Environment

Obama declares Napa earthquake major disaster

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in California on Thursday because of last month's Napa Valley earthquake, releasing emergency federal funding for the state.

The White House announced the move in a statement nine days after Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter to Obama requesting the declaration. Brown declared a state of emergency for California shortly after the magnitude-6.0 earthquake on Aug. 24.

The White House didn't say how much money may be available, but a preliminary assessment by the governor's office found $87 million in earthquake costs that could be eligible for federal reimbursement.

Climate change may trigger US-Canadian border disputes

Source: 
E&E

More disputes may mar the peace along the lengthy border between the U.S. and Canada in the future, as different weather patterns – with drought increasing on the U.S. side -- affect the rivers and water supplies in the region, E&E reports.

Scientists say the ozone layer is recovering

WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth's protective but fragile ozone layer is beginning to recover, largely because of the phase-out since the 1980s of certain chemicals used in refrigerants and aerosol cans, a U.N. scientific panel reported Wednesday in a rare piece of good news about the health of the planet.

Scientists said the development demonstrates that when the world comes together, it can counteract a brewing ecological crisis.

For the first time in 35 years, scientists were able to confirm a statistically significant and sustained increase in stratospheric ozone, which shields us from solar radiation that causes skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.

Police in Peru meet widows of slain indigenous leaders

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peruvian police investigators and a deputy minister met Tuesday with widows of four slain indigenous leaders who had resisted a steady onslaught by illegal loggers in their remote Amazon jungle homeland.

The Ashaninka community's slain leader, Edwin Chota, had for years led efforts to obtain titles to its traditional lands near Brazil's border. He constantly confronted the loggers who strip the region's river basins of prized hardwoods, especially mahogany and cedar.

Tribal authorities say they suspected illegal loggers in the killings, and described an intensified climate of fear.

Judge rejects latest bid to keep oyster farm open

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge rejected on Tuesday an 11th-hour attempt to keep open a popular Northern California oyster operation that was ordered closed by the federal government.

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. closed its cannery in July after the U.S. Department of the Interior refused to renew its lease along the Point Reyes National Seashore because of environmental concerns.

House Agriculture subcommittee hearing on Forest Service groundwater directive

Washington, September 10, 2014, 10:00 am

House Agriculture Conservation, Energy, and Forestry Subcommittee hearing, "To review the U.S. Forest Service's proposed groundwater directive." Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to testify.

El Nino rain unlikely to rescue drought-plagued California

Source: 
The New York Times

The Climate Prediction Center at the National Weather Service has changed its long-term forecast, saying in its September monthly outlook that a strong El Nino weather pattern -– which may have brought rain to ease California’s extreme drought -- isn’t likely to develop this year, The New York Times reports.

With biggest jump in decades, CO2 pollution levels hit annual record: UN

GENEVA (AP) — Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2013 as increasing levels of man-made pollution transform the planet, the U.N. weather agency said Tuesday.

The heat-trapping gas blamed for the largest share of global warming rose to global concentrations of 396 parts per million last year, the biggest year-to-year change in three decades, the World Meteorological Organization said in an annual report.

That's an increase of 2.9 ppm from the previous year and is 42 percent higher than before the Industrial Age, when levels were about 280 parts per million.

Birds in North America at massive risk from climate change

Source: 
Los Angeles Times

More than 300 of the 500 species of birds in North America – including the bald eagle – are at risk if global warming continues at a rapid pace, according to a study released by the National Audubon Society Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Illegal loggers suspected in slaying of Peruvian activist

LIMA, Peru (AP) — An outspoken Peruvian opponent of illegal logging and three other native Ashaninka community leaders were shot and killed in the remote region bordering Brazil where they live, villagers and authorities said Monday.

The activist, Edwin Chota, had received frequent death threats from illegal loggers, who he had tried for years to expel from the lands for which his community was seeking title.

Illegal loggers were suspected in the killings, said Ashaninka regional leader Reyder Sebastian. Pervasive corruption lets the loggers operate with impunity, stripping the Amazon region's river basins of prized hardwoods, especially mahogany and tropical cedar.

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