Contact: Robert Daguillard – U.S. EPA – September 30, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized a rule that will reduce the discharge of toxic pollutants into America’s waterways from steam electric power plants by 1.4 billion pounds annually, as well as reduce water withdrawal by 57 billion gallons per year, resulting in an estimated benefit of $463 million per year to Americans across the country. Toxic pollutants include mercury, arsenic, lead, and selenium, which can cause neurological damage in children, lead to cancer, and damage the circulatory system, kidneys, and liver. For full news release, click here.

By Phil Taylor –  E&E Publishing, LLC –  October 1, 2015

At midnight last night, the light flickered out on one of the nation's most popular conservation programs. But the political battle over the Land and Water Conservation Fund is sure to rage on into the fall, as lawmakers debate how to divvy up the hundreds of millions of dollars it receives each year. The 50-year-old law, which was authorized at $900 million, pays for federal land acquisitions, private land conservation easements, state recreation projects and endangered species grants. It's been funded annually by revenues from offshore oil and gas development, accumulating an unappropriated balance of roughly $20 billion. Appropriators will still be able to draw from that fund when it comes time to pass another spending bill Dec. 11. But the program's expiration means oil and gas companies have stopped paying into it. That has increased the stakes for the program's backers in Congress. For full story, click here.

By Ellen M. Gilmer – E&E Publishing, LLC – October 1, 2015

The Obama administration does not have authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands, a federal judge decided yesterday. In a major blow to the Bureau of Land Management and environmentalists who support stricter fracking oversight, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming enjoined BLM's years-in-the-making fracking rule, blocking enforcement of the new regulation while the court considers industry and state challenges. For full story, click here. – October 2, 2105

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has signed an historic partnership agreement with the oldest and largest Latino advocacy organization in the United States, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). The organizations will work together to engage Latino families in outdoor recreational sports on public lands and raise awareness and action on wildlife conservation issues that impact Latino health. The partnership will also provide new opportunities for urban youth to experience the natural world and promote career interest in conservation and the biological sciences. For full story, click here.

By Keith Coffman – PlanetArk – September 24, 2015

A long-simmering debate in the American West over the fate of a ground-dwelling bird reached a climax on Tuesday as the Obama administration denied Endangered Species Act protections to the greater sage grouse in favor of less rigid habitat conservation measures. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the need to list the charismatic bird as threatened or endangered was averted by the success of "unprecedented" collaboration among state and local governments, scientists, ranchers and other private interests over the last five years. She credited those efforts with significantly reducing threats to the sage grouse across 90 percent of its breeding habitat, staving off any immediate risk of extinction. For full story, click here.