The Hill- A Senate committee voted Wednesday to block implementation of the administration’s climate rule for power plants. The bill passed by voice vote at a hastily organized meeting of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee just across the hall from the Senate chamber in the Capitol, because the panel’s 11 Republicans wanted to pass the bill before August recess starts later Wednesday. Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) called the vote while senators stood along the side of the room. The nine Democrats on the committee did not attend the afternoon meeting. They walked out on an earlier meeting, denying Republicans a quorum for their vote, due to objections over an unrelated bill on pesticides.
The Hill- Senate Democrats walked out of a committee meeting Wednesday, denying Republicans the quorum they needed to pass a bill to overturn President Obama’s climate rule for power plants. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, organized the walkout to protest a separate bill on pesticides that has not had a hearing.Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) could not find enough senators to get to the 11-person quorum. While not a stated intention of Boxer, the action pushed back, if only by a few hours, the committee’s vote to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing its climate rule.
The Hill- Sixteen states have formally asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delay its new climate rule for power plants.The long-shot request filed Wednesday by West Virginia and others is the first step in their plans to challenge the regulations in federal court.They want the Obama administration to put the rule on hold until all litigation against it is complete. The request came two days after President Obama unveiled the final version of the rule, which mandates a 32 percent reduction in the power sector’s carbon emissions by 2030.
The Hill- A group of Senate Democrats wants to vote on Pope Francis’s climate change pronouncement. The lawmakers, led by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), introduced a resolution on Wednesday stating that the Senate agrees with the pope’s June encyclical declaring climate change a man-made problem and calling on world leaders to take steps to fix it. The resolution states that “the Senate stands with Pope Francis and the scientific consensus that human activity is the primary driver of climate change, present climate trends are unsustainable and immediate action must be taken to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the deleterious effects of human-induced climate change.”
Los Angeles Times- The Lakeview Motel's name is false advertising these dry days.The same thing is true for the Paradise Cove Lodge down California 178. That's because the water level in man-made Lake Isabella has dropped about 59 feet since the last big wet year in 2011. There are 32,632 acre-feet of water in the lake — 5.8 % of the lake's capacity, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The water level is low enough that dozens of ghostly white cottonwood trees at the bottom of the lake have emerged from the water.
E&E Daily- After an effort to hotline a pair of bills dealing with critical water issues hit a snag earlier in the week, the bills sailed through Senate floor votes yesterday evening. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's measure to reauthorize the National Estuary Program, a pet issue for the Democrat from Rhode Island, was originally slated to go straight to the Senate floor under "hotline" procedures earlier this week. But it was paired by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee with a measure from Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) dealing with toxic algae blooms that plague his state.
E&E Daily- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee yesterday passed a bill to strip U.S. EPA's authority to regulate pesticide spraying over bodies of water. S.1500, introduced by Sens. Mike Crapo (D-Idaho) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), would reverse a 2009 federal appeals court decision in National Cotton Council v. EPA that requires the agency to issue Clean Water Act permits for spraying pesticides over navigable waters. Supporters of the "Sensible Environmental Protection Act" say the requirement is duplicative, as EPA already regulates pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The measure was passed by voice vote after most Democrats walked out of the markup in protest of S.1324, which would allow states to defer implementation of U.S. EPA's recently finalized Clean Power Plan
NOLA- The 2015 "dead zone," an area of dangerously low-oxygen water in the Gulf of Mexico along Louisiana's coast, is bigger than the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, and ranks as the 11th largest since mapping began in 1985. The news came Tuesday (Aug. 4) as researchers with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and Louisiana State University released results of this year's measurement. They concluded this year's dead zone extended over more than 6,400 square miles, more than three times the goal of voluntary federal and state efforts to cut down nutrients that feed the dead zone. That's also about the same size as the combined islands that make up the state of Hawaii.
The Island Now- The Town of North Hempstead has received more than $4 million in federal funding to remove sediment buildup in Manhasset Bay that officials said has blocked off parts of Hempstead Harbor from boaters. Following the 2012 storm, sediment buildup beneath the water near the Town Dock in Port Washington resulted in the town losing the moorings that allowed boaters to rope off their vessels. North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth in a statement said the funding — $4,142,815.50 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $460,312.83 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development -— “will once again allow boats of all sizes to utilize our Manhasset Bay and Town Dock while also allowing us to re-open our full complement of mooring space for boaters.”
Jacksonville.com- The Corps announced Friday it had awarded a $99.6 million contract to install an oxygen injection system along the Savannah River to CDM Constructors Inc., or CDM Smith, of Maitland, Fla. The system involves installing, operating and maintaining a dozen Speece Cones on two sites, one in Effingham County and one on Hutchinson Island. The devices will inject oxygen into the river to maintain necessary oxygen levels during hot, dry months, when oxygen levels typically drop. The deepening of the harbor to 47 feet will enable larger container ships to call on Savannah with greater ease, heavier cargoes and fewer tidal restraints than they currently experience. The Corps of Engineers entered a partnership with Georgia for the deepening, anticipating that each dollar invested in the project will return $5.50 to the economy.
Energy & Capital- I'm sure you've heard all about the growing desire for solar and wind expansion. There's even been a surge by companies like Apple and Google in building solar and wind farms to power some of their buildings (the pairing of SolarCity and Tesla that has put solar panels on the mass market comes immediately to mind). However, what we don't hear much about is hydropower. The technology to produce electricity using moving water has been utilized in the United States since the late 19th century, and the use of dams began during the first half of the 20th century.
Newsmax- Saving water doesn't always mean saving money in parched California. Millions of Californians expecting relief on their water bills for taking conservation measures instead are finding higher rates and drought surcharges.Water departments are increasing rates and adding fees because they're losing money as their customers conserve. They say they still have to pay for fixed costs including repairing pipelines, customer service and enforcing water restrictions — and those costs aren't decreasing.