Haste and Waste
The Commission on America’s Nuclear Future released its report on how to handle the nation’s growing pile of nuclear waste. Co-chaired by Lee Hamilton, a former Congressman, and Brent Scowcroft, a former National Security Advisor, the commission made numerous recommendations that would require action from the administration or Congress.
Since halting work on the Yucca Mountain disposal facility, the need for a new strategy is “urgent”, according to the commission, because “this generation has a fundamental ethical obligation to avoid burdening future generations with the entire task of finding a safe permanent solution for managing hazardous nuclear materials they had no part in creating.”
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will also hold a hearing on Tuesday to discuss the year’s energy trends.
NASA satellite images show cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific, indicating the peak of the La Nina phenomenon. One NASA scientist said that “this La Niña could deepen the drought in the already parched Southwest.”
Bureau of Reclamation forecasters have done a 180 on projections of surplus water for Lake Mead, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In December, the reservoir behind Hoover Dam was predicted to rise 11 feet this year. Now, it is forecast to fall 13 feet by next January.
The National Water and Climate Center’s water supply outlook for the western U.S. can be found here.
During a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing last Wednesday, Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones explained the department’s permitting process and the rationale for rejecting a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
The National Research Council published a report on recycled municipal wastewater and its role as part of the national water supply.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a new tool to help the public learn who is dumping chemicals into which bodies of water. Data is available for 2007-2010.
The EPA has extended to March 12 the deadline for public comments on its draft study of groundwater contamination from natural gas drilling near a Wyoming town. The agency also announced that it will test groundwater in northeastern Pennsylvania as it continues its investigation into claims of water contaminated because of hydraulic fracturing.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton