Extra Extra : Environment

Extra Extra Monday | Mass. deals with ‘zombie’ boards, new details about GM recall, Minn. screens out child abuse reports

Minnesota counties 'screen out' most child abuse reports | Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minnesota’s counties received nearly 68,000 reports of child abuse or neglect last year but closed most of those cases without investigation or assessment.

A review of state and federal data by the Star Tribune shows that the number of child abuse reports being screened out without any protective action rose last year to the third-highest rate in the country.

In all, the state screened out more than 48,000 such abuse reports last year ­— and authorities often made their decisions after only gathering information from a phone ...

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Federal loopholes, local challenges complicate response plans for rural oil disasters

The federal government does not require U.S. railroads to have comprehensive plans for a worst-case oil disasters, according to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.

That means no one knows if the railways that carried 4.2 million barrels of crude oil through the state last year are prepared for a catastrophe.

A handful of factors – including a declining number of volunteer firefighter/first-responders and a lack of information – complicate planning efforts in rural states like Maine.

Read the story here.


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Audit shows Miss. rural water association plagued by financial problems

An audit of the North Lee County Water Association in Mississippi turned up widespread financial management problems, including violations of several state and federal laws, the Daily Journal (Tupelo, MS) reports.

The audit, which is likely “the most rigorous examination ever” of the nonprofit cooperative's financial records, comes on the heels of a $1.2 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Administration.

While copies of the audit are required to be available for public inspection, the water association did not comply with state law.

The association has been plagued with problems, according to the ...

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Unchecked irrigation threatens to sap Minnesota groundwater

Crop irrigation has boomed in Minnesota in the past few years, increasing land values and raising yields for corn, soybeans and other crops. But hundreds of Minnesota farmers appear to be irrigating cropland without the state permits required to use large volumes of public water, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.

Of roughly 1,200 crop irrigation wells drilled from 2008 to 2012, more than 200 likely are operating without a permit, a Minnesota Public Radio News investigation of public well records found. In addition, nearly 200 others operated without a permit until the past year or so.

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Extra Extra Monday: The billion-dollar trophy deer industry, election spending, missing radon tests

Trophy deer industry linked to disease, costs taxpayers millions | Indianapolis Star

In less than 40 years, a relatively small group of farmers has created something the world has never seen before — a billion-dollar industry primarily devoted to breeding deer that are trucked to fenced hunting preserves to be shot by patrons willing to pay thousands for the trophies.

An Indianapolis Star investigation has discovered the industry costs taxpayers millions of dollars, compromises long-standing wildlife laws, endangers wild deer and undermines the government's multibillion-dollar effort to protect livestock and the food supply.

More than 100 publicly funded charter schools fail ...

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Officials were warned about dangers of Wash. mudslide area

Snohomish County officials in a 2010 report were warned that neighborhoods along the Stillaguamish River were ranked “as one of the highest risk areas for deadly and destructive landslides," according to The Seattle Times.

The document contradicts claims from an emergency-management official that the area “was considered very safe” and that the slide “came out of nowhere.”

The Times also found state records showing that the plateau that gave way Saturday had been logged for almost a century. Scientists in recent decades had warned that the slope was becoming unstable and could potentially lead to calamity.

More coverage: Before and ...

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Companies still storing large amounts of toxic chemicals in Louisville

The number of Louisville companies storing dangerous quantities of toxic chemicals has dropped significantly in the past decade, but hundreds of thousands of area residents remain at risk of being sickened or killed in the event of a catastrophic leak.

Federally required safety records analyzed by The Courier-Journal show that 21 firms report storing deadly or explosive toxic substances such as chlorine, formaldehyde and anhydrous ammonia in amounts large enough to require disaster plans — with some danger zones stretching from Southern Indiana to northern Bullitt County.

Data shows car accidents spike when sun aligns with Toronto street grid

Global News obtained 11 years of collision data and found that “Torontohenge,” when the setting sun aligns with Toronto’s east-west street grid and forces drivers to squint through salt-crusted windshields, coincides with the third-worst day of the year for car accidents.

Get the full story and graphic.

Extra Extra Monday: American Indian casinos, oil field fatalities, student absenteeism

Suicide rate hits 25-year high in region | Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal

Craig Russell Wishnick is one of 238 residents of Dutchess and Ulster counties to die by suicide in the five years ending in 2011, 73 more than in the five years ending in 2003, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal analysis of death certificates over a 13-year period. That is an increase in harder-hit Dutchess of 62 percent and the first hike in the county rate after a quarter-century of steady and solid decline.

 

Does Utah’s air pollution increase school absences? | The Salt Lake Tribune

Health problems are a ...

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