Washington Post- Thirteen states led by North Dakota are asking a federal judge in Bismarck to block a new rule that gives federal authorities jurisdiction over some state waters. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said he will seek a preliminary injunction Monday, the deadline for such legal action to prevent the rule from taking effect on Aug. 28. Stenehjem said he was hopeful a judge will grant a hearing on the injunction within the next few days. North Dakota is leading a lawsuit filed on June 29 challenging the Obama administration rule that gives federal agencies authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Stenehjem said the “Waters of the U.S.” rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers is “unnecessary” and “unlawful.” He said it does nothing to increase water quality in North Dakota and other states.
The Hill- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to fix by this spring the problem that caused the Supreme Court to rule against its major air pollution regulation in July.The EPA told a lower court on Monday that it is formulating a plan to conduct cost-benefit analysis as part of a revision of its finding that the mercury rule is “appropriate and necessary.” “EPA intends to submit a declaration establishing the agency’s plan to complete the required consideration of costs for the ‘appropriate and necessary’ finding by spring of next year,” the agency wrote in a filing with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The Hill- Australia’s government announced a pledge Tuesday to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2030 as part of a United Nations agreement to stop climate change. The pledge, which uses 2005 emissions as a base line, puts Australia behind other major nations and well short of the cuts needed to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a target believed to prevent the most catastrophic effects of warming. “We’ve got to reduce our emissions but we’ve got to reduce our emissions in ways which are consistent with continued strong growth,” conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters Tuesday, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
NY Times- The hotshot crew from Big Bear, Calif., pushed along the steep, smoky ridge after a long night battling a blaze that spread fast, burned hot and just would not die. Their beards dripped with sweat and ash. They lumbered ahead with fatigue and concern: The fire was just a few miles from their hometown. “This area’s burned a lot more than we thought it would for this time of year,” said Ryan Doyle, 38, one of the firefighters hiking along a canyon of smoke and flame. “For the last couple of years, they’ve been saying it’s really bad, but this is the year I think we might really see it.”
NY Times- Every year, the United States foots a multi-billion dollar bill for the economic and insured losses incurred from natural disasters. In 2014, the costs reached $25-billion with certain regions of the country more prone to calamity than others. So what disasters are the most common and how much do they cost? This video breaks down the natural disasters by region.
NY Times- When people urge the removal of dams they say are strangling rivers in the West, it’s usually fish they’re worried about. Studies of dam-removal projects show that migratory species like salmon respond quickly to improved conditions once a dam is removed. But the removal of a dam on the Elwha River in northern Washington State — the largest such project in the United States — is demonstrating that there can be another beneficiary: the beach. The Elwha runs northward to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates the United States and Canada, just west of Port Angeles, Wash. The removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, which was begun in 2011, was finished last summer.
The Post and Courier- It’s a start. A belated start, and only a small step toward the finish line, but a start. With $2.4 million in federal funds recently made available to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway between the Ben Sawyer Bridge and the Isle of Palms Connector will soon be dredged. Experts say that area is among the worst along the ever more shallow 1,200-mile waterway. It has become a safety hazard as well as a navigational and economic problem. Sand has built up in that part of the channel so much that it is only two feet deep at low tide. That is a fraction of the 12-foot minimum prescribed by the federal government. It will not accommodate most boats, so many boaters — commercial and recreational — go offshore to avoid it. When they do that, boaters lose time and convenience.
NJ.com- Sitting on the banks of the Delaware River has always been a boon to Greenwich Township and the surrounding Gloucester County area, but with sea levels expected to rise in the next 50 years — bringing the river's level up as well — the town could be threatened by floods in the near future. The Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District has recently evaluated the flood risk in Greenwich Township and is proposing a plan to deal with it, which they will present at a public meeting Thursday. In a 168-page feasibility study, the Corps describes the flood possibilities and evaluates "potential solutions to flooding problems and related environmental degradation within the Delaware River Basin." It proposes three options for the Gibbstown area, each of which includes floodwalls, levees and ringwalls. The Corps has selected one of these plans to move forward on, but will include all options in the public meeting, which asks residents for their input.
Press of Atlantic City- As Ocean City struggles to get back on track with its beachfill project, recently completed replenishments in the Strathmere section of Upper Township and in Avalon are causing concerns that the sand is not holding. Over the weekend, the Avalon Beach Patrol closed north-end beaches due to scarping, citing dangerous conditions to swimmers.The borough had received 700,000 cubic yards of sand in an 18-day, privately funded $6.3 million beach replenishment that was completed July 7. Barely a month later, the recently replenished beaches between 8th and 25th streets were closed on Saturday but reopened Sunday.
Infrastructurene.ws- Bosveld Phosphate was recently found guilty of crimes relating to environmental degradation and water offences, following a toxic spill which contaminated water in the Kruger National Park in 2013. These charges relate to unlawfully and intentionally or negligently causing a situation in December 2013 which led to water containing polluted substances being released into the Selati River which forms one of the tributaries of the Olifants River. In terms of Section 34 (1) and (3) of the National Environmental Management Act of 1998, the accused was ordered by the court to pay an amount of R1 450 000 within 14 days from the date of the sentence, in addition to a number of suspended sentences (fines adding up to an additional R1 100 000) for contravention of the National Environmental Management Act and the National Water Act.The Department of Environmental Affairs will use the remedial measure amount for the purpose of proper execution of the Green Scorpions enforcement duties, environmental rehabilitation, enforcement training and also for the benefit of SANParks and the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation.
Critical Infrastructure Daily- On Monday, the Coryell County Commissioner’s Court approved a $10,000 to start a study that would outline the water sources, future water needs and population growth for the area. According to County Commissioner for Precinct 1 Jack Well, after obtaining this information, the engineer that was hired, would apply for a state grant on behalf of the county. The Texas Water Development Board funds could help pay for a more in-depth analysis. Other entities involved may also help cover the costs of it. The study would look water infrastructure needed, including an off-channel reservoir between Gatesville and Evant on a tributary adjacent to Cowhouse Creek. It would inundate 445 surface acres to provide water for projected future shortages, according to the 2016 Brazos G Regional Water Plan. The estimated date of completion for the $42 million project is currently 2030 as water shortages in the area are projected to start in 2020.