New York Times - In this native village situated on a gravel spit above the Arctic Circle, life is changing more quickly than the Alaskans who have lived off the land and water here for thousands of years can keep pace with. “The ice is the biggest thing,” said Dominic Ivanoff, 28, a leader of Kotzebue’s tribal council. He used to need two foot-long auger extensions to cut holes through the thick ice when he went fishing in April. Now, he said, the ice is thin enough that he needs none.
Politico - The Congressional Budget Office has weighed in with a dollar figure for that controversial port performance bill Senate Commerce approved in June. In its brief analysis released on Friday, the CBO estimates that it would cost about $9 million over four years for DOT to collect monthly stats on the productivity of the nation’s 25 largest ports and report back to Congress each year on their capacity and throughput. But the report says the expense “would be small” for the ports themselves, since they already collect some of the information they would have to turn over to DOT. And the CBO expects that cost to fall below the statutory bar for unfunded mandates.
Washington Post - In a blockbuster study released Wednesday in Nature, a team of 38 scientists finds that the planet is home to 3.04 trillion trees, blowing away the previously estimate of 400 billion. That means, the researchers say, that there are 422 trees for every person on Earth. However, in no way do the researchers consider this good news. The study also finds that there are 46 percent fewer trees on Earth than there were before humans started the lengthy, but recently accelerating, process of deforestation. “We can now say that there’s less trees than at any point in human civilization,” says Thomas Crowther, a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies who is the lead author on the research. “Since the spread of human influence, we’ve reduced the number almost by half, which is an astronomical thing.”
Washington Post - The U.S. solar industry is on course for a new growth record in 2015, according to a new report that finds that solar photovoltaic installations now exceed 20 gigawatts in capacity and could surpass an unprecedented 7 gigawatts this year alone across all segments. A gigawatt is equivalent to 1 billion watts and can power some 164,000 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The new report, from GTM Research and SEIA, covers the second quarter of 2015, which set a new record for residential rooftop solar installations in particular, a category that saw 70 percent year-over-year growth. 473 megawatts of residential solar capacity were installed, or nearly half a gigawatt.
Washington Post - Climate scientists and economists have long argued that the world’s cities have some of the greatest leverage when it comes to deciding our planet’s climate future. The United Nations estimates that cities produce nearly three quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions already, and rapid urban migration means this number has the potential to keep growing. But it also has the potential to shrink, saving trillions of dollars in the process, according to a new report from the New Climate Economy, a project of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. The report claims that cities can save a collective $17 trillion or more by mid-century by investing in more efficient buildings, transportation and waste management.
E&E News - New York City and dozens of other communities that were flooded during Superstorm Sandy are challenging the government’s updated flood maps showing expansions of flood risk areas where thousands of buildings could be damaged. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has received appeals and comments from about 190 communities in New Jersey and New York since the agency began issuing preliminary flood maps earlier this year, according to Andrew Martin, a spokesman in FEMA’s New York office. New maps have been issued for more than 200 municipalities in the two states.
Portland Press Herald - The Army Corps of Engineers withdrew on Tuesday its state permitting application for a Penobscot Bay dredging project opposed by lobstermen, tourism business owners and environmentalists. The project aims to improve and upgrade Searsport, Maine’s second-busiest port, by expanding its turning basin and deepening the approach channel from 35 to 40 feet. But the Corps’ plan for disposing of the nearly 1 million cubic yards of dredged material raised alarm bells up and down Penobscot Bay over concerns it would trigger widespread mercury contamination.
NJ Spotlight - Over the past half century, the population of the Jersey Shore has more than tripled, while Ocean County — the state’s fastest-growing — saw its population increase tenfold. Amid the growing desire to live, work, and vacation near the water’s edge, state and federal authorities have created a multitude of regulations to ensure that unfettered development doesn’t totally wreck the environment and put coastal residents in harm’s way during major storms. Political leaders say they’ve sought to balance these concerns with the realization that New Jersey’s coast — and the tourism dollars it generates — is a huge driver of the state’s economy.
Coastal Review - Residents and activists urged regulatory agencies at a public hearing on Figure Eight Island’s proposed terminal groin to reject the project, saying it will ruin the one of the most stable natural inlets along North Carolina’s coast. One by one, about 20 residents of New Hanover and Pender counties at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ public hearing Sept. 2 said they oppose the project the private island’s homeowners association’s board of directors says is needed to protect the south end from eroding.
ABC Eyewitness News - Crews are working around the clock on a project scheduled to be finished at the end of October. The project will use 725,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from the Galveston Ship Channel to create 20 blocks of additional beach along the island's seawall between 61st and 81st streets.
Summit County Voice - Community and environmental activists in Florida say a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan for expanding Port Everglades is flawed, especially considering the damage caused to reefs near Miami during the expansion of that port. More than a dozen South Florida businesses and environmental organizations joined Miami Waterkeeper and the Center for Biological Diversity last week to demand that the Corps reevaluate its Port Everglades expansion plan.
Great Falls Tribune - A federal judge has blocked construction of a dam planned along the Yellowstone River near the Montana-North Dakota border over worries that it could harm an endangered fish population. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to do adequate environmental studies before deciding to move ahead with the $59 million irrigation project northeast of Glendive.