Environment

Sierra Club seeks Keystone XL documents in Army Corps suit

Source: 
Bloomberg

The Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers alleging that the agency has failed to disclose records from its review of the Keystone XL pipeline related to the project's path, Bloomberg reports.

Banks under pressure to disclose lending to GHG emitters

Source: 
The Wall Street Journal

Large banks, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, face increased pressure from climate-minded investors to disclose their lending to fossil fuel companies and to develop climate-risk strategies, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Feds announce another $14M for California drought

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Federal officials on Wednesday pledged more money to help California cope with its severe drought as state fishing regulators shut down recreational angling on portions of two water-starved rivers because of concerns about the survival of salmon and steelhead trout.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Natural Resources Conservation Service announced another $14 million for water management improvements in the state, a day after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack committed $20 million.

The aid was announced as the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill supported by House Speaker John Boehner and Central Valley Republicans that would temporarily halt restoration of the San Joaquin River and allow farmers to pump delta water more freely.

Members of Congress push to expedite rancher help

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of Congress pressed the U.S. agriculture secretary Wednesday to expedite a provision in the new farm bill that helps ranchers in the Dakotas and Nebraska recover from an October blizzard.

The nearly $100 billion-a-year federal farm bill, which awaits President Barack Obama's signature, restarts a livestock disaster program that had expired. Members of the South Dakota and North Dakota delegations were among those urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make sure there are no delays getting the relief money to ranchers.

Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and other lawmakers signed a letter Wednesday asking Vilsack to move quickly to provide relief to ranchers and farmers who suffered heavy losses. The total amount of the aid was not clear and would depend on total losses for producers.

Celebrities want to tie trade pact to dolphin hunt

WASHINGTON (AP) — A group of American celebrities and other activists want President Barack Obama to refuse to sign an international trade agreement until Japan bans the capture and slaughter of dolphins in the fishing town of Taiji.

Backing the effort are Oscar-winning performers Sean Penn, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Jennifer Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Charlize Theron as well as TV stars Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner, and many others.

The Oscar-winning 2009 documentary "The Cove" chronicled the dolphin roundup in Taiji and helped spark protests over the annual hunt and ensuing slaughter. Japanese law allows a hunting season for dolphins, and fishermen defend it as a tradition.

Calif town's water shortage stokes fears of future

WILLITS, Calif. (AP) — In this small logging town in Northern California's redwood country, small blue signs urging water conservation are almost everywhere you look.

Just south of Willits, in one of the state's most verdant corners, crows and other birds peck at dry ground that should be covered in water at the city's Centennial Reservoir, which is less than a third full. The creek that feeds it has slowed to a trickle.

"It's common at this time of year for the water to be going over the cement wall right here. In fact, we'd be standing in water," said Bruce Burton, a Willits city councilman, gesturing toward the small cement dam in the creek. "In the 20 years I've been in local government, we've never experienced this kind of condition."

USDA chief: Climate change already hurting farmers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Climate change is already hurting American farmers and rural residents, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday, warning that the U.S. would regret any failure to adapt and prepare for shifting weather realities.

Unveiling a new effort to coordinate the government's response, Vilsack said extreme weather events have already taken the U.S. by surprise, putting ranchers and others out of business. He pointed to the intensity and frequency of recent storms, long droughts, snowstorms and subzero weather as evidence that climate change is no longer hypothetical or in the future.

"The combination of all those factors convinces me that the climate is changing, and it's going to have its impact, and will have its impact, and is having its impact on agriculture and forestry," Vilsack said.

Wide gap between New Delhi, Beijing smog policies

NEW DELHI (AP) — Think twice before taking a deep breath in New Delhi, where worsening air pollution has drawn comparisons with Beijing, the world's pollution poster child.

On bad days in India's congested capital, the air is so murky it slows traffic to a crawl. Conversations are punctuated with rasping coughs. Weak bands of sunlight filter through a grainy sky.

Air monitoring sensors around the landlocked Indian capital have routinely registered levels of small airborne particles at "hazardous" levels in recent months — three to four times New Delhi's own sanctioned limit, rivaling Beijing.

Calif. drought expected to idle 500K acres of farmland

Source: 
Reuters

The current drought in California is expected to idle as many as 500,000 acres of farmland in 2014 as scant water supplies have limited irrigation potential, Reuters reports.

White House threatens veto of GOP drought bill

Source: 
Reuters

The White House threatened to veto a bill backed by Republicans that would slash restrictions on pumping water from California's San Joaquin-Sacramento River delta in response to a severe drought in the state, Reuters reports.

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