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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Farmers in California's drought-stricken Central Valley said Friday that the financial assistance President Barack Obama is delivering on his visit does not get to the heart of California's long-term water problems.
Amid one of the driest years in the state's recorded history, Obama will come to the Fresno area to announce $100 million in livestock-disaster aid, $60 million to support food banks and another $13 million toward things such as conservation and helping rural communities that could soon run out of drinking water.
Sarah Woolf, a partner with Clark Brothers Farming in Fresno County, said anything will help, but the federal government needs to better manage the state's water supplies so farmers have enough during future droughts like the current one.
The power substation in San Jose where a sniper attack last year raised concern about the security of the country’s grid has been breached again, according to Pacific Gas and Electric, which said thieves cut through a fence and stole some equipment, The New York Times reports.
A corn ethanol plant at the Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon, which Valero Energy Corp. bought in March, has restarted, FuelFix reports. It is expected to boost the company’s output to 1.3 billion gallons a year, making Valero the country’s third-largest ethanol producer.
Oil looks set to finish out the week higher in the wake of another positive piece of data on the U.S. economy, news of an unexpected rise in consumer confidence. West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery was up 66 cents to $95.21 a barrel on the Nymex, while in London Brent crude settled 35 cents higher to $102.81, Bloomberg reports.
Fighting in Tripoli may have been escalating, but in the east of Libya, the key oil port of Es Sider is once again getting a flow of crude from oilfields after exports there resumed last week following a one-year hiatus, an official told The Wall Street Journal.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., listed her parents’ home in New Orleans as her address in filing last week to qualify for the ballot in Louisiana, prompting some critics to question her residency status, The Washington Post reports.
Clean Air Act violations for the release of phosgene, methyl chloride and oleum at a West Virginia facility between 2006 and 2010 will cost DuPont $1.3 million in fines, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department said in announcing a settlement, The Hill reports.
A project to build a big $25 billion water tunnel system in Northern California poses water quality problems to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and a possible threat to smelt and salmon, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a letter accompanying comments posted online, the Los Angeles Times reports.