Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Facebook

Share
TV Rots the Brain (and the Earth), Oil Deforms Lil’ Fishies, Hare Today, Lunch Tomorrow!
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Midnight dumper: Let me tell you about a guy in Youngstown, Ohio, who likes to pour stuff down the drain—not prescription drugs (bad idea), but thousands and thousands of gallons of a black chemical brine full of benzene and toluene (even worse idea) that eventually wound up in the Mahoning River watershed. Ben Lupo dumped the waste from his excavating business after dark, when all the other employees went home. After initially denying the crime, Lupo pled guilty this week to federal Clean Water Act violations and now faces up to three years in prison, a year of supervised release, and fines up to $250,000. Associated Press

Fry gone awry: After the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and spill, BP was quick to downplay the impact its 800,000 errant barrels of oil would have on the Gulf's wildlife. But in a study released this week, scientists exposed baby tuna and amberjack to crude oil collected from the spill and found that the fish developed heart and other deformities. The developmental problems would probably kill some of the fish outright and lead to shortened lives for the others, and according to the researchers, the same might happen to other large predator fish like marlin and swordfish. The findings will figure into the final assessment of what BP has to pay for damages related to the Gulf Spill, so it's no surprise the oil company is calling the report a bunch of baloney. New York Times

Meet the press: Residents in Richmond, California, have two options for local news. There’s the online news site Richmond Confidential, which often writes critically of the local Chevron refinery concerning its history of pollution and explosions. And then there’s the Richmond Standard, a rival site owned by Chevron masquerading as a legitimate news source. In the realm of journalistic ethics, I’m pretty sure this is a can-open-worms-everywhere type situation. Grist

Fashion faux paws: Snowshoe hares change their dye-job just twice a year. The rabbits are white in the winter and brown in the summer. But now that climate change is melting the snow earlier, the hares stick out like sore white thumbs on a brown background. Worse still, the hares don’t seem to notice that their fur doesn’t match their surroundings. Their predators, of course, have taken note. Conservation Magazine

Near-death valley: California’s landmark drought is only the most recent in a long string of water problems for the southern San Joaquin Valley. The area was basically a desert to begin with, but decades of unsustainable land management and farming practices have driven the valley straight into the big dry. In fact, when the government got the idea to turn the land into a preserve for native plant and animal species (many of them endangered), some farmers were happy to sell off their acres and get out of the game. (The land was so close to death, they’d probably have to stop farming soon anyway.) Unfortunately, the program to restore the San Joaquin Valley will more or less shut down next year thanks to a lack of funds. San Francisco Gate

TV graveyard: Flat-screen televisions have become so inexpensive, that they are replacing more and more of our traditional hunks of glass and wood. And that means old TVs are hitting the curb and the landfills more than ever. (Though in my neck of the woods, it’s common practice to use your old TV as a stand for the new TV.) But each old cathode on the junk heap is a miniature bomb of environmental toxins waiting to go off. In addition to a mixture of other toxic metals, the glass of an old TV is laced with lead, and there are very few places that are willing to recycle it. So far the problem has no good solution. In fact, one environmental watchdog group says the best strategy may be to bury the suckers in leak-proof landfills and hope someone invents a way to use the materials in the future. Wired

DAILY DISTRACTION

Honesty is the best policy: After decades of hemming and hawing about half-measures and misdirection, there’s finally a fossil fuel company willing to tell it like it is. Its profit motives are completely at odds with the values of water-drinking, air-breathing human beings—and it's come to terms with that. In fact, the company made a whole video to explain its point of view, and I think its catchy new slogan is really going to catch on. YouTube

OTHER HEADLINES

Scientists Condemn New FDA Study Saying BPA Is Safe: “It Borders on Scientific Misconduct” Mother Jones

Beneath Cities, a Decaying Tangle of Gas Pipes New York Times

Politicians from Disaster-Prone States Lead the Fight Against Real Disaster Reforms Slate

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

Like this article? Donate to NRDC to support OnEarth's groundbreaking nonprofit journalism.