Drinking water for 170 million Americans tainted by radiation

January 12, 2018 by  
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Up to 170 million Americans in all fifty states may be exposed to radiation-tainted drinking water . Using data from 50,000 public water systems, the Environmental Working Group found that more than 22,000 utilities reported the presence of radium in treated drinking water between 2010 and 2015. Although only a small number of these systems had radium levels that exceeded the legal limits put in place by the EPA in 1976, these guidelines are in need of an update to ensure the public is aware of potential risks — which should be minimized. Perhaps unsurprisingly, President Trump ‘s nominee to be the White House environmental czar, Kathleen Hartnett White, does not even believe in the science behind the EPA’s current, insufficient standard for radium monitoring. Although the amount of radiation in the drinking water is minimal, there is a risk to public health, particularly if standards and policy are not based on the latest science. “Most radioactive elements in tap water come from natural sources, but that doesn’t take away the need to protect people through stronger standards and better water treatment,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., EWG’s senior science advisor for children’s environmental health. “Millions of Americans are drinking water with potentially harmful levels of radioactive elements, but the outdated federal standards mean many people don’t know about the risk they face when they turn on the tap.” In Texas, about 80 percent of the water tested contained detectable levels of two radium isotopes. While Trump nominee Kathleen Hartnett White was the Lone Star State’s top environmental regulator, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality would alter the numbers to make it seem that tap water in Texas met federal standards. Related: “Raw water” craze draws concern from health professionals During an 2011 investigation, Hartnett White admitted that she did not believe in the science that supported the EPA guidelines. When asked by a reporter what would come if Harnett White was wrong and the EPA was right, she simply said that “it would be regrettable.” After Harnett White admitted to the United States Senate that Texas did indeed alter data, her nomination was rejected. Nonetheless, the Trump White House decided to renominate her in hopes that senators would let her negligence slide. “Putting someone in charge of CEQ who deliberately falsified data to get around federal regulations is outrageous, and the fact that her deception left people at serious risk of cancer is even more alarming,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s vice president of government affairs. “The Senate should reject this radioactive nominee.” Via EWG Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Drinking water for 170 million Americans tainted by radiation

Rundown 1970s A-frame cabin transformed into light-filled modern getaway

January 12, 2018 by  
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Proving that a little sweat and ingenuity makes for great design, this formerly outdated A-frame cabin in Big Bear, California underwent a major transformation at the hands of its owner. Courtney Poulos loved her 880-square-foot cabin – but not its 1970s look – so she gave the space a modern makeover the preserves its rustic charm. Reforming the 1973 wood cabin would not be an easy task, principally because of budget and time restraints. Working with $40,000 and five weeks time, the rehabilitation of the space was even more complicated thanks to the fact that all of the materials had to be hauled up the mountainside. Related: Renovated 1960s A-frame cabin proves that clever design triumphs over square footage With a little interior design help from Nicole Palczynski of Vein Design , Poulos began the project with a few key focus points to guide the design theme, “We wanted to create a handsome space full of butterscotch and whiskey undertones, dark woods, and light accents,” she remembers. Starting in the interior, the ceiling’s high wood beams were painted a dark ebony that made the other features such as the light wooden paneling on the walls and the hearth’s brick base stand out. The kitchen also has a new look thanks adding a fresh coat of paint to the existing solid wood cabinets. A fun, bohemian theme was used to update the bedrooms using patterned textiles and saturated colors. The renovation also focused on bringing as much natural light to the interior as possible. After the project was finished, Poulos was amazed at how much she could do on a limited budget, “You don’t necessarily need to limit your creativity to a conventional cabin design,” she says. “It was a treat to maintain the balance between the vintage architectural space and the modern finishes for a covetable end result.” + Courtney Poulos Via Dwell Images via Courtney Poulos

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Rundown 1970s A-frame cabin transformed into light-filled modern getaway

