July 23, 1981: After two decades of legal battles, Consolidated Edison, New York City's electric utility formally abandons plans to build a "pump-storage" facility at Storm King Mountain (at right, in 2009) north of the city. The project would have carved away the face of the scenic mountain, drawn water from the Hudson River, and released that water to turn electricity-generating turbines.
July 23, 1982: The International Whaling Commission votes to ban commercial whaling by 1986. Exceptions are made for subsistence hunts by native communities. Japan, Norway, and Iceland have continued whaling on a much-reduced scale, citing a loophole allowing for killing whales for "scientific research" purposes.
July 23, 2010: A Dutch court finds Trafigura, an oil trading company, guilty of illegally dumping toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. In 2006, ten people died and 70,000 were made ill by waste dumping in the West African nation.
July 23, 2012: Scientists monitoring NASA satellites report that the ice sheet covering most of Greenland is experiencing its worst-ever summer of melting. Land-based ice masses, like those covering Greenland and Antarctica, would trigger catastrophic sea level rise if they melt.
Photo: Ahodges7/Wikimedia Commons