This week, after decades of legal delays and foot dragging by the coal and power industry, the EPA unveiled a new rule protecting public health from mercury and other toxins.
Coal produces nearly half the electricity in the U.S., but the mercury, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide it emits also makes it one of the most controversial energy sources. For many environmental activists, coal represents an old, dirty source of power, but for coal-mining communities around the country, the story is different.
Half of the airborne mercury pollution in the US comes from coal-fired power plants. After years of study and debate, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to announce new limits on mercury from coal plants in November. Meanwhile, utilities are scrambling to meet other new federal regulations and industry groups are asking the government to slow down.
History has been made yet again: NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft is now in orbit around the solar system's innermost planet!
There's a hidden danger in San Francisco bay: mercury. A potent neurotoxin that can cause serious illness, mercury has been flowing into the bay since the mining days of the Gold Rush Era. It has settled in the bay's mud and made its way up the food chain, endangering wildlife and making many fish unsafe to eat. Now a multi-billion-dollar plan aims to clean it up. But will it work?
Because there wasn't time in the QUEST TV segment on mercury in the bay to include information on safe fish eating practices, below are the guidelines, along with web links, to help you get plenty of Omega 3s and still keep your mercury levels low.
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has made yet another swing past our Solar System's innermost planet, Mercury. But, like the traveler who just can't seem to get enough sightseeing in, this was another whirlwind flyby set to the furious tempo of a camera snapping pics–about 1200 in all…
MESSENGER is the space probe that NASA sent to Mercury to give the Solar System's innermost planet the first up-close look since 1975, when Mariner 10 flew by. The MESSENGER's main mission will begin in earnest when it returns to Mercury and finally settles into an orbit around the planet, on March 18th 2011.
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft at Mercury-artist concept. Photo by: NASA I've been waiting for the "whole story" on Martian ice at the Phoenix lander site to unfold more completely, but the chemical analyses have not yet run their full courses-so I've decided to widen the focus on this blog to give a status report on current […]
Depiction of a major alignment of the five visible planets in 1059 BCE. Photo By Ben Burress There are some pretty good "lineups" coming soon to skies above you. First of all, "lineups," or alignments, go on in the heavens all the time, though most often they are alignments of objects too faint to easily […]
Infrared image of a zebra from the London Zoo. Credit: Steve Lowe Right now I am very excited about the possibility of working on a new small telescope in southern Utah. This telescope was funded by a private donation and will be run by the University of Utah. We even found a mountain top in […]
Last week on QUEST, we took a look at the history of the San Francisco Bay's most dangerous toxin: mercury. This week, now that the mercury is here in the bay, how is it affecting us? The obvious place to go was the Berkeley Marina, one of the bay's most popular fishing spots. On the […]
Dr Jane Hightower was one of the first Bay Area doctors to start diagnosing mercury poisoning in her patients. In this audio clip, she explains how to know if you might be getting too much mercury from the fish you eat. And, she tells us what she feeds her 10-year old twin boys. (Hint: No tuna fish sandwiches in the Hightower home.)