By April Baumgarten – The Dickinson Press – April 30, 2015
U.S. senators will introduce a bill today that would send the controversial Waters of the U.S. proposal back to the Environmental Protection Agency, but the White House has threatened to veto the legislation. Bill co-sponsor Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is holding a press conference this morning at the U.S. Capitol with other senators on the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would require EPA to withdraw the proposal and consult states, farmers and ranchers affected by the rule, also known as WOTUS. "We don't know what the final rule is going to look like," Heitkamp said, who has been working on this legislation for months. "We need certainty in rural America." For full story, click here.
By Alex Dobuzinskis – Planet Ark – April 27, 2015
The number of breeding males in the greater sage-grouse population of the United States and part of Canada has declined by 56 percent in recent years, in a sign of trouble for the ground-dwelling bird, a study released on Friday showed. The study from the Pew Charitable Trusts comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepares to make a decision before the end of September on whether the bird should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. For full story, click here.
By Puneet Kollipara – Chemical & Engineering News – April 19, 2015
Plastic bag pollution does not simply harm individual birds and mammals when they get tangled in the trash. It also can affect entire communities of wildlife, including invertebrates, according to a new study. Marshland sediments covered with plastic bags had far lower oxygen levels and numbers of organisms than sediments that remained bag-free (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2015, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b00277). Scientists have grown increasingly concerned about the marine impacts of plastics, ranging from plastic beads to films to bottles. But marine ecologist Dannielle Senga Green of Trinity College, in Ireland, noticed that few studies had examined plastic litter’s effects on whole communities of living things, especially muddy communities with organisms such as worms, snails, and crabs. For full story, click here.
By John Roach – NBC News – April 26, 2015 – Videos
Blue crab season in the Chesapeake Bay is just around the corner. To fill his coffers between now and then, third-generation Virginia waterman J.C. Hudgins is fishing for menhaden, a type of fish used for bait. What he's seen in recent days comes as good news: clear water to a depth of eight feet. "Ten years past, you couldn't do that," he said. "And so you know the water quality has improved considerably." For full story and to view videos, click here.
By Alicia Chang – Southern California Public Radio 89.3 KPCC – April 23, 2015
With the evidence coming in from one study after another, scientists are now more certain than ever that oil and gas drilling is causing hundreds upon hundreds of earthquakes across the U.S. So far, the quakes have been mostly small and have done little damage beyond cracking plaster, toppling bricks and rattling nerves. But seismologists warn that the shaking can dramatically increase the chances of bigger, more dangerous quakes. Up to now, the oil and gas industry has generally argued that any such link requires further study. But the rapidly mounting evidence could bring heavier regulation down on drillers and make it more difficult for them to get projects approved. For full story, click here.