Environment

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EPA undeterred by mercury ruling; lawyers divided on carbon rule impact

It was unclear Monday what practical effect would come of the Supreme Court's ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency should have taken cost into account before deciding to regulate power plant mercury emissions, as the agency said the ruling didn't contest its authority to regulate the emissions and the rules are already having their intended effect anyway.

But legal experts, while calling the ruling a setback for the agency, were divided on what it might mean for the agency's imminent rule to limit carbon emissions from existing plants.

Ban Ki-moon, Robert Redford call for faster action on climate

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says negotiations on a new climate pact to keep global warming from reaching dangerous levels are moving at a "snail's pace" and must be speeded up.

The U.N. chief stresses that only 10 negotiating days remain and key political issues are still on the table.

Robert Redford, appearing at the same meeting, said he came not as an actor but as an environmental advocate, father, grandfather and concerned citizen to urge the world's nations to take action now on climate change.

Jeff Kubina photo

Supreme Court: EPA needed to consider costs on mercury rule

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency should have considered costs before deciding to regulate mercury and other toxic emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants.

In a 5-4 ruling, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority that EPA acted “unreasonably” when it moved to draft its Mercury and Air Toxic Standards without first considering the costs of the regulations.

El Nino-related shipping delays may drive gas, food costs higher

Source: 
USA Today

El Nino-related disruptions of shipping in the Pacific Ocean may increase domestic prices for gasoline, groceries and other consumer goods, USA Today reports.

Climate top item for Obama sit-down with Brazil leader

WASHINGTON (AP) — The issue of climate change and steps to slow its progress are expected to dominate the agenda when President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff meet at the White House, but the leaders will also be striving to show they've smoothed things over following revelations that Brazil was a target of American spy programs.

Rousseff arrives at the White House on Monday for dinner with Obama. They meet again Tuesday for more formal talks and a joint White House news conference.

Final Supreme Court decisions Monday include EPA's mercury rule

Meeting on Monday for the final time until the fall, the Supreme Court has three cases remaining to be decided:

—Mercury emissions: Industry groups and Republican-led states assert that environmental regulators overstepped their bounds by coming up with expensive limits on the emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants without taking account of the cost of regulation at the start of the process. The first limits on mercury emissions, more than a decade in the making, began to take effect in April.

Pope applauds ecology advocates in Rome from many religions

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday encouraged people of different religions to work together in caring for the Earth, which he called our "common house."

Speaking from his window in a Vatican palazzo to tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists, Francis singled out a few hundred people who had marched to St. Peter's Square under the banner "One Earth, one family."

Western wildfires: Southern California fire roars to life

Wildfires are chewing through parched parts of the West, including a resurgent blaze in California that forced residents of some desert communities to flee their homes. Here is a look at the latest hotspots in California, Alaska, Idaho and Oregon, and what crews are doing to control them.

AP PHOTO

Avoiding future freeway congestion could come with a cost

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fewer of tomorrow's freeways will be free. In exchange, drivers willing and able to pay will avoid the traffic congestion that bedevils everyone else.

Toll lanes are an increasingly common solution in metropolitan regions with limited public space or money to widen highways. One increasingly popular idea is to convert carpool lanes to let solo drivers pay for a faster ride. In the future, non-carpool lanes might also be tolled.

Amid drought, California cities crack down on water line leaks

Source: 
The New York Times

As continued drought conditions drive water restriction orders for Californians, cities are looking to crack down on underground leaks from water line infrastructure, an issue that one consultancy says costs  systems an average 10 percent of the water they carry, The New York Times reports.

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