An estimated 4.1 million people in the lower 48 states are potentially exposed to arsenic levels that exceed EPA’s drinking water standards A new USGS highlights the importance of homeowners testing their well water to ensure it is safe for consumption, particularly in drought-prone areas. The first-of-its-kind national-scale study of private well water, conducted in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed that drought may lead to elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic and that the longer a drought lasts, the higher the probability of arsenic concentrations exceeding U.S. EPA's standard for drinking water.- USGS
In a year characterized by extreme weather, avid handwashing, and increasingly remote interactions, access to electricity is more important than ever. But 12 months into the U.S. COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a basic right on which thousands of Navajo Nation members are still waiting. “What it’s like to be without electricity? I don’t know how to describe it because we never had it before,” said Navajo elder and Black Mesa, Arizona, resident Percy Deal. “It’s always been this way, so we’re used to it. Until last year when this pandemic came in; that’s when we began to realize that these utilities are very important.” Electricity has long been a contentious issue for Navajo Nation residents. Of the roughly 55,000 Indigenous households located on Navajo lands, which stretch across large parts of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, ~15,000 do not have electricity. And yet the reservation is an energy-exporting hotspot, having until recently been home to the Navajo Generating Station, the largest coal-fired power plant in the western U.S, as well as many coal, uranium, oil, and fracking operations. - Grist
The coastal waters of Northern California are changing. A decade ago, hundreds of miles of the rugged seaside were flanked by thick, swaying underwater forests of amber-green bull kelp that were home to fish, abalone and a host of other species. Now, those forests have been nearly wiped out by a series of environmental events that have been falling like ill-fated dominos since 2013. A new study using satellite imagery and underwater surveys is the latest to confirm that these majestic marine ecosystems have all but disappeared, reports Tara Duggan for the San Francisco Chronicle. Satellite images dating back to 1985 show that bull kelp forests off Sonoma and Mendocino counties have declined by a devastating 95 percent since 2013, and, according to the Chronicle, researchers are concerned the kelp may not be able to bounce back anytime soon. - Smithsonian
I started a CGCC Facebook page in May of '20 to share geo-environmental news but had concerns about FB's issues with accuracy. This page, GeoNews, is a response and partial solution, sharing a few items from reliable sources each week.