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  • NASHVILLE, Tenn.— Six years ago, there was a massive spill of coal ash sludge in Tennessee. The EPA ruled that the ash can be treated like regular garbage, meaning regulating the stuff will be left up to states and watchful citizens. "We had to go to court to force EPA to issue this first-ever coal ash rule, and unfortunately, we will be back in court to force coal plants to...

  • Protesters in contempt of court for anti-whaling campaign Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 | 12:15 AM ET

    SAN FRANCISCO— Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers were found in contempt of court Friday for continuing their relentless campaign to disrupt the annual whale hunt off the waters of Antarctica. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a commissioner to determine how much Paul Watson and members of the Sea...

  • SAN FRANCISCO— Radical environmentalists were found in contempt of court Friday for failing to heed an order to halt their relentless campaign to disrupt the annual whale hunt off the waters of Antarctica. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a commissioner to determine how much Paul Watson and members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society he...

  • President Barack Obama said on Friday that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast would only nominally benefit American consumers and workers in perhaps his strongest comments on the Canada- to-U.S. pipeline to date. His comments come as Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said his party's first...

  • A look at large coal ash spills in the US Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 3:46 PM ET

    The Obama announcement ended a six-year effort that began after a massive spill of the ash that contains toxins at a Tennessee power plant in 2008. Since then, the EPA has documented coal ash waste sites tainting hundreds of waterways and underground aquifers in numerous states with heavy metals and other toxic contaminants. The Tennessee Valley Authority...

  • Dec 19- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued rules on Friday labeling coal ash, a byproduct of coal-based power production containing toxic materials such as arsenic and lead, as non-hazardous waste. The label means that states, and not the EPA, will be the primary enforcers of the new rules, which will require the closure of some coal ash holding ponds...

  • PacifiCorp Energy pleads guilty in bird deaths Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 2:49 PM ET

    CHEYENNE, Wyo.— Wind farm operator PacifiCorp Energy will pay $2.5 million in fines after pleading guilty Friday to charges related to the deaths of protected birds in Wyoming. The subsidiary of Portland, Oregon- based PacifiCorp pleaded guilty in federal court in Wyoming to two counts of violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act under a plea deal with...

  • Arctic offshore drill company enters guilty pleas Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 2:43 PM ET

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska— The company hired by Royal Dutch Shell PLC in 2012 to drill on petroleum leases in the Arctic Ocean pleaded guilty Friday to eight felony environmental and maritime crimes. Noble Drilling U.S. LLC, based in Sugarland, Texas, agreed to pay $12.2 million after pleading guilty to five counts of failing to maintain records on a drill ship that...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 19- There are plenty of delicate subjects during the holiday season, but one of the touchiest could be regifting. Susan Choi and Pete Wells have developed a different approach. Instead of whispering about regifting, the Brooklyn, New York City couple are shouting it from the rooftops.

  • Protection sought for scenic California region Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 7:13 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— A contingent of California environmental groups, business representatives and politicians will use a visit Friday from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to push for permanent protection of some 350,000 acres of picturesque federal land near the state's famous wine country. Congress declined this session to pass legislation from Democratic...

  • Thousands respond to black rhino import request Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 7:07 AM ET

    Shire said the agency will examine the public comments "for substantive information" as it weighs whether the hunt in Namibia— where 1,800 of the remaining 4,880 black rhinos live— is a form of conservation. The hunter, Corey Knowlton, bid $350,000 at an auction last January that the Dallas Safari Club billed as a fundraising effort to save the species.

  • Environmental groups say the practice of storing coal ash in holding ponds supported by permeable, earthen dikes leads both to contamination of surrounding groundwater and the risk of catastrophe when those dikes fail, as happened in Tennessee and at a site in North Carolina earlier this year. The EPA has said contaminants such as arsenic, mercury and cadmium...

  • EPA sets first national standard for coal waste Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 3:08 AM ET

    "The regulatory uncertainty that has impeded the beneficial use of coal ash for half a decade has finally come to an end," said Thomas H. Adams, the executive director of the American Coal Ash Association. "EPA's final decision to regulate coal ash as a' non-hazardous' material puts science ahead of politics and clears the way for beneficial use of ash to begin growing...

  • EPA to step in on fish consumption water rules Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 8:05 PM ET

    SEATTLE— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said it plans to come up with updated water quality standards for Washington partly tied to how much fish people eat— in case the state doesn't do it by next year. The federal process will run parallel to the state's own, which is currently underway, and ensures the EPA can propose a rule in a timely manner...

  • New York Fashion Week booted out of Lincoln Center Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 5:38 PM ET

    NEW YORK— C'est la vie, fashionistas. They objected to the onslaught of the fashion industry at Damrosch Park, a 2.4- acre stretch on the Upper West Side that is adjacent to and managed by Lincoln Center. "We're going to get flowers and benches and there's going to be a park again," said Olive Freud, president of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, one...

  • Chinese pollution, American profits Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 4:43 PM ET
    A man wearing a 3M mask in Beijing

    China's severe pollution problems have been a boon to at least one big American company.

  • Correction: Meningitis Outbreak story Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 2:46 PM ET

    BOSTON— In a story Dec. 17 about arrests in a deadly meningitis outbreak, The Associated Press erroneously reported Stuart Delery's title. BOSTON— Mold and bacteria were in the air and on workers' gloved fingertips. Federal prosecutors leveled those allegations in bringing charges Wednesday against 14 former owners or employees of a Massachusetts pharmacy in...

  • Group challenges timber producer's 'green' label Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 2:33 PM ET

    The complaint covers Plum Creek logging in Oregon's Coast Range, citing 11 civil citations over the past six years for violating state logging regulations, including four citations for exceeding the clear-cutting limit of 120 acres. The complaint includes Google Earth images showing landslides in areas stripped of trees by Plum Creek.

  • Cuomo gets kudos, scorn for New York fracking ban Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:59 AM ET

    ALBANY, N.Y.— New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is getting heaped with praise by environmentalists and scorn by business interests for a planned state ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, even as he insists the decision wasn't his. Quinnipiac University Poll's Mickey Carroll said the political impact is likely to be limited and the decision was predictable.

  • "If people think this is just to raise the flag, it's not going to last long," said Christopher Flensborg, Head of Sustainable Products and Product Development for Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB, the Swedish bank that's the world's largest underwriter of green bonds. Green bonds used to come exclusively from AAA-rated organizations like the World Bank; the...