Bears, eagles, seals: How endangered animals fare

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. government has spent billions of dollars trying to save more than 1,500 animal and plant species listed as endangered or threatened.

A group of House Republicans say that's translated into just 2 percent of protected species taken off the list. They called Tuesday for an overhaul to the 1973 Endangered Species Act, giving states more authority over imperiled species and limiting litigation from wildlife advocates.

Environmentalists credit the act with saving species from extinction and say that hundreds more are on the path to recovery. The Endangered Species Act enjoys fervent support among many environmentalists, whose Democratic allies on Capitol Hill have thwarted past proposals for change.

Drought forcing ranchers, farmers to make radical choices

Los Angeles Times

The continuing drought in California has forced some ranchers to sell off their livestock to slaughterhouses, and some farmers are considering ending cultivation of certain water-intensive fruits and nuts, the Los Angeles Times reports.

WMO says 2013 was sixth-hottest year on record


The United Nations' World Meteorological Organization said 2013 ranked the sixth-warmest year on record, adding that 13 of the 14 hottest years on record have taken place this century, Bloomberg reports.

Energy Information Administration

China growth drives rising oil and gas demand, carbon emissions, EIA reports

China's expanding demand for liquid fuels, second only to the United States in oil consumption, has made the nation "extremely influential" in the global energy market, the Energy Department concluded in its latest analysis of the Asian giant.

The rapid expansion of the Chinese economy led it to become the largest overall global energy consumer and will drive it past the U.S. to become the top oil importer this year, the Energy Information Administration noted in the country analysis published Tuesday.

Energy Guardian Photo

Murkowski vows to keep up fight with Jewell over Alaska road

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday warned an Interior Department official that she will not give up on her push to win a road to a rural fishing community despite the resistance of Secretary Sally Jewell. 

"I have told the secretary and I will tell you, we are not done with this issue," she told  Rhea Suh, a department assistant secretary for policy who has been nominated to oversee the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Changes sought for endangered species act

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Republicans in Congress on Tuesday called for an overhaul to the Endangered Species Act to curtail environmentalists' lawsuits and give more power to states, but experts say broad changes to one of the nation's cornerstone environmental laws are unlikely given the pervasive partisan divide in Washington, D.C.

A group of 13 GOP lawmakers representing states across the U.S. released a report proposing "targeted reforms" for the 40-year-old federal law, which protects imperiled plants and animals.

Proponents credit the law with staving off extinction for hundreds of species — from the bald eagle and American alligator to the gray whale. But critics contend the law has been abused by environmental groups seeking to restrict development in the name of species protection.

Study finds diverse number of microbes in Beijing smog

Los Angeles Times

A team of Chinese researchers said in a study that samples of smog in Beijing contained more than 1,300 specific species of microbes, including bacteria and fungi linked to respiratory issues, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Tiny minnow is 1st fish taken off endangered list

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A tiny minnow that lives only in Oregon backwaters is the first fish ever taken off U.S. Endangered Species Act protection because it is no longer threatened with extinction.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was to announce Tuesday that the Oregon chub was recovered, 21 years after it went on the endangered species list. The agency will monitor the fish for nine years to make sure populations continue to grow.

"We're not saying it won't need management," said Paul Henson, Oregon director of Fish and Wildlife. "But they can leave the hospital and get out to be an outpatient."

Brown criticizes Republican drought plan

The Associated Press

California Gov. Jerry Brown called a bill by congressional Republicans that would expand water supplies to farmers from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta during the state's drought  "divisive" and urged Democrats to block the proposal, The Associated Press reports.

California drought threatens salmon species with extinction

CBS News

The ongoing drought in California threatens the coho salmon that live along the state's coast with extinction, as overfishing and habitat alteration have already depleted populations of the species, CBS News reports.


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