Environment

State of emergency declared in Florida; tropical storm nears

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Friday that Tropical Storm Erika poses a "severe threat to the entire state" and declared a state of emergency.

The storm could hit the peninsula Monday. Scott made his declaration shortly after forecasters adjusted the trajectory of the storm to show that it's predicted to strike the southern tip of the state and then traverse northward.

Deal to develop parkland near dunes riles conservationists

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The parkland surrounding Indiana's towering dunes was intended to keep industry away from a geological marvel molded over thousands of years at the southern tip of Lake Michigan.

Yet five years after a politically connected developer suggested officials should hire a company to rehabilitate a dilapidated beachfront pavilion at the popular tourist destination, the small construction project has ballooned into a decades-long privatization deal with the state. It includes two beachfront restaurants, a rooftop bar, a glass-walled banquet hall promising "the best view in Indiana" — and there is potential for even more development.

Californians cut water without state imposing fines

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — For the second straight month, Californians exceeded hefty water conservation mandates during the relentless drought without the state imposing fines, officials said.

Cities cut water use by a combined 31 percent in July, exceeding the governor's statewide conservation mandate of 25 percent, the State Water Resources Control Board reported Thursday.

Scientists on Sholes Glacier
AP Photo/Manuel Valdes

Scientists, tribe study shrinking Washington state glacier

MOUNT BAKER, Wash. (AP) — Mauri Pelto digs his crampons into the steep icy slope on Mount Baker in Washington state and watches as streams of water cascade off the thick mass of bare, bluish ice. Every 20 yards, the water carves vertical channels in the face of the glacier as it rushes downstream.

What little snow from last winter is already gone, so ice is melting off the glacier at a rate of nearly three inches a day this summer, he said.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

Judge blocks EPA's Clean Water Rule

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge in North Dakota on Thursday blocked a new Obama administration rule that would give the federal government jurisdiction over some state waterways.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota issued a temporary injunction against a the rule, which gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. The rule was scheduled to take effect Friday.

"The risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely," Erickson said in blocking the rule from taking effect.

Thirteen states led by North Dakota asked Erickson to suspend guidelines that they say are unnecessary and infringe on state sovereignty. The federal government says the new rule clarifies ambiguity in the law and actually makes it easier for the states to manage some waterways. It wasn't immediately clear if the injunction applied to states other than the 13 led by North Dakota.

The other states involved in the lawsuit are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.

NASA sees sea level rise accelerating

Source: 
Los Angeles Times

NASA is warning that ocean levels may rise three feet or more by the end of the century, with scientists attributing the change to melting glaciers, melting ice sheets and ocean expansion due to climate change, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Obama says New Orleans is 'moving forward' after hurricane

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says New Orleans is "moving forward" a decade after Hurricane Katrina dealt it a devastating blow, and has become an example of what can happen when people rally around each other to build a better future out of the despair of tragedy.

Obama was marking the storm's 10th anniversary by meeting Thursday with residents who continue to rebuild their lives and communities. He was also delivering remarks -- excerpts of which were released by the White House -- at a newly opened community center in the Lower 9th Ward, a largely African-American neighborhood that was one of the hardest hit by the storm. It is still struggling to recover.

Fire crews battle smoky conditions, flames in Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Smoke from big wildfires burning east of the Cascade Range hurt air quality Wednesday and hampered efforts by crews battling the flames in Washington state.

Smoky conditions grounded helicopters and airplanes that had been fighting the fires, and air quality was rated as unhealthy for some people in Spokane County, which has nearly 500,000 residents.

Official: Californians understanding need to conserve water

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — State officials say that water conservation figures for July show California residents are beginning to understand the dire need to cut back in a fourth year of drought.

Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said that regulators are now turning their focus to the communities failing to conserve. They are making personal visits with local officials in cities that have haven't responded to a mandate by Gov. Jerry Brown's to use 25 percent less water.

Drought-plagued California readies for El Nino storms

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — While drought-plagued California is eager for rain, the forecast of a potentially Godzilla-like El Nino event has communities clearing out debris basins, urging residents to stock up on emergency supplies and even talking about how a deluge could affect the 50th Super Bowl.

Roofers, on the other hand, are reveling in the uptick in business as homeowners ready for the prospect of downpours after four years of dry weather.

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