These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

By DesignStudio, via Wikimedia Commons

  • One of the pioneers of the rails-to-trails program passed away at the age of 69. David Burwell was the first president of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy of Washington, D.C.
  • The House passed legislation that will make it more difficult for people to join class action lawsuits.
  • A ranch in Montana received a conservation easement that will protect it from future developments. The Shoco Ranch spans more than 800 acres in Montana and is home to numerous types of wildlife and fish.
  • The Department of Environmental Conservation in New York is working on a plan to deal with soil contamination near homes and schools. The contamination includes lead, cadmium, and arsenic, and it originates from industrial activity in the area.
  • Congress is expected to begin debating the merits of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The program, which allows foreign investors to acquire a green card by investing a minimum of $500,000, is set to expire in late April.
  • Researchers in Australia believe they have found a way to safely handle contamination from fire-fighting foams. The process would use electricity to break down the compounds and make them safer during disposal.
  • Residents in Prince William County, Virginia, are fighting to keep millions of tons of coal ash from being stored at a local power plant in what opponents say is an inadequate process from keeping contaminants out of the local water supply.