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11-4: Five quick things for your Saturday
Saturday November 04th 2017, 1:16 PM

What’s striking is how so much coverage of the federal government’s

new climate assessment

takes Trump to task:

AP’s Seth Borenstein:


As President Donald Trump touts new oil pipelines and pledges to revive the nation’s struggling coal mines, federal scientists are warning that burning fossil fuels is already driving a steep increase in the United States of heat waves, droughts and floods.

Two weeks into our new look, and we continue to refine and adjust it. Like it? Loathe it? Let us know how we can better serve you.

It’s time to be loud: We deliver news that drives the discussion on environmental health and climate change.

Drop us a line at

feedback@ehn.org

(“Attaboys” always welcome).


  1. New Jersey sets new PFOA level below Vermont standard.

    New Jersey last week set its safe drinking water standard for the chemical PFOA at 14 parts per trillion, 30 percent lower than Vermont’s standard. (Vermont Public Radio)

  2. Louisville neighborhoods use trees to fend off heart disease.

    The poets were right all along: Trees are a drug, in ways marvelous and often misunderstood. We underestimate at our peril the powers of a walk in the woods. (USA Today)

    (thanks to Univ. of Louisville’s Alex Carll for pointing us to that story)

  3. Will the bird that dodged a bullet pay the price of peace?

    “Armed conflict is good for preventing deforestation.” (Mike Shanahan, Under the Banyan)

As ice shelves crumble and the Twitter president threatens to pull out of the Paris accord, author Jonathan Franzen reflects on

the role of the writer in time of crisis

(The Guardian)

Those are my kids (and dog), at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday.

Eleven inches of snow

fell overnight in Bozeman, Montana.

It’s ski swap weekend here, and people are already to find a sweet deal on winter gear. I told my kids we weren’t moving the car until the driveway was clear.

Amazing how much energy a motivated kid has.

Today’s gift in Bozeman is reminder for us all: Get outside and enjoy the weather. It’s beautiful out there.

Winter’s coming. We all have chores to do. Let’s make this simple: Five quick hits to keep you up to date on our environment and health.


[News Source]

New Jersey sets new PFOA level below Vermont standard
Saturday November 04th 2017, 12:08 PM

New Jersey last week set its safe drinking water standard for the chemical PFOA at 14 parts per trillion, 30 percent lower than Vermont’s standard.


After PFOA showed up in private wells in Bennington, Vermont regulators set the limit at 20 ppt, then one of the lowest standards in the country.

Limits on PFOA – a key ingredient in Teflon, Gore Tex and a variety of high-tech plastics – aren’t set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Key takeaway:

A state like New Jersey has more resources to put together its own science investigations, while Vermont relies on Environmental Protection Agency studies. Scientists in New Jersey settled on the lower standard after years of research.

Vermont Public Radio’s Howard Weiss-Tisman has the story.

[News Source]

Full extent of chromium plume remains unknown
Saturday November 04th 2017, 11:58 AM

Since 2005, Los Alamos National Laboratory has acknowledged a significant concentration of hexavalent chromium well above state limits pooled in the aquifer under Los Alamos.

[News Source]

The new coal crisis
Saturday November 04th 2017, 11:55 AM

You can’t end the war on coal without starting a war on public health.

[News Source]

Ohio sues gas pipeline developer over pollution violations
Saturday November 04th 2017, 11:49 AM

Ohio’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the builders of a natural gas pipeline, saying it polluted wetlands and waterways.

[News Source]

US scientists contradict Trump’s climate claims
Saturday November 04th 2017, 11:45 AM

As President Donald Trump touts new oil pipelines and pledges to revive the nation’s struggling coal mines, federal scientists are warning that burning fossil fuels is already driving a steep increase in the United States of heat waves, droughts and floods.

[News Source]

Will the bird that dodged a bullet pay the price of peace?
Saturday November 04th 2017, 11:37 AM

“Armed conflict is good for preventing deforestation.”


The Blue-billed Curassow is a secretive bird that skulks in dark corners of moist forests, foraging for insects and fallen fruit, Mike Shanahan writes.

English zoologist Louis Fraser, encountering this turkey-sized bird in 1850, named it

Crax alberti

, after Queen Victoria’s “illustrious consort, His Royal Highness Prince Albert.” It lives only in Colombia’s mountainous rain forests.

Less than 200 years later, between 150 and 700 Curassows remain. And this, Shanahan tells us, is where things get crazy.

Because while Colombia’s 52-year civil war with the guerrilla movement FARC killed some 270,000 and displaced 7 million more, that violence “also protected large portions of the natural wealth that will be key to Colombia’s future.”

Shanahan is a ecologist by training (with a doctorate from the University of Leeds) who has spent years working in environmental justice and science. In 2016 he published ”

Gods, Wasps and Stranglers

,” a fascinating read about how figs have shaped our world, influence cultures and can help restore our forests.

His story of the Curassow is another good, but bitter, tale.

[News Source]