Wall Street Journal - Hurricane Joaquin hammered islands in the central Bahamas with torrential rains that flooded homes as forecasters warned the category 4 storm's path could take it near the U.S. East Coast. There were no immediate reports of casualties, said Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency, according to the Associated Press. Bahamanian Prime Minister Perry Christie said he was amending laws to mandate evacuations because some people were refusing to move into shelters, the AP said. Read more.
New York Times - In the coastal communities that Hurricane Sandy devastated three years ago this month, the prospect of another hurricane roaring up the Eastern Seaboard dredged up mounds of anxiety on Thursday. Hurricane Joaquin had not yet passed the Bahamas and its path was far from certain, but National Hurricane Center upgraded it to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm. Governors had already declared states of emergency in New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia and residents of counties near the coast to prepare for flooding, strong winds and power failures. "I'm not here to tell people that Sandy 2 is coming," New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, said in a news conference. But, he added that a nor'easter expected to hit the southern part of the state by the weekend could be followed early next week by Hurricane Joaquin. Read more.
New York Times - The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a major new regulation on smog-causing emissions that spew from smokestacks and tailpipes, significantly tightening the current Bush-era standards but falling short of more stringent regulations that public health advocates and environmentalists had urged. The Environmental Protection Agency set the new national standard for ozone, a smog-causing gas that often forms on hot, sunny days when chemical emissions from power plants, factories and vehicles mix in the air, at 70 parts per billion, tightening the standard of 75 parts per billion set in 2008. Smog has been linked to asthma, heart and lung disease, and premature death. Read more.
Washington Post - When it comes to slowing climate change, it takes more than a village. On Wednesday and Thursday, 51 countries filed their climate action plans with the United Nations, a key step toward reaching an international accord at the Paris climate summit in December. Altogether, more than 130 nations accounting for about 85 percent of global greenhouse gas emission have filed plans. But are they enough to keep global warming from exceeding the international target of 2 degrees Celsius by 2050? Not yet. Read more.
Washington Post - First the good news: In a new report on the near term future of the global renewable energy industry, the International Energy Agency is projecting impressive growth. Renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydropower should constitute nearly two-thirds of new net power capacity brought online across the globe between now and 2020. That's equivalent to 700 gigawatts of new capacity or "more than twice Japan's current installed power capacity," according to the IEA. That would mean the overall, renewables would grow from providing 22 percent of the world's total electricity generation in 2013, to providing an impressive 26 percent of it by 2020. Read more.
Sea Level Rise and the March of King Tides: Why We Need to Get Familiar with This Week's Tidal Flooding
Union of Concerned Scientists - This week, many residents of the U.S. East Coast communities are witnessing flood waters rise with each high tide. These people are getting a taste of the future. Almost like being picked to try out some futuristic device for a few days - only this is messy, costly, and, if you realize it's a taste of things to come, unnerving. Unwilling pioneers, in a way, these people are living on the front line of sea level rise and experiencing the periodic soaking that others don't yet know, but will. It started in some places on Saturday - salt water creeping onto roads and sidewalks, into basements and businesses. It continued under the supermoon eclipse. Read more.
Radio Canada International - Once again this year, severe drought hit west coast North America and the south-western US. This put enormous pressure on existing water supplies for agriculture and cities across a large section of the continent. Also again this year, the situation reached crisis levels for south-western U.S. and California, the biggest suppliers of fruit, nuts and vegetables to all of North American. Many Americans once again looked to Canada and said there is plenty of fresh water being "wasted" by allowing it to flow freely into James Bay, the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. They say that the water could be sent to them...some insisting not could, but should. Read more.
Army Times - House Republicans passed a compromise $612 billion defense authorization bill on Thursday, the first day of the new fiscal year, which includes a pay raise for troops and an overhaul of the military retirement system, over objections from the White House that the measure uses budget gimmicks to avoid fully funding military needs. President Obama has promised to veto the measure if it approved by the Senate which could happen as early as next week. Pentagon leaders have backed that move, arguing that Republican lawmakers' plans to use temporary war funds to get around government-wide spending caps that Congress itself imposed would undermine national security. Read more.
