When residents of this parched California city opened their water bills for April, they got what Mayor Ashley Swearengin called “a shock to the system.” The city had imposed a long-delayed, modest rate increase — less than the cost of one medium latte from Starbucks for the typical household, and still leaving the price of water in Fresno among the lowest across the entire Western United States. But it was more than enough to risk what the mayor bluntly admits could be political suicide.
California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. It is the most stubborn part of the crisis: To fundamentally alter how much water the state uses, all Americans may have to give something up.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) has suggested holding up three Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nominations until officials provide more legal justification for their rule-making. The Senate Energy and Public Works Committee was hearing testimony from three EPA assistant administrator nominees when Sullivan asked if they thought a hold was the right way to force agency higher-ups to answer further questions about the legality of their regulations.
The largest lobby group for farmers and ranchers declared Thursday that the Obama administration’s new rule asserting power over small waterways is worse than what had been proposed. The American Farm Bureau Federation, one of the most vocal opponents of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation, wrapped up a detailed two-week review of the rule and concluded that the agency did not properly respond to criticisms from farmers.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Denver Water were battening down Thursday in anticipation of a major rain storms heading for the Denver metro area. The Corps said it would reduce the amount of water flowing out of Chatfield Dam, southwest of Denver, and Bear Creek Dam, northeast of Highway 285 and C-470 in Lakewood, in order “to mitigate flood risk in the Denver area.” Periods of heavy rain, as much as two to three inches per hour, are expected for the next few days and a flash flood watch is in effect for most of the state tonight.
A “fortuitous” meeting between town and Palm Beach County officials last week could allow the town to receive millions of unexpected money for its planned South End beach nourishment project.A conversation to resolve reimbursement disputes for the Reach 8 environmental impact statement led Dan Bates, deputy director of the county’s Department of Environmental Resources Management, to inform the town that the county can pay for 20 percent, or $3.44 million, of the $17.2 million Phipps Ocean Park/Reach 7 sand fill.
Despite fiery opposition from Democrats, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this morning voted 11-9 along party lines to advance a measure to kill the Obama administration’s controversial water rule. S. 1140 would send the Obama administration back to the drawing board on its recently finalized Waters of the U.S. rule, setting new criteria for how a future rule should be developed and what streams and wetlands should and shouldn’t qualify for Clean Water Act protection under it.