A "PCB warning on fish oil supplements" story topped reader interest in 2010.

What Was 2010's Top Environmental Story?

Here at Environmental Protection, we have analytical tools that measure many things, including how many times a person viewed an article. After reviewing the unique page views from Jan. 4 to Dec. 8, 2010, I was surprised to find that the most read news item was headlined: "Lawsuit Seeks PCB Warnings on Fish Oil Supplements."

The next four stories, in rank order, are:

  • Scented Consumer Products Shown to Emit Toxic Chemicals
  • A Time of Job Cuts and Moves (2009 Salary Survey results article)
  • Rush and Waxman Release Toxic Chemicals Safety Act, and
  • Congress Approves Prescription Drug Disposal Law.

Fish oil and scented products seem a little fishy or smelly to me ─ in terms of impact and interest to environmental professionals (EPs), but I could be wrong. Or perhaps some other demographic is interested in reading these stories.

Anyway, I developed another list based on perceived importance to EPs and ranked them like this:

  1. Deepwater Horizon oil spill
  2. EPA's greenhouse gas regulation efforts
  3. EPA's new primary ozone standard between 0.060 and 0.070 ppm
  4. Walmart's 20 million metric ton goal for supply chain emissions
  5. Lead-based paint requirements
  6. EPA's two alternatives in coal ash regulation

In what might be considered the good news list, I picked the following:

  • Online Reuse Marketplace Engages Multiple States in Network
  • Pharmacies Launch Safe Disposal Initiative for Unused Medicine
  • Five Manufacturers Already Met Energy Star Challenge Goal
  • Locals Get Superfund Job Training for Tar Creek Site
  • Fewer Worker Deaths in Solid Waste Industry, DOL Says
  • Associations Document Attributes of Effective Wastewater Collection Systems

No matter what the naysayers are saying, people are taking positive steps to manage wastes, save energy, and be better stewards. But there's always plenty of "bad" news to choose from. These three headlines made my list of general disappointments for industry and Earth:

  • New EPA Policy Rejects CBI Claims for Chemicals
  • Supreme Court Refuses to Hear SSM Exemption Case
  • Elevated Nitrogen and Phosphorus Still Widespread, USGS Says

As you can see this is a highly subjective endeavor. What's on your list? Or better yet, what stories still need to be written?

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Dec 13, 2010

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