Washington Post- Their two peach trees had turned brittle in the heat, their neighborhood pond had vanished into cracked dirt and now their stainless-steel faucet was spitting out hot air. “That’s it. We’re dry,” Miguel Gamboa said during the second week of July, and so he went off to look for water. He had a container in the bed of his truck from the dairy where he worked, a 275-gallon tank that had been used to treat milk with chemical preservatives. Now he rinsed it with bleach and drove out of the suburbs, passing rows of tract houses with yellowed front lawns. He went to see a friend who still had a little water left in his well, and the friend offered Gamboa his hose. They stood together and watched the tank begin to fill with water that looked hazy and light brown.
Washington Post- Over many years, glaciers helped form Greenland’s fjords, those narrow and deep inlets in the sea that are often surrounded by steep cliffs and serve as exit routes for the vast ice sheet’s sea-terminating outlet glaciers. And, according to new research, fjords in West Greenland are much deeper than previously thought. That means the world’s sea levels could rise faster than anticipated, because those outlet glaciers are more exposed to warm water. The findings have been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. The shape and depth of fjords have big implications for the ice sheet, which has been melting both from the top and the bottom and contains 20 feet of potential sea level rise in total. Warm air erodes ice above the water, but warmer waters — which reside at deep levels in some parts of the polar regions — undercut glaciers and melt ice from below. “As they melt faster, they can slide out to sea,” said Eric Rignot, leader researcher and a glaciologist at the University of California at Irvine.
Washington Post- The Obama administration on Thursday announced plans to strengthen protections for streams and rivers near coal mines, setting up a potential clash with an industry that is already fighting a proposal to limit air pollution from coal-burning. The proposed Interior Department regulations would impose tougher standards for water quality around coal mines while requiring companies to take more responsibility for cleaning up waterways damaged by mine pollution or covered by mining spoils. The proposals are the result of a highly contentious, years-long effort to update stream-protection rules enacted three decades ago by the department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Industry officials have strongly opposed the reforms, saying the new requirements, if finalized, would result in more layoffs and closed mines at a time when coal companies are under financial stress.
USA Today- Waving American flags and toting signs demanding, “Save our Beach. Dunes now!” more than 600 residents of Ortley Beach and their supporters marched from the bay to the ocean Saturday to call attention to the narrow beaches and tiny dunes in this oceanfront Toms River neighborhood that they say provide little protection from a strong storm. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to build 22-foot dunes and widen beaches from the Manasquan to Barnegat inlets has been stalled because some beachfront homeowners have continued to resist signing easements — the legal documents the Army Corps needs to gain access to the beach through private property. Most of the missing easements are in Bay Head, where 123 are outstanding, and Point Pleasant Beach, where 68 still are not signed.
The Hill- A federal judge on Friday dismissed Oklahoma’s second lawsuit against the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants. Judge Claire Eagan of the District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma ruled that the state’s attorney general cannot challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation until it is made final. It is the second case in as many months in which a federal court has dropped lawsuits against the Obama administration’s signature climate change initiative, which is due to be made final next month. The message from the two cases is clear: Anyone wishing to block the carbon limits must wait until the EPA is done writing them.
NY Times- Californians have been ordered to save water because of the drought. But one of the best ways to save it is to not lose it in the first place. That is why many cities in this thirsty state have declared a war on leaks. Here on Whitsett Avenue in the San Fernando Valley — or rather about 20 feet below it — the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is replacing much of the Coldwater trunk line, a major artery more than 100 years old.The new pipe, five feet across, sits at the bottom of a deep trench. Before long, after each seam is welded seven times around and coated with cement, nine million gallons of water will flow through here every day.
The Economist- Can you manage what you don’t measure? Produce such as coffee, cotton, and oil are traded commodities that are measured, managed, negotiated and priced based on market supply and demand. Yet, what happens when measuring things of great value that are more nuanced, more complex, not commodities, not privately owned and not traded in markets, such as rainfall, rivers, wetlands, or biodiversity? The Economics of Ecosystems Biodiversity (TEEB) is a global initiative set up in 2007 that focuses on making nature’s values visible. As Professor Edward Barbier (a member of TEEBs Advisory Board) puts it, “we use nature because it is valuable, we lose nature because it is free”.
E&E Daily- The Senate is poised to take up a transportation funding bill this week.But which one? House leaders are pressing the upper chamber to ratify H.R. 3038, the five-month extension they muscled through last week (E&E Daily, July 16). With a key procedural vote scheduled for tomorrow morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) still wants a longer-term bill that would at least run past the November 2016 elections. A formidable array of roadblocks stand in his way. The bill's potential length and price tag remain unsettled, as lawmakers search for the "pay-fors" needed to offset the cost under congressional budget-scoring rules. Senate Democrats are unhappy with some truck and rail safety provisions; the section on public transportation hasn't even been introduced. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has promised a filibuster if the bill is used as a vehicle to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank; Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has pledged to use all legislative devices at his disposal this week to wrangle a vote on cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood.
The San Diego Union-Tribune- The United States and Mexico are preparing to sign an agreement to address issues of sediment, trash and polluted stormwater that for years have plagued the Tijuana River watershed. The binding agreement, known as a minute, aims to set up a framework to formally address the issues bilaterally and bring together members of government agencies as well as participants from the nonprofit sector. Under the minute, groups are expected to address three major issues: sediment control, solid waste management and water quality. The accord has been negotiated through the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission, or IBWC, and its Mexican counterpart, the Comision International de Limites y Aguas or CILA.
Southwest Daily News- The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has submitted a proposal to the Department of Treasury requesting funding from the Restore Act Trust Fund for salinity control measures along the Calcasieu Ship Channel. Money from fines levied against Transocean, after the company’s Deepwater Horizon drillship exploded and sank in April of 2010, is distributed to Louisiana through the federal Restore Act Trust Fund. According to the Associated Press, the proposal submitted by the LCPRA Wednesday asks for $16 million — a little more than half of the project’s design costs. The estimated total cost of the project is $434.2 million.
Vineyard Gazette-Umbrellas dot the shore like colorful freckles and bathers cool off in the gentle waters as children splash and chase one another. A lifeguard scans the beach from his tower. The summer scene is back to normal this year at Pay and Inkwell beaches following a project this spring to renourish them with tons of clean sand dredged sand from underneath the Little Bridge. The beaches were the center of controversy last year when they were covered with sand dredged from under the Lagoon Pond drawbridge project in Vineyard Haven. The sand was poor quality, sludgy and smelling of decay, some residents said. Before the 2014 summer season, the added sand was removed by the town. But the popular town beaches that face Nantucket Sound were in more trouble than just smelling too fishy. Erosion had eaten away at the shorelines and the town was in danger of losing the beaches altogether. The second replenishment project has been more successful than the first. Sand underneath the Little Bridge had piled up uncharacteristically high following a series of storms, including Hurricane Sandy.
Sheepshead Bites- Long before Hurricane Sandy swept through their neighborhood, carrying away cars,trees and even homes, residents in Gerritsen Beach urged city agencies to make road and sewer repairs that would reduce serious flooding. Now, due in large part to federal money for Sandy recovery efforts, the work will finally get done — though it will be another two years before a single shovel hits the pavement. It doesn’t take a Sandy-sized storm to cause property damage and severe flooding in the neighborhood’s Old Section. Poor drainage causes water to collect in the streets, sometimes spilling into people’s basements or corroding street foundations so much that great sinkholes break open in the middle of the road.