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Thursday, Nov 27th

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American urban lake pollution traced to parking lot seal coat

Lake pollutionA black sealant sprayed on parking lots, driveways and playgrounds turns out to be the largest contributor to the rise of a toxic pollutant in urban lakes and reservoirs across America, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Scientists saw concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) going up rapidly in the 1990s in areas of urban sprawl. PAHs have been known as a probable human carcinogen since the 19th century, when cancer struck chimney sweeps, said Peter Van Metre, a USGS scientist and a principal author of the report. PAHs also are toxic to fish and other aquatic plant and animal life.

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Monsanto GMO sugarbeets to be destroyed: court

MonsantoU.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in August banned the planting and sales of Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" biotech sugar beets after determining that their approval in 2005 by the USDA was illegal. He said the government must conduct a thorough environmental review before approving the crop to comply with the law.

Earthjustice, a consumer group that brought the case against the USDA and had asked the judge to order the young plants be destroyed, said the action was the first court-ordered destruction of a GMO crop.

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Offshore oil drilling ban to be maintained in key areas

Offshore oil drilling ban to be maintained in key areasInterior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday afternoon that the Obama administration will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March.

"We are adjusting our strategy in areas where there are no active leases," Salazar told reporters in a phone call, adding that the administration has decided "not expand to new areas at this time" and instead "focus and expand our critical resources on areas that are currently active" when it comes to oil and gas drilling

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Special report: How BP's oil spill costs could double

BP oil spill costs may doubleLast month, BP increased by $8 billion the financial provisions it was taking for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill; the company's shares rose. Better-than- expected underlying profits and upbeat comments from new Chief Executive Bob Dudley were taken by the market as a sign the company had turned the corner and would soon return to pumping out steadily rising dividends.

Key to this sanguine outlook is confidence that the new estimate of the total cost of the spill -- $40 billion -- will be sufficient.

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EPA fines Kettleman City waste dump over PCB contamination

EPA fines Kettleman City waste managementThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday levied a $300,000 fine against a toxic waste dump near a Central California farming community plagued by birth defects for failing to properly manage carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

Waste Management Inc., which owns the facility about 3½ miles southwest of Kettleman City, in July was given 60 days to clean up PCB in soil adjacent to a building where extremely hazardous wastes are treated for disposal.

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Where's most of that toxic e-waste going? Overseas

Tox wastes shipped overseasFive years after California launched an ambitious effort to control pollution from electronic waste, much of our e-waste is being shipped overseas, where it is contributing to a legacy of pollution and disease that would not be tolerated in this state, a Bee investigation has found.

Domestically, California's program is doing just what officials intended: It has outlawed e-waste from landfills and jump-started a multimillion-dollar state industry to recycle televisions, computer monitors and other video display devices, paid for with public money.

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Fishing nations criticised over deal on bluefin tuna

Tuna nations criticizedFishing nations have agreed a small cut in Atlantic bluefin tuna quotas, after meeting in Paris. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) set the 2011 quota at 12,900 tonnes, down from 13,500 tonnes.

Conservationists say the bluefin tuna is threatened by overfishing, and much deeper cuts are needed. They have criticised ICCAT in the past for failing to ensure that the species and others are fished sustainably.

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