Today in WaterWise News:
Warming oceans threaten marine life in the Antarctic – Oil and Gas companies pledge support to UN Climate goals – Sea World fights the ban on breeding Killer Whales – Obama Administration cancels two Arctic drilling leases – Boehner’s term as Speaker of the House may be extended – Federal Budget talks face problems – Sea Turtles see increase in number of females – TPP lies in the hands of Senator Orrin Hatch – Sea Walls in New Jersey and California face criticism – renourishment on Hilton Head Island and in Seattle – Iowa seeks further regulation of oil pipeline – and NOAA criticizes political pace on Climate Change.
New York Times - Every day for a week, So Kawaguchi peered intently into the jars of cold water holding harvested krill eggs. None were hatching. In his laboratory in Hobart, Tasmania, on the edge of the Southern Ocean, he could see that the carbon dioxide he had pumped into the icy seawater had killed the eggs. “We thought the krill might be more robust,” said Dr. Kawaguchi, a biologist who works for the Australian government’s Antarctic Division. “We were not expecting such a clear result.” Those key moments in his laboratory more than seven years ago were pivotal in the career of Dr. Kawaguchi, who has been studying krill for 25 years. His recent research has led to dire predictions about how global carbon emissions will significantly reduce the hatch rates of Antarctic krill over the next 100 years. Read more.
New York Times - Ten of the world’s big oil companies, mainly from Europe, jointly acknowledged on Friday that their industry must help address global climate change and said that they agreed with the United Nations’ goals of limiting global warming. The public declaration by a group called the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative was an effort to convince an increasingly skeptical world that energy companies, whose fossil fuels are a big source of greenhouse gases, are serious about delivering cleaner energy and combating climate change. But the impact of that statement might be limited. Read more.
New York Times - SeaWorld plans to fight a decision by the California Coastal Commission that bans the breeding of killer whales in captivity, a condition that the agency attached to its approval of a multimillion-dollar expansion of the whale habitat in San Diego. The company said that the commission overreached its mandate when it added the restrictions during a hearing last week. The discussion, the company said, should have focused on land use, not animal husbandry. The statement released on Thursday by SeaWorld Entertainment was referring to a decision that went to the heart of one of the San Diego marine theme park’s main attractions: the 11 killer whales, or orcas, that are on display and perform there. Read more.
Wall Street Journal - A proposal that could make this city a gateway for Utah coal to be shipped overseas has become a political flash point and put pressure on Gov. Jerry Brown, a former mayor known for his warnings on climate change, to come out against the project. The proposed deal would grant four coal-producing counties in Utah rail access to a major commodities shipping terminal under development on city land, adjacent to the Port of Oakland, in exchange for a $53 million investment. City officials hope the redevelopment plan, on an old Army base, would bring thousands of jobs to a city that still has pockets of poverty and violence even as the region’s tech sector booms and housing costs rise. California ports in Stockton, Richmond and Long Beach export coal, but because of climate change and pollution concerns, such terminals have become highly contested on the West Coast. Environmentalists, who have defeated similar proposals in Oregon and Washington, have filed suit against the city, the project and developers. They are now calling on Mr. Brown, a Democrat, to speak out forcefully against coal being shipped through his former city. Read more.
Wall Street Journal - Oil prices slid Monday on concerns about Chinese economic growth and potential new Iranian supplies. China reported third-quarter growth of 6.9%, a six-year low, adding to concerns about a slowdown in the world’s second-biggest oil consumer. Other economic data released on Monday showed disappointing results in investment and industrial production. The Chinese data suggests that the main global oil demand growth engine of the world is not going to be the solution to the oversupplied oil market,” said Dominick Chirichella of the Energy Management Institute in a note. “The solution is going to have to come from a significant cut in production.” In addition, Iran’s oil minister said Monday that he expects the country to boost production by 500,000 barrels a day in the next two months, and that he doesn’t think that other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will cut their output this year. Read more.
