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New conservation funding program favors Pacific Northwest, California
Monday, 28 July 2014 13:44

By Eric Mortenson – Capital Pres – July 19, 2014

The Columbia River Basin shared by Oregon, Washington and Idaho is one of eight regions nationally selected for special conservation project funding under a new program announced by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program, or RCPP, combines four older programs into a new initiative. Funding contained in the 2014 Farm Bill, up to $1.2 billion over five years, will be used to improve water and soil health, wildlife habitat and watersheds. The difference from previous programs, Vilsack said during an appearance in Portland Thursday, is an emphasis on collaboration between producers, private land owners, environmental groups, state and local agencies and federal regulators. Expanding the number of conservation partners can leverage federal money, Vilsack said. For full story, click here.

 
Northwest wildlife refuges to phase out pesticide
Monday, 28 July 2014 13:41

By Jeff Barnard – SFGate – July 23, 2014

Federal wildlife refuges in the Northwest and Hawaii will phase out a class of pesticides that are chemically similar to nicotine because they pose a threat to bees and other pollinators key to crop growth. The region covering Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Hawaii is the first in the agency to ban neonicotinoids. There is room for exemptions, but the goal is to phase out the pesticides by January 2016, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Miel Corbett said Monday. For full story, click here.

 
Lawmakers target EPA’s water regs
Monday, 21 July 2014 00:45

By Timothy Cama – The Hill – July 16, 2014

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed two bills Wednesday aimed at undercutting the way the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates water pollution. One of the bills would give states more authority over water pollution permits and state permitting rules, while the other would block the agency’s joint proposal with the Army Corps of Engineers to redefine which waters it has jurisdiction over per the Clean Water Act. For full story, click here.

 
Study: 100-Foot Wide Forest Keeps Streams Healthy
Monday, 21 July 2014 00:41

Contact: Beverly M. Payton – Stroud Water Research Center – June 17, 2014

Streamside forest buffers, long considered a best management practice, should be at least 100 feet wide on each side to adequately protect freshwater ecosystems from human activities according to an extensive scientific literature review published in the June issue of Journal of American Water Resources Association“That’s a lot. We know it’s a lot. But this is what the science is saying, and the reward for a wide forest buffer is huge,” said study author Bernard W. Sweeney, Ph.D., director of the Stroud Water Research Center. While the environmental benefits of streamside forest buffers have been known for decades, there was no consensus about how wide an effective forest buffer should be, until now. For full story, click here.

 
U.S. House committee considers reigning in EPA's CWA Power Grab
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 00:00

By Dorothy Kosich – Mineweb – July 16, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s unabashed power grab under the auspices of the Clean Water Act has got the business sector, regulators and legal experts alarmed and seeking remedies from the legislative branch, specifically, the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment. As Richard O. Faulk, senior director, Initiative for Energy and the Environment of the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia, observed during a hearing before the subcommittee Tuesday, “I believe there is an urgent need for a comprehensive inquiry into whether the current statutory structure authorizes – or can be construed to authorize — abusive retrospective and prospective vetoes of legitimate business activities." For full story, click here.

 
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