Today in WaterWise News:
Oil prices down again ♦ Natural gas prices up ♦ U.S. Airstrikes on ISIS oil assets ♦ One factor that could hinder carbon cut benefits ♦ Wood-based fuels and refugees ♦ Earth's underground water quantified ♦ Inadequate transportation bill in Congress ♦ Savannah River project ♦ Soo lock ♦ Diversion lawsuit ♦ 10-year coastal plan in Palm Beach ♦ $3.7 million award for Maine project ♦ Beach nourishment begins in North Carolina ♦ Montauk Beach project going forward
Wall Street Journal - Oil prices fell in volatile trade Tuesday, as markets weighed the continuing oversupply of crude against the increased geopolitical uncertainty following the Paris terror attacks. Analysts said that the French airstrikes against Islamic State’s stronghold in Syria following Friday’s attacks are unlikely to disrupt production. “The fact that France has stepped up its airstrikes obviously increases the geopolitical risks, yet this is unlikely to disrupt oil production in neighboring countries,” analysts at Commerzbank said in a note to clients.” Read more.
Wall Street Journal - Natural gas prices rose Monday as forecasts for colder temperatures than previously expected boosted demand expectations. Natural gas futures for December delivery settled up 2.4 cents, or 1%, to $2.385 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Mild weather in recent weeks has reduced demand for the heating fuel, pushing stockpiles of natural gas in the U.S. to a record high. At a time of year when strong demand typically prompts customers to withdraw natural gas from storage, inventories are still growing, sparking concerns that storage facilities could run out of room to store the fuel. Read more.
Wall Street Journal - The U.S. has stepped up its attacks on Islamic State’s industrial base, striking more than 100 tanker trucks used to transport oil that helps the militant group earn tens of millions of dollars each month, an American military spokesman said Monday. The strikes, part of a broader campaign that began weeks ago, come as the French government conducts airstrikes against Islamic State in retaliation for the series of attacks in the Paris area Friday that killed more than 120 people. The U.S. is providing intelligence and targeting information to the French military to assist in their new campaign. Read more.
Washington Post - We tend to have a greatly oversimplified view of the planet’s carbon problem — and therefore, of what we have to do to solve it. The general notion is that it’s all about fossil fuels, and so if we stop driving so much and using so much coal, we solve climate change. But there are other major players involved in putting carbon in the atmosphere and removing it, and a recent piece of research shows how one of them — forests — could make it harder for the United States to reach its express goal of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025. That’s the same pledge the country’s negotiators will take to Paris later this month for a much anticipated global climate meeting. Read more.
Washington Post - The "huge dependency" of refugees on wood- and charcoal-based fuels has horrific consequences for their health, a report has warned. The authors calculated cooking with wood caused 20,000 premature deaths among displaced people each year. The use of alternatives, such as improved cookstoves and solar lamps, could save money and lives, they added. Read more.
BBC - The total amount of groundwater on the planet, held in rock and soil below our feet, is estimated to be 23 million cubic km. If this volume is hard to visualise, imagine the Earth's entire land surface covered in a layer some 180m deep. The new calculation comes from a Canadian-led team and is published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Read more.
New York Times - Congress could approve a six-year transportation bill by the end of this week, when authorization for federal transportation programs expires. Unfortunately, the legislation will not do nearly enough to improve aging bridges, fix highways or expand the capacity of mass transit and rail systems. Worse, it could make traveling on American roads and railways less safe. Members of the House and Senate are now meeting in a conference committee to iron out differences between the bills passed by each chamber to authorize money for transportation projects and change federal policy on issues like car, motorcycle, bus, rail and truck safety. Read more.
The Post and Courier - Public maritime officials from South Carolina and Georgia signed a new agreement Monday to guide the development of a proposed $4.5 billion port along the Savannah River. The updated terms govern the permitting and planning process for the Jasper Ocean Terminal over the next decade, including financing, design work and any new infrastructure that will be required, such as rail access, roadwork and modifications to the shipping channel. The new 1,500-acre container port is being proposed for Jasper County on the South Carolina side of the river, downstream from Savannah. It will be owned and operated by the S.C. State Ports Authority and its counterpart in Georgia. Read more.
Detroit Free Press - Michgan's U.S. senators said Monday night that the Army Corps of Engineers and the Office of Management and Budget has agreed to move $1.35 million into a cost-benefit study which could potentially lead to a new super-size shipping lock being built in Sault Ste. Marie someday. For more than a year, members of Michigan’s congressional delegation have been urging the Corps to undertake a new study of the economic rationale for building a second lock the size of the existing Poe Lock at the key chokepoint between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes on the Upper Peninsula. Read more.
Inforum - The lawsuit over the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion is in the hands of a federal judge after a hearing Monday in Minneapolis. Fargo City Attorney Erik Johnson, who attended the hearing, said U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim told the parties he'd make a decision as soon as he could but gave no sense of how long it would take. Read more.
Palm Beach Daily News - The Town Council made it clear last week that it wants staff to stick to the 10-year coastal protection plan approved in 2013 and not consider projects beyond 2023. Members reviewed the scope of the long-term program on Tuesday amid concerns about escalating industry costs that have already increased an $84 million budget to $92 million and are projected to move it to $150 million if extended to 2025. Read more.
Portland Press Herald - An experimental offshore wind turbine being developed by a University of Maine-led consortium has won a $3.7 million federal award, Maine’s two U.S. senators will announce Monday, reviving ambitions that the state could be the home of a floating, deep-water wind farm and a new clean-energy industry. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King learned last week that the Department of Energy is committing the additional money to the Maine Aqua Ventus project. Read more.
WECT - The next beach nourishment project will start Monday for two beaches in New Hanover County. Kure Beach will kick off the project with coastal storm damage reduction. Mayor Dean Lambeth said the Army Corp of Engineers will bring in their crews and put up signage that day, but the dredging won't start until roughly two weeks later. Read more.
27 East - U. S. Army Corps of Engineers construction work along a 3,200-foot stretch of Montauk shoreline will continue despite several lively protests on the beach over the past two weeks calling for it to stop, and a packed Montauk Playhouse at the town's last work session with residents denouncing the construction work. On Monday, East Hampton Town released a statement saying that the project would go forward, but would be monitored, adding that the board has listened to those opposed to the project and has taken their concerns into consideration. Read more.