Washington State has just completed the largest dam removal project in the world—demolishing the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam to return the Elwha River watershed to a more natural state. Watch it all come down with three year’s worth of time-lapse footage from National Park Service webcams. As Slate’s Jim Festante explains, workers had to remove 27 million cubic yards of sediment that had been collecting in the river for about a century. And all that hard wark is already paying off: salmon are starting to rebound, along with a Dungeness crab population that is enjoying 70 acres of new beach.
Other things to know this morning:
A New Orleans judge ruled yesterday that BP was “grossly negligent” in the case of the 2010 Gulf oil spill (its subcontractors Transocean and Halliburton were found “negligent”). Under the Clean Water Act, the addition of that one little word—grossly—could slap BP with four times the amount of fines, potentially raising the bill to $18 billion. Sidenote: on the night before the ruling, BP spokesperson Geoff Morrell told a conference hall full of environmental journalists that it was their fault BP hasn’t been given a fair shake. Hmm…
A new study says that scientists are now more than 99.999 percent sure that human activity is responsible for global warming. Well, sounds like that’s settled (again). Moving on …
A big case concerning the fate of the proposed Keystone XL kicks off in Nebraska’s Supreme Court today. Governor Dave Heineman is asking the court to uphold a lower court’s decision to allow the pipeline to traverse the state—a ruling that would effectively force President Obama to decide on the controversial project once and for all (though likely not before the November elections). A decision to overturn the ruling, however, would delay KXL indefinitely.
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