National News

Report warns world's oceans at point of collapse

World Bulletin – June 24, 2014

A new report by a group of former world leaders, including ex-prime minister Paul Martin, says fixing our oceans will require unpopular, expensive changes. 64 per cent of the ocean surface isn’t under the control and protection of a national government and The Global Ocean Commission has put forward a report on the declining health of the planet’s high seas. The commission is a combination of public and private sector figures, including former heads of state and ministers as well as business people, supported by scientific and economic advisors working on ways to reverse the degradation of the ocean and address the failures of high seas governance. For full story, click here.

GAO Report Released on Freshwater Supply Concerns & Uncertainties

Contact: Anne-Marie Fennell – GAO – May 22, 2014  

Key issues related to freshwater availability and use, such as concerns about population growth straining water supplies, lack of information on water availability and use, and trends in types of water use, remain largely unchanged since 2003, according to state water managers, experts, and literature. A recently released GAO report looks at the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, including droughts and floods, on water resources, and the effect of the energy sector on water quantity and quality. According to state water managers, experts, and literature reviewed by GAO, freshwater shortages are expected to continue into the future. In particular, 40 of 50 state water managers expect shortages in some parts of their states under average conditions in the next 10 years. However, uncertainty stemming from factors such as patterns of economic growth and land use change is likely to complicate future state water managers' planning efforts. To access the report and learn more, click here.

Lawmakers urge court to block Chesapeake cleanup

By Hope Yen – Delaware Online – June 24, 2014 

A group of 39 lawmakers is urging a federal court to block the Obama administration’s plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, describing it as an unjustified power grab. The filing in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia puts the lawmakers alongside 21 attorneys general who already oppose the cleanup, a case testing the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Clean Water Act. The filing was submitted late last week. For full story, click here.

'Dead zone' the size of CT expected along LA coast, scientists say

By Mark Schleifstein – NOLA - The Times Picayume – June 24, 2014 – Video

The size of the annual summer "dead zone" of low-oxygen water in the Gulf of Mexico along Louisiana's coast will cover between 4,633 and 5,708 miles, about the size of the state of Connecticut, according to a Tuesday forecast announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That's about average for the size of the low-oxygen area since 1985, but still a significant concern, scientists say. And the prediction means another year when states along the Mississippi River have failed to sufficiently reduce the nutrients that cause the dead zone, as called for in a 6-year-old federal-state dead zone reduction plan. For full story, click here.

President Obama Announces National Disaster Resilience Competition

The White House – June 14, 2014

Responding to demand from state, local and tribal leaders who are working to increase the safety and security of their communities, President Obama has announced a nearly $1 billion competition that will invite communities that have experienced natural disasters to compete for funds to help them rebuild and increase their resilience to future disasters. The competition will support innovative resilience projects at the local level while encouraging communities to adopt policy changes and activities that plan for the impacts of extreme weather and climate change and rebuild affected areas better prepare for the future. Of the nearly $1 billion available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, about $820 million will be available to all states and local governments that experienced a Presidentially-declared major disaster in 2011, 2012, and 2013. States in the Hurricane Sandy-affected region will be eligible to compete for approximately $180 million, to help address critical housing needs, building on the successful model set forth by HUD's Rebuild by Design competition. All successful applicants will need to show how their proposed action relates to the disaster from which they are recovering. HUD will ensure that geographic diversity is a consideration in the selection of participating communities. For more information, see the White House press release here.