By Gregory Korte – USA Today – November 3, 2015

Federal agencies will be required to take additional steps to offset the environmental impacts of development under a presidential memorandum signed by President Obama Tuesday. The new policy expands on the federal government's 26-year-old "no net loss" wetlands policy, first established under President George H.W. Bush, which requires that any wetlands that are destroyed by human development be replaced somewhere else. The Obama policy applies that concept to any natural resource — not just wetlands — and also encourages agencies to replace those resources even before they're destroyed. For full story, click here.

By Edward Graham – The Durango Herald – October 28, 2015

A new stream-protection rule to protect waterways from surface coal mining contamination was met with stiff resistance by Senate Republicans on Tuesday during a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The rule, which was proposed by the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, would promote better safeguards, oversight and protection for streams near mines. OSM has been working for the last six years to update environmental regulations for streams and other ecosystems surrounding surface mines.For full story, click here.

Phil Taylor and Corbin Hiar – E&E Publishing, LLC –  October 21, 2015

The Obama administration is quietly reshaping the Endangered Species Act in hopes of tempering congressional critics and avoiding courtroom battles.
Over the past several years, the administration has pushed a series of administrative reforms that it says will make the 1973 law more nimble, transparent and legally defensible. It has shifted course on how the law is applied, utilizing incentives over regulations to coax industry and private landowners to save vanishing habitats. "The law has inherent flexibility," said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. "We can apply that flexibility thoughtfully, and we can catalyze conservation, not command it." Lawmakers and Western governors want to legislatively overhaul the law -- a tall task in a deeply partisan Congress. But the law has already evolved significantly under President Obama and will continue to be molded by the next administration. For full story, click here.



By Brent Kendall and Amy Harder – The Wall Street Journal –October 9, 2015

A federal appeals court on Friday temporarily blocked an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that would bring more waterways and wetlands under federal protection, in the latest sign the effort could face an uphill legal battle. The order, issued on a 2-1 vote from the Cincinnati-based Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was a preliminary boost for a group of 18 states that challenged the EPA regulation. The rule seeks to bring smaller bodies of water at the outer edges of watersheds under the Clean Water Act and was issued jointly with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For full story, click here.


Contact: Office of Communications – USDA – October 15, 2015

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will award $30 million to projects in six states to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on private and tribal agricultural lands. The projects are being funded under the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), a program authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. "Through locally led partnerships like these, USDA is targeting conservation in the places that make sense, allowing us to address local concerns," Vilsack said. "These projects will improve water quality, prevent flooding, enhance wildlife habitat and meet increasing conservation challenges on over 19,000 acres of wetlands." For full news release, click here.