Federal Involvement in Water, Energy Concerns
A newly passed law in Australia requires a federal expert committee to analyze any new coal seam gas and coal projects that affect water resources, increasing the federal government’s reach on water issues, Adelaide Now reported. The energy industry is pushing back against the law, saying that the oversight could be redundant and costly.
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency will not go ahead with its report on water contamination near Wyoming hydraulic fracturing wells, Reuters reported. The draft report ignited controversy in 2011, with state and industry officials claiming that the methods and results of the study were flawed.
Water continues to be a concern for critics of Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi copper mining project in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, Bloomberg News reported. While the company insists that it will be drawing water from an undrinkable aquifer and recycling large amounts of that water, the U.S. Treasury Department has been reluctant to recommend the project to investors based on “environmental policy concerns and legislative mandates.”
The southwestern U.S. is a natural laboratory for studying mega-drought, and scientists say that the destruction of the region’s forests does not bode well for forests in other parts of the world that may get hotter and drier due to climate change, Yale Environment 360 reported. Rising temperatures draw more water from trees’ leaves, compounding the water stress caused by drought.