Federal Water Tap

In a set of draft guidelines meant to improve federal environmental reviews of new projects and policies, the White House Council on Environmental Quality recommended three circumstances in which broad “programmatic” analyses should be undertaken: 1) before setting national or regional rules 2) before adopting a plan for managing multiple resources 3) before making decisions […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

One year after a record-low release of water from Lake Powell – which helped push the larger Lake Mead, located downstream on the Colorado River, to its lowest level since the bellwether reservoir was filled eight decades ago – federal officials will open the gates a little wider. According to a provisional operating plan, dam […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

The Army Corps of Engineers will for the first time track and disclose oil pollution and oil spills from the machinery used in eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, the Associated Press reports. The agreement, covering dams in Oregon and Washington, is part of a legal settlement with Columbia Riverkeeper, an environmental group, […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

New legislation proposes that the federal government spend $US 700 million over five years to subsidize the purchase of appliances, fixtures, and related products that save water and energy. Introduced by four western U.S. congressional representatives, the Water in the 21st Century Act includes several other provisions. The bill establishes a grant program for helping […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

In light of the steady rise in domestic oil and gas production, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should review new risks to underground sources of drinking water, according to the government’s internal watchdog. The Government Accountability Office asserts that the EPA needs to improve two areas of oversight for the nation’s 172,000 class two underground […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

Before a meeting of his climate change task force, comprised of state, local, and tribal leaders, President Obama announced a slew of investments, tools, and partnerships to help prepare the nation for a warming world. The programs include: Two stages of funding for the $US 1 billion natural disaster resilience competition, a pot of money […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

The House Appropriations Committee passed a $US 34 billion bill on Thursday to fund the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, which handles western U.S. water matters, and the Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of many levees, dams, and wetlands. The White House threatened to veto the bill, making several […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

President Obama signed legislation that authorizes $US 82 million over four years for researching and responding to harmful algae blooms. A federal task force, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, must prepare a plan within two years for reducing algae blooms in the Great Lakes. An existing task force must file a progress […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

Computer models forecast a low-oxygen “dead zone” of average size for the Gulf of Mexico this summer and a slightly above-average fish-suffocation zone for the Chesapeake Bay, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The standard unit for comparing the size of dead zones is the “New England state.” The Gulf of Mexico will […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

A new Department of Energy report on the connections between water and energy marks a path for the department’s research into the twinned challenges. Between phrases such as “opportunity space” and “technology continuum” the authors argue that the department’s role is three-fold: researching the technologies that will improve efficiencies and allow polluted waters to be […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

Inadequate waste disposal practices from more than a century of oil and gas development — practices that are no longer permitted — are the chief source of salty brines in the waters of the Williston Basin, according to U.S. Geological Survey research. The Williston Basin, one of the nation’s critical bird habitats and one of […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

The Federal Reserve’s assessment of current economic conditions, known as the beige book, notes that drought is affecting food prices and crop production. With cattle stocks the lowest in decades, beef prices are expected to rise, as are food prices more broadly because of California’s drought, the Fed claims. In Texas, wheat is in poor […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

Seeking to make good on a promise to address the causes of global warming, the Obama administration took a first-ever step to limiting carbon emissions from power plants that are already operating. But it is a step, not a leap. The proposed rule seeks to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2030 against a 2005 […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

Both sides of Congress passed a $US 12 billion water infrastructure package last week. The 532-page Water Resources Reform and Development Act is a doozy. It hands out money, defines policies, and orders new studies. The highlights: Project planning assessments, called feasibility studies, will be capped at three years and $US 3 million dollars, codifying […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

How much benzene should be allowed in a liter of river water? Or how about vinyl chloride? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a new answer for 94 federally regulated chemicals, though states and tribes will be the ultimate arbiters. The EPA is updating human health benchmarks for chemical concentrations in rivers, lakes, and streams […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

Filling a gap in its mission, the U.S. Forest Service is adding a chapter on groundwater to its water resources management manual. The primary goal for the groundwater policy is to preserve rivers and streams while ensuring groundwater is available in the future. To achieve this, the USFS proposes an unusual water policy caveat: it […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture brought a bounty of farm data to the public market on Friday when it released the 2012 agriculture census. Published every five years, the census is a trove of information down to the county level on production practices, farm economics, and rural demographics. Being a water news site, Circle of […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

Air, land, and water. Greek elements each, the basic substances of life will have a turn in the American spotlight in the coming weeks and months. First in line is land. Data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture will be released online May 2. Published every five years, the census is the most comprehensive picture […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

The slow dance between the Obama administration and a controversial oil pipeline that has become a symbol of an era will take another spin around the floor. The White House delayed a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, through which heavy crude from the Alberta tar sands will flow. Senior State Department officials blamed […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit
 
 
 

The American shale gas boom is more than drilling pads and fracking fluids. New pipelines are sprouting as well. Williams Partners offers the latest entry in the race to funnel new supplies to market. The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based pipeline giant notified federal regulators earlier this month that it wants to begin field surveys for the $US […]

Help share our stories: submit to reddit