The Obama administration has more to do to convince farmers and ranchers that the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule to clarify the reach of the Clean Water Act over rural streams and wetlands won't mean new restrictions, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday.
The intent of the rule, known as Waters of the U.S., is to give farm country more certainty about the scope of what's covered under the Clean Water Act, Vilsack told reporters, but he acknowledged that concern is running high. "Obviously there is still work to be done in terms of educating people about that intent, because that's not how it's been interpreted," he said.
While Republican lawmakers have been the vocal about their alarm over the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to update Clean Water Act pollution regulations over rural streams and other waterways that affect public health, farm-state Senate Democrats are also raising their own concerns.
In a letter sent to EPA, the Agriculture Department and the Army Corps of Engineers just before senators left Washington last week, Agriculture Committee chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and 12 Democratic colleagues, said the proposal may have "unintended consequences" that undercut conservation practices supported by the 2014 Farm Bill.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Some Southern California water districts became so good at saving water and building their own water storage facilities in recent decades that residents are not feeling the effects of the worst drought to hit the state in a generation.
That's a problem.
Thinking plenty of water was available at the start of summer, residents along a coastal area doused their lawns and filled their pools, while elsewhere in the state farmers fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres.
Lawmakers agree that wildfire funding policy needs to be changed, but are split on how to fix it: A bipartisan group is proposing that money to fight wildfires be allowed to come from disaster funds, while a Republican Senate trio has proposed a measure that would require spending to thin forests on federal lands, Gannett's The Desert Sun reports.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California water regulators voted Tuesday to approve fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water on lawns, landscaping and car washing, as a report showed that consumption throughout the state has actually risen amid the worst drought in nearly four decades.
The action by the State Water Resources Control Board came after its own survey showed that conservation measures to date have failed to achieve the 20 percent reduction in water use sought by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The University of California, Davis's Center for Watershed Sciences projected California's drought will inflict a total $2.2 billion in losses and expenses for the state's agriculture industry and cut more than 17,000 farm jobs, The Wall Street Journal reports.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Californians increased water consumption this year during the severe drought, despite pleas from the governor to conserve, fallowed farm fields and reservoirs that are quickly draining, according to a report released Tuesday.
The new figures surfaced as state water regulators prepared to vote later in the day on fines up to $500 a day for people who waste water on landscaping, fountains, washing vehicles and other outdoor uses.
As California continues to experience severe drought, some residents in Cabazon are questioning why there are few restrictions on a Nestle-owned bottled-water plant, even as the rest of the state is facing pressure to conserve resources, The Desert News reports.
Although Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy hasn’t yet moved to lower limits on ozone levels following a recommendation from EPA's scientific advisers to do so, the National Association of Manufacturers is ramping up its campaign against the prospect with ads in the election battleground states of Kentucky, North Carolina and Colorado criticizing what it calls “unrealistic new ozone regulations,” The Hill reports.
A multimillion dollar campaign to promote the Keystone XL pipeline, which was funded by the Canadian taxpayer, had little impact on Americans who saw the ads, according to a government-mandated survey, CBC reports.
Stronger U.S. economic data Thursday – more home sales, fewer jobless claims and a higher manufacturing index – pointed to increasing demand, which boosted oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 51 cents to settle at $93.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while in London Brent crude ended the trading session 35 cents higher to $102.63, Bloomberg reports.
The Environmental Defense Fund has joined with seven oil and gas companies on a project to develop better monitors for methane emissions, and will test four or five technologies at the Southwest Research Institute, FuelFix reports.
Three quarters of those who spoke out at a hearing on fracking before North Carolina’s Mining and Energy Commission Wednesday were against the practice, WNCT reports, noting that three more sessions are scheduled and the commission will make recommendations on modifying any regulations to the General Assembly in January.
The North Carolina Utilities Commission was justified in permitting Duke subsidiary Progress Energy to raise its electricity rates in 2013 and 2014, the state’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, The Associated Press reports.
The Missouri Public Service Commission voted 5-0 on Wednesday to deny a complaint from Noranda Aluminum, which was seeking a restructuring of Ameren Missouri’s electricity rates, but regulators suggested the companies continue to work on reaching a compromise, and also said the state legislature could weigh in on the matter, E&E reports.
The future for Direct Energy, a U.S. arm of British conglomerate Centrica, lies with bundling electricity services together with high tech equipment that helps customers to better control their energy usage, as well as generating their own with rooftop solar, CEO Badar Khan told Bloomberg, adding a prediction that utilities will increasingly face disruption to their traditional business models.
A district court judge in San Diego is due to decide Aug. 25 whether a group of around 110 U.S. military personnel who were deployed to assist Japan as it coped with the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant can sue operator TEPCO for lying about radiation from the accident, The Guardian reports.