Interior secretary pledges $43M for conservation

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has announced that more than $43 million will be distributed from a federal fund for recreation and conservation projects nationwide.

Jewell joined Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and other officials Tuesday at the Texas city's Gateway Park to announce the distribution from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Offshore oil and gas royalties support the fund, which is scheduled to expire next year unless reauthorized by Congress.

Grand Canyon plane crash site designated historic

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) — The National Park Service created a national landmark Tuesday to commemorate a 1956 collision between two airliners over the Grand Canyon, a disaster that helped lead to major changes in aviation safety and creation of what is now the Federal Aviation Administration.

The crash killed all 128 people aboard the two planes in the deadliest aviation disaster in U.S. history at the time. A nation already struggling with increasingly busy skies pressured Congress for major changes to improve air traffic control and radar systems in response to the tragedy.

About 200 people gathered Tuesday for a ceremony overlooking the gorge where the wreckage was scattered over 1.5 square miles. Park rangers set up binoculars so people could get a closer look at the buttes where the planes came crashing down. Some of the wreckage still remains in the canyon but is not visible from the overlook.

Interior Department photo

Jewell, deputies hit the road to rally support for conservation fund

Top Obama administration officials are scheduled to appear at bike paths, public parks and a Civil War battlefield this week as they look to drum up support for an expiring fund for conservation projects.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and other top department officials plan to visit six states in an effort to highlight the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a program designed to fund conservation, preservation and recreation projects. The outreach comes as Congress moves to draft appropriations bills for fiscal 2015.

Senate Energy subcommittee hearing on energy-water nexus bill

Washington, June 25, 2014, 2:30 pm

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Water and Power Subcommittee hearing on S. 1971, the "Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability Act of 2014." Energy Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Change Policy and Technology Jonathan Pershing, Interior Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tom Iseman to testify.

Water woes force big brewers to tighten the tap

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Some of the largest brewers in the U.S. are trying to reduce their water-to-beer ratio as drought and wildfire threaten the watersheds where they draw billions of gallons every year.

No independent group tracks beer-makers' water usage, but MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch both say they have made reductions. MillerCoors released a sustainability report Wednesday that shows it has cut its water use by 9.2 percent from 2012.

"Water is just critical to us," Kim Marotta, the Chicago-based company's sustainability chief, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "Looking ahead, we needed to find a way to brew more beer but use less water."


Oil company, group agree on Congo park plan

GENEVA (AP) — An agreement announced Wednesday between a London-based oil company and a wildlife protection group could prevent oil drilling in a national park in Africa where 200 endangered mountain gorillas live.

A joint statement by SOCO International PLC and Switzerland-based WWF said there will be no exploratory drilling in Congo's Virunga National Park, which is Africa's oldest, unless the government and the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO agree it would not threaten the park's world heritage status.

As part of the understanding, SOCO agreed to suspend exploration once it finishes seismic testing on Lake Edward and WWF pledged to drop a complaint that the oil company violates good-practice business guidelines set out by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Green groups says conservation could create water surplus in California


The Pacific Institute and the National Resources Defense Council said in a study that smarter conservation and water management policies could help drought-stricken California reach an overall water surplus of more than 6 million acre-feet, Bloomberg reports.

Obama signs $12.3 billion water projects bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Capping a rare instance of congressional compromise, President Barack Obama signed a $12.3 billion water projects bill Tuesday, financing improvements ranging from a harbor expansion in Boston to flood control in Iowa and North Dakota.

Obama praised the work of Democrats and Republicans and said he hoped it set a pattern for agreement for more spending on capital works projects across the country.

"Right now we should be putting a lot more Americans back to work rebuilding our infrastructure," he said. "There are a lot of guys with hardhats sitting at home."

Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2014 Day 3

Washington, June 12, 2014, 9:00 am

Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2014 concludes. Commerce Department Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Kathryn D. Sullivan appears on afternoon panel. 

Jewell addresses Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2014 Day 2

Washington, June 11, 2014, 9:00 am

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell delivers 1:15 pm address to Capitol Hill Ocean Week conference. BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank, BSEE Director Brian M. Salerno, Center for Offshore Safety Executive Director Charlie Williams speak on afternoon panel. Conference continues Thursday.


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