring back as farmers plant a new blight-resistant variety. April McGreger has the scoop on how to handle the coming bounty of chestnuts, and serves up the recipe for an easy-to-make chestnut paste that can be transformed into any number of desserts, including a holiday pudding.
new in Grist: Nut Job
Coming Friday: Why is PETA in favor of test-tube meat?
Grist: Environmental News and Commentary
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