The climate crisis has put at least 945 designated toxic waste sites at severe risk of disaster from escalating wildfires, floods, rising seas and other climate-related disasters, according to a new study from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), as the AP reported.
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As many as 10,000 snow geese landed on the remains of an open pit mine near Butte, Montana that was filled with toxic water. Now, they are being found sick and dead in places as unwild as a Walmart parking lot and a nearby casino.
The Berkeley Pit, an abandoned open pit copper mine in Butte, Montana—part of the largest Superfund site in the U.S.—is filled with 40 billion gallons of acidic, metal-contaminated water. PitWatch.org
The 700-acre Berkeley Pit closed in 1982, leaving behind a trove of toxic heavy metals. As the pit filled with rainwater, arsenic, cadmium, copper, cobalt, iron, zinc and other inorganic compunds leached into the water. It soon became a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site.
Snow geese summer in colonies on the Canadian and Alaskan tundra, migrating south in the fall to wintering grounds along the American coasts and inland wetland areas. For those in the central part of the continent, their migration route takes them across Montana.
On the evening of Nov. 28, wildlife spotters hired by Montana Resources, which jointly manages the abandoned mine with Atlantic Richfield, saw an incoming flock about 25 miles away that they estimated at 25,000 geese.
"I can't underscore enough how many birds were in the Butte area that night," Mark Thompson, environmental affairs manager for Montana Resources told the Associated Press. "Numbers beyond anything we've ever experienced in our 21 years of monitoring by several orders of magnitude."
Workers used hazing techniques including loud noises and non-lethal gunshots to attempt to deter the birds. But they may not have had much choice in where to land.
One theory is that the usual landing place for migrating snow geese—Freezeout Lake west of Great Falls—was largely frozen over when the geese flew by. Others think that November's unseasonably warm weather delayed the timing of their southbound migration or that a storm may have driven the birds to find a new landing spot.
Crews have been trying to rescue as many birds as possible, bringing the geese to animal shelters and veterinarians as they find them. But a similar, although much smaller, die-off in 1995 showed how dangerous the toxic waters can be.
"In each bird autopsied, the oral cavity, trachea, and esophagus, as well as digestive organs like the gizzard and intestines, were lined with burns and festering sores," wrote Harper's in 1996.
Snow geese are not considered an endangered species. The population numbers about 15 million.
Mining in the Butte region dates back to 1864 when gold was discovered in Silver Bow Creek. A large-scale underground mine operated from 1875 to 1955, when open-pit mining at Berkeley Pit began.
A Montana mine circa 1893. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
A spokesman for the EPA said the companies and agency are keeping a lookout for additional flocks headed toward Butte.
Montana Resources said it will reimburse veterinary costs and investigate this incident. It will look to update its mitigation plan to keep wildlife out of the pit water.
For many people, the holidays are rich with time-honored traditions like decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, caroling, cookie baking, and sipping from the unity cup. But there's another unofficial, official holiday tradition that spans all ages and beliefs and gives people across the world hope for a better tomorrow: the New Year's resolution.
Benefits of Chamomile Tea<p><strong>Sleep More Soundly</strong></p><p>Pick your grandmother's brain about the best way to fall asleep, and she might tell you to down a nice glass of warm milk. But if you consult with science, research shows that chamomile might be a better option. That's because it contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia and other sleep problems</a>.</p><p>Two research studies even confirmed the power of chamomile throughout the day and before bed. In one of those studies, postpartum women who drank chamomile for two weeks <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">experienced better sleep quality than the control group who didn't</a>. Another research effort measured how fast people could fall asleep. Those results illustrated that participants who consumed 270 milligrams of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198755/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">fell asleep 15 minutes faster than the control</a>. The chamomile group also had considerably fewer sleep disruptions. </p><p><strong>May Be Able to Keep Your Gut Healthy</strong></p><p>Though the following studies used rats as the subjects, research shows that chamomile can potentially play a beneficial role in digestive health. According to that research, the anti-inflammatory properties in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24463157" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">chamomile extract may be able to protect against diarrhea</a>. Additionally, chamomile may be an effective way to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177631/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stop the growth of bacteria in our stomachs that contribute to ulcers</a>.</p><p><strong>Reduces Stress and Anxiety</strong></p><p>Few things are more relaxing than curling up with a good cup of tea, so it's logical that chamomile tea can serve a stress reducer. While it lacks the potency of a pharmaceutical drug, long-term use of chamomile has been shown to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27912875" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">"significantly" reduce general anxiety disorders</a>. In general, chamomile can act almost like a sedative, and many people enjoy the tea because it puts them in a calm and relaxed state almost immediately. </p><p><strong>Boosts Immune Health</strong></p><p>Vitamin C and zinc are common over-the-counter supplements that people often turn to when they're hoping to avoid becoming sick. While scientists admit that more research must take place to prove chamomile's impact on preventing ailments like the common cold, the existing studies do show promise in this area. </p><p>One study had 14 participants drink five cups of the tea every day for two consecutive weeks. Throughout the study, researchers collected daily urine samples and tested the contents before and after the consumption of the tea. Drinking chamomile resulted in a significant increase in the levels of hippurate and glycine, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">both of which are known to increase antibacterial activity</a>. Inhaling steam from a pot of freshly brewed chamomile tea may also ease the symptoms of nasal congestion.