National News

Protecting our dwindling water

By Marty Schladen – Alamogordo News – November 15, 2014

People who live in the Rio Grande Basin will have to take dramatic steps if they hope to have a future that involves more than just dust. Experts say population in the region has swelled during unusually wet years, leading to growth and creating habits that tree rings and other scientific data indicate we shouldn't expect in the future. Stream flows measured at the Otowi Gauge on the Upper Rio Grande were well above historical norms between 1980 and 2000, when El Paso's and Albuquerque's populations grew 42 percent and 38 percent, respectively. Add climate change — which an overwhelming majority of those who study it say is happening — and you have a future that might not be very promising for cities such as El Paso, Juárez, Las Cruces and Albuquerque. For full story, click here.

As controversial EPA water rule looms, GOP prepares an assault

By Chris Adams – The Fresno Bee – November 14, 2014

While the politics of climate change were at the top of the president’s agenda this week, a different environmental proposal is heading to a showdown between Republicans and the White House, in part due to strong pressure from Kentucky farm interests and lawmakers. The issue is the proposed “ Waters of the United States” rule, which was announced earlier this year in an attempt to simplify and clarify which waterways are covered by the Clean Water Act and which ones aren’t. But the Obama administration’s attempt at clarity has instead brought anger and confusion from many of the nation’s farm interests, as well as Republicans in Congress – who until last week were powerless to do anything about it. For full story, click here.

Senate Defeats Bill on Keystone XL Pipeline in Narrow Vote

By Ashley Parker – The New York – Times November 18, 2014

Senate Democrats, by a single vote, stopped legislation that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, one of the most fractious and expensive battles of the Obama presidency. The vote represented a victory for the environmental movement, but the fight had taken on larger dimensions as a proxy war between Republicans, who argued that the project was vital for job creation, and President Obama, who had delayed a decision on building it. For full story, click here.

The surprising reason abandoned US mines haven't been cleaned up

By Rachael Bale – The Center for Investigative Reporting – November 4, 2014

Hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines litter the West: gold, silver, lead, copper. Some are left from the California gold rush; some were abandoned just a few decades ago. Today, acidic water and heavy metals from mines slowly leach into groundwater, lakes and streams. Corrosive water destroys aquatic ecosystems. Fish – the ones that don’t die – become loaded with arsenic or mercury. People swim in contaminated lakes. They hike over contaminated soil, breathing in dust laced with lead and arsenic. There are about 500,000 abandoned mines in the U.S., contaminating tens of thousands of miles of waterways. To say the least, America has a problem with abandoned mines. For full story, click here.



As Infrastructure Crumbles, Trillions Of Gallons Of Water Lost

By David Schaper – NPR – October 29, 2014

Imagine Manhattan under almost 300 feet of water. Not water from a hurricane or a tsunami, but purified drinking water — 2.1 trillion gallons of it. That's the amount of water that researchers estimate is lost each year in this country because of aging and leaky pipes, broken water mains and faulty meters. For full story, click here.