Mindset, info sharing among challenges for forest projects, GAO says

As the Forest Service and Interior Department proceed with large-scale forest restoration projects, they need to better adapt their mindset and information sharing to address the growing threat of wildfires, a government audit found.

In a report prepared for Congress, the Government Accountability Office said the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service have taken action on a combined 34 landscape-scale (50,000 acres or larger) restoration projects since 2004 to mitigate and prevent forest fires.

Can California use tiered rates to manage water consumption?

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times looks at how tiered water rates affect consumption - and how a recent court ruling is making their implementation more complicated.

Brown defends cutback in scale of resotration around water project

The Associated Press

The decision to significantly scale back the habitat restoration surrounding California's twin tunnels water project got a boost Thursday from Gov. Jerry Brown, The Associated Press reports.

Japan aims to make 2020 Olympic Games 'sustainable'

TOKYO (AP) — Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have promised the most innovative, impeccably run and "sustainable" games ever. With just a little more than five years to go, doubts are growing whether they will deliver on the last pledge.

Swiss philanthropist driving conservation moves out West


More than $350 million has been spent or donated by Hansjorg Wyss and his foundation to buy land and back groups working in conservation in the American West, E&E reports.

Guns and Lizards: Arrest warrant leads to reptile seizure

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) — Delaware authorities say the search for a woman on probation with several outstanding warrants turned up drugs, guns and 17 dangerous reptiles.

Authorities say they arrested three people, including the woman, in a filthy New Castle County apartment Friday. All three face gun and drug charges, as well as charges of endangering a 3-year-old found in the apartment.

Associated Press

Murkowski freezes out feds in ANWR drill bill

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has again introduced legislation to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain to oil and gas drilling, but this year she's in no mood to give the federal government more revenue than allowed under the Alaska Statehood Act.

Her latest bill to authorize drilling on the plain, made public on Friday, makes no mention of the 50-50 royalty proceeds split between the state and the federal government she proposed in an ANWR drilling measure last year.

Instead, Washington would get just 10 percent, as provided in the statehood law, a jab at the Obama administration over its recent proposal to put more than 12 million ANWR acres permanently off limits to development.

Office of Sen. Murkowski

Murkowski: LWCF reauthorization must include changes

Any push by Congress to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund will have to include reforms to support national parks maintenance and send more money to states, Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters Thursday.

Murkowski, R-Alaska, was involved in talks on the Senate floor during a Jan. 29 vote on an amendment to the Keystone XL bill by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., which saw three Republicans change their yes votes for permanent reauthorization to no votes. The amendment failed 59-39, one vote short of the 60 needed for adoption.

Associated Press

Wilderness, fracking, wind proposals swept aside in Keystone votes

The Senate on Wednesday voted down a series of energy and environment policy amendments to the Keystone XL pipeline approval bill that included proposals to limit temporary wilderness policies, renew wind energy tax credits and regulate hydraulic fracturing.

They were among 13 amendments that were voted down or withdrawn, in anticipation of final debate on a handful of remaining amendments and passage of the bill on Thursday, as sought by the new Republican leadership in the Senate.

EnergyGuardian Photo

Obama's plan does little to change ANWR status quo

The proposal made by the Interior Department to Congress to permanently designate more than 12 million acres of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as protected wilderness -- including the oil-rich coastal plain -- does little to change the ongoing management of the remote area on Alaska's North Slope.

The request is already being dismissed by Republicans on Capitol Hill as a non-starter, just a day after President Barack Obama announced it in a video released as he was traveling in India.

And while the proposal allows the Obama administration to treat the area as wilderness though a new conservation plan to be issued this week, oil and gas drilling has been prohibited on the 1.5-million coastal plain since 1980 unless authorized by Congress -- which is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

"The impact is they've offended the delegation from Alaska, " said Jason B. Hutt, an environmental and energy lawyer at Bracewell & Giuliani, who recently represented Halliburton in the criminal investigation of the Deepwater Horizon sinking.


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