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Weekly Environmental Updates
An attempt to quash new dietary guidelines that take the effect of food choices on the environment into consideration has been issued by Congress in the form of a congressional directive. The non-binding directive, which is attached to a spending bill, directs the Obama administration to ignore such factors in next year's revision of dietary guidelines. Some experts point out that food production has a huge impact on the environment and deserves to be considered.
Poor auto sales sparked by the 2008 recession has resulted in more older, energy inefficient cars on the road that are contributing to air pollution, according to a new study. Cars and trucks are reportedly the second biggest producers of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds that lead to smog. The mean age of a vehicle in 2013 was nine years vs. seven years in the previous twenty years.
In related news, Tesla, maker of electric cars, is posting weak sales in the face of lower gasoline prices. The automaker's stock has been falling since September after reaching record prices earlier in 2014. A delay in the next model roll out and the car's base price of $70,000 are also thought to be contributing factors in the company's decline.
Road salt is responsible for toxic levels of chloride in many northern U.S. streams, says a U.S. Geological Survey study. Levels were highest during winter months, but were elevated during all seasons. The study began in 1960 and ended as late as 2011 at some sites.
Young sea turtles have been washing up on Cape Cod beaches in record numbers since mid-November, mystifying marine experts and straining resources that rescue and care for them. Although a few turtles are found every year, nearly 1,200 endangered Kemp's ridley turtles have recently have been found by volunteers. Most of the turtles have survived and are being cared for in aquariums from Boston to Texas.
The widely-held belief among scientists that CO2 emissions boost tree growth has been disproved by a recent study out of the Netherlands. Research shows that CO2 contributes to tree density, but not faster growing trees. Scientists are interested in how trees react to CO2 because trees remove CO2 from the air.
Roman Hills