Senate Environment field hearing on Conowingo Dam and Chesapeake Bay

Conowingo, Md., May 5, 2014, 4:15 pm

Senate Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee hearing, "Finding Cooperative Solutions to Environmental Concerns with the Conowingo Dam to Improve the Health of the Chesapeake Bay." Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representatives to testify. 

China says quality of its groundwater has worsened

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.

Gallup poll shows support for conservation over energy production


A new poll published by Gallup shows that 57 percent of respondents support energy conservation over new energy production, up from 51 percent last year.

Vermont feels pressure to clean up Lake Champlain

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.

Murkowski pressures Jewell to reconsider King Cove road decision

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.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources photo

Jewell seeks to defuse Murkowski anger over Alaska road rebuke

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.

EnergyGuardian Photo

EPA, Corps of Engineers propose new Clean Water Act streams rule

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.

Wash. officials: statewide drought unlikely

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.

Obama to preserve California federal lands

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.

House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on lands bills

Washington, February 26, 2014, 10:00 am

House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee holds hearing on pending lands bills.


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