kjzk writes "Daniel Burd, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, has found a way to make plastic degrade faster by isolating the microbe strain that can break it down. After 6 weeks, the microbes degraded the ground up plastic bag down to 17% compared to the normal 1,000 years it takes to decompose them. Daniel Burd's project won the top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa. He came back with a long list of awards, including a $10,000 prize, a $20,000 scholarship, and recognition that he has found a practical way to help the environment." Link to Original Source top
kjzk writes "White House Trims Environmental Cops, Below Level Ordered by Congress
By Rita Beamish
The Associated Press
Washington — Fewer U.S. environmental cops are tracking criminal polluters these days, their numbers steadily dropping below levels ordered by Congress. They are pursuing fewer environmental crimes in a strategy by the Bush administration to target bigger polluters.
The number of the Environmental Protection Agency's criminal investigators has dropped this year to 174, below the 200-agent minimum required by Congress, even as the EPA's overall criminal enforcement budget rose nearly 25 percent over three years to $48 million, according to EPA records.
An internal memorandum from one of the agency's top lawyers, obtained by The Associated Press, said the EPA is violating the U.S. Pollution Prosecution Act of 1990, which requires the agency to employ at least 200 criminal investigators.
The EPA's overall criminal caseload — investigations that could lead to prosecutions later — is declining, according to the agency's figures. It has opened fewer investigations every year since 2002, when there were 484 new investigations and 216 agents. Last year, the number of new cases fell to 305.
"It is difficult to believe that environmental crime suddenly declined precipitously after Bush took office. It is more likely that the administration's enthusiasm for criminal prosecution declined," said Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, who spearheaded the 1990 law." Link to Original Source