Wall Street Journal - The Senate on Wednesday passed a short-term spending bill keeping the government running through Dec. 11, putting Congress on track to avoid another government shutdown. The House is expected to approve the spending bill later Wednesday and send it to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign the legislation before the government's current funding expires at midnight. The Senate passed the spending bill in a 78-20 vote. Read more.
Wall Street Journal - Joaquin was upgraded to a hurricane Wednesday morning as its wind levels picked up a speed near the Bahamas, and as forecasters try to predict whether it may eventually slam into the U.S. East Coast or stay offshore. "Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts," the National Hurricane Center said in announcing Joaquin's higher gusts," the National Hurricane Center said in announcing in Joaquin's upgrade to hurricane from tropical storm. "Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours." Read more.
New York Times - Eager to move Congress into its next phase, House Speaker John A. Boehner, who said last Friday that he would resign from Congress at the end of October, will hold the election for a new speaker next week. House Republicans running to replace Mr. Boehner and others in the leadership slate have been furiously lobbying fellow Republican colleagues for their support. On Tuesday night, House Republicans met to air their grievances and to discuss a framework for a legislative strategy going forward. Read more.
Wall Street Journal - Republican leaders, seeking to avoid repeated fiscal crises, have opened discussions with President Barack Obama about a two-year budget deal, aiming to avoid a spending fight in the middle of an election year. The preliminary talks are geared at finding a way around discretionary spending caps outlined in a 2011 budget law that many lawmakers see as draconian. Struggles over the size of government have been one of the main tensions in the GOP, pitting fiscal conservatives against pragmatists who want to boost military spending and are willing to negotiate with Democrats to do so. Read more.
New York Times - In August 2011, as President Obama prepared to unveil a major new environmental regulation on smog, his political adviser issued a warning: The rule would affect power plants and factories throughout the Midwest, slowing the economy in states like Ohio that would be crucial to president's re-election. In a move that enraged environmentalists, Mr. Obama ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to delay what industry groups were calling the most expensive regulation in history. Four years later, Mr. Obama has no more re-election worries, and environmentalists have won a court-ordered deadline of Thursday for the E.P.A. to release the smog rule. Read more.
Wall Street Journal - Natural gas is so abundant and cheap in much of the U.S. that producers want to export it overseas. Except in New England, where gas is so hard to get that companies are importing it from as far away as Yemen. The U.S. shale boom that has produced a glut of gas - and helped lower many Americans' home heating bills - has largely bypassed the energy-starved New England. Few pipelines are available to ferry gas from Pennsylvania and Ohio to Connecticut and Maine, and new lines proposed in the region won't go into service until 2018, or later. Read more.
Washington Post - Guadalupe fur seals, a threatened species found off the coast of Southern California and Mexico, are experiencing an "unusual mortality event," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this week. NOAA defines an unusual mortality event as "a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal populations; and demands immediate response." Since January, approximately 80 seals have been found stranded along the shore of central California - about eight times more than is usual for the species. Read more.
CBS Miami - Florida elected officials, environmentalists and seafood workers are bracing for the release of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers draft plan for the river system that feeds struggling Apalachicola Bay. Last updated in 1989, the all-important plan - known as an operating manual - controls freshwater flows throughout the network of dams and reservoirs in the Apalichicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin, which starts in Georgia and winds south into Alabama and ends a Apalachicola Bay in Northwest Florida's Franklin County. Florida has sued Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court in a long-running dispute about the water flows. Read more.
Business in Savannah - As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' work to recover the Confederate gunboat Georgia from the bottom of the Savannah River moved into another phase this month, marine archaeologists were digging in for the long haul. With Phase 2 - large artifact recovery - wrapped up, they were preparing for tedious 12-hour days sifting through globs of muddy minutiae brought up by a grappling hook. Read more.
E&E Daily - Federal judges today denied environmentalists' challenge to a 600-mile pipeline carrying oil sands crude from Illinois to Oklahoma. Attorney from the Sierra Club and National Wildlife Federation told the court that the government should have conducted more thorough environmental assessments of Enbridge Inc.'s Flanagan South pipeline, but the three-judge appeals panel today rejected their argument. Central to environmentalists' case was their contention that the government should have analyzed the entire pipeline under the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of their actions. Read more.
Coastal News Today - Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation ("Great Lakes") (NASDAQ:GLDD), the largest provider of dredging services in the United States and a major provider of environmental and remediation services, announced the award of a contract with Corpus Christi Liquefaction, LLC ("CCL"), a subsidiary of Cheniere Energy, Inc. CCL is developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminate site located on the north shore of Corpus Christi Bay in San Patricio and Nueces Counties, Texas. Great Lakes' portion of the LNG project involves the dredging and slope protection of two. Read more.
WSAV - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says a delay of up to three months is now likely on part of the Savannah River deepening project. Just a few weeks ago, the Corps announced officially that the dredging had started in the outer harbor off Tybee's coast. The project will eventually include deepening 40 miles of the river channel from 42 to 47 feet to allow larger ships to use the channel and ultimately the port of Savannah. So the outer outer is the first phase. The second phase is constructing an oxygen regeneration system. That consists of putting up to a dozen large cone shaped containers at two points along the river. Read more.
Politico New Jersey - The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's announcement last week that it would auction 344,000 acres of ocean off the coast of New Jersey for wind power should have been met with enthusiasm by clean energy advocates and environmental groups. Instead, it served only as a reminder that offshore wind development has languished in a bureaucratic mire for the better part of Gov. Chris Christie's tenure and critics say it will likely remain there until he leaves office. Read more.
New Jersey 101.5 - Stuart Farell, director of the Coastal Research Institute at Richard Stockton University said high tides this past week are being pinned on astronomy and the moon being as close to earth as it gets, and in perfect alignment with the sun. Farell says erosion has been mild ever since 2012 and the federal government has had something to do with that. "The Army Corps of Engineers has been heavily involved and literally placed tens of millions of yards of sand on the beach following hurricane Sandy." Farell said. He said the Army Corps of Engineers essentially manages at least 80 percent of the developed New Jersey Coastline, and it has extended its work to cover several new places, which are being worked on at the present time. Read more.
Maine News - Two scientists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's International Pacific Research Center along with their colleagues from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia conducted a study, exploring sea level rise in the Pacific Ocean. Computer modeling experiments and tide-gauge analysis were done by Matthew Wildlansky, Axel Timmermann, and Wenju Cai for understanding the culprit for likely frequent extreme inter-annual sea level swings. A behavioral change of the El Niño phenomenon and its characteristic Pacific wind response has been projected by the study trio. Read more.
Phys Org - University of Delaware faculty from the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), the College of Engineering and the Alfred Lerner School of Business and Economics say that the U.S. has fallen behind in offshore wind power. The UD professors, who are all affiliated with UD's Center for Carbon Free Power Integration (CCPI), reported their findings in an invited paper that appeared this week in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more.
OPB - Oregon is unprepared for the tsunami that could follow a Cascadia Seduction Zone earthquake. The megaquake has a 1-in-3 chance of hitting in the next 50 years. An analysis by OPB earlier this year found that about a third of schools, hospitals, police and fire stations along the Oregon coast are within the potential tsunami zone. But the official maps of Oregon's tsunami inundation zone are 20 years old. They contain a single regulatory line. On one side, coastal communities can build new schools, hospitals, police stations and critical infrastructure. On the other side, they generally can't. Read more.