Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke yesterday huddled with more than two dozen conservation group leaders, including some of his staunchest critics, in his latest bid to generate both ideas and support for his ambitious departmental reorganization plans. … Also in attendance were Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt; Susan Combs, the acting assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks; and Greg Sheehan, the principal deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service (Greenwire, March 30).
Now that congressional action on a major federal infrastructure bill is going nowhere fast, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan program, with $40 billion in existing spending authority, is a here-and-now opportunity to address key U.S. infrastructure needs.
Concerns are growing over the Trump administration’s plans to eliminate ocean quality grants used by coastal communities to determine whether the water poses a hazard to beach goers. The EPA stopped requesting the $10 million in annual funds in 2013, saying that states, counties and cities were adequately equipped to continuing the monitoring on their own.
Amid all the excitement around marijuana legalization in America, another newly legal crop has received comparatively little attention: hemp. And yet hemp may prove to be even more transformative, especially in the West’s arid landscapes. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that is not psychoactive.
Tracking how much Americans spend on infrastructure starts with defining the sector. In this case, we mean the essential services related to public works: water and sewer, electricity and gas, transportation, telephone, and broadband.
The federal Farm Bill has a powerful impact on the cost of farming—both organic and non-organic. A version of the bill introduced by the House Agriculture Committee would cut existing programs for organic farmers and increase their costs, while at the same time continuing to use taxpayer dollars to artificially lower the costs of non-organic food. Organic farmers shoulder expenses that their conventional counterparts push onto the public, like the costs of keeping air and waterways clean and protecting wildlife.
A long-contaminated Orange County site is getting increased federal attention after the court-ordered release of emails showing that conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt set up a meeting between controversial EPA chief Scott Pruitt and attorneys for the Orange County Water District, which is seeking federal oversight of the cleanup process.
I’ve [John Fleck] given more than 30 public talks around the western United States since my book came out nearly two years ago, and every time I talk I include a bunch of graphs and data making the same point – water use is going down.
The U.S. Geological Survey joins its many partners in other federal agencies, at universities, and in state and local governments in recognizing the importance of the Water Resources Research Act (WRRA) of 1964.
Signed into law 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 17, 1964, the WRRA established a Water Resources Research Institute in each state and Puerto Rico.
From The New York Times, in a commentary by David Bornstein:
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that public water systems lose, on average, one-sixth of their water — mainly from leaks in pipes. The E.P.A. asserts that 75 percent of that water is recoverable.
Three U.S. states with anticipated water supply deficits in the coming decades reached milestones in July in their deliberations on how to meet the demands of cities, farmers, and industries. … A few plans have already been published. California, for example, released its five-year update in January.
Attendees of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will vote Monday on a resolution that encourages cities to use natural solutions to “protect freshwater supplies, defend the nation’s coastlines, maintain a healthy tree cover and protect air quality,” sometimes by partnering with nonprofit organizations.
The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposal addressing water provided for ski areas on national forest lands through the permitting process. The proposal would help to ensure public winter recreation opportunities on Forest Service lands are available in the long term.
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by David Horsey:
“One of the great environmental success stories of our time is how the air in L.A. has gotten dramatically better over the years, thanks to auto emissions standards. … There are other good stories … It should be noted that every one of these positive outcomes resulted from government action.”
“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today [May 27] joined Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow to launch a new era in American conservation efforts with an historic focus on public-private partnership.
“Yesterday [May 27], Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack launched a new era in American conservation efforts with an historic focus on public-private partnership. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program will competitively award funds to conservation projects designed by local partners specifically for their region.