Tag: Council on Environmental Quality

New guidance requires closer look at climate impacts from activities on public lands

The U.S. is the second-largest producer of coal in the world, thanks in part to massive surface mines like this one in Wyoming. Photo courtesy BLM.
New guidance for federal agencies will require closer scrutiny of climate impacts of developments on public land. Photo courtesy BLM.

CEQ updates NEPA rules with an eye toward greenhouse gases

Staff Report

Public land managers and other federal agency decision-makers will no longer be able to shy away from considering climate change as they consider new projects.

Saying that emissions from any given proposal are only a small fraction of global emissions “is not an appropriate basis for deciding whether or to what extent to consider climate change impacts under NEPA,” the White House Council on Environmental Quality wrote in new guidance that directs agencies to quantify greenhouse gas emissions and to choose alternatives for projects that minimize climate impacts. Continue reading “New guidance requires closer look at climate impacts from activities on public lands”

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Feds tout progress on Everglades restoration

Massive investments aimed at restoring flows, protecting habitat

The Everglades — river of grass. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The northern Everglades watershed, where Florida’s freshwater begins it’s long, gradual downhill slide through the marshy tip of the peninsula to the sea, is getting some more help.

The Obama administration last week committed $80 million to support farmers and ranchers who voluntarily conserve wetlands on agricultural land in the watershed.

The funding could help restore 23,000 acres of wetlands vital to water quality and wildlife habitat in the greater Everglades ecosystem, including the endangered Florida panther. Continue reading “Feds tout progress on Everglades restoration”

Cave closures sought to protect bats from disease

Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome, New York. PHOTO COURTESY AL HICKS/NY DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION.

Conservation advocates say strict regs needed to prevent the spread of deadly white nose syndrome

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Conservation advocates this week called for more action to save bats threatened by the rapid and deadly spread of white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has wiped out entire populations of the flying mammals from the Northeast all the way to Midwest.

The Center for Biological Diversity is asking the White House Council on Environmental Quality to direct federal land management agencies to control accesss to caves on public lands as a way to prevent further spread of the disease into the West.

“The loss of bats to white-nose syndrome is an unprecedented natural disaster that will have real financial consequences for many Americans,” said Mollie Matteson, conservation advocate for the Center. “Not only do some bats species face extinction, but American farmers stand to lose an estimated $22 billion in lost insect-eating services that bats provide. This crisis is deepening by the day and it’s time for the highest reaches of our government to take action,” she said.

A complete closure of caves probably won’t be popular with the caving community, which sees itself as an advocate for bat conservation, but without any known way to prevent or treat white nose syndrome, halting the spread is probably the only way to control the disease, and limiting access to caves with known bat population makes sense to conservation biologists. Continue reading “Cave closures sought to protect bats from disease”

Global warming: IPCC set to release report on managing risks of extreme weather events related to climate change

A NASA satellite image of Earth, with Hurricane Irene spinning of the southeastern coast of the U.S.

International efforts represent recognition that climate change is increasing the risk for extreme weather events

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Extreme weather events during the past year has spurred increasing discussions about a possible link between global climate change tornado outbreaks and flooding, for example.

Most climate researchers  agree that climate doesn’t directly cause any single weather event, but that global warming can increase the odds of events like last year’s catastrophic Russian heat wave, or extreme droughts in the southwestern U.S.

At the highest levels of many governments, talk is less about whether there is a link and more focused on how to manage the consequences and adapt to those increased risks.

That focus will culminate next week, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases a special report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters and to advance adaptive measures. Continue reading “Global warming: IPCC set to release report on managing risks of extreme weather events related to climate change”

Top White House official promotes outdoor agenda at national resource planners conference in Breckenridge

Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, addressed resource and recreation planners from around the country

With the help of local communities, the Obama administration wants to get Americans outside and develop a plan to preserve environmental and cultural resources.

BRECKENRIDGE — The Obama administration is committed to implementing its new Great Outdoors strategy and is working toward that goal with the formation of an interagency council to make sure that various federal agencies are collaborating efficiently on the AGO initiatives.

That was the message heard by scores of leading recreation and resource planners in Breckenridge last week, as Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality address the annual conference of the National Association of Resource Recreation Planners at Beaver Run resort.

Sutley said the real solutions will come from local communities across the country and the federal government will try and support those efforts, in part by calling for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation fund for only the third time in history. Continue reading “Top White House official promotes outdoor agenda at national resource planners conference in Breckenridge”

Breckenridge hosts national recreation planning pow-wow

Conference to focus on connecting Americans with the outdoors

Some of Summit County's recreational jewels will be highlighted during a national conference of recreation planners in Breckenridge.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Vail Pass, Cucumber Gulch and some other local gems will be showcased next week during a major national pow-wow on recreation resource planning in Breckenridge.

This year’s theme for the annual conference is all about connecting Americans with the outdoors, closely linked to the administration’s recent America’s Great Outdoors initiative — and what it means for those in the outdoor recreation industry who plan to fulfill the mission.

The National Association of Recreation Resource Planners conference runs May 23 to May 26 at the Beaver Run Conference Center. Click  on www.narrp.org for more information. The full conference agenda is online here.

“The AGO Initiative was initiated to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and to get Americans outside in nature,” said conference planning committee co-chair Scott Babcock. “Exploring ways to fulfill the AGO mission is paramount if we are to sustain our natural and cultural treasures, improve public health, and reinvigorate local economies through recreation and tourism.” Continue reading “Breckenridge hosts national recreation planning pow-wow”

Obama launches major outdoor, conservation push

A new presidential push could help boost grassroots conservation.

New initiative partly inspired by Great Outdoors Colorado and planned by Coloradans serving in key posts in the Obama administration

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — When Coloradans like Tom Strickland, Ken Salazar and Will Shafroth headed to Washington to serve in the Obama administration, hopes were high that some of the state’s outdoor values would resonate in the halls of the capital.

That vision started coming to fruition last week as the president issued a memorandum establishing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. Continue reading “Obama launches major outdoor, conservation push”