The Hill- The House passed legislation on Monday to allow individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy to apply for disaster loans. The bill, approved easily on a voice vote, would resume the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) application process for people who weren’t able to file when the storm hit in October 2012 because of agency backlogs. Such loans would have to be available for at least one year.“It is important that those impacted have another chance at securing assistance,” said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Small Business Committee and author of the legislation.
The Hill- The Obama administration continues to be flooded with lawsuits over its new water regulations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and other groups announced a lawsuit Monday against the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "Waters of the United States" rule. They are the latest industry groups challenging the rule, which looks to define which water bodies the government has the ability to regulate. In a statement announcing their lawsuit, NFIB contended that the rule covers water bodies that go beyond what the EPA is legally allowed to regulate under the Clean Water Act. “This is another example of the EPA getting impatient with the American people and their elected representatives and simply assuming the power that it wants,” said Karen Harned, the executive director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center.
The Hill- Two giant business groups joined the growing list of organizations and states suing the Obama administration over new water regulations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers on Monday over the "Waters of the United States" rule. The groups argued the agencies overstepped their authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate waterways around the U.S. "This is another example of the EPA getting impatient with the American people and their elected representatives and simply assuming the power that it wants," said Karen Harned, the executive director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center.
Washington Post- Relatively few tropical storms ever make it as far north as Greenland, the ice-covered island that straddles the Arctic Circle east of Canada. But the ones that do appear to be inflicting serious damage — and not just to Greenland. A study published Monday shows that warm, tropical air masses are accelerating the melting of Greenland’s ice sheets, exacerbating a problem that already is contributing to rising sea levels around the globe. The Greenland Ice Sheet currently covers more than 650,000 square miles, an area three times the size of Texas. Previous studies have documented rapid melting on the periphery of the ice sheet, which is losing mass at a rate 30 percent faster than in the late 1970s.
U.N.- Water is at the core of sustainable development. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social wellbeing and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions. In a sustainable world that is achievable in the near future, water and related resources are managed in support of human well-being and ecosystem integrity in a robust economy. Sufficient and safe water is made available to meet every person’s basic needs, with healthy lifestyles and behaviours easily upheld through reliable and affordable water supply and sanitation services, in turn supported by equitably extended and efficiently managed infrastructure. Water resources management, infrastructure and service delivery are sustainably financed.
Los Angeles Times- Cities and counties will no longer be able to impose fines on residents for unsightly brown lawns while the state is in a drought, under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday afternoon.The measure, by Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown (D-Rialto) prohibits local governments from issuing fines for violations of "lawn maintenance" ordinances when the governor has declared a state of emergency due to drought conditions. Brown has said she's aware of a number of cities, including Glendale, Upland and San Bernardino, that have levied fines or issued warnings to residents who allowed their lawns to go brown. The measure is the most recent effort by the Legislature to encourage homeowners to let their lawns "fade to gold" Last year, Brown signed a measure that barred homeowners' association from punishing their residents for unwatered lawns.
Atlantic City Lab- More than a quarter of Coatesville, Pennsylvania’s 13,133 residents live below the poverty line. Abandoned buildings are rampant. With high unemployment, the tax base is dwindling. And yet, many residents of Coatesville are paying hundreds of dollars for their monthly water service. That’s as much as people living in large, wealthy cities like San Francisco cough up. Why? In 2001, Al Jazeera reports, Coatesville officials sold the city’s water system to the Pennsylvania-American Water Company (PAWC) for $38 million, with ambitions to revitalize the city with the sale. But the decision has had an opposite effect: The city mismanaged the revenue, and PAWC has sought exponential rate hikes on multiple occasions.
Circle of Blue- Before world oil prices collapsed late last year, shop owners closest to the banks of the Rio Grande River in Piedras Negras joked that they could hear the groans of Texas drilling rigs advancing toward their fast-growing northern Mexico city. Just seven years ago, the first well was drilled into the Eagle Ford shale formation, which is 80 kilometers (50 miles) wide and stretches northeast for 640 kilometers (400 miles) from the border, past the eastern outskirts of San Antonio. That well yielded such prodigious quantities of gas and oil it set off a frenzy of investment so intense in Texas that 11,000 more wells were completed in the 29-county drilling zone. The Eagle Ford now produces over 1.6 million barrels of oil and 7 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, making it one of the largest oil and gas fields on the planet.
Circle of Blue- In March 1999, not long after he was sworn in as the 47th mayor of Oakland, Jerry Brown called Lesley Estes, the supervisor of the city’s watershed protection program. Brown, who is now California’s governor, wanted the city staffer he called “Creek Lady” to describe the most formidable ideas she had to conserve natural areas, make parks more beautiful, and clean up the city’s waters. A healthy portion of Brown’s comeback campaign for mayor in 1997 included avante garde ideas about economy-strengthening ecology that had distinguished all of his political career. “I see Oakland as an ‘ecopolis’ of the future – a city that is both in harmony with the environment and in harmony with itself,” he told supporters.One of the most important tools for accomplishing that feat was to understand the role that the city’s abundance of fresh water could play in what Brown called "transforming the urban space.”
New DEP Efforts May Stop North Jersey’s 23 Billion Gallons of Raw Sewage From Hitting Jersey Shore Beaches
Shore News Magazine-Ocean County officials are praising the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s plan to require permits to any entity discharging more than 2,000 gallons of sanitary wastewater per day in the state. In January, the state issued 25 final permits to improve surface water quality in urban parts of the state by requiring municipalities and wastewater authorities to develop strategies to reduce pollution from combined sewer overflows. The DEP permits require the development of long-term control plans to address 217 combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharge points in the state. Most are located in the New York-New Jersey Harbor region.