Conservation

Interior secretary pushes for Congress to act on lands conservation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S Interior Secretary Sally Jewell vowed Thursday that the Obama administration will continue to use its executive powers to protect public lands until Congress takes action on a number of stalled conservation measures.

Jewell renewed the administration's threat while speaking to a few hundred wilderness advocates at a national conference in Albuquerque celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Sage-grouse conservation won't harm energy output: study

Most of the western federal lands in seven western states where the greater sage-grouse faces the loss of habitat have low oil, gas, and renewable energy potential, according to a report released Thursday by a conservation group.

The report for the Western Values Project found that most federal lands in the states with sizable energy resources are outside the bird's key habitat areas.

Court hears water dispute between Kansas, Nebraska

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday considered how to resolve a long-running legal fight between Kansas and Nebraska over the use of water from the Republican River.

The justices appeared to agree with recommendations of a special master who found that Nebraska should pay $3.7 million in damages to Kansas for using more than its legal share of the river's water in 2005 and 2006.

Supreme Court to discuss Kansas-Nebraska water dispute Tuesday

Source: 
E&E

The Supreme Court will make its first considerations on a long-standing water-use disagreement between Kansas and Nebraska over an interstate compact allocating water from the Republican River, E&E reports.

House Agriculture subcommittee hearing on Forest Service groundwater directive

Washington, September 10, 2014, 10:00 am

House Agriculture Conservation, Energy, and Forestry Subcommittee hearing, "To review the U.S. Forest Service's proposed groundwater directive." Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to testify.

USDA photo

Vilsack: Work needed to reassure farmers upset over Waters rule

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.

Vilsack media briefing on progress of Farm Bill

Washington, August 6, 2014, 11:00 am

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack holds media teleconference marking six months since enactment of the 2014 Farm Bill. 

Senate Democrats photo

Stabenow leads Senate Dems in questioning Waters rule

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.

Officials: Complacency drives hike in water use

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.

California seeks to send message to water-wasters

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Reservoirs are running dry, the Capitol's lawn has turned brown, and farmers have left hundreds of thousands of acres unplanted.

Even so, many Californians aren't taking the drought seriously. State water regulators are trying to change that by imposing fines up to $500 a day for wasting water.

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