The U.S. Forest Service announced yesterday that it will be logging more than 32,000 acres of California forest scorched by last summer's Rim Fire. The agency contends that removing the burned trees will make money and might help prevent another fire. But scientists and conservationists are condemning the plan, arguing that fire is a natural and necessary process and that Stanislaus National Forest has already begun to regenerate. Logging the “ghost trees,” they say, will only further disrupt the Sierra habitat.
Other things to know this morning:
An explosion at BP’s largest oil refinery rang through the streets of Whiting, Indiana, last night, but thankfully, firefighters have since extinguished the flames. The cause of the blast is not yet known, but BP recently dropped $3.8 billion to renovate the facility so it could process more of Canada’s highly explosive, super-dirty tar sands oil.
A new report estimates that the world burns 40 percent of its garbage, leading to 29 percent of the world’s global particulate matter and 10 percent of toxic mercury emissions.
Seabirds in the northeastern Atlantic and the North Sea are experiencing catastrophic breeding failure. Iceland’s coast, once the “the Serengeti for seabirds,” has gone uncharacteristically quiet from high rates of chick mortality. Scientists suspect that numerous factors—everything from mercury, flame retardants, pesticides, PCBs, microplastics to climate change—could be contributing to the dead chicks and empty nests.
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