Dolphins in English Channel being poisoned by toxic chemicals

Dolphins in English Channel being poisoned by toxic chemicals

SOURCE: MetroUK DATE: September 12, 2019 SNIP: Bottlenose dolphins in the English Channel have some of the highest levels of toxic mercury in their skin and blubber ever recorded among the species, scientists have found. They being poisoned by chemicals banned as far back as the 1970s and 1980s because of the risk they posed to wildlife and humans. The chemicals, known as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), were commonly used as a refrigerant and are extremely durable, remaining in ecosystems for decades and passing up the food chain. ‘These organic compounds are able to dissolve in fats and oils, and consist of the by-products of various industrial processes and pesticides, among others,’ said Dr Krishna Das. ‘Bottlenose dolphins are often used to study levels of environmental pollutants, as the organic compounds accumulate within their thick layer of fatty tissue.’ Dr Krishna Das, a zoologist at the University of Liege, Belgium, said toxic organic pollutants can be detected even in the deepest dwelling marine life. The dangerous chemical accumulates at the top of the food chain and has a disastrous impact on an animal’s fertility and immune system. Recent research has suggested the long-lasting man-made pollutant could wipe out half of the world’s killer whale population in the next 30...
Trump Administration to Roll Back Clean Water Protections

Trump Administration to Roll Back Clean Water Protections

SOURCE: New York Times DATE: September 12, 2019 SNIP: The Trump administration on Thursday announced the repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation that had placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands and other bodies of water. The rollback of the 2015 measure, known as the Waters of the United States rule, adds to a lengthy list of environmental rules that the administration has worked to weaken or undo over the past two and a half years. The repeal of the water rule, which is expected to take effect in a matter of weeks, has implications far beyond the pollution that will now be allowed to flow freely into streams and wetlands from farms, mines and factories. With Thursday’s announcement, the Environmental Protection Agency is aiming to establish a stricter legal definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, a precedent that could make it difficult for future administrations to take actions to protect waterways. Patrick Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at the University of Vermont, said that, for conservative states and leaders who hold the view that the Clean Water Act has been burdensome for farmers and industry, “this is an opportunity to really drive a stake through the heart of federal water protection.” But environmentalists assailed the move. “With many of our cities and towns living with unsafe drinking water, now is not the time to cut back on clean water enforcement,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. The Obama rule, developed under the authority of the 1972 Clean Water Act,...
Oil Seen Leaking From Hurricane-Hit Facility On Grand Bahama Island

Oil Seen Leaking From Hurricane-Hit Facility On Grand Bahama Island

SOURCE: NPR DATE: September 6, 2019 SNIP: A major oil storage terminal on Grand Bahama Island was damaged by Hurricane Dorian and has leaked oil into the surrounding environment, raising concern that the oil could damage local reefs and wildlife. The South Riding Point facility sits on the shore of the island’s eastern side and is home to 10 giant storage tanks capable of holding up to 6.75 million barrels of crude, according to Equinor, the company that runs the facility. When Dorian struck Grand Bahama late Sunday, the terminal had 1.8 million barrels on site, according to Erik Haaland, a spokesperson for Equinor. It’s not clear how much oil has...
North Sea oil rigs set to be abandoned while still full of crude oil and chemicals

North Sea oil rigs set to be abandoned while still full of crude oil and chemicals

SOURCE: Independent DATE: September 4, 2019 SNIP: Thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste including crude oil could be abandoned in decaying North Sea rigs by Shell with the permission of the UK government, prompting growing concerns among other European countries. Due to the cost and difficulty of dismantling the structures, the oil giant has proposed leaving the vast concrete legs from three oil rigs standing in the waters. These could remain for up to 500 years after the platforms have been decommissioned. There is an estimated 11,000 tonnes of oil and toxins mixed with sediment held within the Bravo, Charlie and Delta structures, which were built in the Brent oil field, to the East Shetland Basin, in the 1970s. Hundreds of other enormous rigs, which can be as tall as the Eiffel Tower and weigh as much as the Empire State Building, are due to be decommissioned over the next three decades. Now there are fears UK government support for Shell’s plans to abandon the structures on the sea bed could set a precedent for how the oil platforms are dealt with in future. In June this year, Shell removed the 25,000 tonne platforms from the three oil rigs, leaving the enormous leg, 20m wide, structures. However, returning to remove the legs and the hazardous substances held within would be too expensive and too risky, they have...
There’s An Environmental Disaster Unfolding In The Gulf of Mexico

There’s An Environmental Disaster Unfolding In The Gulf of Mexico

SOURCE: HuffPost DATE: July 11, 2019 SNIP: A historic slow-moving flood of polluted Mississippi River water loaded with chemicals, pesticides and human waste from 31 states and two Canadian provinces is draining straight into the marshes and bayous of the Gulf of Mexico — the nurseries of Arnesen’s fishing grounds — upsetting the delicate balance of salinity and destroying the fragile ecosystem in the process. As the Gulf waters warm this summer, algae feed on the freshwater brew, smothering oxygen-starved marine life. And as of Wednesday, an advancing storm looks likely to turn into a tropical storm or hurricane by the weekend, with the potential to bring torrential downpours and more freshwater flooding. Fishermen and state government officials agree this long, hot summer may go down in history as one of the most destructive years for Gulf fisheries. The torrent of river water pushing into Gulf estuaries is decimating crab, oyster and shrimp populations. The brown shrimp catch this spring in Louisiana and Mississippi is already down by an estimated 80%, and oysters are completely wiped out in some of the most productive fishing grounds in the country, according to state and industry officials. The polluted freshwater has also triggered algae blooms, which have led to beach closures across Mississippi. “We are seeing impacts across the coast in all sectors of the fishing communities,” said Patrick Banks, assistant secretary for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “We will continue to collect data to support a disaster declaration.” It’s not just fisheries that are suffering. Dolphins have been dying in huge numbers across the region — nearly 300 this...