Environment

Warm weather in Sochi creates challenges for events

Source: 
The Washington Post

Unexpectedly warm weather at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia is causing problems for organizers trying to prevent ice from melting and causing some athletes to cancel training runs, The Washington Post reports.

League of Conservation Voters releases 2013 scorecard

Washington, February 11, 2014, 11:00 am

League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski holds media teleconference to release the group's 2013 environmental scorecard. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to participate. 

Storm brings snow, rain to Pacific Northwest

SEATTLE (AP) — A significant weekend storm disrupted plans across the Northwest U.S., blanketing parts of Washington state with snow, socking Oregon and California with rain and contributing to the deaths of three people.

On Sunday, Seattle-area residents woke up to rare lowland snow. In Portland, city officials sent out a cellphone alert Sunday morning urging residents to stay indoors and avoid travel after freezing rain turned streets and sidewalks into thick sheets of ice. As a result, parts of Oregon and Washington were bracing for a treacherous Monday morning commute.

The National Weather Service says the first significant storm to hit Northern California in 14 months has produced impressive amounts of rain and snow, but forecasters cautioned Sunday that it would take weeks of similar drenching to end the state's immediate drought worries.

Study says Pacific winds slowing global warming

Source: 
Bloomberg

Researchers from Australia's University of New South Wales said in a report that more powerful winds in the Pacific Ocean have played a role in the declining rate of global warming over the last 20 years, Bloomberg reports.

California drought fueling wildlife encroachments

Source: 
Contra Costa Times

The ongoing drought in California has severely harmed some of California's wildlife, now facing territorial disputes and dehydration, forcing some to enter developments in search of water, Contra Costa Times reports.

Amid drought, California government cuts water use

LOS ANGELES (AP) — State agencies in drought-afflicted California are trying to lead by example and reduce water use by the same 20 percent that residents have been asked to save.

While the cuts are not mandatory, some departments have proposed measures that should save billions of gallons.

The state Department of Transportation says it can save half of the irrigation water it uses, mostly on highway vegetation.

Panel says federal wolf plan used unproven science

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A proposal to lift federal protections for gray wolves across most of the U.S. suffered a significant setback Friday as an independent review panel said the government is relying on unsettled science to make its case.

Federal wildlife officials want to remove the animals from the endangered species list across the Lower 48 states, except for a small population in the Southwest.

The five-member U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service peer-review panel was tasked with reviewing the government's claim that the Northeast and Midwest were home to a separate species, the eastern wolf.

US government to spend $30M on forest restoration

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday it will spend $30 million this year on forest restoration projects in 12 states to reduce the threat of wildfires, protect water quality and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

Those first 13 projects will be the start of a multi-year initiative to improve the health of forests and watersheds on public and private lands, Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie said.

With longer fire seasons in recent years burning more areas, and beetle outbreaks devastating more than 40 million acres of forests in the West, the pace and scale of restoration need to be increased, he said.

House backs bill to speed logging of burned trees

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House approved a wide-ranging public lands bill Thursday that would speed logging of trees burned in last year's massive Rim Fire in California.

The measure also allows vehicular access to North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Seashore, extends livestock grazing permits on federal land in the West and lifts longstanding restrictions on canoes, rafts and other "hand-propelled" watercraft in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

The House approved the bill, 220-194, on a largely party-line vote. It now goes to the Senate, where it is considered unlikely to pass. The White House opposes the bill but has not issued a veto threat.

Climate expert: New England ski resorts vulnerable

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt. (AP) — Ski resorts in the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode island are not well poised to survive at the end of the century as the region is expected to see warmer winters, a National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist said Thursday.

Vermont is less vulnerable because many of resorts are at higher elevations and have invested in new snowmaking technology, Elizabeth Burakowski said at a Vermont Law School symposium on the impact of climate change on the winter sports industry.

To be profitable, resorts need to be open 100 days a season and during holidays and have snowmaking technology, she said.

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