Washington Post – Every time the world witnesses a weather related disaster — most recently, extreme flooding in Texas and Oklahoma and a deadly heatwave in India — the attribution battle begins. Some scientists and commentators seek to explain how the event could have been worsened by climate change, even as others scoff and dismiss the connection.
E&E Daily – There’s no evidence that the federal government is methodically underpaying flood victims through its public insurance program, investigators with a Senate committee said yesterday. The assertion challenges the public narrative voiced by some senators and homeowners following the near-record number of claims filed with the National Flood Insurance Program after Superstorm Sandy affected more than 144,000 policyholders in October 2012. Of those, over 2,000 property owners are suing the program, accusing officials of lowballing their payments.
New York Times – Fighting over water is a tradition in California, but nowhere are the lines of dispute more sharply drawn than here in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that is the hub of the state’s water system. Giant pumps pull in water flowing to the delta from the mountainous north of the state, where the majority of precipitation falls, and send it to farms, towns and cities in the Central Valley and Southern California, where the demand for water is greatest.
The Week – America’s shoreline won’t look the same in 2050. Shorelines change gradually all the time, but a combination of factors — chief among them rising sea levels — mean that some stretches of the U.S. coasts could be altered dramatically in the next 35 years. In a 2014 report, researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey attempted to predict the likelihood of a coastal area receding by at least one meter (three feet, four inches) in a year.
E&E Daily – Backers of a bill to reverse the Obama administration’s contentious water rule are “very close” to getting a majority in the Senate, a top Democratic supporter of the legislation said yesterday. Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly is one of three Democrats to co-sponsor S. 1140, which would require U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to rewrite a recently finalized rule to expand the number of waterways that receive automatic protection under the Clean Water Act. The bill passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee 11-9 along party lines two weeks ago (Greenwire, June 10).
Politico – Critics of the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate change agenda should brace themselves — the Obama administration isn’t letting up. President Barack Obama has launched an unprecedented regulatory assault on greenhouse gas emissions, putting the White House’s executive branch power on display and enraging conservative opponents as the president works to cement his environmental legacy.
UNC News – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill officially launched today its new Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) that was made possible through a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, Office of University Programs five-year, $20 million grant. The CRC initiative led by UNC-Chapel Hill will include collaboration with more than a dozen partner universities to address the unique challenges facing communities across the United States that are vulnerable to coastal hazards.
Al Jazeera America – It’s a small agency with a long name and big responsibility — ensuring the safety of more than 1 million shipments of hazardous materials a day, including a nonstop flow of oil and gas through 2.6 million miles of energy pipeline and along 140,000 miles of rail. For Americans living in the path of this energy torrent, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is their main defense against fiery derailments, gas line explosions and pipeline leaks, like the May 29 rupture that contaminated ocean waters off Santa Barbara, California.