Top topics of 2011: A nuclear meltdown, fracas over fracking and Keystone, BPA beyond bottles


From Maria Cone, Editor in Chief, Environmental Health News

The legacy of Japan's catastrophic 8.9-magnitude earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear reactor meltdown will remain for decades. Image source: cc license Warren Antiola/Flickr

As news of Japan’s massive, 8.9-magnitude earthquake spread on March 11, the world watched and waited in horror. Within hours, the first news leaked out about the fate of Japan’s nuclear power plants as a fire engulfed a reactor and thousands of people were evacuated. The disaster unfolded minute-by-minute. And its legacy will remain for decades to come.

By the end of 2011, Environmental Health News carried 2,797 stories that mentioned the Fukushima nuclear plant. Just a year earlier, another catastrophic event had captured the headlines: The largest oil spill in U.S. history. In 2010, EHN posted more than 4,000 stories on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, plus more than 800 in 2011.

Some environmental health issues exploded in 2011. And one of them actually eclipsed coverage of Fukushima. EHN’s 2011 archives  include 4,771 articles that mention fracking, the controversial process of fracturing rock to stimulate gas production. That is nearly three times the number in 2010. And for news junkies, this may be hard to believe: In 2009, there were only 192 stories about fracking posted at EHN, and only 35 in 2008. What a difference a year or two makes.

Read the rest of this article at Environmental Health News.