BEIJING (AP) — Nearly 60 percent of the groundwater at sites monitored throughout China is of poor or extremely poor quality, with excessive amounts of pollutants, according to an annual report by the Ministry of Land and Resources.
Tests at 4,778 monitoring sites across China showed a slight increase in polluted sites over last year, from 57.4 percent to 59.6 percent, according to the report, released late Tuesday.
Beijing has been responding to public demands for transparency in environmental data. Last week, the government released a summary of a years-long survey that shows nearly one-fifth of the country's farmland is contaminated, most of it with toxic metals.
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont officials posted online a hefty plan Tuesday to reduce pollution in Lake Champlain from stormwater runoff, and now await word on whether it goes far enough in addressing federal concerns.
Decades of runoff have contributed to dirtying Vermont's signature lake and causing excessive algae growth. The pollution has turned the water murky, hurt tourism, depressed property values and increased water treatment costs.
Cleaning up the lake has been a longstanding state goal, but lawmakers and officials say the state is under more pressure now to meet federal targets. If the latest plan doesn't measure up, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could impose expensive regulations on sewage plants in the state.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday delivered an angry broadside at Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for her rejection of an emergency access road through a national wildlife refuge to the King Cove community in her state, intensifying the friction between the two.
"I will not get over this issue," said Murkowski, a Republican, to Jewell during a 15-minute statement on the King Cove stalemate at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing on the department's budget.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell met Tuesday with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in a bid to smooth strained relations before an expected public showdown on Wednesday between the two.
Aides to Jewell and Murkowski confirmed the meeting. It was their first since Jewell in December rejected an emergency access road through a portion of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge sought by the remote Aleutian Islands fishing village of King Cove, a move that angered Murkowski.
The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday proposed a rule to narrow the reach of federal regulation of intermittent streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.
The move comes after years of court rulings that have led to concerns that EPA and corps will stop or slow development of lands through a broad interpretation of the law.
EPA and the corps said in the proposed rule that they want to reduce total permit reviews and give more certainty to landowners. It would eliminate from potential coverage seasonal or intermittent waters that the federal government has not regulated under the law or are exempted, including farmlands and waste treatment systems.
It would leave for case-by-case determinations so-called "other waters" for potential protection under the law, beyond navigable waterways, wetlands and tributaries that the law explicitly sets out for regulation.
SEATTLE (AP) — So much rain and snow has fallen across Washington state in recent weeks that experts say there's little chance of a statewide drought being declared this year.
Department of Ecology spokesman Dan Partridge says the worries are over for now. He says snowpack and streamflow measurements as well as other indicators have alleviated concerns about a possible statewide drought.
The agency convened a group of federal and state officials in February after a dry winter start raised concerns about a possible statewide drought.
KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama will expand the California Coastal National Monument to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands, a White House official said Saturday.
Expected Tuesday, the action will permanently protect some 1,665 acres of federal lands on the Mendocino County coast, just north of Point Arena in northern California. It will expand a national monument created in 2000 by President Bill Clinton to include coastal bluffs and shelves, tide pools, onshore sand dunes, coastal prairies, riverbanks and the mouth and estuary of the Garcia River.
Obama's designation would follow recent action by the Environmental Protection Agency to block development of Pebble Mine, a massive copper and gold deposit in Alaska's treasured Bristol Bay region.
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Farmers in California's drought-stricken Central Valley said Friday that the financial assistance President Barack Obama is delivering on his visit does not get to the heart of California's long-term water problems.
Amid one of the driest years in the state's recorded history, Obama will come to the Fresno area to announce $100 million in livestock-disaster aid, $60 million to support food banks and another $13 million toward things such as conservation and helping rural communities that could soon run out of drinking water.
Sarah Woolf, a partner with Clark Brothers Farming in Fresno County, said anything will help, but the federal government needs to better manage the state's water supplies so farmers have enough during future droughts like the current one.
A White House spokesman Wednesday night challenged a report by Rolling Stone that President Barack Obama will decide against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, saying on Twitter that "nobody knows" his thinking, National Journal reports.
Rosebud Sioux Tribe member Gary Dorr, at the protest camp against the Keystone XL project set up this week on the National Mall, told National Journal he worries about the effects any leaks from the proposed pipeline might have on the Ogallala Aquifer.
General Electric is set for its biggest-ever acquisition, looking to pick up the French firm Alstom, which builds power plants and trains, in a deal with a price tag of more than $13 billion, sources tell Bloomberg.
Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery gained 18 cents to $101.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex Thursday, after falling the day before to the lowest close in more than two weeks, while Brent crude gained 9 cents to $109.20 in London, Bloomberg reports.
With just over six months to go until November elections, a poll commissioned by The New York Times finds Senate incumbents vulnerable in four important Southern states, with Republicans having the edge but victory not out of reach for Democrats.
Japan is protesting that limiting ships to 49 meters wide in the expanded Panama Canal would exclude the giant Q-Flex carrier, which would affect possible U.S. LNG export deals, The Wall Street Journal reports
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox handed over documents an environmental group had requested about the state’s decision to join in a protest over proposed fracking regulation on federal land, the Great Falls Tribune reports.
Rancher Cliven Bundy, in his well-publicized dispute with the Bureau of Land Management, has tapped into long-held Western resentment over extensive federal land ownership in the region, The New York Times reports.
A new ethane export facility along the Gulf Coast in Texas could handle 240,000 barrels per day and help relieve the growing glut of the liquefied gas, according to project developer Enterprise Products Partners, FuelFix reports.