Washington Post- In a normal year, Washington state’s Olympic National Park is arguably the wettest place in the continental U.S. An annual 150 inches of rain inundate the park’s western slopes, soaking the soil and slicking the branches of the lush temperate rain forest that grows there. Mosses, lichens and ferns festoon the trunks of centuries-old trees, whose thick canopy casts the forest floor into damp, dark shadow. The landscape has a primordial feel to it — cloaked in mist and swathed in green, it looks as though a dinosaur could come stomping out of the underbrush at any minute.
The Hill- Severe weather events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the drought in California have made climate change "real" to Americans by providing firsthand experience of what is in store. Most Americans now believe in climate change. Will this eventually sway our lawmakers? The papal encyclical offers both moral and scientific justification for a fundamental change in how we treat the Earth. Yet several Republican presidential candidates who have made religious and moral reasoning a cornerstone of their policy positions — former Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) — have effectively told the pope that moral arguments have no place in the discussion. Will it take an environmental tragedy to reveal that there is indeed a moral component to any decision that places short-term economic gain over the long-term safety and economic prosperity of future generations?
The Hill- Governors of some conservative states are threatening to disregard President Obama’s signature climate rule for power plants, potentially creating a showdown with the federal government. Opponents of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation hope that the decisions by the six governors could lead to a significant or complete destruction of the rule, thwarting one of Obama’s top legacy policies.The rule, due to be made final next month, will rely on states to formulate plans to reduce their power plants’ emissions of carbon dioxide.
The Hill- A beach in California will reopen next week, two months after an oil pipeline spill lined it with thick tar. Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County was hit hard by the rupture of a nearby oil pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline. About 21,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Pacific Ocean about a quarter-mile from the beach. “We have made great progress and we are stoked,” said Eric Hjelstrom, state parks superintendent for the Santa Barbara area, told the Los Angeles Times following an inspection of the beach Thursday. “It is really neat to see light at the end of the tunnel.”
ABC News- Another Jersey shore town that was pummeled by Superstorm Sandy has decided it doesn't want protective sand dunes. Manasquan's dunes were washed away in the October 2012 storm. And despite assertions by many coastal experts that the dunes prevented the damage from being even worse, borough officials have decided not to rebuild them. They say rebuilt dunes wouldn't give that much more protection, and that a recently widened beach will add some security. And some residents say they like being able to see the ocean from their homes again — despite warnings from some experts that they are playing with fire.
Marinij- Nearly 5,000 properties could be protected from tidal flooding and more than 1,000 acres of historic marshlands restored if new levees are built in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Palo Alto, according to the local agency charged with solving flooding along the San Francisquito Creek. Covering nine miles of shoreline, the Strategy to Advance Flood protection, Ecosystems and Recreation along the Bay, or SAFER Bay, project is also the biggest in the state to address sea level rise, said Len Materman, executive director of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority.
Jacksonville News- The trimmed option — according to public records and confirmed by JaxPort officials last week — would reduce the original 13-mile dredge to 11 miles, slashing the overall cost from more than $700 million to about $511 million, which JaxPort officials believe could make it a more enticing investment as they lobby the federal government to share the cost. But the proposal also adds layers of uncertainties: Tenants, including TraPac, would have to be shuffled between terminals, meaning JaxPort could face a sensitive and potentially difficult series of agreements and balancing acts.
East End Beacon- A broad swath of bipartisan federal lawmakers are looking to extend the federal government’s support of the restoration of the Long Island Sound. In late June, a consortium of Connecticut and New York lawmakers introduced legislation that would extend the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act from now until 2020. If passed, it would provide a large pool of federal money to clean up the Sound. In 1985, the EPA, in agreement with the New York and Connecticut, created the Long Island Sound Study, an office under the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) that works to restore the Sound, addressing low oxygen levels and high nitrogen levels that have depleted fish and shellfish populations and hurt wetlands.
Delaware Online- Two dredges move along the remnants of a historic channel at the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge spewing sand, silt, mud and water onto an adjacent marsh. The plan: to restore natural water flow and make the marsh and adjacent beaches more resilient in coastal storms. Federal officials know there will still be times when the Delaware Bay will wash over the beach onto the marsh as the shoreline moves farther inland with rising sea levels.
Asbury Park Press- The first phase of a massive, $105 million project to protect the Port Monmouth section of Middletown from coastal flooding has been completed, the Department of Emergency Management announced. Phase one of the Port Monmouth Flood Control Project included construction of a half-mile long sand dune providing protection up to 13 feet above sea-level, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project also included beach replenishment of about 400,000 cubic yards of sand, the construction of a new stone groin —a jetty-like structure extending 300 feet into the bay — and the lengthening of the Port Monmouth fishing pier by 195 feet.