New York Times - Malnourished seabirds have been appearing across the state in alarming numbers, some shrunken to little more than feather and bone. Many of the thin-billed species are being brought into the International Bird Rescue Center, which says it is taking in the birds at the highest rates in 18 years. The murres’ presence is significant to scientists because they are considered a marker species. That means their movements and numbers signal changes in the ocean’s food supply.
New York Times - Gazing out of a turboprop high above his company’s main asset — 34,000 acres in the Mojave Desert with billions of gallons of fresh water locked deep below the sagebrush-dotted land — Scott Slater paints a lush picture that has enticed a hardy band of investors for a quarter-century. Yes, Mr. Slater admits, his company, Cadiz, has never earned a dime from water. And he freely concedes it will take at least another $200 million to dig dozens of wells, filter the water and then move it 43 miles across the desert through a new pipeline before thirsty Southern Californians can drink a drop.
New York Times - Back in 1970, Los Angeles was known as the smog capital of the world — a notorious example of industrialization largely unfettered by regard for health or the environment. Heavy pollution drove up respiratory and heart problems and shortened lives. But 1970 was also the year the environmental movement held the first Earth Day and when, 45 years ago this month, Congress passed a powerful update of the Clean Air Act.
New York Times - At 86, Frank Gehry, the architect, seems to be everywhere these days, overseeing philanthropic and commercial projects from Watts to the Sunset Strip as he settles into the final years of his career in the city he has called home since 1947. He is the subject of a new exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the recipient of this year’s J. Paul Getty Medal for artistic achievement from the trust that operates the Getty Museum. Yet none of Mr. Gehry’s farewell enterprises seem more daunting — and fraught — than his involvement in rebuilding the Los Angeles River, a bleak and dispiriting 51-mile channel that winds its way through fields, suburbs, dark city corners and industrial wastelands from the San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Ocean.
New York Times - The pledges that countries are making to battle climate change would still allow the world to heat up by more than 6 degrees Fahrenheit, a new analysis shows, a level that scientists say is likely to produce catastrophes ranging from food shortages to widespread extinctions of plant and animal life. Yet, in the world of global climate politics, that counts as progress. The new figures will be released Monday in New York as a week of events related to climate change comes to an end.
Washington Post - Royal Dutch Shell announced early Monday morning it will suspend Arctic drilling indefinitely, after finding insufficient oil and gas in one of its exploratory wells. The move puts the end — for now — on the contentious debate over whether oil and gas exploration should take place in the environmentally sensitive area off Alaska’s coast. President Obama has come under intense fire for allowing drilling to proceed, and environmentalists cheered Shell’s announcement.
Washington Post - There’s a statistic that climate activists are fond of repeating: 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human-caused climate change is a real thing. But while it makes a convincing case, some doubters have argued that the case for climate change is far from settled in the scientific community at large — and, indeed, there have been few investigations into how other scientists, aside from just climate experts, feel about the issue of anthropogenic climate change. A survey published Thursday in the journal Environmental Research Letters attempts to put the case to bed. Using responses from nearly 700 biophysical scientists, the survey finds that approximately 92 percent of them believe that human-caused climate change is really happening.
BBC - Oceanographers have gathered fresh evidence that turbulence in the Arctic Ocean, driven by the wind, is stirring up heat from the depths. As dwindling ice exposes more water to the wind, this turbulence could close a vicious circle, accelerating the melt. The research team has measured heat rising from below that matches what is arriving from the autumn sun. They spoke to the BBC by satellite phone as their month-long voyage headed back into port. Although their findings are preliminary, the "ArcticMix" team has been taken aback by what they've seen in the raw data. "The strength of heat coming up from below the surface has been as strong as the heat coming down from the Sun," said the mission's chief scientist, Jennifer MacKinnon, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.
BBC - It's been a bit of a dream week for the "warmist" brigade! Clambering out of his tiny Fiat 500 car, the Pope came to Washington to tell the world that dealing with climate change can no longer be left to future generations. He emphasised "that we have a sacred obligation to protect our planet". Even though the soon to be ex-House Speaker John Boehner was moved to tears by the mere presence of Pontifex, Republicans generally were not so wowed, with Congressman Marsha Blackburn telling the BBC that she wasn't changing her view that humans posed little threat to the climate. And evolution, in her view, was pants as well.
Politico - Votes this week will merely delay the showdown. The immediate threat of a government shutdown is all but gone for now. But it will return with a vengeance soon. Once a high-stakes confrontation over Planned Parenthood, the government funding fight dissipated with Speaker John Boehner’s surprising resignation announcement Friday, which removed any doubt that he would tee up a clean spending bill on the House floor this week. But the glide path to avoiding a shutdown this week sets up an even bigger clash in December, when lawmakers have to agree on a new funding bill for the new fiscal year.
