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EPA and Corps Clarify Protection for Nation's Streams and Wetlands
Monday, 31 March 2014 14:06

Contact: Julia Q. Oriz– EPA – March 25, 2014

Agriculture’s Exemptions and Exclusions from Clean Water Act Expanded by Proposal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) today jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The proposed rule will benefit businesses by increasing efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act. The agencies are launching a robust outreach effort over the next 90 days, holding discussions around the country and gathering input needed to shape a final rule. For full news release, click here.

NOAA: $5.5B FY 2015 Budget Request Promotes Environ. Intelligence
Monday, 24 March 2014 13:30

Ocean News – March 18, 2014

President Obama's fiscal year 2015 discretionary budget request for NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, totals $5.5 billion. This is $174 million over the 2014 enacted budget, an increase of 3.2 percent. The proposed budget will enhance public safety and community resiliency to weather and climate disasters. It also makes smart investments in critical infrastructure and innovative science to better position NOAA for the future and continues efforts to strengthen the agency’s oceanic and coastal programs, its internal and extramural programs, all while maintaining strong fiscal discipline. The budget proposal supports vital NOAA missions and environmental priorities under the Commerce Department’s Open for Business Agenda. For full story, click here.

U.S. DOT: TIGER Discretionary Grant Program Focus on Capital Projects
Monday, 17 March 2014 11:08

U.S. DOT – March 13, 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER Discretionary Grant program) has up to $600 million available for capital projects related to highways, bridges,public transportation, rail,ports, and intermodal projects. A primary selection criterion specifically mentions addressing stormwater through natural means, avoiding impacts to water quality, and providing benefits like groundwater recharge, brownfield redevelopment, and stormwater mitigation including green infrastructure. Of this funding, $35 million is available for project and regional-level planning that include factors like stormwater and future risks and vulnerabilities like extreme weather and climate change. Eligible applicants are state, local, and tribal governments, transit agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations, other political subdivisions of state or local governments, and multi-state or multi-jurisdictional groups applying through a lead applicant. TIGER applications are due April 28, 2014. Learn more.

President Obama Will Sign Flood Insurance Relief Bill
Monday, 17 March 2014 00:00

By Andrew Taylor – Insurance Journal – March 16, 2014

President Barack Obama is set to sign into law a bipartisan bill relieving homeowners living in flood-prone neighborhoods from big increases in their insurance bills. The legislation, which cleared Congress on Thursday, reverses much of a 2012 overhaul of the government’s much-criticized flood insurance program after angry homeowners facing sharp premium hikes protested. The Senate’s 72-22 vote sent the House-drafted measure to Obama. White House officials said he’ll sign it. The bill would scale back big flood insurance premium increases faced by hundreds of thousands of homeowners. The measure also would allow below-market insurance rates to be passed on to people buying homes in flood zones with taxpayer-subsidized policies. For full story, click here.

BP regains ability to bid on leases for U.S. land, water
Friday, 14 March 2014 00:00

By Steven Mufson – The Washington Post – March 13, 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency and BP have reached an agreement that lifts a ban on BP’s ability to hold government contracts that has barred the company from bidding on oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters because of the massive oil spill triggered by a blowout on a BP well in April 2010. BP, the largest lease-holder and one of the largest oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico, had been pressing for an end to its debarment in order to conduct business more freely and to reassure shareholders that the company could move beyond the accident at its Macondo well. The accident killed 11 workers, sank the half-billion-dollar Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, and spilled as much as 4.2 million barrels into the gulf. For full story, click here.

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