Environment

Athlete group use Olympics to push for climate action

Source: 
The Hill

A group of 105 Winter Olympics athletes competing in Sochi, Russia have signed a letter urging the international community to take decisive action on climate change, The Hill reports.

Lawmakers take different approaches to California drought aid

Source: 
The Wall Street Journal

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced a $300 million California drought aid bill that counters legislation passed by House Republicans to weaken federal conservation efforts in a bid to get more water to farmers, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

Chinese villagers attack polluting factory, police

BEIJING (AP) — Villagers in southwestern China infuriated by a factory that was polluting the environment smashed its offices and equipment, and later clashed with police, underscoring the potential for such concerns to trigger violent unrest.

Residents of Baha, a village in Yunnan province, said Wednesday that police were arresting people involved in Friday's clash at the local police station. The official Xinhua News Agency said police had identified 16 suspects.

Three villagers reached by phone said they had grown increasingly angry over a local metalwork factory that had been coughing up black smoke and discharging polluted wastewater into the rural area.

Senate Homeland Security hearing on exteme weather costs

Washington, February 12, 2014, 10:00 am

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, "Extreme Weather Events: The Costs of Not Being Prepared." Homeland Security Department Asst. Secretary for Policy David F. Heyman, Asst. Secretary for Infrastructure Protection Caitlin A. Durkovich to testify.

 

 

NH explosion investigation focuses on acid room

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) — A factory explosion that blew out windows and injured more than a dozen people likely originated in a room where acid is used to treat the surface of ball bearings, but it could be weeks before the exact cause is determined, investigators said Tuesday.

The Monday afternoon blast at New Hampshire Ball Bearings Inc. shattered glass, dislodged ceiling tiles and damaged walls, though the building was stable enough for investigators to work inside Tuesday. Deputy Fire Marshal Max Schultz said the on-site investigation was expected to end later in the day, and the building would then be turned over to company officials for cleanup and repairs.

The plant makes parts for the aerospace industry and employs 700 people. Company spokeswoman Kathy Gerrity said there would have been about 450 working at the time of the blast, which happened just after a 3:30 p.m. shift change. No one was in close proximity to the blast, Schultz said.

US to crack down on ivory to protect elephants

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is cracking down on the sale and purchase of ivory in hopes of curbing a surge in illicit poaching that's threatening to wipe out elephants and other species in Africa.

The ivory ban is a key component of a new, national strategy for combating wildlife trafficking, unveiled Tuesday by the White House, seven months after President Barack Obama issued a call to action during a visit to Tanzania. In addition, the U.S. will seek to strengthen global enforcement and international cooperation to fight an illicit trade estimated to total about $10 billion per year.

"We're seeing record-high demand for wildlife products," said Grant Harris, who heads Africa policy for the White House's National Security Council. "The result is an explosion of illicit trade and wildlife trafficking in recent years."

Atlanta area braces for ice storm; 4 die in Texas

ATLANTA (AP) — Emergency management workers in the Atlanta area were preparing to spring into action as rain — and temperatures — were falling early Wednesday, potentially leading to "catastrophic" ice conditions across the region.

Already, Georgia Power was reporting thousands of power outages around the state. And forecasters and officials said the number of outages would probably grow throughout the day. In north Georgia, morning snow was falling. Other areas of the South, from Louisiana to South Carolina, and the mid-Atlantic also are expected to get socked with a wintry mix of ice, snow and freezing rain.

Atlanta and the surrounding region dodged the first punch of a dangerous winter storm Tuesday, but forecasters warned that the second punch would likely bring a thick layer of ice and heavy winds that could knock out power to thousands and leave people stranded in their cold, dark homes for days. National Weather Service forecasters used unusual dire language in warnings and memos early Wednesday, and they said that while a foot of snow could fall in some parts of Georgia, "it is the ice that will have the catastrophic impacts."

Drought prompts fear of earlier, more intense wildfire season

Source: 
Bloomberg

California's ongoing drought has resulted in 487 wildfires so far this year, up from just two in the same period last year, causing concern among state officials that the drought could help fuel a more sustained, intense wildfire season, Bloomberg reports.

Wednesday night storm expected to hit DC

Source: 
The Washington Post

What's forecasted to be one of the biggest snowstorms of the season is expected to hit Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night into Thursday, The Washington Post reports.

First responders probe explosion at NH plant

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) — First responders are working to determine what caused an explosion at a ball bearings plant that shattered windows, shook walls and sent at least 15 people to the hospital.

Monday afternoon's blast at the New Hampshire Ball Bearings Inc. plant in Peterborough is being investigated but all indications were that it was an industrial-related incident, said Peterborough Fire Department spokesman Eric Bowman. There didn't appear to be any environmental damage.

Plant machine operator Paul Clark said he was outside in the parking lot when he heard the explosion.

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