New York Times - Speaker John A. Boehner, under intense pressure from conservatives in his party, will resign one of the most powerful positions in government and give up his House seat at the end of October, throwing Congress into chaos as it tries to avert a government shutdown. Mr. Boehner made the announcement in an emotional meeting with his fellow Republicans on Friday morning. The Ohio representative struggled from almost the moment he took the speaker's gavel in 2011 to manage the challenges of divided government and to hold together his fractions and increasingly conservative Republican members. Most recently, Mr. Boehner, 65, was trying to craft a solution to keep the government open through the rest of the year, but was under pressure from a growing base of conservatives who told him that they would not vote for a bill that did not defund Planned Parenthood. Several of those members were on a path to remove Mr. Boehner as speaker, though their ability to do so was far from certain.
Washington Post - It is, for our home planet, an extremely warm year. Indeed, last week we learned from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the first eight months of 2015 were the hottest such stretch yet recorded for the globe's surface land and oceans, based on temperature records going back to 1880. It's just the latest evidence that we are, indeed, on course for a record-breaking warm year in 2015. Yet, if you look closely, there's one part of the planet that is bucking the trend. In the North Atlantic Ocean south of Greenland and Iceland, the ocean surface has seen very cold temperatures for the past eight months. What's up with that? First of all, its no error. I checked with Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, who confirmed what the map above suggests - some parts of the North Atlantic Ocean saw record cold in the past eight months.
Wall Street Journal - While the U.S. and China have made strides on climate change, including a new pledge from Beijing to cap some emissions and put a price on carbon, President Barack Obama is under pressure to narrow differences between the two countries over economic and security issues as he hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday. Mr. Obama's critics have argued he shouldn't honor Mr. Xi with the trappings of a state visit, which include a formal arrival ceremony and a black-tie dinner, given U.S. concerns about China's economic policies and allegations that Chinese hackers have stolen sensitive data from American corporations. But the White House hopes engaging Mr. Xi, rather than shunning him, will yield new agreements on cybersecurity and reassurances that china is committed to its promised economic reforms.
As the government barrels toward another shutdown, thousands of federal workers say they weren't fairly compensated for the last one
Washington Post - As the government heads closer to closing at midnight Wednesday, almost 30,000 federal workers are fighting in the courts for damages for the days they worked without pay during the last shutdown in 2013. The employees, from the Defense Department to the Bureau of Prisons have joined a lawsuit against the government that alleges it violated the Fair Labor Standards Act two years ago. They were told to work during the 16-day shutdown because their jobs were essential to security and safety - but not paid until federal agencies reopened. "These are the people who are so important, our country cannot live without them," said Heidi Burakiewicz, an attorney with the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Mehri & Skalet, which is representing the workers before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Greenwire - The White House is preparing a presidential memorandum that seeks to streamline how the government offsets damage to public lands, waters and wildlife, according to several sources. The memo aims to consolidate separate mitigation policy reform efforts that are already underway from energy production on the federal estate to the construction of government buildings. "It has the potential to create a new, more collaborative relationship between industry and the government that would serve both interests," said an Obama administration official who was not authorized to speak to the press. "Industry would be able to use federal resources in a way that would contribute to sustaining the yield of resources over time and growing them."
NOLA - Ten years ago this month, thousands of displaces New Orleanians found themselves in the throes of a major life decision. Should they return and rebuild despite great uncertainty, or cast their lost elsewhere? In the foreseeable future, residents of coastal Louisiana will grapple with comparable choice, as planners increasingly speak of radically reconfiguring the mouth of the Mississippi River in the interest of forestalling further land loss. Should coastal communities remain in eroding marshes, or end their way of life and move inland so that aggressive restoration may commence? Should we endeavor to save all communities, even if doing so puts everyone at greater risk? Or should we sacrifice some so that a greater number can have a greater good?
Portland Tribune - After a legal battle did no pan out, the Audubon Society of Portland is calling hte public's attention to the federal government's killing of hundreds of sea birds offshore from Astoria. For the past two weeks, officials from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services have been shooting double-crested cormorants from a boat in the Columbia River Estuary, near East Sand Island. Oregon Public Broadcasting obtained footage of the killings earlier this week,, noting that the shotgun blasts were audible from shore. Diana Fredlund, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says the "culling" has been going on since May 24, part of their management plan to recover federally listed salmon.
Richmond Times-Dispatch - Two environmental groups have served notice that they intend to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over a permit for Yorktown oil terminal that receives trains carrying volatile crude oil from the Bakken shale fields in North Dakota. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club on Thursday gave the corps a 60-day notice of their plans to sue over the permit for the terminal owned and operated by Plains Marketing, an arm of a Houston-based oil company. The terminal, a former oil refinery on the York River, is the final destination of oil trains carrying more than 100 tanker cars of Bakken crude oil, linked to 11 fiery train explosions in North America in the past three years.
