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.
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.
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.
Lawmakers agree that wildfire funding policy needs to be changed, but are split on how to fix it: A bipartisan group is proposing that money to fight wildfires be allowed to come from disaster funds, while a Republican Senate trio has proposed a measure that would require spending to thin forests on federal lands, Gannett's The Desert Sun reports.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California water regulators voted Tuesday to approve fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water on lawns, landscaping and car washing, as a report showed that consumption throughout the state has actually risen amid the worst drought in nearly four decades.
The action by the State Water Resources Control Board came after its own survey showed that conservation measures to date have failed to achieve the 20 percent reduction in water use sought by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The University of California, Davis's Center for Watershed Sciences projected California's drought will inflict a total $2.2 billion in losses and expenses for the state's agriculture industry and cut more than 17,000 farm jobs, The Wall Street Journal reports.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Californians increased water consumption this year during the severe drought, despite pleas from the governor to conserve, fallowed farm fields and reservoirs that are quickly draining, according to a report released Tuesday.
The new figures surfaced as state water regulators prepared to vote later in the day on fines up to $500 a day for people who waste water on landscaping, fountains, washing vehicles and other outdoor uses.
U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland has sided with Pebble Ltd. Partnership in ordering former Environmental Protection Agency scientist Phil North to testify in the company’s lawsuit against EPA, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.
Coast Guard documents show Transocean’s Polar Pioneer, which is involved in Shell’s exploratory well drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer, failed tests with fire and pollution equipment in the months leading up to the Arctic drilling, FuelFix reports.
Oil prices rose Monday over a report from the Energy Information Administration that U.S. crude production has been falling since April and signals that OPEC is finally willing to address the drop in prices. U.S. benchmark crude jumped $2.45 to $47.67 a barrel on the Nymex, while in London Brent rose $2.50 to $52.55, Reuters reports.
Increasing worries about potential fire at a landfill holding waste of barium sulfate from the Manhattan Project since the 1970s has prompted upset St. Louis area residents to pressure the Environmental Protection Agency to accelerate cleanup, The Hill reports.