Alaska gas leak endangering beluga whales won’t be fixed until the ice melts

March 6, 2017 by  
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A leaking natural gas pipeline in Cook Inlet, Alaska won’t be fixed until the ice melts – continuing to flow unchecked into a habitat for endangered beluga whales. Inside Climate News reports that Hilcorp Alaska, the company responsible for the leak, says it won’t be able repair the damage until later this month, at the earliest, due to concerns over safety for its workers. The 8-inch underwater pipeline has been leaking about 120,000 to 310,000 cubic feet of natural gas per day into the ocean since Feb. 7, 2017. “Given the typical weather patterns affecting ice formation and dissipation in Cook Inlet, we currently anticipate that the earliest that the conditions will allow diving will be in mid-to-late March,” wrote Hilcorp Alaska Senior Vice President, David Wilkins. Doing so before that date would likely make it unsafe for the divers who have to head underwater to fix the leak. But it would be appear to be a case of humans vs. whales, as the oil is leaking into a critical habitat for endangered beluga whales . Bob Shavelson, or the Alaska non-profit Cook Inletkeepe r, have concerns that methane in the leaking gas could displace oxygen in the water and create hypoxic zones that could be dangerous for the roughly 340 belugas in the area. Related: Hundreds of whales die in New Zealand’s third largest mass stranding As Inside Climate News reports, Alaska’s Department of Environment Conservation says Hilcorp didn’t respond to its request for a plan to monitor the leak and environmental impacts. Without such data the state agency can’t assess the threat posed by leak to Cook Inlet. The state has since asked Hilcorp to provide a plan by March 8 – more than a month after the leak began. In a letter to Alaska’s DEC, Hilcorp says the amount of dissolved methane coming from the leak is so minimal that it’s not toxic to aquatic organisms, and that belugas tend to avoid areas covered in ice – meaning that there are likely no belugas around the area of the leak. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says otherwise. In a recent letter the agency noted that Cook Inlet belugas tend to prefer ice cover, to the point that their presence has become associated with that of ice. “If a significant hypoxic zone is created by a continuing natural gas discharge,” the NOAA explained, “Cook Inlet belugas and multiple [physical and biological features] of their critical habitat could be adversely affected.” Via Inside Climate News Images via fooey and briangratwke , Flickr Creative Commons and Frank K , Wikimedia Commons

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Alaska gas leak endangering beluga whales won’t be fixed until the ice melts

Hygienic Thresher Sharks Head to "Cleaner Stations" To Stay Healthy (Video)

March 18, 2011 by  
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What do thresher sharks do when they feel like they need a spiff-me-up? Apparently there are specific cleaning zones they visit to allow cleaner fish to pick off parasites. BBC News reports that scientists filmed sharks off the coast of the Philippines visiting a tropical seamount that is a habitat for just such cleaner fish — and also a popular vacation spot for the sharks

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Hygienic Thresher Sharks Head to "Cleaner Stations" To Stay Healthy (Video)

The All-Star List of Minimalist Blogs

March 18, 2011 by  
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I was just forwarded an outstanding list of minimalist blogs (hat tip to Brad from Highly Uncivilized ) and I think I just figured out what my weekend reading is going to consist of. Comprised of over 120 of the best blogs on the net for minimalist living, prepared to be a little overwhelmed by the long list from Minimalist Packrat . It promises to provide you some outstanding reading on living with less and thinning out your possessions — just in time for Spring cleaning an..

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The All-Star List of Minimalist Blogs

Ford’s Giant Green Roof Started Ten Years Ago; How Things Have Changed

December 29, 2010 by  
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Image Credit: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities It’s ten years since the start of construction of the green roof on top of the big River Rouge plant. Kevin described it in TreeHugger in 2004: “The 10.4 acre sedum roof insulates the building, provides a habitat for birds and insects, produces oxygen to offset the factory’s carbon dioxide emissions, and purifies rainwater. “Instead of having a chemical-based storm water treatment plant,” Ford says, “this system mimics nature.” TreeHugger hero

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Ford’s Giant Green Roof Started Ten Years Ago; How Things Have Changed

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