Geological Landscape

Tony Walter, Green Bay Press-Gazette The threat of radon makes this the season to be wary. The gas that can't be seen or smelled but is the second-leading cause of lung cancer — smoking is No. 1 — is a particular peril to this area at this time of year. "A lot has to do with the geology in this area," said Jerry Weyer of Radon Reduction Specialists in Manitowoc, referring to the traces of uranium in the regional bedrock that converts to radioactive radon gas as it decays. "But houses are shut tight at this time of year —…

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Gayathri Vaidyanathan, Greenwire States are taking the lead with studying levels of radon in drinking water and air even as federal regulators lag, as a coincidence of geology and population density leaves some more at risk than others of suffering from the naturally occurring radioactive toxin. Nine states have guidelines for radon in drinking water, with New Jersey considering the most stringent levels, fourfold tighter than a limit proposed but never mandated by U.S. EPA in 1999. Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts and Wisconsin are the other states that have some guidance levels for the chemical,…

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NJ Today TRENTON — How old are the oldest rocks in New Jersey and where are they located? Perhaps these questions haven’t exactly kept you up at night, but geologists have been wondering about them for a long time. They know that the rocks in the mountains of North Jersey’s Highlands, remnants of ancient Appalachian Mountains that at one time rivaled the Rockies in might, are the oldest in New Jersey. They also accept that these rocks are about a billion years old. But they never knew precisely how old — until now. The New Jersey Geological Survey, within the…

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Inspired by my friend and colleague’s blog post, Snowed Under in our Green House, I decided to focus this blog on the main event of the larger Washington metropolitan area this week—the massive snowstorms and blizzards. Due to the inclement weather, the area was virtually paralyzed for days. Many schools systems, businesses, and government agencies remain closed. While we were snowed in at home, the power went off intermittently. One day we were without power for a span of 15 hours! During that long stretch without electricity, we had no heat and, of course, no functioning appliances. Our only lifeline…

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I have recently moved to Washington, D.C., a relatively larger and more urban setting than that of my little lake house back in the Midwest. I have never lived in such a metropolitan city before and I have become greatly overwhelmed at times by the large amounts of buildings and people and the small occurrences of green space. Although the city I am from is not fitted with gorgeous scenery or a picturesque background, I still miss the simplicity of life out on the lake. It seems to be a contradiction to me: working for the EPA while surrounded by…

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Growing up in Louisville I was accustomed to a home town with a few things that were world class: college basketball, a premier horse racing event, a great bluegrass festival, and even good bratwurst at Oktoberfest. Meanwhile, Louisville was hardly known for progressive environmental protection. In fact, Louisville was rather notorious on the water quality scene, better recognized for disaster than innovation. I grew up in the Beargrass Creek Watershed, which was permanently posted as unsafe for body contact activities because of sewer overflows. We played in the creek anyway, and in retrospect I wonder if any of those ‘stomach…

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Today, Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced seven priorities for EPA’s future: Taking Action on Climate Change Improving Air Quality Assuring the Safety of Chemicals Cleaning Up Our Communities Protecting America’s Waters Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice Building Strong State and Tribal Partnerships Read her memo for the details.

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I recently saw the Disney Movie, “The Princess and the Frog,” in which the animators recreated the colorful and melodious experience of the Louisiana Bayou. As suggested by the title, the frogs of the Bayou played a stellar role. As I watched the movie with my youngest, I was thinking of the vulnerabilities of these precious wetlands and growing threats to their inhabitants—the frogs. With the ongoing debate over the health and environmental effects of climate change on animals, increasingly, frogs and their fellow amphibians are becoming the new “canaries in the coal mine.” Since amphibians’ skin is permeable, these…

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Links on this page may exit EPA. I’m sure you’ve heard about the record amount of snow that the DC area got this past weekend. As a native Bostonian, and a recent resident of northern New England, I get excited about big snow storms, particularly an unusual one such as this! Mostly, I like snow storms because I like playing outside. As a kid, I’d often join up with friends at a favorite sledding hill or build forts for snowball fights. These days, I try to grab my skis (cross-country or telemark) as quickly as possible, though I sometimes settle…

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During the month of December, families around the world celebrate many traditions—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, to name a few. In my home, we celebrate Christmas. For me, one of the things that sets me in the mood for the holidays is the fresh scent of live pine trees. Several years ago, I wanted to do something for the environment by purchasing a live Christmas tree to plant after the holidays. Didn’t think much of it in advance. Just bought a nice size tree with the burlapped root ball and took it home. Placed the tree in a corner not far from…

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