WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government response to the BP oil spill has frustrated environmental groups and Gulf Coast conservationists, who say they’re getting scant information about the disaster’s potential ecological effects.
“There’s a lot of concern now about the marine impact and we’re not getting a truly transparent response from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration),” Aaron Viles of the Gulf Restoration Network said on Thursday.
With the spotlight shining on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and on the executives sizzling in the hot seat on Capitol Hill, environmental advocates are looking north.
They’re worried that Shell Oil will start drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska before the U.S. government reports on BP’s Deepwater Horizon drill rig disaster. And the environmental groups are not comforted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s reassurances that no new drilling will take place until the government report is completed by May 28.
With BP’s spilled oil shimmering off the U.S. Gulf Coast, and a re-tooled bill to curb climate change expected to be unveiled this week in the U.S. Senate, what could be more appropriate than a bouquet of new environmental polls? Conducted on behalf of groups that want less fossil fuel use, the polls show hefty majorities favoring legislation to limit emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide.
In the kind of harmonic convergence that sometimes happens inside the Capital Beltway, a new poll released on Monday by the Clean Energy Works campaign showed “overwhelming public support for comprehensive clean energy legislation,” with 61 percent of 2010 voters saying they want to limit pollution, invest in clean energy and make energy companies pay for emitting the carbon that contributes to climate change. A healthy majority — 54 percent — of respondents said they’d be more likely to re-elect a senator who votes for the bill.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The BP oil spill is the latest in a series of environmental insults to the U.S. Gulf Coast, from wetlands eradication to flood control measures that have starved marshes of new sediment deposits.
WETLANDS CLEARING: Early European settlers cleared coastal swamps and marshes in the Mississippi River delta to control malaria they believed was caused by the fetid air in wetlands. This destroyed coastal wetlands that filter pollution, shelter native species and act as buffers to slow down hurricanes that spawn in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
WASHINGTON, May 7 (Reuters) – The BP <BP.L> oil spill is
the latest in a series of environmental insults to the U.S.
Gulf Coast, from wetlands eradication to flood control measures
that have starved marshes of new sediment deposits.
WETLANDS CLEARING: Early European settlers cleared coastal
swamps and marshes in the Mississippi River delta to control
malaria they believed was caused by the fetid air in wetlands.
This destroyed coastal wetlands that filter pollution, shelter
native species and act as buffers to slow down hurricanes that
spawn in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 250 U.S. scientists on Thursday defended climate change research against “political assaults” and warned that any delay in tackling global warming heightens the risk of a planet-wide catastrophe.
The scientists, all members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, targeted critics who have urged postponing any action against climate change because of alleged problems with research shown in a series of hacked e-mails that are collectively known as “climate-gate.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Oil-dispersing chemicals used to clean up the vast BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico carry their own environmental risks, making a toxic soup that could endanger marine creatures even as it keeps the slick from reaching the vulnerable coast, wildlife watchdogs say.
The use of dispersants could be a trade-off between potential short-term harm to offshore wildlife and possible long-term damage to coastal wildlife habitat if the oil slick were to reach land.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Japan, Norway and Iceland could continue commercial whaling for another decade, despite a global ban, under a proposal released on Thursday by the International Whaling Commission.
Between 4,000 and 18,000 whales could be saved over the next 10 years under the compromise proposal, which sets lower catch limits for all three whaling nations than the self-imposed quotas they have now.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming are also turning the oceans more acidic at the fastest pace in hundreds of thousands of years, the National Research Council reported on Thursday.
“The chemistry of the ocean is changing at an unprecedented rate and magnitude due to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions,” the council said. “The rate of change exceeds any known to have occurred for at least the past hundreds of thousands of years.”
Spring in Washington means cherry blossoms, azaleas and a collective wet sneeze from the hundreds of thousands of allergy sufferers in the region. This year, a long snow-covered winter may actually have protected plants while an early burst of summer-like temperatures called forth the blossoms, creating what felt to many like a pollen bomb.
Plants that would usually have bloomed in an orderly sequence — forsythia, daffodils, tulips, cherry blossoms, dogwood, azaleas and lilacs — are all flowering together. Cars, streets, pets and other plants are covered with a gritty yellow-green sneeze-inducing residue. Allergy symptoms are the common result, and they cost a bundle.