National News

Fracking or Drinking Water? That May Become the Choice

By Mark Koba – NBC News Business – September 14, 2014 – Videos

Fracking for oil and natural gas—or having enough water to drink. That's the possible dilemma facing a number of countries including the United States, according to a new report released by the World Resources Institute last week—though experts disagree on the real implications of the report and what should be done about it. Forty percent of countries with shale-rich deposits—the types where hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" is used to extract natural gas and oil—face water scarcity in and around the shale deposits, according to the WRI report. For full story and to view videos, click here.

Most Conservation Science Not Available To Conservationists

Conservation Magazine –  September 2, 2014

Does anyone have $51 million lying around? Asking for a friend. Well, a whole lot of friends actually—all the thousands and thousands of people around the world who are actively engaged in some branch of applied conservation science, from saving the whales to reforesting Indonesia. It turns out that $51 million might be enough to get all those conservationists access to the research and science they need to do good work; access many of them currently lack. For full article, click here.

Seeing Purpose and Profit in Algae

By Matthew L. Wald – The New York Times – August 18, 2014

Entrepreneurs have been trying for years to get something valuable out of algae. It has not been easy, and not just because algae are an unsightly nuisance (and sometimes dangerous, as is the Lake Erie bloom that has endangered drinking water this month). Although algae grow prodigiously and contain potentially useful molecules — especially lipids, which can be turned into high-energy fuel and other products — extracting those molecules has proved complicated and expensive. So far, virtually the only marketable products based on algae have been high-end skin creams. But a Nevada company, Algae Systems, has a pilot plant in Alabama that, it says, can turn a profit making diesel fuel from algae by simultaneously performing three other tasks: making clean water from municipal sewage (which it uses to fertilize the algae), using the carbon-heavy residue as fertilizer and generating valuable credits for advanced biofuels. For full story, click here.

Big wins elusive for EPA in Clean Water Act showdowns

By Jeremy P. Jacobs – E & E Publishing, LLC – August 27, 2014

For U.S. EPA at the Supreme Court, it's been the best of times -- and the worst. In Clean Air Act cases, EPA is on a roll. The high court last term upheld a major EPA program for air pollution that drifts across state lines. It also barely trimmed a permitting program for greenhouse gases, leaving intact most of EPA's first round of climate regulations. And even when EPA has technically lost, as in the landmark 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA climate case, the justices ruled for the more environmentally protective side -- in that case, that EPA is empowered to regulate greenhouse gases. But it's a different story when the Clean Water Act is in play. The agency hasn't won a case broadening its regulatory authority since 1985. For full story, click here.

Voice of the Wetlands Festival to showcase Louisiana acts

By Kate Mabry – Houma Today – August 22, 2014

The 11th annual Voice of the Wetlands Festival in October will exclusively feature Louisiana talent. “This year’s theme is all about native Louisiana sounds — zydeco, Cajun, Creole, jazz. All those genres come together and will play on two stages,” festival volunteer Jill Kettles said. Voice of the Wetlands organizers “wanted to celebrate the Louisiana culture, native sounds and the artists who came from them and bring them all together.” The free festival is expected to draw thousands of people from Oct. 10-12 to Southdown Plantation, 1208 Museum Drive, Houma, to enjoy local musicians such as festival founder Tab Benoit, Royal Southern Brotherhood and Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band, Kettles said. There also will be food and artwork. For more information on the Festival, click here.