By Timothy Cama – The Hill – February 25, 2015
House Republicans used a Wednesday hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget to attack various regulations being pursued by the agency. Most of the fights focused around the EPA’s proposals to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, but other regulations also got attention. “EPA seems intent on locking in a long list of new regulations that will bind future administrations,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said at the hearing of two subcommittees of the panel. “If this plan puts reliable base load energy from sources such as coal and nuclear in danger, communities may face higher costs and potentially suffer brownouts when most in need,” said Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), chairman of the environment subpanel. “We have to ask ourselves if this path leads to the energy future Americans expect.” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy defended her rulemaking agenda and the agency’s funding request for fiscal 2016, asking for $8.59 billion, a $452 million increase over what it received in the most recent year. For full story, click here.
By Tracy Loew, – Statesman Journal – February 19, 2015
International nuclear regulators warned this week that the growing amount of radioactive water at Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant remains a threat. In its report, the International Atomic Energy Agency again urged the plant's operator to treat the water to remove most of the radiation, then dump it in the sea."The IAEA team is of the opinion that the present plan to store the treated contaminated water containing tritium in above ground tanks, with a capacity of 800,000 cubic meters, is at best a temporary measure," the group wrote. For full story, click here.
By Todd Spangler – Detroit Free Press – February 16, 2015
President Barack Obama's budget includes millions of dollars to defend the Great Lakes against Asian carp, including funds to finish a long-standing third electric barrier near Chicago and to monitor the spread of the voracious species across the upper Midwest. But more than a year after the release of an exhaustive report on additional, potentially more effective options to help ensure Asian carp in the Mississippi River basin stay out of the Great Lakes, environmentalists are voicing concerns that little funding is being aimed at any of those proposals. For full story, click here.
By Darryl Fears – The Washington Post – February 12, 2015 – Video
The long and severe drought in the U.S. Southwest pales in comparison with what’s coming: a “megadrought” that will grip that region and the central Plains later this century and probably stay there for decades, a new study says. Thirty-five years from now, if the current pace of climate change continues unabated, those areas of the country will experience a weather shift that will linger for as long as three decades, according to the study, released Thursday. Researchers from NASA and Cornell and Columbia universities warned of major water shortages and conditions that dry out vegetation, which can lead to monster wildfires in southern Arizona and parts of California. For full story and to view video, click here.
By Kathy M. Foster – Foster Folly News – February 9, 2015
Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, NRCS invested nearly $40 million in an effort to create about 470,000 acres of alternative habitat for birds heading South for winter. But what do these dollars and acres mean? NRCS swiftly launched the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to enable farmers to create and enhance habitat for migratory birds, providing an alternative to habitat in impacted coastal ecosystems. NRCS invested $40 million in the initiative, which led to conservation practices implemented on more than 470,000 acres in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. For full story, click here.