December 27, 2012

    Photo: Tulane Public Relations/Flickr

Head of EPA Steps Down

Leaves position after four years

After a four-year term, Lisa P. Jackson is stepping down as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She informed President Obama soon after the election of her plans to resign at the beginning of next year and told the EPA staff of her decision this morning. “Under her leadership, the EPA has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink,” President Obama said, “including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act, and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution.” While no successor has been named, Robert Peciasepe, the EPA deputy administrator, is expected to take over temporarily. Jackson, the first African American head of the EPA, did not say what her plans were upon leaving the position. “Before me,” Jackson said, “some people said that African Americans don’t care about the environment. I don’t think that will ever be the case again.”

Via The New York Times


    Photo: wheeldog/Flickr

Blind Dog Survives Alaskan Winter

It's a Christmas miracle!

What is blind, has four legs, is eight years old, and survived the Alaskan winter without heat, transportation, the ability to operate anything resembling transportation, or any semi-advanced cognitive capacities? A dog. Abby, a brown-and-white mixed-breed belonging to the Grapengeter family, to be exact. On December 13, she disappeared near Fairbanks. With temperatures dropping as low as -40 degrees Farenheit and considering the dog had lost her eyesight a year ago, the Grapengeters figured their dog was gone, but on the 23rd they received a call from a local vet, saying Abby had showed up at his door without any signs of injury or frostbite. "It's a miracle, there's no other words to describe it," said the mother, McKenzie Grapengeter. "We never expected to have her be returned safe and alive." 

Via The Independent


    Photo: jillapallooza/Twitter

60-Foot Whale Beached in NYC

Presumed dead

A 60-foot finback whale, the second largest animal species in the world after only blue whales, beached itself at Breezy Point in Queens on Wednesday. Though firefighters and police started spraying the sea mammal immediately after it was discovered in an attempt to keep it alive, biologists said the whale appeared to have died Thursday morning. It was "not moving a lot," Mendy Garron, a regional specialist for the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, told the AFP. "In many of these cases, when an animal of this size strands, they are usually compromised in some form or another."

Because the whale is located on National Park Service land (in the Gateway National Recreation Area), Fisheries is hoping to borrow heavy equipment from the NPS to conduct an on-site necropsy. "The park service is also expected to help dispose of the whale's body," according to the New York Times's City Room blog. Garron, the NOAA specialist, is checking with local landfills and also considering burial options.