Sign Up for Our Newsletter


Whooping Cranes Make Whoopie, Muck-Eating Mushrooms, Stop with the Rat Poison Already!
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Goldilocks and the three judges: The Environmental Protection Agency has a rule known as MATS that allows it to set pollution limits for mercury and air toxics emitted from power plants and assess threats to human health. States, utilities, and industry groups have argued for years that the rule is too hard on industry by imposing unfair costs on power producers. Meanwhile, some environmentalists argue that MATS is too soft on polluters and should do more to limit harmful emissions. But a panel of three judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled this week that the EPA’s rule is juuuust right. Three cheers for the Goldilocks rule—because any law that eliminates 90 percent of mercury pollution, 88 percent of acid gas emissions, and 41 percent of sulfur dioxide from coal-fired power plants a perfect cup of porridge. Politico

Mission accomplished (sorta, not really): Nearly four years after dumping millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP announcing this week that it has ended the “active cleanup” phase of Louisiana’s coast. Now, this doesn’t mean it's done cleaning, or that there’s nothing left to clean—far from it—but the oil company is shifting its strategy. Coast Guard teams and BP cleanup crews will now focus on re-oiling events (when stretches of beach that were cleaned become contaminated again) and responding to new reports. The state still receives new reports of oil daily, and any extreme weather such as a hurricane is likely to kick up even more. Times-Picayune

Nunya Business Inc: After a string of high-profile train accidents (see "An Accident Waiting to Happen"), the public has started to ask questions about routing choices and safety precautions when it comes to transporting oil by rail. All too often, the railroad companies hide behind a veil of federal protections. For instance, when an oil train derailed in Westford, Massachusetts, the town’s manager and fire chief went to investigate. But before they even got to the site, Pan Am Railways threatened to have them arrested for trespassing on railroad property. New York Times

Collateral damage: When you set a rat trap you may catch a mountain lion, bobcat, or coyote instead. Scientists have found that 88 percent of animals tested around Los Angeles were positive for one or more anticoagulant compounds commonly found in rat poison. In mountain lions, they suspect the poisons contribute to mange, and many other animals have been found dead as a result of internal bleeding. Los Angeles Times

What goes around… : We hear of some hideous new level of air pollution in Asia almost every week. We gawk, we tsk, and then we go about our day. But what if I told you all that air pollution thousands of miles away actually has an effect on life right here in the U.S. of A.? A new study says pollution overseas is likely exacerbating the effects of climate change worldwide—bringing increased storm intensity and frequency, ice cap melting, sea level rise, and drought. Further proof that we’re all huddled in the same life raft—even though some of us won’t stop playing with sharp objects. Al Jazeera America

Toadstool to the rescue: The dudes looking for oil in the Amazon rainforest aren’t what you’d call responsible when it comes to the environment. In fact, they have longstanding rep for polluting groundwater and making the soil toxic. But now a crowd-funded experiment seeks to clean up that mess by unleashing an army of mushrooms that can break down toxic compounds such as petroleum hydrocarbons and heavy metal concentrations. They call it the Amazon Mycorenewal Project. And if the campaign raises enough funds, they’ll even bring their ‘shroom show to West Virginia to see how the fungi do with coal ash. Mother Nature Network


Do not disturb: The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that a mating pair of whooping cranes have laid eggs in the state for the first time in 70 years. There are only about 600 cranes left in the wild, so every breeding pair and egg is a miracle at this point. Just don’t go and try to congratulate the couple—the LDWF is keeping their location super secret. The Dodo


State Postpones Decision on Endangered Species Protections for Wolves Los Angeles Times

The Tax Breaks That Are Killing the Planet The Nation

This Giant Vacuum Will Suck the Pollution Out of Rivers Grist

Supreme Court Could Make It Harder for Victims of Hazardous Pollutants to Get Justice Huffington Post

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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