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Environment

Presto Chango: How Flood Map Revisions Allow Building in Risky Areas

Across the country, developers regularly use flood map changes to build in vulnerable areas after getting FEMA to approve measures such as elevating homes, building retention ponds and raising the land with fill. But it's not always enough to prevent flooding and increased risks for people nearby.

Environment

EPA Takes a Back Seat as Citizens Confront the Plastics Industry Over an Insidious Pollutant

The plastics industry has presented itself as a constructive force in battling plastic pollution, while blaming the problem on messy consumers and weak disposal and recycling programs. Whatever the weight of that argument, it falls apart when it comes to tiny plastic pellets, which have escaped into waterways by the countless billions as a result of failures by industry, not consumers.

Environment

The Struggle to Crack Down on a Cottage Industry Sabotaging Vehicle Pollution Controls

Sales of ''defeat devices" that nullify emission controls in cars and trucks have exploded. The EPA estimates that they have been illegally installed on more than 500,000 diesel pickups. That's resulted in hundreds of thousands of extra tons of airborne pollutants that have been linked to higher rates of cancer, heart attacks and strokes. 

Environment

Moving Away from Fossil Fuel: The Escalating Push for Setbacks From Drilling Sites

Experts say that more than a decade of research—including several new studies—makes it clear that existing buffer zones from oil and gas wells are inadequate to protect public health. Now, political pressure to push oil and gas wells as far as a half-mile from homes and other buildings is peaking across the country, over industry alarm that such measures amount to a de facto ban on drilling.

Environment

Electric Utilities Challenged for Slow-Walking Switch from Natural Gas to Clean Renewable Energy

Even in the gray fog of a pandemic, news about the future of the U.S. power sector has been dominated by a sunny outlook on renewable energy.  In January, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that most new electric power generation in 2020 would come from wind and solar.

Environment

Thirsty Future for American West, as ”Megadrought” Grips Some of the Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities

Western states and their mushrooming municipalities long have grappled with the twin concerns of rapid growth and dwindling water supplies. Now, in the midst of an historic megadrought predicted to last many more years, the issue has grown increasingly urgent. 

Consumer Protection

A Major Player in Solar Energy Leaves Some Customers Seething

This sounds too good to be true, was one of Brenda Ortiz’s first thoughts when a salesman showed up at her front door in Riverside County, California, in October 2018. He was with Vivint Solar, Ortiz recalled him saying, and

Consumer Protection

“Biodegradable,” a Magic Word for Environmentally-Minded Consumers, Isn’t Always a Green Panacea

The ''Biodegradable'' label can be a powerful draw for shoppers concerned about the future of the planet. But they might not be aware of a critical drawback: As biodegradable materials break down in a landfill, which is where they usually end up, they can release methane, a potent greenhouse gas with climate warming effects upwards of 30 times that of carbon dioxide.

Consumer Protection

Pesticides and Produce: Environmental Group Lists Cleanest and Dirtiest Fruits and Vegetables

An environmental advocacy group is out today with its annual report on pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Raisin lovers, take note. Nearly all conventionally-grown raisins have traces of two or more pesticides, according to government test data cited in a new report. That's worrisome, says the environmental group that authored the report, because raisins are such a popular children's snack.