Washington Post - Citing Shell’s decision to indefinitely cancel plans to explore for oil in the Chukchi Sea after drilling an initial, unsuccessful test well, the Interior Department late Friday announced it was canceling two Arctic ocean oil lease sales scheduled for 2016 and 2017. The agency also cited a lack industry nominations of specific areas of exploration interest as a reason for not going forward. The sales canceled involved one lease in the Chukchi Sea and another in the Beaufort Sea, to the northwest and north of Alaska, respectively. “In light of Shell’s announcement, the amount of acreage already under lease and current market conditions, it does not make sense to prepare for lease sales in the Arctic in the next year and a half,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in a statement. The move represented a second major setback to Arctic oil drilling plans that as recently as a month ago had seemed to be moving forward smoothly. Read more.
Washington Post - Climate change is affecting wildlife in a lot of serious, and occasionally weird, ways. It’s destroying the icy habitats of polar bears and walruses. It’s driving fish species out of their normal habitats and taking away the food supplies of seals, sea lions and whales. It’s even causing bumblebees’ tongues to shrink. Now, scientists have revealed another unexpected climate effect: It may be disrupting the sex ratio among baby sea turtles. In a new paper published last week in the journal Endangered Species Research, researchers explored how changes in rainfall and temperature could affect the sex of baby loggerhead sea turtles, and found that, in southeast Florida at least, climatic changes seem to be producing more female babies. Read more.
Politico - Everyone wants to know whether Paul Ryan is going to run for speaker of the House. No one wants to know more than Speaker John Boehner. Boehner intends this week to set a date for the election to succeed him. But he doesn't know whether Ryan will run, and, if not, the Ohio Republican could be in a serious jam. Many — including Boehner and his leadership team — believe the 45-year-old Ways and Means Committee chairman is the only viable candidate to be the next speaker. Yet if Ryan doesn't run, GOP lawmakers and senior aides doubt the election will be wrapped up by Oct. 30, when Boehner planned to leave Congress. Boehner, who has pledged to remain in place until a new speaker is chosen, could be forced to stay put and deal with thorny budget issues and raising the debt ceiling as a lame-duck speaker. Read more.
Politico - Congress’ crucial effort to strike a year-end fiscal deal is faltering before it’s really started. Republicans are demanding changes to entitlement programs, a request that’s already been rejected by Democrats. Democrats want boosts in domestic spending without painful cuts, a nonstarter for the GOP. Meanwhile, there’s no House speaker scheduled to serve past October. And private staff-level talks are making little headway, according to sources close to the negotiations. To top it all off, the Big Four congressional negotiators still haven’t been in the same room. “It’s such a hard equation to figure right now,” said one Democratic aide close to the negotiations. A meeting at the White House “has gotta happen soon.” Read more.
Politico - No one fought harder to give President Barack Obama trade promotion authority to complete a landmark 12-nation deal than Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch. Now, no lawmaker may be more disappointed with the result — or better positioned to torpedo the deal if he chooses to oppose it. Days after the Obama administration announced a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement after nearly six years of negotiations, Hatch offered a stinging review and warned the administration may have ignored congressional marching orders in a number of areas, including securing strong intellectual property protections for a new, cutting-edge class of drugs, called biologics. "The negotiating objectives we included in our TPA law aren’t just pro forma," Hatch said on the Senate floor. "They aren’t suggestions or mere statements of members’ preferences. They represent the view of the bipartisan majority in Congress...” Read more.
Seattle Times - The issue of breaching four giant dams on the Snake River to help endangered salmon runs has percolated in the Northwest for decades, but the idea has gained new momentum. After renewed political pressure to remove the dams, people who oppose the structures gathered Oct. 3 on the Snake River in up to 200 boats. They unfurled a giant banner that said, “Free The Snake.” “The groundswell that is occurring right now to remove the four dams is like nothing I’ve seen since 1998,” said Sam Mace, director of an anti-dam group called Save Our Wild Salmon. The dams create reservoirs that make it possible for Lewiston, Idaho, 450 miles from the Pacific Ocean, to operate as the farthest inland seaport on the West Coast. Farmers, shipping companies and other dam supporters defend them as key players in the region’s economy. Read more.
Argus Leader - A group that opposes a proposed oil pipeline across Iowa is asking a federal agency’s regional office to be more stringent in issuing permits to a private company seeking access to waterways in the path of the project, and members say the request highlights their concern over varied oversight in the approval process. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members say they want the Army Corps of Engineers’ district office in Rock Island, Illinois, to change how it is reviewing permit applications submitted by Dakota Access LLC, a unit of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners. The company plans to build a pipeline that also runs through parts of North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois. The Army Corps of Engineers helps maintain the country’s infrastructure, including waterways, and its district offices around the country issue permits for waterway access. In the Rock Island office, that includes the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, which border Iowa and are along the part of the pipeline. Other regional offices are in charge of permits along different parts of the 1,134-mile pipeline. Read more.
