Media Release: Myall Coast Beaches Closed to 4WDs


The link below is to a media release concerning the closure of Myall Coast beaches to vehicles due to weather conditions.

For more visit:
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/media/OEHmedia1306201300.htm

World Heritage Areas: Five New Sites


The link below is to an article that reports on five new World Heritage Areas.

For more visit:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/06/pictures/130621-five-new-unesco-world-heritage-sites-conservation-environment/

Giant, oil-belching sinkhole dooms more than 100 homes in Louisiana


Grist

It’s looking like a neighborhood in Assumption Parish, La., has been permanently wiped out by a sloppy salt-mining company.

A sinkhole in the area has grown to 15 acres since an old salt mine that was emptied to supply the local petrochemical industry with brine began collapsing in August. Hundreds of neighbors were long ago evacuated, and many of them are now accepting that they will never return to their homes.

The sinkhole isn’t just endangering homes, it is also burping out oil, natural gas, and debris, shaking the area so powerfully that seismic equipment is being used to monitor the site. And brine from the sinkhole is in danger of contaminating local waterways. This thing is so big it even has its own Facebook page.

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Study links fracking to drinking water pollution


Grist

faucet and glassWhile the EPA has been dumping and delaying studies of fracking’s effects on drinking water, new academic research reveals that people who live near natural gas wells in Pennsylvania are drinking the same gases that the frackers are pumping out from the shale beneath their feet.

Researchers from Duke University, the University of Rochester, and California State Polytechnic University found dissolved methane, which is the main ingredient in natural gas, in water pumped from 82 percent of drinking water wells sampled in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Methane can occur naturally in the area (that’s what draws frackers there). But the researchers’ study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that levels of the gas were far higher in drinking water wells located close to fracking operations than in other areas.

Here’s a bullet-pointed summary of major findings, for any higher-ups at the EPA who might still care about what fracking is…

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Australia: The Superb Lyrebird


The link below is to an article (that includes an embedded video) on the Superb Lyrebird of Australia.

For more visit:
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/lyrebirds-dance-to-different-beats.htm

Australia: Earthquakes


ABOVE: Aftermath of the Newcastle Earthquake

The link below is to an article that takes a look at earthquakes in Australia.

For more visit:
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/earthquakes-in-australia-more-common-than-you-think.htm

Media Release: Update on Warrumbungle National Park


The link below is to a media release with the latest information regarding the rehabilitation of Warrumbungle National Park following the devastating bushfires that swept through the park. Progress is continuing and various sections of the park have now been reopened.

For more visit:
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/media/OEHMedia13062701.htm

Will dumping Australia’s climate-savvy prime minister help the climate?


Grist

In terms of climate policy, Australians face a choice between fairly good and downright evil in an upcoming federal election.

The face of evil belongs to climate skeptic Tony Abbott, leader of the opposition Liberal Party (which, in topsy-turvy Down Under fashion, is in fact conservative).

And the face of relative good is … in some disarray at the moment. Power brokers in the Labor Party, which narrowly holds power in the country, this week stripped the prime ministership away from Julia Gillard and handed it back to former leader Kevin Rudd. They believe this move will help them win the election, which is tentatively scheduled for September.

The stakes are high. Australia is among the world’s worst per-person contributors to climate change. The country is a huge producer of coal, exporting a lot and consuming a good bit itself. And it’s been suffering heavily from climate change in recent…

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In win for fish, oil companies allowed to abandon old rigs


Grist

For all the harm that the oil and gas industry inflicts on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, it does offer the marine ecosystem at least one big benefit. Offshore oil-drilling rigs serve as artificial reefs, providing shelter for animals and an anchor for plants, coral, and barnacles. Yet once a well is tapped, the federal government has required the drilling company to uproot its rig to help clear clutter that could obstruct shipping.

Following complaints from fishermen and conservationists, however, the Obama administration is easing those rules. It announced this week that it is making it easier for states to designate abandoned drilling infrastructure as special artificial reef sites.

The move is a win-win. Fish, turtles, and other wildlife get to keep their underwater metropolises — and drilling companies can save on the costs of rig removal. From Fuel Fix:

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