Washington Post- With the lowering of giant steel legs to the sea bottom off Rhode Island, construction has officially begun on the country’s first offshore wind farm, starting what U.S. officials hope will be a race to harness a vast energy resource capable of powering millions of homes along the East Coast.The project developer, Deepwater Wind, marked the “steel-in-the water” milestone for its Block Island Wind Farm on Monday, an event witnessed by federal and state officials who crowded into a boat to view the foundations for two wind-tower platforms jutting above the water.
Washington Post- A major concern for climate activists is figuring out what drives the public’s beliefs about climate change. This information can help scientists better engage with the public and help activists understand what factors are likely to make people take climate change seriously as a threat. Until now, most research into public attitudes on climate change have focused on Western nations, like the United States, Europe and Australia, leaving scientists with little knowledge of how much awareness there is about climate change in other parts of the world and how people feel about it. But a new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, provides a more inclusive look at the issue, giving scientists greater insight into what factors are most likely to make people care about climate change — if they know it’s happening at all.
The Hill- A pledge by American businesses to focus on climate-friendly practices should help boost the prospects for an international climate conference at the end of the year, the White House said. Companies participating in the push the White House announced Monday each proposed a series of climate-based benchmarks that they would use to reduce their impact on global warming. Brian Deese, President Obama’s top climate adviser, said that the companies’ proposals are meant to showcase the private sector's commitment to a United Nations climate conference in Paris this December.
E&E Daily- Congressional opponents of the Obama administration's water rule are arguing that newly revealed memos critical of the regulation from the country's on-the-ground experts at the Army Corps of Engineers confirm their argument that the rule is fatally flawed. "While interspersed with staff recommendations and legal conclusions that I understand you wish to keep confidential and hidden from the American public, the facts in these documents support my conclusion, and the conclusion of the 30 states that have already filed lawsuits challenging the final [Waters of the U.S.] rule, that the rule is lacking factual, technical and legal support," Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) wrote to the political official who oversees the Army Corps yesterday.
E&E Daily- A House panel is threatening to subpoena the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for more information on how a senior official set up his own post-retirement contracting job. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee asked NOAA last month for documents related to Peter Donald Jiron's consulting work for the agency. Jiron retired as the deputy chief financial officer for the National Weather Service in 2010 and then immediately started work as a contractor with a higher salary he helped set. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) asserted that NOAA isn't providing the documents quickly enough. In a letter yesterday to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker -- whose department includes NOAA -- Smith threatened to "consider the use of compulsory process" to get what he wants.
E&E Daily-The House passed a bill yesterday to combat illegal fishing, raising the chances that Congress will act on the issue before the end of the year. H.R. 774 would streamline enforcement of high-seas fishing laws, and ocean advocates say it would send an important message to the international community on the country's dedication to rooting out illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The bipartisan legislation passed easily on a voice vote last night, and it was among a dozen bills voted under suspension of the rules.
The Conversation- Flooding is a well-known natural hazard along the US coastline. Nearly 40% of the US population resides in its coastal counties. A clear understanding of the various flood types and changes in the frequency of their occurrence is critical toward reliable estimates of vulnerability and potential impacts in the near-term as well as into the future. Given the heavy reliance on coastal zones for natural resources and economic activity, flood preparedness and safety are key elements of long-term resilience.
Local Scituate- It was seen as a victory when the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed last week to revise preliminary flood maps in Marshfield, Scituate and Duxbury. But, homeowners in neighborhoods from Peggotty Beach in Scituate to Brant Rock in Marshfield aren’t ready to celebrate. Now they worry about about what the revised maps will look like once they are released in December or January, and whether the changes will be enough to stave off sharp increases in flood insurance premiums. “It affects your ability to sell your house, the marketability,” said Mark Fitzgerald, a home owner on Blanchard Street near Peggotty Beach. “Homes around here are being rented because people can’t afford to stay in them.”
Ocean City Patch- Ocean City Council approved an ordinance on introduction that calls for for the overall appropriation of $2,693,000 and the borrowing of $2,558,350 for various projects. This included the $2,632,500 needed to move spoils from Site 83 to Wildwood to pave the way for the dredging of back bays and lagoons in Ocean City. Of the nearly $2.7 million reserved for dredging, $1,350,000 is to be appropriated, and the City will borrow $1,282,500 for the rest of that portion, which includes a beachfront renourishment project to be conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State.
The Salem News- Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing plans to buy up waterfront homes and properties that are repeatedly damaged by storms, hastening the retreat from an eroding coast. The proposal — tacked onto a climate change bill that cleared a key committee on Beacon Hill this week — authorizes the state to buy storm-damaged coastal property through a previously approved $20 million fund.The bill is sponsored by Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, and backed by two-dozen lawmakers, including Sen. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover and Rep. Lori Ehrlich, D-Marblehead.
Circle of Blue- As California implements a landmark law to balance demand for groundwater with available supplies, an Indian tribe’s lawsuit in federal court has the potential to add new layers of complexity to managing a prized resource that is in short supply during California's worst ever drought. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians filed the suit on May 14, 2013 against the Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency, two water suppliers in the tribe’s southern California desert region near Palm Springs. The case, straightforward in its goals, addresses two primary concerns: halting groundwater levels that have declined at an average rate of more than one meter per year since 2000, and stemming pollution in the groundwater beneath the 12,545-hectare (31,000-acre) reservation.
San Jose Mercury News- Grocery stores in Los Altos reported runs on bottled water today, following a notice Sunday from Cal Water that a portion of the city's water supply had been contaminated by E. coli and total coliform.Yvonne Kingman, a spokeswoman for California Water Service Co., said 853 customers received the tainted water and almost 600 were contacted by phone on Sunday.Steve Schick, a Los Altos resident, isn't satisfied with the company's response. In an email, he told The Daily News: "California Water knew of this early in the day, well before 2:30 p.m. They did not notify my neighborhood on Orange Avenue until 12:25 a.m. They rang our doorbell after midnight, scaring the household. I hope my elderly neighbors are alright. Why did it take so long to notify us?"