National News

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.

U.S.-China climate change deal already facing challenges

By Christi Parson, Julile Makinen and Michael A. Memoli – Los Angeles Times – November 12, 2014

Landmark agreement on climate change between the U.S. and China, the world's top two polluting nations, faced immediate challenges from experts who warned that it would require an overhaul of China's economy and from Republicans in Congress who vowed to undermine the deal. President Obama's ramped-up push on environmental issues set up a clash with GOP leaders, who blasted the far-reaching agreement with China as bad for business and promised to try to block the regulations necessary to meet its targets for curbing carbon emissions. Administration officials asserted that they would not be deterred. For full story, click here.

Senate GOP steeling for battle against EPA

By Timothy Cama – The Hill – November 9, 2014 – Video

Senate Republicans are gearing up for a war against the Obama administration’s environmental rules, identifying them as a top target when they take control in January. The GOP sees the midterm elections as a mandate to roll back rules from the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies, with Republicans citing regulatory costs they say cripple the economy and skepticism about the cause of climate change. For full story and to view video, 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.