Posted on July 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The federal government is being sued by conservation groups and industry over the new Waters of the U.S. rule.
Conservation groups say new rule has too many pollution loopholes
FRISCO — There will be yet more legal wrangling over a new federal clean water rule, as conservation groups said last week they will sue to plug some loopholes that could open the door for more pollution in wetlands and streams.
At issue is the so-called Waters of the U.S. rule finalized by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in May. That means the feds will be getting sued twice over the rule. Industry groups announced their challenge in mid-July, claiming the new regulations “dramatically expand federal regulatory authority. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality, wetlands | Tagged: Clean Water Act, Environment, EPA, waters of the U.S., wetlands | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Polluters are asking a federal court to roll back protection for important wetlands. @bberwyn photo.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce leads effort to overturn Waters of the U.S. rule
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — A new federal wetlands rule that helps protect water quality and important wildlife habitat will face a federal court challenge from groups representing some of the country’s biggest polluters.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Portland Cement Association last week filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, seeking to overturn the so-called Waters of the U.S. rule. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality, wetlands | Tagged: Environment, pollution, water quality, waters of the U.S., wetlands | 3 Comments »
Posted on July 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The majority of Americans support protection for endangered species, and for clean air and clean water. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Nearly 7 in 10 voters favor strong environmental laws, yet Congress kowtows to special interests
FRISCO — If Americans voted purely on environmental issues, the country would have a very “green” Congress, according to a new poll showing that most people support the Endangered Species Act, and are more likely to vote for candidates who want to uphold environmental safeguards. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, water quality | Tagged: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, endangered species, Environment, environmental polling, voters | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 19, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A boreal toad captured as part of a research project in Breckenridge, Colorado. @bberwyn photo.
Warming and tainted waters raise threats to wood frog tadpoles
FRISCO — With more than a third of the world’s amphibian species threatened by extinction, scientists have been try to figure out what’s driving the decline. For some species, the chytrid fungus has been pinpointed as the biggest threat, but a study by scientists from California and Alaska shows that climate change and pollution may also be big factors.
Lab tests showed that wood frog tadpoles were attacked by dragonfly larvae 30 minutes sooner and three times more often in warmer water with a slight increase in copper pollution, than in cooler, copper-free treatments. The attacks either killed the tadpoles directly, left them with injuries that could become abnormalities in later life, or increased levels of stress measured by the behavior of other tadpoles in the tanks. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, global amphibian decline, global warming, water, water quality | Tagged: amphibian decline, copper pollution, endangered species, Environment, global warming, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Estuaries are important nurseries for marine species, and they are also susceptible to pollution from land-based sources.
‘We are finding hypoxic areas wherever we look’
FRISCO — Nutrient pollution from farming has seeped into nearly every corner of a California estuary, affecting the abundance of fish in the important marine nursery, according to new research by scientists with the University of California at Santa Cruz and The Nature Conservancy.
Lead author Brent Hughes began studying water quality in Elkhorn Slough as a UCSC graduate student. His earlier research showed that virtually every portion of the estuary is adversely affected by high nutrient levels. The pollution stimulates the growth of algae, leading to low oxygen levels when the algae die and decompose.
The new study, based on data collected over the past 40 years, shows how low levels of dissolved oxygen (a condition known as “hypoxia”) affects fish populations in the estuary and beyond. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: Elkhorn Slough, Environment, fisheries, Monterey Bay, nutrient pollution, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A fracking rig in western Colorado.
Environmental agency found no evidence of widespread impacts
FRISCO — In a draft fracking study that was subject to a political tug-of-war even before it was released, the EPA found no evidence of “widespread, systemic” impacts to drinking water, but identified numerous weaknesses in the fracking process that could lead to contamination. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, water, water quality | Tagged: drinking water, Environment, EPA, fracking, hydraulic fracturing, water pollution, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A new EPA rule aims to define which streams and rivers are protected under the Clean Water Act.
Big loopholes for industry, farms will continue to threaten water quality
FRISCO — After years of wrangling, the EPA has finalized a new rule intended to define which streams are covered under the Clean Water Act. The debate goes back more than a decade to a pair of court rulings that called into question whether smaller tributaries and seasonal streams are subject to federal regulations.
Yesterday’s announcement probably won’t end the fighting — Republicans in Congress have launched a bitter attack on the rule at the behest of big polluters like industrial farms and factories, and some national conservation groups like the Waterkeeper Alliance say the new rule is too weak, and rolls back protection for some streams that were previously covered. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, EPA Clean Water Rule, water quality, wetlands | 1 Comment »