Why are there No Regulations to Control Spills at Gas Stations?

Infiltration and Evaporation of Small Hydrocarbon Spills at Gas Stations (Abstract,Markus Hilpert , Patrick N. Breysse, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, Sep. 19, 2014)
Also discussed here: Small spills at gas stations could cause significant public health risks over time (ScienceDaily, Oct. 7, 2014)

Today we review research into the potential health threat posed by accidental spills that occur when individuals fill up their vehicles at gas stations which themselves are becoming much larger by an order of magnitude. Estimates are that each gas station has 1,500 litres of spills each year which evaporates into the air or makes its way and pollutes the groundwater and drains which empty into rivers which supply municipal water supplies. Regulations generally do not cover these spills which result in “non-negligible human exposure to toxic and carcinogenic gasoline compounds.”

Old gasoline pumps, Norway

Old gasoline pumps, Norway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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How Healthy is it to Live Near Natural Gas Wells being Fracked?

Proximity to Natural Gas Wells and Reported Health Status: Results of a Household Survey in Washington County, Pennsylvania (28 page pdf, Peter M. Rabinowitz, Ilya B. Slizovskiy, Vanessa Lamers, Sally J. Trufan, Theodore R. Holford, James D. Dziura, Peter N. Peduzzi, Michael J. Kane, John S. Reif, Theresa R. Weiss, and Meredith H. Stowe, Environmental Health Perspectives, Sep. 10, 2014)

Also discussed here: People Who Live Near Fracking More Likely To Become Sick, Study Finds (Emily Atkin, ThinkProgress, Sep. 10, 2014)

And here: An Evaluation of Water Quality in Private Drinking Water Wells Near Natural Gas Extraction Sites in the Barnett Shale Formation (Abstract, Brian E. Fontenot, Laura R. Hunt, Zacariah L. Hildenbrand, Doug D. Carlton Jr., Hyppolite Oka, Jayme L. Walton, Dan Hopkins, Alexandra Osorio, Bryan Bjorndal, Qinhong H. Hu, and Kevin A. Schug, Environmental Science and Technology, Jul. 25, 2013)

Today we review ground-breaking (literally) research into the potential health impacts for those who live near natural gas wells being drilled using fracking which involves the injection of large amounts of water and solvents into the earth. Results indicated that 39% of people within 0.6 miles of the wells reported respiratory problems compared to only 18% of those who live more than 1.2 miles away. Other studies indicate the presence of certain poisonous chemicals such as arsenic, selenium and strontium near fracking wells which exceed Environmental Protection Agency standards. The authors recommend more studies into this issue.

fracking cancer
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Why Get Out of Your Car? – Some Good Reasons

Behind the Wheel: Opportunities for Canadians to drive less, reduce pollution and save money (42 page pdf, Cherise Burda, Katie Laufenberg, Alison Bailie and Graham Haines, Pembina Institute, Oct. 2012)

Today we review a report prepared by the well-respected Pembina Institute which detailed many good ways to both reduce emissions from driving and save money. If all of their suggestions were acted on, the emissions from Canada’s transportation sector would be reduced by 16 million tonnes each year which is equivalent to taking 3.5 million cars off the road.

ghg for transportation

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Does New York City’s PlaNYC 2030 Adequately Address Climate Change Issues?

An Assessment Framework for Cities Coping with Climate Change: The Case of New York City and its PlaNYC 2030 (22 page pdf, Yosef Jabareen, Sustainability, Sep. 3, 2014)

Today we review a critique of New York’s much heralded action plan, published in 2005, to address the challenges facing that city from climate change. Using eight evaluating“concepts”, the author praises the city’s approach to physical aspects such as land, water and air and to a lesser extent, the proposed use of renewable energy, but criticizes the lack of public participation in the development and execution of the plan, especially at the local community level in an extremely multi-community and multi-ethnic urban area.

Official seal of New York City

Official seal of New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Why Does Canada’s Largest City Not Meet National Air Quality Standards?

The impacts of precursor reduction and meteorology on ground-level ozone in the Greater Toronto Area (11 page pdf, S. C. Pugliese, J. G. Murphy, J. A. Geddes, J. M. Wang, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Aug. 22, 2014)
Also discussed here: Despite significant reduction in smog-producing toxins, the Greater Toronto Area still violates Canada’s standards for ozone air pollution (Kim Luke, Science Daily, Aug. 22, 2014)
Today we review recent measurements of pollutants included in the Canada Wide Air Quality Standards as they apply to the City of Toronto which has the largest population (of people as well as pollution emitting vehicles) and urban area of all cities in Canada. Resultrs indicate that despite a reduction in emissions of NO2 and PM2.5 of 27 to 50% over the last 4 years, Ozone (O3) exceeded the standards in 2012 at all eight monitoring stations. The authors speculate that this was due to the meteorology of that year which showed a large number of sunny days and light winds which contributed to the production of O3 (from NO2 emissions 63% of which come from from vehicles and O2). They also recommend that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) be included in the standards.

ozone days-toronto

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How is Urban Sprawl Linked to Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Changing Urban Form and Transport CO2 Emissions: An Empirical Analysis of Beijing, China (22 page pdf, Yunjing Wang, Yoshitsugu Hayashi, Jin Chen and Qiang Li, Sustainability, Jul. 22, 2014)
Today we review an assessment of commuting emissions for China’s capital city, Beijing which has undergone large increase in population as well as in size of its suburban areas which has contributed to a four-fold increase in emissions. The journal article attributes the increase in emissions to commuting distance and the shift toward the use of cars which in turn is related to the distance between workplace and home which is a function of urban form. Solutions to achieve sustainable transportation include planned development of housing which would shorten the commuting as well as a greater priority for metro subways over roads for cars.

commuting co2 china

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How Bad is the Air Quality from LNG facilities at Kitimat, the end of the KeyStone XL pipeline?

Kitimat Airshed Emissions Effects Assessment(363 page pdf, Julian Aherne, Susan Barnes, Beth Beaudry, Simon Casley, Hui Cheng, Alexander Hall, Anna Henolson, Daniel Krewski, John Laurence, David Marmorek, Carol Murray, Greg Paoli, Shaun Watmough, prepared by ESSA Technologies Ltd. for British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Apr. 25, 2014)

Also discussed here: New airshed study is a “nail in the coffin” for government LNG dreams in Kitimat(Andrew Weaver, Jul. 18, 2014)

Today we review an environmental impact assessment report prepared for the British Columbian government in anticipation of developments associated with Liquid Natural Gas Terminals that could affect human health and the environment. The developments include an existing aluminum smelter, four proposed LNG terminals, a proposed oil refinery, and gas turbine powered electrical generation facilities, as well as related marine transportation sources. The assessment used a colour-coded system for impacts of air pollution on human health ranging from green for “clean environment” though yellow and orange to red for values that breach the US EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Similarly for natural environmental impacts on vegetation, lakes and soil they range from green for negligible impact through to red where the impact is considered to be “extremely unacceptable”.

The results indicate a red for human health for hourly SO2 and a red for aquatic ecosystems. In the words of Dr. Andrew Weaver, the only member of the provincial parliament with an advanced degree in environmental science, in addition to be a world leader in climate science and modeling “The study undeniably concludes that if you put four LNG plants into Kitimat you will have critical impacts on human health.”.

Nothing more needs to be said …. except STOP.

kitimat cove

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