Environmental News September 8 - September 17, 2015

Quote for the week

“The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”
—Lady Bird Johnson

California lawmakers approve ban on plastic microbeads
Date: September 8, 2015
By: Phil Wilson, LA Times
California lawmakers on Tuesday approved a measure banning the sale of personal care products that contain plastic microbeads starting in 2020. Microbeads are non-biodegradable, meaning they persist in the environment and are ingested or absorbed by fish and other wildlife, potentially making their way up the food chain.
Read more here.

Seafloor hot springs a significant source of iron in the oceans
Date: July 8, 2015
By: University of Washington
A two-month voyage tracking a deep current flowing from one of the most active underwater volcanoes on Earth proves that iron released from hydrothermal vents travels thousands of miles, providing a significant source of iron to support life in the broader oceans.
Read more here.

Another new orca calf for L pod
Date: September 8, 2015
By: Elizabeth Wiley
L91, a 20-year-old female orca, was spotted with a new calf on Monday, according to the Center for Whale Research and the Pacific Whale Watch Association. L122, the newest member of L pod, brings the total number of calves for the past year to five.
Read more here.

Scientists Link Oil Exposure to Reduced Survival of Fish
Date: September 8, 2015
By: Dan Joling, ABC News
Federal scientists have determined that extremely low levels of crude oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez caused heart problems in embryonic fish, a conclusion that could shape how damage is assessed in other major spills.
Read more here.

Gas reduction dropped from California climate change bill
Date: September 10, 2015
By: Chris Megerian, LA Times
Gov. Jerry Brown faced a cascade of setbacks Wednesday as climate change legislation was stripped of his targets for reducing gasoline use. The climate legislation included some of the biggest goals Brown outlined in his inaugural address in January. Without targets for reducing gasoline use, it has two parts remaining: increasing renewable energy production and boosting energy efficiency over the next 15 years.
Read more here.

Why ocean noise is a stealth pollutant
September 10, 2015
By: The Week
As beneficial as seismic surveys are to oil and natural gas-seekers, their effects on marine life — whales especially — is worrisome. The gentle giants of the sea use sonar to communicate, locate food, and reproduce. Just one airgun array trawled behind a ship during a survey can disrupt whale behavior within a 100,000-square-nautical-mile area, according to research.
Read more here.

How did rare pink dolphin get its color?
Date: September 9, 2015
By: Rachel A. Becker, National Geographic
Pinky has surfaced again: The Louisiana bottlenose dolphin with a bubblegum-pink hue is making waves on social media this week.
Read more here.

Hammerheads are in town, too
Date: September 10, 2015
By: Laylan Connelly
There’s a new shark in town -- the hammerhead. They usually don’t live off local waters, but the warm water we’ve had the last two years -- thanks to a warm water system dubbed “The Blob” by climate scientists -- has brought many tropical species to the area, according to scientists.
Read more here.

Blind cave fish evolved a shrunken brain to save energy
Date: September 11, 2015
By: Mo Costandi, The Guardian
At some point back in deep time, a group of fish were washed into a limestone cave somewhere in northeastern Mexico. With no way out and little more than bat droppings to eat, the fish began to adapt to their new troglodytic lifestyle.
Read more here.

Half of California’s Electricity Will Come From Renewable Energy in 15 Years
Date: September 12, 2015
By: Ryan Koronowski, Think Progress
“Today, California demonstrated once again that it is a world leader in tackling the climate crisis, protecting public health, and expanding the booming clean energy economy,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune in a statement. “Ensuring that renewable energy makes up half of all electricity sold in the state by 2030 is both necessary and eminently achievable — and the significance of this move will echo around the world.”
Read more here.

Scientists find Southern Ocean carbon absorption increasing, warn of threat to marine life
By: Jane Ryan, ABC News
The Southern Ocean has surprised scientists by increasing its capacity to absorb carbon dioxide emissions, but they are warning it could come at a cost to marine life. About a quarter of the world's carbon emissions are absorbed into the ocean each year, with 40 per cent of that going into the Southern Ocean.
Read more here.

U.S caps number of whales, turtles snared by California gillnets
Date: September 14, 2015
By: Laura Zukcerman, Reuters
U.S. fisheries managers on Monday embraced limits on the number of endangered whales and turtles that can be captured inadvertently in drift gillnets used to catch swordfish off California's coast in a move praised by environmentalists.
Read more here.

14 incredible creatures scientsits have just found in the deep ocean – including many never seen before
Date: September 15, 2015
By: Rebecca Harrington, Business Insider Australia
From July through the end of September, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ship Okeanos Explorer is researching the deep ocean off the western coast of Hawaii. These areas are protected waters, part of national marine sanctuaries and monuments. The team of scientists is sending rovers up to 3 miles under the sea to explore sea life, some of which has never seen before.
Read more here.

Ocean’s Wildlife Populations Down by Half, Says New WWF Report
Date: September 15, 2015
By: World Wildlife Fund
A new WWF report reveals an alarming decline in marine biodiversity over the last few decades. According to the report, the biggest drivers of these declining trends are from human actions--mainly overfishing, habitat destruction, and climate change. Although the report paints a dim picture of ocean health, it also provides solutions and opportunities to turn the tide.
Read more here.

6 Youth File Constitutional Climate Change Lawsuit Against Gov. Tom Wolf
Date: September 17, 2015
By: EcoWatch
Just weeks after 21 young people from across the U.S. filed a landmark constitutional climate change lawsuit against the federal government and days before Pope Francis visits the U.S. and Pennsylvania, six youth file lawsuit against Gov. Tom Wolf and six state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board. The plaintiffs are seeking to protect their constitutional rights to clean air, pure water and other essential natural resources, which they rely on for their survival and wellbeing, but they feel are currently threatened by climate change.
Read more here.