Florida Times-Union - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the contract for a dissolved oxygen system to CDM Constructors Inc. for $99.6 million on July 31. On Aug. 13, Crowder Construction Company filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. "We have pursued the process provided by federal contract rules that allows us to ask for review by the GAO of how the contractor for the project was selected by the Corps," Crowder Vice President Jody Barbee wrote in an email. "We believe that our arguments are well founded and have faith the GAO will fairly evaluate the situation."
Daily Mail - A panel on Wednesday approved suing $134 million provided by energy giant BP PLC on 10 projects to help the Gulf of Mexico recover from a catastrophic 2010 oil spill. The approval came from a trustee council made up of Gulf coast states and federal officials overseeing ecological restoration from the offshore spill. About $126 million will go to projects to help sea turtles, fish, vegetation and birds and $8 million on enhancing recreational uses. In 2011, BP offered to spend $1 billion to spur the recovery of the Gulf, anticipating future restoration costs meted out through the courts. BP is expected to spend billions of dollars more on restoration.
Sandpaper.net - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun dredging the Intracoastal Waterway near Beach Haven with the fill being used to create a marshy area off Mordecai Island. Located off the docks of the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club, the claw-shaped island currently covers 41 acres, although at one time it covered more than 70 acres. According to the Mordecai Land Trust, which the yacht club formed in 2001 to begin preservation efforts, the island protects Beach Haven's western edge form storms and at the same time serves as a habitat for a variety of species of wildlife that includes migrating birds, shore birds and a number of threatened species. But while protecting the borough, the west end has taken a beating from storms and boat wakes.
The Advocate - More than 20 million cubic yards of sediment, enough to build 2,000 acres of land, was taken from the bottom of the Mississippi River and pumped into wetland areas along the lower channel - a record amount of dredged material moved to marshes in a single year. While that doesn't mean 2,000 acres were formed because some of the land remains under water, it does represent a significant addition to a rapidly eroding lower river marsh land, navigation representatives say. "The state master plan doesn't have any projects in this area so we're kind of left to our own devices to protect the channel," said Sean Duffy, executive director of the Big River Coalition. "We're the only game in town."
Circle of Blue - Driving the world-famous Route 1, just south of town, a traveler looking west across fields of strawberries can see the great silvery expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The land is heavey with a harvest that will soon be trucked to groceyr stores and fruit stands throughout the United States. The Pacific, in the late afternoon sun, dazzles like camera flashes. But the ocean also is stealthy. It creeps inland in less obvious, more destructive ways. Beneath the berry patch, a rising tide of salty water threatens one of the most lucrative and productive farm regions in the country. Coastal wells are slowly being poisoned with rising concentrations of chloride. Saltwater intrusion, the technical name for the problem, occurs when too much groundwater is pumped from coastal aquifers, thereby upsetting the subterranean balance between inland freshwater and the relentless ocean.
Lumina News - North Carolina's new budget includes more money to keep the state's shallow inlets navigable. The General Assembly agreed to increase the share of the state gas tax that goes toward dredging inlets less than 16 feet deep, including Carolina Beach Inlet. "In terms of dredging, we are going to be in extremely good shape in North Carolina," said Tom Reeder, assistant secretary for the environment with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. "Our inlets will be dredg." (As part of the 2015-17 state budget legislation, the General Assembly officially changed the name of the environmental agency formerly known as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.)
MV Times - Carlos Pena from CLE Engineering, designer for the North Bluff seawall project, told Oak Bluffs selectmen at their regular Tuesday meeting that MIG Corps. of Acton was the low bidder for the $5.6 million North Bluff seawall project - a steel sheet seawall and boardwalk from the harbor to the new fishing pier. Four companies bid on the project. The base bids ranged from $5.2 million from MIG to $7.3 million from Middlesex Corp. The MIG bid of $5.2 million also included hazardous material removal. However, when engineering and management fees were added, along with a 5 percent contingency fund of $262,000 the total was $5.9 million, leaving the town with a $343,000 shortfall. Town administrator Robert Whritenour told selectmen after years of back and forth, FEMA had finally made a "first offer" of Hurricane Sandy relief funding to add to the project; however, it was only $113,000. This left the total town shortfall of roughly $230,000.
Tampa Bay Newspapers - Improvements designed to slow erosion on Upham Beach on the north end of St. Pete Beach are expected to begin early next year. The project, which is estimated to cost about $11 million, will be paid for by Pinellas County and state of Florida funds. The improvements will involve the installation of four permanent rock structure known as T-groins designed to limit beach erosion. The permanent T-groins will replace five sand-filled temporary T-groins that have been in place since 2006 to stem erosion at the beach, which has been among the highest eroding beaches in the state. The rock structures are expected to perform better in slowing erosion and holding sand on the beach than the temporary structures.