July 3, 2014 |
Everyone thought the question had been answered 42 years ago, with passage of the Clean Water Act: What, exactly, are the waters of the United States - waters that warrant government protection to ensure they are drinkable, fishable, and swimmable? Rivers such as the Delaware, regularly plied by cargo ships? Absolutely. The Schuylkill and major tributaries? No debate. But smaller streams? For federal officials, those are muddy waters. Two U.S. Supreme Court decisions, in 2001 and 2006, showed that the regulations were not as clear as the regulators had thought.
March 6, 2014 |
AS MANY as 300,000 West Virginians are still wondering whether it's safe to drink the water, more than a month after the local supply was tainted by a spill of industrial chemicals. In North Carolina, the full consequences are yet to be determined following the collapse of a pipe last month beneath a utility's coal-ash pond, which spewed tons of the toxic substance into the Dan River. Public health officials have warned residents to avoid river water and to forgo eating any fish.
September 25, 2013 |
WOMEN DIDN'T wear lipstick at the Academy of Natural Sciences in the '30s. In fact, women were scarce in the scientific world in those days, and not really accepted by male-dominated institutions, such as the venerable academy. Maybe as a way to deny that women were even capable of looking into a microscope, displays of feminity in any form were frowned on. However, Ruth Myrtle Patrick soon proved that women were not only the equal of men in science, but, in many cases - hers included - could surpass male accomplishments in many realms and pave their own way to important discoveries.
September 25, 2013 |
Ruth Patrick, a pioneering stream ecologist whose work led to the modern environmental movement, died early Monday at age 105. In eight decades of work - she was still coming into her office at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University when she was 100 - she was summoned by presidents, was a respected adviser to industry, and was an inspiration and beloved mentor to so many young scientists that she was dubbed "the den mother of ecology"...
July 29, 2013 |
The region's breweries have hit upon a new ingredient for their beers: environmental messaging. Their labels sing the praises of Delaware Bay oysters, pay homage to the headwaters of the Brandywine Creek, and highlight an aquatic insect that survives only in clean water. Many brewers also are donating a portion of the proceeds for stream restoration, land preservation, and other environmental projects. After Hurricane Sandy, it wasn't long before Flying Fish Brewing Co. in Camden County released its Forever Unloved Sandy brew (commonly referred to by its initials - F.U. Sandy)
December 27, 2012
Joan Mulhern, 51, a forceful advocate for the environment who lobbied Congress and often rallied public support to sway lawmakers to her cause, died Dec. 18 of liver disease at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington. Her death was relayed by a sister, Marie Mulhern. Ms. Mulhern had been the senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm, since 1999. She fought repeated attempts by Congress to limit the scope of the Clean Water Act and battled coal companies and government officials over mountaintop-removal coal mining, in which mountains are blasted away to create strip mines.
October 12, 2012
AS THE CLEAN WATER Act turns 40 this week, it is important to recognize the progress it fostered. In 1972, major urban rivers were noxious watercourses. It was normal practice to regard such waters as convenient conveyances to transport wastes of industries and cities, with little regard for ecological and human consequences. The CWA had the ambitious goal of making all waters of the United States "fishable and swimmable. " While we still not have achieved this 100 percent, there has been remarkable transformation.
September 17, 2012 |
The little waterway known as Newton Creek is more than a little . . . complicated. Like Camden County, where it's located. Connecting some of South Jersey's richest and poorest communities as it meanders toward the Delaware River, the six-mile waterway has three main tributaries, feeds four lakes, and serves very different constituencies. It has a Superfund site at one end, a rain garden at the other, and beleaguered, though beloved, parks in between. The lakes are man-made (for which we can thank Franklin Roosevelt)
May 21, 2012 |
Just downstream from an industrial recycling operation and a stone's throw from a sewage treatment plant, a fisherman casts his line toward the passing barge traffic and watches it drop into the Delaware River. A couple eating lunch watch curiously. "No way would I ever eat anything from there," the woman says. The fishers who frequent the pier in Camden's Waterfront South neighborhood have heard it all before. That they're crazy, that they're going to grow an extra head or get sick from eating what they catch.
July 31, 2011
While the public's attention has been focused on the irresponsible showdown over raising the nation's debt limit, the Republican House has been conducting a full-scale assault on the nation's environmental laws. It spent last week trying to push through an agency-funding bill that's chock full of changes making it easier for polluters to continue business as usual. The Interior appropriations bill carries more than 40 additional directives, or "riders," that would roll back protections for public health and the environment.