Good as news: positive environmental stories you may have missed

Media Contacts
Arielle Ostry

Josh Chetwynd

Environment America

The Public Interest Network’s Environment America and PIRG work on multiple campaigns to ensure the country’s policies and practices create a cleaner, safer, better world for all of us. This monthly newsletter highlights recent good news on the environmental front — both from the work we do and elsewhere. If you have suggestions or comments, please email Arielle Ostry ([email protected]) or Josh Chetwynd ([email protected]). 

Restoring protections to Bristol Bay

Pebble Mine, a proposed mining project that could have destroyed up to 2,800 acres of fragile wetlands in southwest Alaska, has been blocked by the Environmental Protection Agency thanks to authority granted by the Clean Water Act. 

This controversial mine, opposed by a range of groups including fishermen, environmentalists and Alaskan elected officials like Sen. Lisa Murkowski, will now be unable to move forward — at least for the rest of the current administration.

“With this action, the EPA will prevent what would have been catastrophic damage from one of the largest mining operations in the world,” said Dyani Chapman, Environment America’s Alaska organizer. “We look forward to the Biden administration finalizing these protections so that the wildlife and communities near Bristol Bay can continue to safely enjoy clean water.”

California is going big on offshore wind

An offshore wind bill cosponsored by Environment California and supported by a broad coalition of labor, climate and environmental justice groups sailed through the California state legislature this month and was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. It will require state regulators to set a goal for offshore wind development. 

AB 525 moves California another step closer to using the wind off its coasts for clean renewable energy, and reaffirms the state’s commitment to its ambitious climate and clean energy goals.

“Investing in offshore wind is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to California building an electricity grid that is resilient, reliable and renewable,” said Environment California Clean Energy Associate Elizabeth Nickerson. “This is so vital in the face of such turbo-charged climate calamities as heat waves, fires and drought that are facing our state and our nation.” 

EPA makes moves to protect clean water and health

The Environmental Protect Agency announced it will update water pollution control standards for both meat and poultry processing plants. These standards have not been updated since 2004. This neglect has led to dead zones, drinking water contamination and other appalling conditions for waterways, including the Mississippi River Watershed.

This decision comes one month after the Environment America Research & Policy Center released a map detailing slaughterhouse pollution.

“In committing to update slaughterhouse standards, the EPA is following the demands of both the law and its mission to ensure that all our waterways are clean,” said John Rumpler, Environment America’s Clean Water program director. “Hopefully, the new rules will be strong enough to stop facilities that produce our food from polluting our water.”

What else we’re celebrating:

  • Plans for large solar expansion in Virginia: Dominion Energy proposed 15 solar and storage projects to state regulators this month. If approved, these projects would mark the largest solar expansion in Virginia state history. The proposed projects would generate around one gigawatt of renewable electricity, enough to power 250,000 Viriginian homes. 

  • Electrifying the U.S. Postal Service fleet: USPS could be seeing some major upgrades to its vehicles with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform approving $7 billion to electrify the USPS fleet. Many of the agency’s vehicles are aging and inefficient, so making the switch to electric will do a lot to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce toxic diesel pollution. 

  • Leaded gasoline production ends worldwide: The last refinery to make leaded gasoline has officially shut down. The dirty fuel has been known for contaminating the air, water, soil and crops, and is the product responsible for the most exposure to lead worldwide. The U.N. Environment Programme estimates that ceasing leaded gasoline production will prevent one million premature deaths annually from heart disease, strokes and cancer. 

Looking for even more uplifting environmental content?

Environment America also has our Greener Together project. The project aims to help us all foster a stronger connection with the natural world and with each other. The initiative includes engaging events, fun activities and helpful guides for both adults and children. 


Environment America is a national network with affiliates in 29 states. Our staff and members work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment.

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.

U.S. PIRG and Environment America are part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.

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