June 20, 2012

Environmental News

Japan's Prime Minister ordered the reactivation of two nuclear reactors, the first to go back online since Fukushima. [NY Times]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed updated clean air standards that will prevent thousands of premature deaths and take steps toward clearing hazy air. The EPA's proposal comes in response to legal action filed on behalf of the American Lung Association and the National Parks Conservation Association by Earthjustice. The groups called upon the EPA to adopt final protections against particle pollution that follow the Clean Air Act's requirements to protect public health and iconic national parks. The agency is also proposing separate standards to limit the visible haze caused by particle pollution in many communities and national parks. 

Breathing particle pollution can cause premature death, heart and lung damage. Soot or particle pollution—a microscopic mixture of smoke, liquid droplets and solid metal particles released by sources such as coal-fired power plants, factories and diesel vehicles— causes thousands of premature deaths, heart attacks and asthma attacks every year. The particles are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream, making soot one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution. [Earth Justice]

Australia creates world's largest marine reserve network

Australia has created the world's largest network of marine reserves and will restrict fishing and oil and gas exploration in a major step to safeguard the environment and access to food.
The area will cover 3.1 million sq km (1.2 million sq miles) of ocean including the entire Coral Sea, and encompass a third of the island continent's territorial waters. The Coral Sea and adjoining Great Barrier Reef will be protected from oil and gas exploration [Guardian]
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