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Earthquakes, Fracking and Hope for the New Year
Hope is a great way to start the new year. I started off my new year with a sunrise paddle in the Sarasota Bay, a four-mile run on the beach and paddleboarding on the Gulf of Mexico. In between all my fun, I published news on this site concerning the Dec. 31 earthquake in Youngstown, Ohio, and the announcement by Ohio Governor John Kasich putting a temporary halt to the disposal of toxic wastewater from fracking at four additional injection well sites.
Considering Kasich has been quoted calling natural gas extraction a "godsend" to our local economy, I'm feeling hopeful that we can make some headway on stopping the destructive practices of hydraulic fracturing and natural gas drilling, and start investing in the transition to cleaner, renewable energy. We have a long way to go, but Kasich's announcement is definitely a step in the right direction. Thanks to the efforts of grassroots organizers like Ben Shapiro and the work of Ohio Fracktion, I'm hopeful that more Ohioans will become educated on these issues and work to protect our natural resources, including the water we drink and the air we breathe.
On the not-so-hopeful side of things, it was extremely disappointing to receive the news on Dec. 30 that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Appeals Court in Washington ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must delay implementation of pending regulations aimed at limiting harmful power plant pollution that crosses state lines. The cross-state air pollution rule would have put new limits on sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from power plant smokestacks in 27 Eastern states starting Jan. 1.
The U.S. EPA has said that the regulations will prevent 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 heart attacks and 400,000 cases of asthma starting in 2014, which would amount to $280 billion a year in health benefits. Hopefully in April 2012, when oral arguments are scheduled to be heard, strong environmental and health regulations will supersede corporate profits.
I'm ready for 2012 and I hope you are too. I believe we'll see a large increase in the number of people working in the grassroots environmental movement and supporting solution-based sustainability projects. I hope this website motivates individuals to become engaged in their community, adopt sustainable practices and support strong environmental policy, and encourages collaboration among the people and organizations working to improve the health of the planet.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.
Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.
By Andrea Germanos
Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.