WPRI - U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has introduced legislation that would strengthen coastal infrastructure and support ocean research. The National Oceans and Coastal Security Act would establish a fund to support research on coastal communities across the country. The fund would provide grants to strengthen coastal roads, bridges and other infrastructure that are critical to coastal economies. It would also support work to restore coastal habitats, manage fisheries and plan for sustainable coastal development.
New York Times - The fire moved fast, faster than even veteran firefighters had seen. As it ripped down a hill toward Middletown, two hours north of San Francisco, some residents hardly had time to dress before they fled. “We were surrounded by fire,” said Maddie Ross, 25, a student at Santa Rosa Junior College who fled with her grandparents on Saturday from their home in nearby Hidden Valley Lake. They did not even have time to put their shoes on. “It looked like hell everywhere,” Ms. Ross said. “It was terrifying, truly terrifying. I’ve never been in a situation like that. We all felt like the world was coming to an end.”
New York Times - The pipeline company responsible for an oil spill that blackened California beaches in May kept shoddy records on emergency training and how it would protect the pristine coastline in the event of a break, federal regulators say. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration proposed six violations from inspections begun in 2013 — some 20 months before the pipeline rupture near Santa Barbara — but imposed no fines.
Wall Street Journal - When the Obama administration announced last month the final version of its plan to slash carbon emissions from U.S. power plants, partisans on both sides reacted as if the economic effect would be huge. Those on the left trumpeted the move as a huge boost for renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. Those on the right lambasted it as a shortsighted, and job-killing, move to bury coal. In fact, no one knows how the administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan will change the U.S. energy mix; the plan gives states wide latitude to choose how they’ll produce their energy as long as they meet their emission-reduction goals. More fundamentally, no one knows whether the plan will do much about climate change. That’s because, in the fight to curb global warming, it is the developing world, not the U.S., that calls the shots.
Wall Street Journal - In the early days of the petroleum industry, transporting oil meant horse-drawn wagons carrying leaky wooden barrels over bumpy dirt roads—and lots of accidents. Things have changed a lot since then. But the accidents haven’t gone away. In some ways, they’ve gotten worse. The boom in domestic production in recent years has brought an ugly side effect: mishaps when transporting the fuel to refineries. These accidents have led to fatalities—one train crash in Canada in 2013 killed 47 people—as well as vast environmental damage, such as the pipeline burst in California this May that spilled as much as 143,000 gallons of crude into the Pacific Ocean and onto pristine beaches.
Washington Post - The frozen continent at the bottom of the world has been the subject of increasing concern as rising temperatures cause more ice to melt every year. This is worrying because the massive amount of ice contained in the Antarctic ice sheet has the potential to cause global sea levels to rise catastrophically — nearly 200 feet, were it to melt entirely. But what would it take to entirely melt Antarctica, a sheet of miles-thick ice that’s larger than the United States? Now, a blockbuster new study has produced an answer: If we burned all the fossil fuel on Earth, we would, in fact, eliminate the Antarctic ice sheet. The process would likely take up to 10,000 years, but its consequences would cause nearly 200 feet of sea-level rise and irrevocably change the face of the Earth.
News Press Now - Having enough water on the Missouri River hasn’t been a major problem this year. At the end of August, precipitation was 108 percent of normal, even with below-normal snowfall last winter. Currently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has 60.1 million acre feet of water stored behind the six dams it operates along the Missouri River. However, this is not a time for those who live along the river or use the river to be complacent. Corps studying changes in how Missouri River water is released and for what purposes is being discussed as the corps looks at additional “adaptive management” opportunities, which could mean future changes in its authoritative Master Manual.
Post and Courier - The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to announce Monday it is has completed a report crucial to lobbying Congress for money to deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet, giving the local port the deepest commercial waterway in the Southeast as it vies for larger ships. The document, called the “chief’s report,” recommends the federal government and the State Ports Authority share in the cost of the $493.3 million project. The harbor deepening is seen as a crucial step in keeping the Port of Charleston competitive with East Coast rivals trying to lure the same cargo to their facilities once an expansion of the Panama Canal is completed in 2016. It is part of more than $1 billion in capital projects the SPA wants to complete in the coming years.
Houston Public Media - When the Army Corps of Engineers proposed floating a radioactive barge to a shipyard in Galveston for demolition, you can imagine what some people thought. Islanders grilled the Corps at a public meeting. But the initial push-back died down and this spring, the barge arrived in the Port of Galveston. In the 1960’s, the barge, named the Sturgis, had been outfitted with a mini-nuclear power plant for use by the U.S. Army. Now, crews are almost ready to begin cutting the Sturgis apart.
Herald Guide - If the recently announced Louisiana International Deepwater Gulf Transfer Terminal Authority (LIGTT) offshore mega-port sends more business to the Port of South Louisiana, Paul Aucoin said he’s all for it. But, if not, the port’s executive director questions the project’s purpose and viability. “If they can send me a ship to my port I’m all for it, but if they bypass my port then I don’t understand why they are trying to compete with the five deep water ports in Louisiana. If they want to compete with us, they’ll find out what real competition is.”
SC Sun Times - Most of the areas in danger of flooding from hurricanes and nor’easters naturally lie along the Kent County coastline. These communities have experienced major flooding in the past and will continue to do so, said Michael S. Powell, natural hazards program manager at the state Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. “Some of the locations in Kent County which can be severely impacted by flooding are those coastal communities with low ground elevations and low-lying access roads,” Powell said.
KHNS - At a Haines Borough Planning Commission meeting Thursday, about two hours of discussion focused on the 95 percent design of the small boat harbor expansion. Some members of the public became hopeful that the commission would recommend major changes to the design. Planning commission chair Rob Goldberg began the conversation with this: “No piles have been driven on this project yet, no concrete has been poured. There is still a chance to make changes. If we come up tonight with something that saves us money, or is more efficient, or is better looking, I think the planning commission will be willing to suggest these changes to the assembly.”
Star News Online - Stabilizing and revitalizing Southport's waterfront would cost an estimated $4.3 million, according to the final report of the town's waterfront committee. Mark Arcuri of Wilmington-based engineering firm Criser, Troutman and Tanner, presented details of the plans -- which include addressing erosion on the waterfront and revamping the park area -- to the town's board of aldermen Thursday. The marine work to combat erosion, which includes bulkhead repairs, rip rap sloping revetment and marsh toe revetment, would cost roughly $2.5 million.