Politico - He's the overwhelming favorite to replace John Boehner but the Freedom Caucus still presents a big hurdle. Rep. Kevin McCarthy has glided to victory in each of his leadership races — one for majority whip, and two for majority leader — by simply winning the support of more than half the members of the Republican Conference. To become the 54th speaker of the House, though, he’ll need to do something he’s never done before: find 218 supporters on the floor. And with room to lose only 29 Republican members, that will require the Californian to navigate the same political currents — inside the Republican Conference, and the party as a whole — that dogged Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during his five years in power.
Pilot Online - In a quiet, tucked-away building on Front Street, a battle will be decided - one pitting society's basic requirements against the holy grail of Virginia history. Here, at the Norfolk office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, methodical men and women are checking facts and trying to filter the spin. No less than two dozen groups are angling for the Corps' ear in what may be the biggest commotion to hit the James River since the colonists showed up in 1607: The Skiffes Creek project - a 17-tower, high-voltage transmission line Dominion Virginia Power wants to string across the river near historic Jamestown Island.
AP - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is sorting through hundreds of comments and the South Carolina Court of Appeals has set arguments for later this year in the ongoing dispute over a proposed $35 million passenger cruise terminal in Charleston. The South Carolina Ports Authority envisions the terminal in a renovated waterfront warehouse and wants a federal permit to place five additional clusters of pilings beneath the structure where there are now more than 1,000.
New Orleans Public Radio - Entrepreneurs and businesspeople met at the New Orleans business incubator Propeller on Thursday night to learn about how they can help restore the coast. After the the settlement with Transocean over the BP oil spill, $800 million was set aside for restoration work along the Gulf of Mexico, and state and local governments will work with many private contractors to plan and execute the work. Government officials from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities, and Terrebonne Parish gave presentations on how the settlement money will be spent over the next 15 years.
The Advocate - After years of study, the state’s coastal protection authority plans to present recommendations next month about where Mississippi River sediment diversions should be created to build up coastal marsh land that has been slipping away. Scientists have been dissecting the options, evaluating the potential negative and positive effects of diversions on everything from water quality to fisheries. Those studies and a dizzying array of computer models are going to help form the basis of the final decision that will pick among the 10 diversions included in the state’s 2012 master plan. “This is arguably the most important decision the board will face,” Kyle Graham, executive director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, recently told board members. The selected diversions will be included in the annual plan that comes together in January and February, with money beginning to flow in July.
Buffalo News - The breakwater replacement project at the Dunkirk beach area is nearly complete after two time extensions, the Dunkirk Finance Committee learned Wednesday. Lake Erie rose as much as 2 feet above its normal levels, Curt R. Krempa, an engineer for Nussbaumer and Clark, said while delivering an update on the project. “It is progressing,” Krempa said. “It is not the contractor’s fault – his equipment was getting swamped.” Early spring and summer conditions including high water and winds were dangerous for the contractor, St. George Construction, he said. The breakwater has been replaced from the Roberts Road area to Wright Park.
Wavy News - The coastal storm pounded the Outer Banks. It was a hard, driving rain. It lasted long periods of time, and forced most inside. Some came out to Highway 12 in Kitty Hawk to look over the new dune that is on top of scores of 1000 pound bags of sand. They didn’t stay long because of the rain. They were looking out at a violent surf, a white capped ocean fury. The coastal storm is testing the $500,000 sandbag project to protect Highway 12 in Kitty Hawk. Public Works Director Willie Midgett is in charge of monitoring any collapses, “These bags block down the wave energy. They are designed, although it doesn’t look like it, to protect the road…and to stop the surf from undermining the road. Midgett says “it doesn’t look like it” because the bags are exposed. Another group of bags down the beach remain covered and can not be seen. The surf erosion has taken an estimated four feet of sand already.
Star News - From 1995 to 2011, coastal erosion claimed 24 homes on the east end of Holden Beach. Fed up with a losing battle with the Atlantic Ocean, the town is pursuing construction of a terminal groin near Lockwood Folly Inlet. A terminal groin is a structure made of rock or other material placed perpendicular to the shore adjacent to an inlet to stabilize and control erosion. On Thursday night, a dozen of the 600 residents from the 3-square-mile island voiced their opinions at a packed public hearing. Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the N.C. Coastal Management Division provided background while gathering citizens’ feedback.