House Agriculture subcommittee hearing on Forest Service groundwater directive

Washington, September 10, 2014, 10:00 am

House Agriculture Conservation, Energy, and Forestry Subcommittee hearing, "To review the U.S. Forest Service's proposed groundwater directive." Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to testify.

USDA photo

Vilsack: Work needed to reassure farmers upset over Waters rule

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.

Vilsack media briefing on progress of Farm Bill

Washington, August 6, 2014, 11:00 am

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack holds media teleconference marking six months since enactment of the 2014 Farm Bill. 

Senate Democrats photo

Stabenow leads Senate Dems in questioning Waters rule

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.

Officials: Complacency drives hike in water use

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.

California seeks to send message to water-wasters

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Reservoirs are running dry, the Capitol's lawn has turned brown, and farmers have left hundreds of thousands of acres unplanted.

Even so, many Californians aren't taking the drought seriously. State water regulators are trying to change that by imposing fines up to $500 a day for wasting water.

Senators take differing routes on wildfire policy

The Desert Sun

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.

California approves fines for water-wasters

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.

Drought expected to take heavy toll on California agriculture

The Wall Street Journal

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.

California water use rises amid crippling drought

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.


Subscribe to Conservation