Virginia-Pilot - With Hurricane Joaquin's path still uncertain, Kerry Kennedy hunched over against the rain and wind at the Oceanfront on Thursday taking "before" photographs of the beach. If all goes well, Joaquin will stay away and his images won't matter much. But should the strom veer into Hampton Roads, the images will be evidence the Arm Corps of Engineers uses to make a case for post-storm federal assistance. "If there's any significant measure of damage to the beach or the seawall, we need to document it," said Kennedy, a project manger for the corps. Read more.
The Detroit News - A public health emergency has been declared in cash-strapped Flint after tests showed the Michigan city's water supply is causing elevated levels of lead in children and following months of complaints about the smell and taste. Gov. Rick Snyder this week questioned the switch to the Flint River from the Detroit water system in 2014, a decision that was made as a cost-saving move while a new regional pipeline is built to Lake Huron. And on Thursday, the Genesee County health department declared a public health emergency, recommending that people do not drink the water unless it has been filtered and tested to rule out elevated levels of lead. More steps will be announced Friday. The problem: Although the river water is treated, it is corrosive and releasing lead from old plumbing in thousands of homes. Read more.
The Sandpaper - Funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coastal Resilience Networks Program has helped local conservation partners come together to provide New Jersey's coastal communities with natural options to reduce shoreline erosion and flooding. The Nature Conservancy, Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, American Littoral Society, Barnegat Bay Partnership and Partnership for the Delaware Estuary recently formed the N.J. Resilient Coastlines Initiative to identify and prioritize coastal restoration and enhancement projects. "The group's aim is to improve the health of our state's coastal habitats as a way to reduce storm-related flooding, provide increased recreational opportunities and improve water quality," The Nature Conservancy explained. Read more.
South New Jersey Today - Changes are coming to Atlantic City's boardwalk by the section at the end of Pacific Avenue, known as Gardener's Basin. The city plans to make it more efficient in fighting storm damage. "What we're doing right now is building a sea wall in some section and a rock jetty in another," said Donal A. Guardian, Atlantic City Mayor. "We're replacing the entire boardwalk from Revel up to the Inlet and then a mile and a quarter of Boardwalk that's not there now, is being built. But what's exciting is everything we're trying to do in Atlantic City has to do with resiliency." The construction is still in the first stages, but the ultimate plan is to help prevent future storm damage, keep the city streets dry, and extend the boardwalk throughout the island, through Avalon, Margate, and Longport. Read more.
Courier - The Army Corps of Engineers is submitting proposals for federal funding of two dredging maintenance projects on the Saco River and one at Wood Island by Biddeford Pool. The corps proposes to have all projects funded at the same time in order to save more than $400,000 associated with the mobilization and demobilization of dredging equipment. As of the Courier's deadline, the city council was scheduled to receive a presentation on the Wood Island dredge projection on Tuesday, Sept. 29. According to documents prepared by Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Craig Martin, the last maintenance of the entrance channel at Biddeford Pool was conducted in 1992. Read more.
Coastal News Today - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, awarded a contract in the amount of $4,848,500 to Weeks Marine Inc. for maintenance dredging of the Houston Ship Channel from Exxon to Carpenters Bayou in Harris County, Texas. The contractor will be required to remove approximately 600,000 cubic yards of maintenance material using a pipeline dredge. Read more.
EPA News Release - The Port of Tacoma began dredging contaminated sediments in Blair Waterway on September 15 in preparation to expand Pier 4. The Port detected a marine biocide, called tributyltin, while completing a dredging inspection for the site evaluation to expand Pier 4 for larger ships. The Port of Tacoma has agreed to complete the cleanup of the sediments, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will oversee. The Port of Tacoma will dredge an additional 500,000 cubic yards of clean sediment to make the base of the pier deeper as part of the pier expansion. Read more.