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1) 1923 — Feb. 2 — Leaded gasoline goes on sale in Dayton, Ohio without safety tests and despite protests of public health experts.
2) 1929 — Over 100 wildlife sanctuaries consolidated under federal protection by Norbeck-Anderson Act.
1) National Institute of Health established, expanding the U.S. Public Health Service’s Hygienic Laboratory. Funding for medical research from the Federal government escalates rapidly.
2) 1937 — Another Public Health Service survey of air pollution in New York shows conditions worsening.
1) 1940 — US Congress passes Bald Eagle Preservation Act which prohibits selling, killing, or possessing the species.
2) 1944 — Cleveland, Ohio natural gas explosion
1) 1950 — President Harry Truman says government and industry should join forces in a battle against death-dealing smog.
2) 1952, Dec. 12 — Chalk River nuclear test reactor explodes in Ontario. No one is killed, but thousands are exposed to highly radioactive waste.
1) Nuclear meltdown in Idaho — Jan. 3 — Three operators are killed when a small experimental nuclear reactor melts down and explodes in Arco, Idaho.
1963 — France, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands agree to protect Rhine River from pollution in Berne Accord.
1972 — First regional treaty to regulate dumping of radioactive wastes — known as the London Dumping Convention — negotiated amount northern European nations.
1976 — Urquiola oil spill Spain, La Coruna
1980 - Global 2000 Report calls for international cooperation in solving environmental problems.
National Academy of Sciences calls leaded gasoline the greatest source of atmospheric lead pollution.
1) 1990 — Clean Air Act amendments strengthen rules on SOx and NOx emissions from electric power plants helping reduce acid rain.
1992 — November — Three French workers contaminated after going into a nuclear accelerator without protection. Several executives jailed for failing to enforce safety rules.
2000 — Jan 1 — European Union bans leaded gasoline as a public health hazard.
2003 — March 21 — Invasion of Iraq by US and British forces leads to widespread oilfield burning and other war-related environmental problems.
April 5 — West Virginia — A methane explosion rocks Massey Coal Company’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, killing 29 miners and injuring others. It is the largest loss of life in United States coal mining history in 40 years. In 1970, 38 miners were killed at Finley Coal mines in Kentucky, and in 1968, 78 miners were killed at the Farmington mine in West Virginia.
1) April 20-22 — Earth Day is a bust in the US, with far fewer communities participating and perhaps one quarter of the news articles being written than only a few years before. As usual, when concerns about the environment dip dramatically , other concerns are at work: in this case, the Boston Marathon bombing.
July25 — Germany generates 78 percent of its electricity from wind and solar on this day, setting a new record.
June 27 — Early deaths from air pollution will continue to rise if current policies are allowed to continue, the International Energy Agency says.
• 6,000 BCE — Deforestation leads to collapse of communities in southern Israel / Jordan.
• 2700 BC — Some of the first laws protecting the remaining forests are decreed in Ur, Messopotamia.
• 560 – 600 BCE — Athenian leader Solon poisons river during a siege of this city.
• 500 BCE — Cloaca Maxima (big sewer) is built in Rome by Etruscan dynasty of Tarquins. As Rome grows, a networks of cloacae (sewers) and aquaducts are built.
• 1560-1600 — Rapid industrialization in England leads to heavy deforestation and increasing substitution of coal for wood.
• 1691 — British “Broad Arrow” reserves large trees for shipbuilding in the American colonies.
• 1603 — James I succeeds Elizabeth I and orders coal burned in his London household, but rather than smokey bituminous coal from Lancashire, Durham and Cornwall, he orders importation of hard, cleaner-burning anthracite from Scotland.
• 1533-1592 — Life of Michel de Montaigne, a French attorney whose 1588 essay Of Cruelties denounced abuse of animals as “the extremist of all vices.”
• 1690 –Colonial Governor William Penn requires Pennsylvania settlers to preserve one acre of trees for every five acres cleared.
1739 — Benjamin Franklin and neighbors petition Pennsylvania Assembly to stop waste dumping and remove tanneries from Dock Creek in Philadelphia’s commercial district.
• 1762 –1769 — Philadelphia committee led by Benjamin Franklin attempts to regulate waste disposal and water pollution.
• 1791– The New York state assembly closes the hunting season on the heath hen. The species is extinct by the early 1900s.
• 1817 — U.S. Secretary of Navy authorized to reserve and protect timber lands producing hardwoods for naval stores.
• 1818 — Massachusetts bans the hunting of robins and horned larks, both popular foods, as a conservation measure.
• 1865 — Founding of the Commons Preservation Society in England to protect woodlands and heths used by communities for recreation.
• 1867 — Pennsylvania legislature rejects bill to regulate water pollution, despite heavy industrial pollution in Delaware River
• 1892 — 1,000 Londoners die in smog incident.
• 1895 — Sewage cleanup in London means the return of some fish species (grilse, whitebait, flounder, eel, smelt) to the Thames River. (Fitter).
• 1901 –Anthracite coal strike closes thousands of factories and leaves millions without heat, rekindling interest in alternative energy.
• 1908, Sept. 26 — Chlorine first used to disinfect drinking water in New Jersey.
• 1919 — Jan. 15 — Twenty one people die in Boston following the rupture of a 2.5 million gallon tank of molasses.
• 1912 — Federal Water and Sanitation Investigation Station established in Cincinnati.
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