The Stream, October 9, 2020: Water and Land Protectors in Honduras Are Awaiting Trial

Community members in Honduras mobilize to defend their land and water from their government. A request from an oil company in Wyoming to dump more wastewater into nearby streams is rejected by the state. New data shows that globally, September experienced its hottest temperatures on record. Experts say the United States’ decision to pull aid from Ethiopia amid negotiations over the Grand Renaissance Dam could do more harm than good. Hurricane Delta threatens to bring further damage, both physically and mentally, to Louisiana.

“Right now we just can’t seem to get a break from the weather.” – A resident of Louisiana. Hurricane Delta is projected to be the 10th hurricane to hit U.S. land this year, setting a new record. The storm hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday as a Category 2 storm before moving north over the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to make landfall in Louisiana by the end of the week as a Category 3 storm. Governors in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi declared states of emergencies ahead of a storm that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said could further traumatize residents who are still recovering from Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm that wreaked immense havoc on the state’s coast. NBC News

In context: ‘A Lot of Catastrophe’: Louisiana Water Systems Still Reeling from Hurricane Laura

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

House Democrats Ask CDC to Halt Water Shutoffs During the Pandemic – CDC already moved to suspend evictions. Could water service be the next target for a national moratorium?

By The Numbers

31 The number of people charged in a widely condemned court case in Honduras, which has falsely accused one grassroots community group of ties to organized crime. Community members in the small, low-income town of Guapinol formed a militia in order to protect a local river against their government, who—since a coup in 2009—has continuously stripped away land and water rights. For almost a decade, subsistence farmers and indigenous Hondurans have been forcibly displaced, criminalized and killed amid conflicts over land and water. After a peaceful protest in 2018 to oppose a mining project that turned the local water supply brown was met with violence, judicial authorities issued warrants for protesters linked to the dispute. Their case, along with the cases of five others that were originally dismissed, is being heard soon. Until then, they will all remain imprisoned. The Guardian

4,000 The number of new wells Aethon Energy proposed the state of Wyoming allow them to install. The oil company also requested the state allowed them to dispose of more wastewater into the Alkali Creek, which the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality effectively blocked in a decision last week. According to a letter from last December obtained by conservation groups, the Department of Environmental Quality found black sediment deposits, foam and oil accumulation in Alkali and Badwater creeks, finding Aetheon Energy in violation of their existing contract. Outstanding violations in the contract have moved many to call for the state to not renew the company’s contract at all, although the Department of Environmental Quality said that’s not enough to terminate the contract. Casper Star Tribune

Science, Studies, and Reports

Last month was the hottest September on record, according to new data from the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme. Two other months, June and April, also experienced record heat. Climate events such as the La Niña phenomenon and projected low levels of Artic sea ice will determine whether 2020 continues the trend of being the hottest year on record. Since the 1970s, global heat has increased by 0.2 degrees Celsius (32.36 degrees Fahrenheit)  every 10 years, according to data from the EU. If the global temperature rises more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit), scientists say the effects of climate change could be catastrophic. Al Jazeera

On the Radar

Experts said the United States’ decision to suspend aid to Ethiopia earlier this year could fuel Ethiopia’s suspicion that the United States favors Egypt in negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Historically, the U.S. has had close ties to both Egypt and Ethiopia and has tried to play the role of mediator between the two countries. The co-authors of the article, Yaniv Cohen and David Harary of the Center for Development and Strategy in Washington, D.C., said that by punishing Ethiopia for a “lack of progress” in the negotiations, which have been ongoing for nearly a decade, the U.S. has risked its chance to continue playing that role. The authors concluded that these negotiations have highlighted the fact that as climate change decreases water supplies, population will continue to increase, national interests of individual countries along the Nile will matter less than working together to ensure equal water sharing. National Interest

In context: HotSpots H2O: Tensions Rise in Horn of Africa as Ethiopia Fills Controversial Dam

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