Dubai’s new self-sufficient floating villas can withstand rising seas

January 12, 2018 by  
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Millions of people will be displaced by rising sea levels – but these floating homes are designed to weather the storm. Waterstudio is building a community of 33 villas to float on top of the water so that they won’t be inundated by sea rise. Construction of the community – dubbed Amillarah – starts this month with developer Dutch Docklands off the coast of Dubai. Sea levels could rise 3 feet by 2100, which could flood a good portion of the United Arab Emirates. These buoyed homes are designed to float on top of the water, and they wouldn’t lack the luxuries of your typical villa. Each one will feature a swimming pool complete with patio, trees, and landscaping. Each artificial island will vary from 150,000 square feet to 450,000 square feet. Related: INHABITAT INTERVIEW: Koen Olthuis of WaterStudio.nl talks about design for a Water World Leave your car on land, because the only way to reach these homes is via seaplane or boat. If you want to take advantage of ocean-front property without the flooding risk, you’d better start saving your pennies, because they start at 23 million dollars each. Waterstudio says the concrete base of each villa is built to last 100 years and the bases can help create an underwater habitat for sea life. Buyers can design their own island, and each one is self-sufficient. Waterstudio is well-known for their floating architecture , which includes a floating neighborhood in Amsterdam and

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Dubai’s new self-sufficient floating villas can withstand rising seas

EPA cancels plan to clean up polluting Texas coal plants

October 6, 2017 by  
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Big Brown, a coal -fired Texas power plant, spews out sulfur dioxide at rates as much as 50 times higher than coal plants fitted with newer technology. Under President Barack Obama , the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aimed to clean up Big Brown and six other Texas plants in three to five years. But President Donald Trump’s EPA, headed by Scott Pruitt , just released a final rule that will enable these polluting plants to keep on pumping lung irritants into the air. Big Brown and the other six plants together generate more sulfur dioxide pollution than power stations from over 25 states combined, according to Sierra Club senior attorney Elena Saxonhouse. She wrote the former EPA had slated the stations for cleanup, “setting emission limits for sulfur dioxide consistent with modern scrubbers,” equipment that can yank out sulfur dioxide before it billows out of a plant’s smokestacks. The two boilers at Big Brown and nine other coal-fired boilers don’t have scrubbers at all. Four other boilers also part of the proposal do have scrubbers, but they’re from the 1970’s and don’t work as well as modern technology. Related: Trump administration halts study on health risks of living near coal mining sites But it seems Pruitt doesn’t care about harmful pollutants. He tossed out the proposed rule for a final rule Sierra Club described as a do-nothing plan, where Big Brown and the other plants can go on polluting as normal. Saxonhouse wrote in an article for Sierra Club, “Pruitt’s decision to scrap the proposed clean air protections fits a pattern of backward-looking decisions in this Administration , which has tied itself in knots trying to prop up the coal industry .” The cleanup plan would have implemented the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze program. The proposed upgrades would have removed over 180,000 tons of sulfur dioxide pollution a year. One analysis found the proposal could have saved over 600 lives every single year. But the final rule means the coal plants can keep polluting, potentially leading to harmful health impacts for humans. According to Saxonhouse, “In making this about-face, EPA had to shove aside reams of technical and scientific data prepared by the previous administration, and ignore the legal framework of the Regional Haze program. And EPA failed to take any public comment on the new plan, despite the fact that thousands of citizens had written in to support the strong proposal.” Via Sierra Club Images via Larry D. Moore/Wikimedia Commons and Roy Luck on Flickr

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EPA cancels plan to clean up polluting Texas coal plants

The U.S. government temporarily blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline

September 10, 2016 by  
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A decision by the Obama administration to temporarily block construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline this Friday gave the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and hundreds of other protesters cause for celebration. Just minutes after a federal judge rejected the tribe’s request for an injunction, the surprise announcement was released and the project has been halted – for now. Earlier this week, the Tribe had requested a temporary restraining order to halt the construction of the pipeline. Judge James Boasberg of the D.C. district court acknowledged the “indignities visited upon the Tribe over the last centuries” in his ruling. Despite these considerations, the decision stated “the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here.” Despair turned almost immediately into delight when, according to The Atlantic , a joint statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Army indicated the government had stepped into override the court’s decision. “Construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time,” said the statement. “We request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.” Related: Oil company sics attack dogs on Native American protestors in North Dakota The Army will also “reconsider any of its previous decisions” concerning the federal legality of the pipeline, including its regard for the National Environmental Policy Act. This July, the Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline, followed by a lawsuit from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The biggest concerns are the destruction of historical and cultural sites and the potential risk to the community’s drinking water , should the pipeline leak or break. A statement on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Facebook account reads, “This federal statement is a game changer for the Tribe and we are acting immediately on our legal options, including filing an appeal and a temporary injunction to force DAPL to stop construction.” The move comes just days after privately contracted workers released vicious dogs and used pepper spray on the unarmed protestors. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfVCKXnZu58 Via The Atlantic Images via Joe Brusky ,  Flickr , Facebook