</p><p><strong>Minimizes Menstrual Cramps</strong></p><p>This one may come as a surprise, particularly to readers who have tried every possible over-the-counter treatment to reduce period pain. Several research studies have proven that chamomile tea may be able to minimize the pain and cramps that occur during menstruation. Women in that same study also dealt with lower levels of anxiety that they typically felt because of menstrual cramps.</p><p><strong>Help Diabetes and Lower Blood Sugar</strong></p><p>For people with diabetes, regulating blood sugar levels can be a matter of life or death. And while chamomile will never replace prescription-strength drugs, it's believed that it can prevent an increase in blood sugar. A 2008 study on rats showed that chamomile could have a <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf8014365" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">moderate impact on the long-term risk of diabetes</a>.</p><p><strong>Might Improve Your Skin</strong></p><p>Ever wondered why there's been an influx of chamomile-infused cosmetic products? The reason why so many manufacturers now include chamomile in their lotions, soaps, and creams is because it <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5074766/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">acts as an anti-inflammatory on our skin</a>. That means it may be able to soothe the puffiness that plagues us as we age. Those same anti-inflammatory properties can be vital in restoring skin health after we've received a sunburn. </p><p>Before discarding your used chamomile tea bags, try chilling them and placing them over your eyes. Not only will this help with the puffiness, but it can drastically light the skin color around the eye.</p><p><strong>Help With Heart Health</strong></p><p>Some of the most beneficial antioxidants we put into our bodies are what are known as flavones, and chamomile tea is chock full of them. Flavones have the potential to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which, when elevated, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4814348/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">can lead to heart disease</a>.</p>
Why Everyone Is Drinking Chamomile Tea<p>Now that you know so much about the wonders of chamomile, it shouldn't come as a surprise why the tea is so popular with people of all ages. In addition to tasting great, chamomile offers up benefits that boost the health of body parts both inside and out. As you ponder your own New Year's resolutions, think about how healthy and natural vitamins, supplements, plants, and oils can help guide you on your own personal path to improvement. Happy New Year!</p>
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named 10 sites to the Superfund program's National Priorities List, reaching nine states plus Puerto Rico.
Leading the list is the Bonita Peak Mining District in Colorado, where the EPA by accident spilled 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater from the abandoned Gold King Mine into the scenic Animas River. The river turned bright orange due to heavy metals in the spill, which included lead, iron and aluminum. The disaster has already cost $29 million for initial response and ongoing water-quality monitoring. About 880,000 pounds of metals were released into the Animas River according to EPA estimates.
The disaster affected drinking water and irrigation water for farms in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Flowing downstream from the mine in scenic Silverton, Colorado, at an elevation of 9,300 feet, the hazardous flow also contaminated the San Juan River in New Mexico and caused the Navajo Nation to declare a state of emergency. They, along with the state of New Mexico, are suing the EPA.
The Gold King Mine accident was an embarrassment for the EPA, as it occurred while they were working on the site and accidentally struck a dam. The area was already under investigation, as its many old, abandoned mines—some of which date to the 19th century—have been leaking hazardous waste for years. The Superfund site designation includes 35 mines, seven tunnels, four tailings sites and two additional study areas. They include sites along tributaries that flow into the Animas River. The cleanup will be complex and could take years or even decades.
EPA announces #superfund designation for Columbia Falls Aluminum Company https://t.co/UPrBhCyZOG #mtnews https://t.co/Lyyk0pMG5Y— Montana Public Radio (@Montana Public Radio)1473287028.0
A former California gold mine in Amador County was also added to the Superfund list, along with a dormant shipyard in Jennings, Louisiana. In Dutchess County, New York, a portion of Wappinger Creek was designated for cleanup as a result of industrial waste. A closed aluminum plant in Montana, which contaminated the Flathead River with cyanide and other manufacturing byproducts, has also been listed.
In Puerto Rico, groundwater contamination in the town of Dorado has impacted drinking water for 67,000 people with the industrial solvents tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, which can have serious health impacts including damage to the liver and increasing the risk of cancer, states the EPA. It is considered one of the country's most hazardous waste sites.
Another groundwater contamination site in Indiana has also been added to the Superfund list. There, organic solvents have been found in residential drinking wells. Additional sites include the Eldorado Chemical Co. Inc. in Live Oak, Texas; North 25th St. Glass and Zinc in Clarksburg, West Virginia; and Valley Pike VOCs in Riverside, Ohio.
Currently, more than 1,300 sites are on the EPA's Superfund National Priorities List.
Do You Live Near One of the 1,300 Most Toxic Sites in America? http://t.co/GXiDvQNjaT @greenpeaceusa @foe_us— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1444165839.0