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The News on Neonics 
Somewhat mixed news comes on the class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. Implicated in die-offs of bees and other invertebrates, as well as effecting the birds and bats which ingest contaminated bugs, the neonics have been the bane of environmentalists for some years. Taking a noteworthy step, the chemical firm Ortho has announced it will discontinue the chemicals’ use in their products by 2021. The Oregonian has the story: http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2016/04/ortho_to_eliminate_chemical_su.html#incart_river_index

In other neonic news, researchers have determined that different classes of the chemicals pose different levels of threat to the environment. Unfortunately, this may only add to the controversy surrounding their elimination. The BBC reports: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36154134

Monarch Migration Mystery Solved 
While the long migration of monarch butterflies is well known, the insects’ method of navigation has remained impenetrable. Now researchers have concluded that the monarchs’ reckoning is based on the sun. The BBC has details: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36046746

NASA Images of Northwest Fires 
The agency has released a trove of satellite images obtained by the Japanese ASTER satellite. Included are some striking images of forest fires in the Northwest. The Oregonian provides details: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2016/04/stunning_thermal_images_of_wil.html#incart_river_index

Using Sewage on Crops Leads to Drug Contamination 
In recent years, using lightly treated sewage on crops has been touted as a green means of dealing with waste, while providing fertilization to crops. Now it appears that the practice also leads to medications accumulating in our foods. Ars Technica reports: http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/04/bodys-defenses-against-common-viruses-may-mess-up-neurons-spark-depression/

New Toxins Developed to Target Pests 
Although not without controversy, one of the more successful strategies for eliminating agricultural pests has been using Bt toxins. Unfortunately, the insects targeted by the approach have developed resistance to the toxins used. Now researchers have done some ground-breaking research which offers hope for overcoming the problem. Ars Technica explains: http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/04/researchers-evolve-new-toxin-to-target-agricultural-pests/

A View to a Kill 
Every day, all around the planet, humans are trashing the Earth and leaving unsightly scars on the environment. How unsightly? Reuters has a photo gallery that brings the point home: http://www.reuters.com/news/picture/scars-of-the-earth?articleId=USRTX2B7DD

Warrenton LNG Terminal Scrapped 
The second of two plans to place liquefied natural gas terminals on the Oregon coast has gone down in flames. Oregon LNG announced it is abandoning its plans for a Warrenton facility. The Oregonian gives details: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2016/04/company_cancels_plan_for_warre.html#incart_river_index

Bringing Brazil’s Great Coral Reef to Light 
While Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, (and the devastating bleaching it is undergoing), gets most of the press, the waters off Brazil harbor a huge coral reef with with truly unique properties. Exactly how unique is just coming to light, as the result of recent research. The Smithsonian has more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/shining-light-brazils-secret-coral-reef-180958872/?no-ist

Fracking Pumps Ethane Into Atmosphere 
Fracking has long been criticized as being a dirty process. While most of the attention has been directed to the underground contamination fracking generates, it also would appear to produce huge levels of atmospheric pollution, much of that in the form of the greenhouse gas, ethane. The Washington Post has the news: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/28/the-u-s-oil-and-gas-boom-is-having-global-atmospheric-consequences-scientists-suggest/

 

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