WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service spent a record $243 million last week battling forest fires around the country, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday.
The agency has spent all the money Congress provided for fighting wildfires in the 12-month budget period, forcing it to borrow money from forest restoration work designed to reduce the risk of fires. That's happened in six of the past 10 years, Vilsack said.
TOKYO (AP) — An international body that monitors fisheries in most of the Pacific Ocean ended a meeting in Japan on Thursday without agreement on fresh measures to protect the dwindling bluefin tuna.
The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission was unable to get a consensus on either short-term or long-term measures to help restore the bluefin population, whose numbers are estimated to have fallen 96 percent from unfished levels.
Despite California's ongoing drought, communities across the state are forging ahead with new housing development plans, contending that there will be adequate water supplies to meet demand, The New York Times reports.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — State contractors have readied plans to acquire as many as 300 farms in the California delta by eminent domain to make room for a pair of massive, still-unapproved water tunnels proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, according to documents obtained by opponents of the tunnels.
Farmers whose parcels were listed and mapped in the 160-page property-acquisition plan expressed dismay at the advanced planning for the project, which would build 30-mile-long tunnels in the delta formed by the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Wet weather in May and June brought good news Monday from federal water managers keeping close tabs on the Colorado River water supply for about 40 million residents in seven Southwest U.S. states.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projected normal water deliveries to residents, farms, tribes and businesses at least through 2016 and possibly through 2017, water agency officials in Arizona, Nevada and California said.
The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto a House Republican effort to respond to a long-running drought in California and other western states by loosening environmental restrictions, saying the legislation would “impede an effective and timely response to the continuing drought.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When it comes to saving the planet, Leonardo DiCaprio is putting his money where his mouth is.
The actor's foundation announced Tuesday it has awarded $15 million in grants to a host of environmental organizations, including Amazon Watch, Save the Elephants, Tree People and the World Wildlife Fund.
President Barack Obama, who had already used executive authority to protect more land than any other president, added more than a million acres across three states Friday. Supporters hailed him for “burnishing his conservation legacy” while one critic raised the specter of a federal invasion to "seize more lands like bandits in the night.”
Using his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act, Obama designated as national monuments the Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, the Basin and Range in Nevada, and the Waco Mammoth paleontological site in Texas. The California site covers nearly 331,000 acres, and the Nevada site covers approximately 704,000 acres, the White House said.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday encouraged people of different religions to work together in caring for the Earth, which he called our "common house."
Speaking from his window in a Vatican palazzo to tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists, Francis singled out a few hundred people who had marched to St. Peter's Square under the banner "One Earth, one family."
As continued drought conditions drive water restriction orders for Californians, cities are looking to crack down on underground leaks from water line infrastructure, an issue that one consultancy says costs systems an average 10 percent of the water they carry, The New York Times reports.
Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Obama administration's approval of Shell's Arctic drilling program, arguing that "we're not going to suddenly be weaned from oil" and that the offshore Alaskan oil is "cleaner" than other varieties, The Huffington Post reports.
Mathy Stanislaus, the Environmental Protection Agency's top waste official, and Environmental Restoration LLC President Dennis Greaney are set to testify before the House Science Committee on Wednesday on the spill of 3 million gallons of mining waste into Colorado's Animas River, The Hill reports.
News that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a seven-year-low but new job creation was lower than expected led to lower oil prices Friday, Reuters reports. U.S. crude prices were down 41 cents to $46.34 a barrel, while Brent crude dipped 68 cents to $50 per barrel.
A report commissioned by the Independent Petroleum Association of America projects significant endowment cuts should universities divest from fossil fuel companies, with Harvard facing a potential $108 million loss each year, Bloomberg reports.
United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil Roberts said that the union has reached potential collective bargaining deals between Patriot Coal miners and the two companies bidding for the bankrupt firm's assets, the St. Louis Business Journal reports.
Though the greater sage grouse dominates the discussion of threatened species across declining sagebrush territory in the Western United States, nine other native species including the pronghorn and golden eagle are also at risk, The Washington Post reports.
American Wind Energy Association members plan to slow down the rate of revolutions for turbines this fall in an effort to cut bat killed by blades by 30 percent during the animals' peak migration season, The Hill reports.
Though the stalled Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada has drawn rebukes from the state's top lawmakers, leaders in the nearby town of Pahrump sees the project as a potential economic driver for the struggling region, E&E reports.