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The U.S. government temporarily blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline

Iowa capital set to sue neighboring cities over fertilizer pollution in water supply

January 13, 2015 by  
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Iowa’s capital city is testing the waters on a new way to keep fertilizer runoff from neighboring farms out of the two rivers that supply the city with drinking water. NPR reports that Des Moines Water Works plans to sue three cities surrounding it over high nitrate levels in the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers caused by fertilizers flowing in from local farms–an activity that has thus far gone unregulated. Their concerns over the fertilizers stem from the fact that high levels of nitrates can cause a health risk, particularly for infants younger than 6 months. Add to that the fact that filtering nitrates from the water cost Des Moines $900,000 in 2013 and you have a real problem for the city. Read the rest of Iowa capital set to sue neighboring cities over fertilizer pollution in water supply Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: corn farms , des moines water works , farmers , fertilizer , iowa , legal , litgation , nitrate , Pollution , rivers , sue , water issues

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More States Begin Banning LEED Rating System Due to Timber Industry Opposition

September 11, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of More States Begin Banning LEED Rating System Due to Timber Industry Opposition Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “leed” , Architecture , banned , Certification , Forest Stewardship Council , green , Green Building , Green Building Standards , legal , new construction , research , U.S. Green Building Council , Wood        

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More States Begin Banning LEED Rating System Due to Timber Industry Opposition

Robert Weschler Turns Thousands of American Pennies Into Colossal Cash Cubes

December 20, 2012 by  
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Robert Wechsler constructed his Mendicant sculptures from thousands of U.S. pennies — artifacts which he says are a symbol of American culture. Despite the fact that they are incredibly common (50 billion are in circulation), Wechsler says that the traditional penny is as much a monument to the nation as the Statue of Liberty. By transforming the legal tender into  sculptures , the artis explores not only its functionality but its value. Read the rest of Robert Weschler Turns Thousands of American Pennies Into Colossal Cash Cubes Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: green art , monetary sculptures , penny sculpture , re-used materials , robert weschler , sustainable artwork , the mendicant

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Robert Weschler Turns Thousands of American Pennies Into Colossal Cash Cubes

Guardian Apologizes For Threatening Blogger For "Commercial Disparagement"

November 8, 2011 by  
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The internet has changed the way things work; Legal letters can trigger “social media episodes.”

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Guardian Apologizes For Threatening Blogger For "Commercial Disparagement"

China’s Hongqi HQ3 Takes on Google’s Driverless Cars with 177-Mile Road Trip

August 8, 2011 by  
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You may have thought we were years away from people accepting electric cars , much less driverless ones like the Prius fleet Google has been testing on Nevada’s roads. But China has now stepped into the driverless car race with its Hongqi HQ3 driverless car from the National University of Defense Technology , indicating that the global automotive industry may move more quickly than anyone anticipated toward self-driving cars. The Hongqi HQ3 demonstrated last month that not only could it stay on the road (at least during the day and in fair weather), but it could also easily navigate highway traffic at an average speed of 54 miles per hour, passing other cars on the road from Changsha to Wuhan cities, about a three-and-a-half-hour drive. Read the rest of China’s Hongqi HQ3 Takes on Google’s Driverless Cars with 177-Mile Road Trip Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative transportation , automatic cars , China’s National University of Defense Technology , driverless car , Google driverless cars , green automotive design , green transportation , Hongqi HQ3 , self driving prius , self-driving car

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China’s Hongqi HQ3 Takes on Google’s Driverless Cars with 177-Mile Road Trip

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