Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Loose Feathers #24

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment.
  • A spill that happened while a barge was unloading oil into a storage tank has dumped about 31,000 gallons of crude oil into the Arthur Kill, a waterway between New Jersey and Staten Island, New York. This is a critical spill because the Raritan Bay, just south of where the spill occurred, is an important wintering ground for many species of waterfowl, including tens of thousands of greater scaup. The article states that the spill has been contained, but it will take some time before it is adequately cleaned up.
  • The Maryland legislature is considering a bill that would make it illegal to build within 1,000 feet of a river that flows into a national wildlife refuge. The proposed legislation is in reaction to plans for a massive development on the edge of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, a critical habitat for wintering waterfowl and nesting bald eagles.
  • A new study attempted to quantify the effect of pollution on human health. Among its conclusions was that pollution from Maryland power plants contributed to about 700 deaths each year. This should give added impetus to imposing stricter pollution controls. Environmentalism is not just about animals; it is about human health as well.