Even toxics can act as a generic selection factor in the environment

One of the themes of this blog has been that virtually anything present in the environment can act as a selection factor influencing the course of evolution. A recent study on fish and PCB's and dioxins illustrates this point. Unfortunately for humans, the end result is not necessarily positive or...

9th Circuit upholds California's Vessel Fuel Rules in face of constitutional challenge

Prior posts have noted that California issued Vessel Fuel Rules designed to reduce air pollution created by ships moving along the coast. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Assoc. sued, alleging that it was unconstitutional to apply such rules to shipping more than 3 miles from the California Coast. The District...

NRDC challenge to EPA approval of California CAA SIP fails

California submitted a Clean Air Act State Implementation Plan to the EPA for approval. Pursuant to the "conformity rule" under 40 C.F.R. Section 93.118, the EPA conducted a review to determine whether the SIP's motor vehicle emissions budgets were adequate for transportation conformity...

Smoke from fires can travel thousands of miles impacting weather, climate, and air quality

Prior posts have noted the impact of fires in Southeast Asia on air pollution throughout the region. While it has been known for decades that large wildfires can create or enhance thunderstorm clouds, leading to what are called pyrocumulonimbus clouds ("pyroCbs"), only recently have researchers...

Eighth Circuit "clarifies" issues left unresolved in U.S. Supreme Court's Atlantic Research and Cooper Industries opinions

In 1983, the City sought to restore a long closed well for use as a drinking water resource. It received complaints re taste and odor. The State of Nebraska and EPA investigated, and ultimately the site was added to the NPL in 1986. EPA determined that the VOC contamination originated from seven source...

Diversity not only provides increased stability to ecological communities, it is more efficient for remediating contamination

It has long been an axiom of environmental science that a diverse ecological community (aka biodiversity) is more resilient and productive because it stabilizes the ecological system as a whole. This should not be confused with a focus on an individual species for which the complex interactions within...

Some bacteria found on grocery store meat are resistant to antibiotics, often many antibiotics

Prior posts have noted the unfortunate tendency in much of the world, including the U.S., to over prescribed antibiotics (even for conditions in which antibiotics are of no use whatsoever [e.g., viral infections]), resulting in disease-causing organisms that are resistant to many (if not almost all)...

Humans can transmit diseases to gorillas

Prior posts have noted and described a number of human diseases that had their origin in animals. Now it appears that some diseases can be transmitted from humans to gorillas. Ecotourism has been seen as a boon for countries with "interesting" biota; it provides funding for protection of...

Under California's Polanco Act, owners of a right-of-way to property are not owners or operators for subsurface contamination they did not cause and had no duty to investigate

California's Polanco Act provides a powerful (some would say one sided) tool for Redevelopment Agencies to force the remediation of a site subject to redevelopment, or to cause PRP's to reimburse such agencies for the remedial cost outlays. [As an aside, it should be noted that Governor Brown...

The manufacturer of PCE dry cleaning machine filtering system is not a CERCLA arranger

Since 1980, Team Enterprises, LLC leased space in a shopping center in Modesto, California, where it operated a dry cleaning store. From 1980 to 2004, Team used PCE in its dry cleaning equipment, and the machines generated wastewater containing PCE. Team used Puritan Rescue 800 filter-and-still combination...