Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Pollution

Comments

Take this quiz to find out how badly coal pollution is screwing you

Even if you don't live next to one of the country's dirtiest coal plants, coal pollution is still likely finding its way into your body. Answer three questions, and the Sierra Club will tell you how at risk you are: very, extremely, or MY GOD GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. All you do is input where you live, how much fish you eat, and whether you belong to any groups known to be sensitive to air quality issues. (Oh, and they also want your email address, but there's a tiny "skip this" button in the right bottom corner of that …

Read more: Pollution

Comments

Congress: Let’s just rename it the 'Dirty Water Act'

Have we mentioned that our leaders in Congress are working their butts off to undermine the country's foundational environmental laws? It's not just Republicans, either! Yesterday, a bipartisan bill that would weaken the federal government's ability to keep water clean passed out of committee. The bill would amend the Clean Water Act to give "primary responsibilities for water pollution control" to the states. Pretty much any time states get to muck around with environmental issues, at least some of them decide to let corporations run hog wild and dump whatever they want, wherever they want. So we're not optimistic that …

Read more: Pollution

Comments

More birth defects in mountaintop removal mining areas

Babies born in West Virginia regions where mountaintop removal mining takes place suffer from higher rates of birth defects than those born in non-mining regions. Mining regions tend to be low-income and deal with the slew of problems correlated with that, but the birth defect rates are higher even when accounting for "socioeconomic disadvantages." An epidemiologist says that the study "offers one of the first indications that health problems are disproportionately concentrated specifically in [mountaintop removal] areas." That seems sort of incredible: How was this study not done sooner?

Read more: Pollution

Comments

Many power plants already have equipment to slash mercury

Cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. This post was coauthored by Valeri Vasquez, special assistant for energy policy at the Center for American Progress, and Stewart Boss, an intern with the Energy Team at American Progress. Coal-fired power plants shoot 772 million pounds of airborne toxic chemicals into the sky every year -- more than 2.5 pounds for every American man, woman, and child. In March, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed to dramatically reduce mercury, lead, acid gases, and other toxics from more than 400 plants in 46 states. Some of the nation's largest utilities -- including the Southern …

Comments

The oceans may be going extinct

Ocean ecosystems are taking a faster nosedive than anyone predicted. Without urgent action, coral reefs and entire fish species could disappear in a generation. Why is this happening? Do you really need to ask? Hint: It rhymes with shmarbon shmioxide. CO2 in the atmosphere increases the temperature of ocean water, throwing off the pH and making the oxygen-hogging algae population explode. Result: OCEAN DOOM. Our options for approaching the problem are pretty much: Massive changes to our stewardship of the planet, including reducing carbon emissions, halting overfishing, closing unsustainable fisheries, and nipping pollution in the bud, OR A terrible revenge …

Comments

Supreme Court says Clean Air Act preempts state climate nuisance suits

The Supreme Court just ruled that regulating greenhouse gases is the Feds' job, as spelled out in the Clean Air Act. Good thing the Federal government is all over that one. (Sarcasm!) The decision was as unambiguous as they come: All eight justices on the case agreed that states cannot sue utility companies or other polluters for their greenhouse gas emissions under federal common law. (Sonia Sotomayor recused herself on this one.) Specifically, the states were arguing that these emissions were "nuisances" -- in the legal sense that they harm others, not in the sense that they’re merely annoying. This …

Comments

Gas should cost $15 per gallon

Grist readers know that the "high price" of gasoline in America doesn't begin to capture its true costs. But do you know exactly why that is? The smart, deep-diving folks at the California's Center for Investigative Reporting have made this great video breaking down the reasons why gasoline should actually cost closer to $15 per gallon. You should watch it (it involves cocker spaniels!), but if you can't spare 5 minutes, the highlights are below. * Every gallon of gas creates 25 pounds of greenhouse gas pollution. That’s the same weight as a cocker spaniel. Imagine adopting a cocker spaniel …

Read more: Pollution

Comments

Beware the pollution-dumping space tube

It has a way of really hamstringing environmental activism. (Image via the always-hilarious Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.)

Read more: Pollution

Comments

How close are you to the country's dirtiest coal plants?

If you live west of D.C. and east of Omaha, there's a good chance you're pretty close to one of the 25 dirtiest coal plants in the U.S. Twenty of them are 50 to 100 miles away from major urban areas, according to Climate Progress. What does "dirtiest" mean? Well, these 25 plants represent 4 percent of the country's coal plants, and provide about 8 percent of the country's electricity generation, but account for 30 percent of mercury emissions from the U.S. electricity sector.  Here's Climate Progress' list of the worst offenders in terms of overall mercury emissions:

Comments

Utilities and Joe Barton: 'Ignore the science: Pollution isn't bad for you!'

Take a deep breath and relax!Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. You decide. In choosing whether to enforce current law to dramatically reduce mercury, arsenic, lead, and nearly 100 other toxic air pollutants from power plants -- or instead to retreat from these health safeguards -- it comes down to this. Do you believe doctors at the American Lung Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, EPA scientists, and dozens of peer-reviewed studies that power plants' air pollution is very harmful and cleaning it up will deliver significant health benefits to all Americans, especially children? Or do you believe the …