Emergency Evacuation Finally Lifted After Huge Oil Refinery Fire In Superior, Wis.

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/04/27 - 6:22am

The evacuation zone had extended for miles. The Canadian-owned refinery processes crude from the Canadian tar sands in Alberta and from North Dakota's Bakken shale oil fields.

(Image credit: Clint Austin/Duluth News Tribune/Reuters)

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/27 - 6:00am

Bluebell woods, two giant tortoises and a golden jackal are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

The hills are alive with the signs of plastic: even Swiss mountains are polluted

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/27 - 5:16am

Major study finds microplastics in soil across Switzerland and scientists warn urgent research is needed into impacts on food safety as other countries may be worse affected

Microplastic pollution contaminates soil across Switzerland, even in remote mountains, new research reveals. The scientists said the problem could be worse in other nations with poorer waste management and that research was urgently needed to see if microplastics get into food.

In the first major study of microplastics in soil, the researchers analysed soil samples from 29 river flood plains in nature reserves across Switzerland. They found microplastics, fragments under 5mm in size, in 90% of the soils. The scientists believe the particles are carried across the country by the wind.

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Categories: Environment

Anteater in prize-winning wildlife photo is stuffed, say judges

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/27 - 4:57am

Natural History Museum takes down picture, but Marcio Cabral is adamant he did not fake it

The dramatic photograph of an anteater approaching a glowing termite mound in the dead of night was originally considered a worthy winner of a Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. The prize has now been withdrawn after judges noticed a problem: the anteater pictured is almost certainly a stuffed animal kept outside a visitor centre.

The Natural History Museum, which administers the awards, has disqualified the Brazilian wildlife photographer Marcio Cabral for attempting to deceive judges by submitting a picture of a taxidermy specimen in the “animals in their environment” category.

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Categories: Environment

EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/27 - 2:47am

The world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields within six months, to protect both wild and honeybees that are vital to crop pollination

The European Union will ban the world’s most widely used insecticides from all fields due to the serious danger they pose to bees.

The ban on neonicotinoids, approved by member nations on Friday, is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will mean they can only be used in closed greenhouses.

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Categories: Environment

Dutch rewilding experiment sparks backlash as thousands of animals starve

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/27 - 2:41am

A scheme to rewild marshland east of Amsterdam has been savaged by an official report and sparked public protest after deer, horses and cattle died over the winter

It is known as the Dutch Serengeti, a bold project to rewild a vast tract of land east of Amsterdam. But a unique nature reserve where red deer, horses and cattle roam free on low-lying marsh reclaimed from the sea has been savaged by an official report after thousands of animals starved.

In a blow to the rewilding vision of renowned ecologists, a special committee has criticised the authorities for allowing populations of large herbivores to rise unchecked at Oostvaardersplassen, causing trees to die and wild bird populations to decline.

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Categories: Environment

All Australian packaging to be sustainable by 2025, COAG agrees

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/27 - 2:02am

The agreement was triggered by the Chinese ban on imported plastic waste but critics say it is too little too late

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The Turnbull government and states have agreed that all Australian packaging should be reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025 at the latest, but face accusations they are not moving quickly enough to fix a recycling industry crisis triggered by a Chinese ban on imported plastic waste.

The 2025 target was the only specific goal set at a meeting of federal and state environment ministers in Melbourne on Friday. But there was broad agreement that governments would ensure the use of more recycled materials in building roads and other construction projects, and that work would be done to improve recycling capacity within Australia.

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Categories: Environment

Stolen succulents: California hipster plants at center of smuggling crisis

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/04/27 - 2:00am

Demand in China and Korea has led to thousands of dudleya being stolen from California as officials lament ‘plant poaching’

In China, they are prized for their chubby limbs and cute shapes. In Korea, they are a treasured hobby for housewives. But on the coastal cliffs of California, the dudleya succulent plants are vanishing, snatched up by international smugglers and shipped to an Asian middle-class market hungry for California native flora.

California department of fish and wildlife wardens have made five busts this year, involving more than 3,500 stolen plants, evidence that the succulent, a symbol of American hipster style, has gone global to grievous effect.

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Categories: Environment

Paris to decide fate of 'mega' gold mine in forests of French Guiana

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/04/26 - 10:00pm

Controversial plans for an open-pit gold mine have split the French overseas territory in South America. Opponents warn of pollution and biodiversity loss, while local officials point to its potential economic benefits. But ultimately the decision will be made thousands of miles across the Atlantic

Through the window of the small propeller plane leaving the capital Cayenne, the jungle’s canopy stretches out as far as the eye can see.

More than 90% covered by luxuriant rainforest, French Guiana has little in common with mainland France bar the name.

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Categories: Environment
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