Deepwater Horizon Disaster Payout Announced by US Justice Department

Transocean will help fund Gulf of Mexico science and restoration as part of its settlement of civil and criminal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Credit: Wikimedia

A new cash settlement will be given to the Gulf of Mexico science and restoration project, due to the federal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The company that operated the drilling rig for BP, Transocean Deepwater, has agreed to pay $1.4 billion in civil and criminal fines and penalties for the spill.

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Urine Used as Fertilizer to Boost Crop Yields

Roshan Shrestha of UN-HABITAT inaugurates urine bank in Siddhipur, Nepal. Credit: Flickr/Sustainable sanitation

Last year, in Sotang, Nepal, the Dzi Foundation helped build over 1,000 toilets for the nearly 6,500 residents of the village. The villagers were given the option of using a regular squatting pan or a dual-hole pan, which allowed for the collection of urine to be used as a fertilizer.

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Low Water Levels Could Shut Down Mississippi River Shipping Lanes


The worst drought in 50 years has brought water levels in the Mississippi River close to historic lows, and could potentially shut down all shipping in a matter of weeks. This is the second extreme event on the river in 18 months, after the flooding in the spring of 2011 forced people to flee their homes.

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US EPA Will Try to Monitor Hormone-Like Substances


The US EPA is initiating a new effort to see whether low doses of hormone-mimicking chemicals can harm human health and whether chemical testing should be changed.

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An Invasive Grass Species Spreads Wildfires Quicker


New research indicates that an invasive species of grass is making wildfires in the western USA larger, hotter and more frequent. A variety of grasses called cheatgrass dries out quickly, and burns more rapidly that other vegetation.

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Slowing Cargo Ships Results in Major Reductions in Pollution


A new study indicates that slowing down vessels near coastlines by 10 to 15 miles per hour can dramatically reduce air pollution from the ships. However, only a few US ports have initiated efforts to apply this.

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Human Contraceptives & Antidepressants Reduce Fish Reaction Times


Human medications are ending up in waterways and affecting fish and other aquatic organisms. However, researchers are only beginning to compile the effects that those drugs have on the ecosystem.

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Ranchers in the USA Are Struggling to Adapt to Climate Change


In Boulder, Colorado, local cattle have developed immunity against the poisonous larkspur flowers that grow amongst the more edible grasses, making decisions to sell cattle a tough one. A rancher culling a herd he can’t afford to feed faces a problem restocking once economics improve, the replacements may die if they binge on the larkspur.

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Old Contaminants Decline in the Great Lakes While Newer Ones Rise


The concentrations of legacy contaminants are decreasing quicker than previously reported in three of the Great Lakes, but stayed virtually the same in two other lakes.

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Deforestation Adds More Atmospheric CO2 than the Sum Total of Cars & Trucks on the World’s Roads


Deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the Earth’s atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads. Cars and trucks account for 14% of global carbon emissions, while most analysts attribute 15% to deforestation.

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