Environmental groups sued the Trump administration over its efforts to expand offshore drilling, arguing the move violates the president’s legal authority, threatens a multitude of wildlife and could harm the fishing and tourism industries. The lawsuit was filed in Alaska and is following Trump’s executive order aimed at jump-starting offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, as well as assessing whether energy exploration can take place in marine sanctuaries in the Pacific and Atlantic. The lawsuit argues that Trump’s executive order exceeds his authority as he cannot reopen areas that Obama had permanently protected under official legislation. Groups such as Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, the Alaska Wilderness League and the Wilderness Society are involved in the lawsuit. On the contrary, the Trump administration is claiming that the executive order is “an important step toward American energy independence” that would generate additional U.S. jobs.
I am glad that people have been speaking up against the actions of the Trump administration which will have negative environmental impacts. I also disagree that the claim of the Trump administration that these actions will create multiple jobs. Trump’s claim that more jobs will be provided to Americans with this executive order is ignores economic realities as many such jobs are limited because of technology and increased efficiency.
The Indian River Lagoon in Florida, considered to be the most biologically diverse waterway in America, is in bad shape. “The Indian River Lagoon is repeatedly being choked with oxygen-robbing algae, its surface increasingly dotted with thousands of dead fish, manatees, birds and other creatures.” Farm runoff and a huge influx of people that have sent lawn fertilizer and other pollutants into the lagoon are considered the causes of the condition of the lagoon. The problems threaten the region's recreation, fishing and tourism economy, alarming kayak tour operators, charter boat captains, restaurateurs and organizers of bird-watching festivals. Environmentalists are distressed to see the lagoon's rich variety of life threatened in a crisis similar to what has happened in recent decades in such places as the Chesapeake Bay, Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico. The article reveals: “Home to more than 2,900 species of plants, birds and fish, the waterway has been polluted since the mid-20th century by fertilizer runoff from the sugarcane fields and other farms around Lake Okeechobee, which drains into the lagoon during heavy rains. Nevertheless, parts remained largely healthy until the recent building boom.”
The scenario described in the article refers to cultural eutrophication which we have learned about earlier this year. The condition of the lagoon is an indicator that we must be aware of the effects we have on natural habitat. It is necessary to maintain biodiversity for which we must control pollution and maintain natural habitats,
Pittsburgh environmental groups have launched an initiative to help schools and child-care facilities address lead and radon. Both lead and radon can impact a child's development, growth and learning. While these hazards are commonly found in schools and other educational buildings, any testing for these hazards is voluntary in Pittsburgh. Dangers of lead contamination have gained a lot of attention in recent months in the city, but radon in the air is equally harmful to childhood development. “ Radon is also estimated to cause approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And they estimate more than 70,000 schoolrooms around the country have elevated radon levels.” Disappointingly, school districts in Pennsylvania aren't required to test for radon or lead. Because of this, environmental groups have launched an initiative to help schools, early-learning centers, and after-school programs test for lead and radon and eliminate the environmental risks in their facilities.
It was very surprising to me that school districts in Pennsylvania are not required to test for radon or lead. Children spend a lot of time at school, day-care facilities, and after school programs, so it is necessary for schools to do such testing in order to protect the health of the children. Hopefully, the environmental groups will be successful in raising awareness and will facilitate efforts to make schools environmentally hazard free.
In 2008, researchers used satellite images and modeling software to make a complete portrait of human effects on the ocean which in a way is a X ray of the ocean. Five years later they did it again, in order to get complete view of an ocean in transition. They discovered that “two-thirds of the ocean shows increased strain from human-related factors, such as fishing and climate change and more than three-quarters of coastal waters suffer from climate change and increases in the effects of harmful land-based activities, including pollution.” Overall, they conclude that about 40 percent of the ocean is “heavily impacted” by human activity. Biologist Ben Halpern says that the growing population is partly to be blamed. This makes since as some of the darkest spots on the map are in the East China and North Seas while others are mostly in the Northern hemisphere where 90 percent of humans live. On a brighter side, however, parts of the North Atlantic have seen reduced impact due to new regulations and more fuel efficient ships.
It wasn’t very surprising to me that the ocean is heavily impacted by human activities, but it is also nice to figure out that human impact has reduced in some areas. The data reveals that we have increased concern about the environment, but there is still a long way to go. Also, it does not seem like a clean environment is being encouraged under the Trump administration and this may pose a large push-back on environmental progress.
Trump is rolling back environmental regulations passed during the Obama administration. On Tuesday, he signed his executive order which “directs the EPA to suspend, revise, or rescind the Clean Power Plan.” It also “lifts the moratorium on federal coal leasing, rescinds restrictions on hydraulic fracking, and eliminates the National Environmental Policy Act.” Trump has declared that he is putting an end to the war on coal while arguing that he is increasing jobs through his executive order. Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order also mandates that every agency conducts a 180-day review that identifies all regulations and rules that “impede” energy production; the reports will supposedly be used to create an energy blueprint.
Trump’s claim that more jobs will be provided to Americans with this executive order is extremely inaccurate and ignores economic realities. Jobs have been lost in the coal industry because of automation and efficiency. In fact, “the largest coal mining machine in the world can extract 4,500 tons of coal per hour and requires only 27 people to operate.” I agree with Michael Brune that the best way to protect workers and the environment is to invest in growing the clean energy economy and to help workers make the transition to other energy jobs. I do not see anything beneficial in this executive order as it will harm the environment and will not actually save coal jobs.
All energy has an environmental impact. All fossil fuels have carbon dioxide emissions when burned. Furthermore, all energies use land and water. The biggest area for improvement is the reduction of emissions. A successful future depends on protecting the environment while keeping energy available and affordable.
