National News

The Pacific Starfish Die-Off Continues, but There Is New Hope

By Megan Scudellari – Newsweek – September 20, 2014 

A grisly horror show is playing out along the West Coast of North America. Remains of millions of dead and dying sea stars, commonly known as starfish, litter the shoreline from Vancouver to San Diego. Those stars are the victims of a swift and brutal illness. First, the animal’s body deflates, as if drained of all its water. Then the trademark arms begin to curl, detaching from rocks. White lesions appear, like festering canker sores. Then the star explodes as organs rupture though the body wall. The arms fall off. Ultimately, the sea star dissolves, as if melted by acid, disintegrating into goo. Researchers in Washington state first noticed signs of the so-called “wasting syndrome” in June 2013 during routine monitoring of populations of bright purple and orange Pisaster ochraceus sea stars. The outbreak continued through the summer, spreading down into California’s central and southern coasts. Scientists hoped it would subside during the winter. It did not. For full story, click here.

Fracking or Drinking Water? That May Become the Choice

By Mark Koba – NBC News Business – September 14, 2014 – Videos

Fracking for oil and natural gas—or having enough water to drink. That's the possible dilemma facing a number of countries including the United States, according to a new report released by the World Resources Institute last week—though experts disagree on the real implications of the report and what should be done about it. Forty percent of countries with shale-rich deposits—the types where hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" is used to extract natural gas and oil—face water scarcity in and around the shale deposits, according to the WRI report. For full story and to view videos, click here.

House Votes to Block EPA Water Rules

By Matthey Daly – ABC News – September 9, 2014

The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday approved a bill to block the Obama administration from implementing a rule that asserts regulatory authority over many of the nation's streams and wetlands — an action that critics call a classic Washington overreach. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that it says will clarify which streams and waterways are shielded from development under the Clean Water Act, an issue that remains in dispute even after two U.S. Supreme Court rulings. For full story, click here.

White House threatens to veto bill to kill EPA water rule

By Timothy Cama The Hill September 8, 2014

The Obama administration issued a veto threat Monday for a bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving forward on a rule to redefine its jurisdiction over streams and ponds. Citing the need to protect waterways from pollution and the rule’s scientific grounding, the White House said it “strongly opposes” the bill and advisers would recommend that President Obama veto it if it reaches his desk. For full story, click here

After Toledo Water Scare, States Ask EPA for Help

By John Seewer – The Big Story – AP – September, 2014

Algae that turned Lake Erie green and produced toxins that fouled the tap water for 400,000 people in the Toledo area are becoming a big headache for those who keep drinking water safe even far beyond the Great Lakes. But with no federal standards on safe levels for drinking algae-tainted water and no guidelines for treating or testing it either, water quality engineers sometimes look for solutions the same way school kids do their homework. For full story, click here.