ICYMI: Important Stories from the Beginning of February

February has been a busy month in environmental news ALREADY, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Below is a list of them, in case you missed it.

Keystone XL protest poster

1. Keystone XL Receives Backing – last week, a group of US lawmakers voiced their approval of the Keystone XL pipeline (in case you missed it, here is a post I wrote last April). According to recent news from Reuters, these backers are suggesting that President Obama “bless” the pipeline’s plan. The group includes Gary Doer, Canadian ambassador to the United States (as the driving company is TransCanada), and business and labor leaders. This pressure is due to a State Department report released that concludes that the Keystone XL “pipeline would not spur oil sands development or unduly worsen climate change” (read the report here). As this is a developing story, I will write another post about it at a later date.

2. Drought in California Causes Dip in Water Reserves – over the past few weeks, a drought in California has exhausted reservoirs and has been dipping dangerously into ground water supply for drinking water, according to the Circle of Blue. According to the article, some communities in California are slated to lose water in 60-100 days. According to the Sacramento Bee, “deliveries of state water to agricultural and municipal users south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which had been slashed to 5 percent earlier, will drop further to zero due to the state’s severe drought.” So, not only are they depleting current water sources, but Southern California is also depleting the resources of Northern California watersheds. This is a huge problem.

3. If it’s so cold, how is climate change real? – Without me having to go into a rant, this article explains how YOU explain to your friends that a polar vertex still means that global warming is happening and climate change is real. Check out this post by Grist: “How to talk to your polar-vortexed friends.”

4. India is building the world’s largest solar plant which will cover an area larger than Manhattan. According to Nature News, this project “could help to reduce India’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 4 million tonnes per year.”

5. Dan River (North Carolina) Coal Ash Spill – On Sunday afternoon, a coal ash pipe broke, sending about 50,000-82,000 tons of the pollutant into the Dan River in North Carolina. According to the Huffington Post, officials (including the culprit, Duke Energy) say that the coal ash has not tarnished drinking water supplies and will release more after extensive testing has been done.

Stay tuned for expansions on the Keystone XL pipeline debate.

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