Federal Water Tap

Despite a request for termination from Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s internal watchdog will continue investigating how well state and federal agencies are managing threats to water from hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique that has catalyzed America’s energy renaissance while raising questions about pollution of groundwater and streams. In a letter, […]

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its intent to regulate drinking water supplies for strontium, a naturally occurring metal that affects bone development. As many as 10 million Americans are supplied by water systems, particularly those using groundwater, in which strontium levels may cause health problems, according to the agency’s analysis. Draft standards for allowable […]

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A private company has filed paperwork to prepare plans for a large hydroelectric dam in Alaska. Glacial Energy LLC, based in Wasilla, Alaska, is seeking a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a 113-meter (370-foot) high dam on the Talkeetna River, some 177 kilometers (110 miles) north of Anchorage. The permit allows […]

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations are insufficient for guarding against pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and other hazardous chemicals being put into waterways from sewage treatment plants, according to an investigation by the agency’s internal watchdog. Hazardous chemicals come under two sets of regulations. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) applies to most circumstances, and […]

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Last month, the White House office that oversees new regulations completed its review of a list of water contaminants that could be subjected to federal regulation. On August 27, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs returned the list to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which will make it public later this year, according to […]

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The potential for violence, conflict, and government upheaval arising from natural resource scarcity and a warming planet continues to catch the eye of America’s top spooks. “Competition for scarce resources, such as food, water, or energy, will likely increase tensions within and between states and could lead to more localized or regional conflicts, or exacerbate […]

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration made final new rules that will help prevent unused medications from contaminating waterways. Pharmacies are now authorized to collect unwanted narcotics, stimulants, and other “controlled substances.” Before, these pills had to be turned over to law enforcement officials. One-day drug collection events have grown in popularity. Clean water advocates are […]

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More than five years ago, a state and federal task force charged with developing a strategy for shrinking the low-oxygen dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico called on the 12 member states to produce plans by the end of 2013 for addressing the root cause: too much fertilizer flowing from farm fields into rivers; […]

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criticized a $US 25 billion water supply and ecosystem restoration plan for California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, saying that the plan would violate federal Clean Water Act standards for water quality and may not produce the desired habitat improvements. The delta is the largest estuary on the U.S. west coast and […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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