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Tuesday, Oct 04th

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US court revokes permits for plastics plant in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’

US courtr revokes permit for plaster plant in LA Cancer Alley

A US court has revoked air pollution permits for a huge plastics plant in a region of Louisiana known as Cancer Alley and ruled that they would have violated environmental rules.

People living near the proposed petrochemical complex in St James parish have been fighting against the plans for years and hailed the decision as a victory for environmental justice.

The permits had been issued by the Louisiana department of environmental quality to FG LA, a member of the Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group.

FG LA’s proposed $9.4bn “Sunshine Project” is being designed to produce polyethylene, polypropylene, polymer and ethylene glycol which are used in a range of everyday products. If built, it would be one of the largest production facilities for plastics and plastic feedstocks in the world.

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'Forever chemicals' are everywhere. The battle over who pays to clean them up is just getting started.

Forever chemicals are everywhere

State and local governments across the country are suing manufacturers of toxic chemicals that are contaminating much of the nation’s drinking water, aiming to shield water customers and taxpayers from the massive cost of cleaning them up.

These pervasive “forever chemicals,” known as PFAS, are linked to a variety of health hazards, including cancer. Now, as state lawmakers and federal regulators get serious about removing them, scores of governments and water suppliers are in pitched court battles over who is on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in damage — the companies that created the chemicals or the customers who are drinking them.

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Mudslides hit Los Angeles mountain area as thousands told to evacuate

Mudslides hit Los Angeles

Thousands of residents of a mountain area east of Los Angeles were under evacuation orders and shelter-in-place orders after heavy rains unleashed mudslides, sending boulders and other debris across roads.

Firefighters went street by street in the community of Forest Falls on Monday night to make sure no residents were trapped. Eric Sherwin, spokesperson for the San Bernardino county fire department, said crews had not found anyone who needed to be rescued and no one was reported missing. Crews would canvass the neighborhoods again and begin cleanup efforts after sunrise, he said.

“We’re not gonna know the extent of things until we get to first light,” Sherwin said before dawn on Tuesday.

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Megadrought in the American south-west: a climate disaster unseen in 1,200 years

Megadrought in south westWhen the Nasa climatologist James Hansen testified before Congress in June 1988 about a warming planet, the temperature in Washington DC hit a record 100F. It was a summer of unprecedented heatwaves, and 40 states were grappling with drought.

His warning was seen as a historic wake-up call – but instead of heeding the existential smoke alarm, the US removed the batteries and kept on cooking.

Nearly four decades later, the consequences of a sweltering Earth are hitting home in the US south-west and mountain west – comprising states from California to Colorado. Over the past two decades, extreme heat and dwindling moisture levels have converged to create a “megadrought” deemed the driest period in 1,200 years.

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Flash floods hit Chicago metro area, stranding cars

Flash floods hit ChicagoThe National Weather Service on Sunday issued a flash flood warning for part of northeastern Illinois including Chicago's northern metro area, after heavy rains flooded viaducts, stranded cars, and sent water surging into basements.

Chicagoans shared photos and videos on social media of cars partially submerged beneath underpasses and plumes of water shooting up from sidewalks.

The Chicago Bears showed no signs of canceling a planned football game with the San Francisco 49ers at noon local time (1700 GMT), posting videos of the team warming up in pounding rain on a sodden field.

Even after the heaviest rain had ended by around 11 a.m. CT, the NWS warned that roads would remain flooded until the water had time to recede.

More than 2,000 Oregon homes are evacuated as the Cedar Creek fire quadruples in size

Cedar Creek fire in Oregon quadruples in size

A wildfire in Oregon has quadrupled in size since late last week, threatening thousands of homes and draping the Interstate 5 corridor, including the Portland metropolitan area, in heavy smoke.

The Cedar Creek fire began during a lightning storm on August 1st. As of Sunday, it had grown to nearly 86,000 acres, officials said, and the fire "breached existing lines," meaning containment dropped to 0%.

The fire threatens more than 2,200 homes and hundreds of commercial buildings, officials said, mostly in the nearby towns of Oakridge and Westfir, which have a combined population of about 3,500 residents. Officials ordered evacuations on Friday.

Gusty winds, high temperatures and dry conditions late last week and into Saturday exacerbated the fire, fueling its growth from about 18,000 acres on Wednesday to more than four times that number by Sunday.

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The 10 most polluted states in the US

Polluted statesHow clean are the air and water in your state?

Using 2021 data, U.S. News and World Reports’ feature on the “Best States” has ranked U.S. states on several metrics, including economics, education and health care. The listing also measures natural environment, which is based on a state’s air/water quality and pollution levels.

Pollution was determined based on air and water emissions from industry and utilities, and overall measures to long-term human health effects, using information from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Below are the most polluted (no. 50-40) and least polluted (no. 10-1) in U.S. News’ Pollution Rankings.

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