Nuclear makes about 20% of the energy in the US, and it has 0 emissions. The fuel is plentiful and very powerful which makes its cost per kilowatt very low. Nuclear has potential environmental hazards, but the track so far has been mostly good. Despite the low cost of nuclear fuel, there is a large cost involved in building a nuclear plant.
Although nuclear energy provides high amount of energy and has lower emissions, it has multiple risks and disadvantages. Nuclear radioactive waste cannot be stored or disposed safely. Today, nuclear waste is stored at the reactor, but we need a long term solution. It is possible for some new technologies to run on nuclear waste, however. Breeder reactors could produce less waste. Accidents and proliferation are at risk with nuclear energy despite the fact that nuclear energy is less deadly per kilowatt hour than all other sources.
Natural gas is versatile and abundant as its supply is increasing. Natural gas has multiple uses; it plays a role in industry, electricity, and transportation. Hydraulic fracturing allows for natural gas production in areas such as China, India, and the Unites States where natural gas is not found. Although many scientists are okay with natural gas usage, they do not support fracking. Currently, fracking is taking place on a larger scale which raises the concern of water contamination. Natural gas is a greenhouse gas 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide. However, it serves as cheap source of energy which can help reduce our carbon emissions in comparison to coal and oil.
Oil has caused large economic development by serving as a great transportation fuel. Other than transportation, oil can also be used for heating and power production. Although oil is relatively cheap, billions of dollars are spent in attempt to stabilize oil regions each year. Oil has environmental costs such as oil spills, smog, air pollution, and CO2 emissions. The largest challenge with oil is that it is our only transport fuel which means that it has large economic influence. The solution is to diversify transportation fuels. While oil has built our success in the 20th century, our prosperity now will depend on diversifying transportation fuels
Coal is is accessible since it is easy to mine, store, and convert to electricity. This makes coal electricity the cheapest in the world. Coal’s inexpensive price is its greatest advantage. Coal can help lift developing countries out of poverty, but it has many drawbacks. Coal mining is dangerous, and coal burning produces large amounts of pollutants. In fact, burning coal produces about half of all CO2 emissions. Overall, coal is cheap but has negative environmental impacts.
In a new study published in the journal Nature Plants, researchers analyzed the supply chain of a regular loaf - from seed to sandwich and discovered that more than half its environmental impact comes from the production of the raw material, the wheat grain, instead of food processing. In fact, food actually causes about a third of total greenhouse gas emissions. The large environmental impact of food is largely affected by fertilizer; for example, ammonium nitrate fertilizer alone accounts for 43% of all the greenhouse gas emissions. Large amounts of energy and natural gas are needed to produce fertilizer and nitrous oxide is released when it is degraded in the soil. The problem can be ameliorated by reducing the amount of fertilizer used in agriculture. This can be accomplished by recycling agricultural and human waste as manure to retain the nitrogen. Also, organic farming and precision agriculture can be employed to lessen the problem.
I found the article to be very insightful. I never actually thought about the environmental cost of food production, so all of the facts were alarming. Food production is definitely a large contributor to greenhouse emissions, but the problem is difficult to solve. For instance, fertilizer aids farming greatly so reducing its usage will be a difficulty for farmers. Gradual improvements in farming such as employment of organic farming techniques may help reduce the problem, however.
After multiple rainstorms and water rushing down the spillway of Anderson Reservoir, there has been serious flooding in San Jose. Flooding took place along the Coyote Creek the water levels in which reached a 100 year peek. This has caused the evacuation of at least 14,000 residents and 22, 000 others have been encouraged to leave their homes. Unfortunately, many people were not properly notified as they had no idea that they needed to evacuate until firefighters went door to door alerting people. Emergency crews had to rescue more than 250 people from their homes by boat. This year had been proven to be a time of flooding and mudslides as some regions are dealing with great rainfall and storms Earlier the Oroville dam scenario had prompted the evacuation of 200,000 people. According to sources, at least four people have died in storms this past week.
The large rainfall this year has been both beneficial and concerning depending on one’s viewpoint. While the rain at first was a relief after the lengthy drought, now in some areas it has caused tension since people have to leave their homes. Bodies of water seem to be surpassing their capacities across the state. Some of these incidents, however, show our inefficiency as well, as we have not been able to maintain dams and such. For example, the Orville dam failure calls into question our inefficiency at maintaining dams and such infrastructure. Overall, I hope that the conditions improve and the people in flooding areas receive the help they need while ensuring their safety.
The Senate voted 54-45 to eliminate a rule intending to limit the dumping of mining waste in local waterways. The Stream Protection Rule was enforced by the Department of the Interior towards the end of Obama’s presidency. The rule had “tightened standards for water contamination and the restoration of streams damaged by mining.” The Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has justified the rollback of this rule by stating that the rule is an attack at coal miners. McConnell has argued that the rule will cause damage to communities while threatening coal jobs in areas like his home state, Kentucky. According to a study, the rule would place about one third of coal related jobs at risk. Furthermore, McConnell has stated that with the new President they will be able to “bring relief from burdensome regulations.”
I believe that it is the government’s job to set reasonable regulations for the welfare of the people. Although sometimes the regulations may cause inconvenience, they are not burdensome when they try to protect the people from environmental hazards. The rule seems to be beneficial for the community considering the fact that it concerns regulating contamination of water and restoring streams. As far as the prosperity of the community is concerned, I think that a community will prosper first and foremostly if the people are healthy, and the new government officials should acknowledge this.