Island Packet - Hilton Head Island actually had a double dose of luck when catastrophic storms pummeled the state earlier this month. Not only did the heaviest rain, storm surges and flooding largely miss the island, but the damage to its beaches is sure to be short-lived, with a $20 million renourishment project already scheduled to begin early next year. That has town leaders breathing a sigh of relief, even though the beaches lost about 160,000 cubic yards of sand -- as much as they used to lose in an entire year, according to town engineers' analysis. Read more.
True Jersey - Stevens Institute of Technology has won the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon with a futuristic, hurricane-resistant and energy-efficient coastal home that was inspired by Hurricane Sandy and Hoboken's long history of flooding. "We were very hopeful that we were going to get first," said graduate engineering student A.J. Elliott, 24, soon after the official win was announced Saturday afternoon. "We think this really sparks the conversation as an alternative to raising homes up on stilts. We're certainly going to be doing more research at Stevens, continued research on coastal resilience, and we hope that more people continue (to do research)." Read more.
True Jersey - The latest news is in regarding that steel wall the Christie administration erected along a formerly beautiful stretch of beach in Ocean County. It's not good. It seems that in the interests of increasing public access to the beaches the state instead has fenced off more than three miles of beach. Any fisherman, surfer or stroller who tries to reach the sand along much of the stretch can be hit with a trespassing summons and a $200 fine. It's almost as if the state government were trying to sabotage the very idea of "Jerseyfication." Read more.
Ob Rag - It has been an active month on the coastline of Ocean Beach. Two sea walls are under construction– one at the end of Bermuda Avenue and a second sea wall at the end of Pescadero Avenue. The Bermuda project is being done by Soil Engineering Construction, which also did the previous sea wall at Bermuda. The Pescadero project is being done by J.C. Baldwin Construction Company. Read more.
27 East - A federal magistrate has recommended that an injunction halting the downtown Montauk beach revetment not be issued and that a lawsuit brought by environmental groups be dismissed. With legal impediments seemingly sidelined and new surveys of the Montauk beachfront indicating that the beachfront wasn’t too eroded to begin the work, contractors working for the Army Corps of Engineers officially began the construction phase of the project on Friday. “The beach has been surveyed and the project is moving forward,” Supervisory Larry Cantwell said on Friday. “Officially, they started today, but as to when actual excavation will begin, we don’t know yet.” Read more.
My Palm Beach Post - The Port of Palm Beach is packed into 162 acres, but with the completion of a $27.1 million Slip 3 restoration project, it has expanded its capacity within that footprint. The historic infrastructure improvement project included expanding the slip, one of three of the semi-enclosed areas where ships are berthed at the port, on the north side to increase the basin’s width. The slip has two roll-on roll-off ramps, used to load containers onto ships, which increased the number of “Ro/Ro” ramps at the port to six. Read more.
Climate Wire - When the U.S. Global Change Research Program released its first assessment in the summer of 2000, Chris Horner described the early report on warming as an electoral favor for Vice President Al Gore, then a candidate for president. The draft assessment, which pointed to a 5- to 10-degree bump in temperatures by 2100, warned an increasingly partisan nation that more floods and drought were possible. It also predicted some rising farm yields. For Horner, a lawyer who had exited Enron a few years earlier when the company asked him to participate in a U.S. treaty on global warming, the report was a political lever that helped Democrats at the expense of fossil fuels. Read more.
EE News - About 1.6 percent of the world's ocean is "strongly protected," but much more is urgently needed, according to a new analysis from Jane Lubchenco, the former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The analysis -- titled "Making Waves: The Science and Politics of Ocean Protection" -- appears in the journal Science on the heels of the second international Our Ocean conference. Several countries announced plans to protect broad swaths of ocean at this month's conference. Lubchenco wrote the analysis with Kirsten Grorud-Colvert, a colleague at Oregon State University, where Lubchenco is a professor and marine biologist. In it, they make the case that much more ocean area should be protected in order to withstand climate change and overfishing. Read more.