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Environmental Updates
EPA director Scott Pruitt wants the EPA's water office to propose a regulation that would hamper the agency's ability to block a permit before it had been applied for or after the Army Corps of Engineers issued it. EPA staff in regional offices would first have to get approval from headquarters to block a water permit and hold a public hearing. The regulation would reportedly be the most significant change to how the EPA enforces the Clean Water Act's restrictions on dredging or filling waterways in four decades.
In related news, Justice Anthony Kennedy's recent announcement that he will retire from the U.S. Supreme Court is fueling fears of further roll backs of Obama era climate change policies to protect air and water. Justice Kennedy was frequently the deciding swing vote on important environmental issues and according a law professor at Harvard, served as the most influential justice for environmental law during his 30 year tenure. Appointment of a more conservative judge would give the court a five seat majority that could potentially impact federal environmental regulation.
China, home to 45 per cent of the world's plastics, is no longer taking exported trash from the U.S.or any other country, causing a pile up. China banned the import of plastic waste beginning in January of this year for the protection of the environment and people's health. Reportedly, no other country has the capacity to take as much trash China previously did.
Red meat allergies caused by the bite of the Lone Star tick are on the rise, according to experts. The tick has expanded its range beyond the Southeast and has been found to cause the allergy in more Northern states such as Maine, New York, and Minnesota. People who develop the allergy can experience symptoms such as hives and gastrointestinal distress as well as an allergy to dairy products.
A granular pesticide banned by the EPA in the 1991 has been determined to be the cause of death for 13 bald eagles in Maryland. Carbofuran, a highly toxic pesticide, was found in all of the bird's stomachs as well as in the carcass of a raccoon they had likely eaten. In California, illegal growers of marijuana reportedly use a liquid version of carbofuran to deter animals from harming their crops. There have been no arrests in the case and it is now closed.
Science or myth...that is the question when it comes to slug control. Scientists are joining the war on slugs by testing what, if any, home remedies are effective in keeping them away. Using lettuce plants, researchers in Britain are testing the effectiveness of copper tape, sharp horticultural grit, pine bark mulch, wool pellets, and egg shells compared to doing nothing. Surprisingly, scientists will not be testing the age-old method of putting beer in a jar lid and sinking it into the ground, perhaps keeping the beer for themselves as a reward at the conclusion of the study.
The industry publication known as "Beef Magazine" apparently has a beef with media reports that are delivering the message that meat consumption is harmful to the environment, hurts animals, and is unhealthy. A recent opinion piece refutes that message with assertions that cows are actually the key to rebuilding air quality and soil fertility and can stave off human sickness by supplying consumers with the protein lacking in vegetables. Labeling the main stream and other media reports "fake news", Beef's opinion writer suggests taking studies more favorable to meat production and spreading them "like wildfire".
Roman Hills