Interior unveils guidance for getting coal mine cleanup money

Read the full story at E&E News.

The Biden administration has unveiled guidance for states and some Indigenous communities seeking to tap $725 million in grant funding to clean up abandoned coal mine sites.

The Interior Department released a draft outline today guiding states and communities that are part of the Navajo Nation on how they can apply for some of the first $725 million of $11.3 billion in funding made available over 15 years from the bipartisan infrastructure law passed last year. The funding can be used for cleaning up old coal mining sites left behind by operators without being reclaimed.

Climate change likely to reduce the amount of sleep that people get per year

Read the full story from Cell Press.

Most research looking at the impact of climate change on human life has focused on how extreme weather events affect economic and societal health outcomes on a broad scale. Yet climate change may also have a strong influence on fundamental daily human activities — including a host of behavioral, psychological, and physiological outcomes that are essential to wellbeing. Investigators now report that increasing ambient temperatures negatively impact human sleep around the globe.

New strategies to save rice, the world’s most indispensable grain

Read the full story from the University of California-Riverside.

Plants — they’re just like us, with unique techniques for handling stress. To save one of the most important crops on Earth from extreme climate swings, scientists are mapping out plants’ own stress-busting strategies. Biologists have learned what happens to the roots of rice plants when they’re confronted with two types of stressful scenarios: too much water, or too little. These observations form the basis of new protective strategies.

Poll the audience: Using data from citizen science to keep wild birds in flight

Read the full story from Utah State University.

New research examines the accuracy of information produced by citizen science apps for monitoring bird populations and found that it could actually offer a lot of utility for researchers, with some caveats.

Habitat protection alone doesn’t guarantee species protection

Read the full story at Anthropocene.

In a wide-ranging study, scientists tracked how 27,000 waterbird populations fared in 1,500 protected areas—compared to similar unprotected areas . Their results are instructive.

Contaminated water from Florida mining facility dumped a year’s worth of hazardous nutrients into Tampa Bay in just 10 days, study shows

Read the full story from CBS News.

All it took was 10 days to devastate the waters of Tampa Bay for months. The nearly “catastrophic failure” of Piney Point, a former phosphate mining facility, unleashed millions of gallons of untreated wastewater into local waterways, and new research, published on the anniversary the leak at the facility began, reveals just how devastating it was. 

The incident began last year when the company in charge of Piney Point, HRK Holdings, found a tear in the liner of a gypsum stack. That liner is what essentially prevents millions of gallons of mining wastewater and dredged materials from seeping through a phosphogypsum stack – a massive mound made up of phosphorus mining byproduct. That leak started to impact the structural integrity of the entire stack, prompting officials to evacuate residents over concern that the stack would totally collapse and unleash a massive wave of water.

To prevent that from happening, officials had to pump that wastewater into local waterways. Over the course of 10 days, more than 215 million gallons of wastewater filled with environmentally toxic levels of nutrients were unleashed into Tampa Bay.

Upper Peninsula tribes work to restore wild rice in areas contaminated by mining

Read the full story from the Detroit News.

Dangerous metals such as arsenic and mercury have been found in wild rice beds located on the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community reservation and surrounding areas, according to research from Michigan Technological University scientists and their associates.

The contamination is a toxic legacy of copper mining in the western Upper Peninsula.

Green Jobs Now: Illinois

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We estimate that there are over 30,712 workers across core, enabled, and enabling green jobs
in Illinois’ green economy, and there were 9,045 green job openings in the state in 2021. By
comparison, this is more than twice the demand for general accountants in Illinois. Demand for
these green workers is also growing rapidly, which may put a strain on the training community
helping to develop the next generation of green workers. We project that in the next five years,
employment for green jobs will increase by 6.5%.

Green jobs have shown stability in Illinois in recent years. Looking from 2018 through 2021,
there has been steady and significant demand for core, enabled, and enabling green jobs. While
we see demand across Illinois for green workers, the greatest concentration is in the Chicago
metro area with 71.5% of all green job postings in 2021. The strong uptick in green job demand
in 2021 in Illinois is an indication that the green economy in the state is strengthening. Coupled
with projected demand above the national average for the next five years, there is a promising
outlook for green jobs in the state.

Working out the details of a circular solar economy

Read the full story from NREL.

A new software model helps researchers consider what to do with end-of-life solar modules, guiding society toward a circular economy for these materials.

Animated map of EV charging stations shows huge dead zones around the country

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Electric vehicles are clearly the future, but their mass adoption is somewhat hindered by infrastructure rollout—namely, the charging stations that drivers need to keep them powered, especially on long cross-country trips.

But data compiled from geographic information systems firm Esri shows that some areas of the United States are doing better than others when it comes to charging stations. Using data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, Esri has made an interactive map that shows the charging stations along major U.S. interstate routes that are over 1,000 miles long.