Day: December 12, 2012

Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation’s Underground Water Supply

Read the full story by Pro Publica.

Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation’s drinking water.

In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.

EPA records show that portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers have been written off because exemptions have allowed them to be used as dumping grounds.

Biochar Affects Macronutrient Leaching from a Soilless Substrate

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Biochar, a byproduct of pyrolysis, is being used as an alternative fertilizer amendment product in the agriculture industry. The use of biochar is justified by its ability to moderate soil acidity, improve soil microbiological properties and increase water retention, thus decreasing leaching of beneficial nutrients. However, very little is known about how these materials react with commonly used greenhouse container substrates. The objective of this research was to determine the effects of one form of biochar on nutrient retention and release in a typical commercial greenhouse container substrate.

Deadline Extended for Annual Green Ribbon Schools Award Program

The due date for applications for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program has been extended to January 4, 2013. The program recognizes schools taking a comprehensive approach to greening. A comprehensive approach incorporates environmental learning with improving environment and health impacts. Participating schools will be scored on their high achievement in the following three pillars:

  • Reduce environmental impact and costs; and
  • Improve the health and wellness of students and staff; and
  • Provide effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.

Schools demonstrating exemplary achievement in all three pillars will receive the highest rankings.

NOTE: Only state education agencies can nominate schools. Schools that wish to be nominated should contact their state education agency for state application deadlines and further information.

For more information, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/index.html.