FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
2015 Was Hottest Year in Recorded History, Scientists Say
By JUSTIN GILLIS JAN. 20, 2016
Scientists reported Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history by far, breaking a record set only the year before — a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.
In the continental United States, the year was the second-warmest on record, punctuated by a December that was both the hottest and the wettest since record-keeping began. One result has been a wave of unusual winter floods coursing down the Mississippi River watershed.
The State Water Resources Control Board Tuesday (Jan. 19) adopted regulations requiring all surface water right holders and claimants to report their diversions. Those who divert more than 10 acre-feet of water per year must also measure their diversions.
The regulations, which apply to about 12,000 water right holders and claimants, require annual reporting of water diversions. The regulations cover all surface water diversions, including those under pre-1914 and riparian water rights, as well as licenses, permits, registrations for small domestic, small irrigation and livestock stockwatering and stockpond certificates.
Previously, pre-1914 and riparian right holders were only required to report every three years, and measurement requirements could be avoided if the right holder deemed them not locally cost effective. About 70 percent of such diverters claimed that exemption.
The goal of the new regulation is to provide more accurate and timely information on water use in California to enable better management of the state’s water resources. READ MORE »
EPA Survey Shows $271 Billion Needed for Nation’s Wastewater Infrastructure
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a survey showing that $271 billion is needed to maintain and improve the nation’s wastewater infrastructure, including the pipes that carry wastewater to treatment plants, the technology that treats the water, and methods for managing stormwater runoff.
The survey is a collaboration between EPA, states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories. To be included in the survey, projects must include a description and location of a water quality-related public health problem, a site-specific solution, and detailed information on project cost.
“The only way to have clean and reliable water is to have infrastructure that is up to the task,” said Joel Beauvais, EPA’s Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water. “Our nation has made tremendous progress in modernizing our treatment plants and pipes in recent decades, but this survey tells us that a great deal of work remains.”
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U.S. EPA Requires J.R. Simplot Company to Reduce Emissions at Sulfuric Acid Plant in San Joaquin ValleySubmitted by Lloyd Carter on Wed, 12/16/2015 - 20:59.
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice has announced a settlement with the J.R. Simplot Company that will resolve a Clean Air Act enforcement case involving its sulfuric acid plant near Lathrop, Calif.
Under the settlement, Simplot will spend over $40 million on pollution controls that will significantly cut sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions at a total of five acid plants in three states: the Lathrop facility and two plants each in Pocatello, Idaho, and Rock Springs, Wyo. Once implemented, the settlement will reduce SO2 emissions from Simplot’s five plants by more than 50 percent, approximately 2,540 tons per year of reductions. Simplot will carry out a plan to monitor SO2 emissions continuously at all five facilities.
The company will pay a civil penalty of $899,000 and has agreed to fund an environmental mitigation project valued at $200,000 to reduce particulate matter pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. This special project with the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District will provide incentives to residents living in the San Joaquin Valley to replace or retrofit inefficient, higher-polluting wood-burning stoves and fireplaces with cleaner-burning, more energy-efficient appliances. READ MORE »
WASHINGTON – On the heels of a White House Roundtable on Water Innovation, the U.S. Department of the Interior today (Dec. 16, 2015) launched a new, interactive website to show the dramatic effects of the 16-year drought in the Colorado River Basin. The specialized web tool, otherwise known as Drought in the Colorado River Basin – Insights Using Open Data, shows the interconnected results of a reduced water supply as reservoir levels have declined from nearly full to about 50 percent of capacity. READ MORE »
By Emma Bailey
Human-caused climate change is a very real and urgent threat to all life on this planet. The rapidly worsening issue of global warming requires an immediate switch to energy sources which generate far fewer emissions during production. According to the stabilization wedge theory, we already have the means to get climate change “under control.” The theory surmises that we can and should use a variety of conservation and energy production methods, rather than rely on a single "silver bullet.” Implementing the recommendations of this theory, however, will call for new and ingenious approaches to all aspects of the power production cycle.
A new study, published in the scientific journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, has found mercury and selenium in the Grand Canyon segment of Colorado River at concentrations “sufficient to pose exposure risks for fish, wildlife, and humans.” READ MORE HERE: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/the-grand-canyon-has-an-alarming-amount-of-mercury-and-selenium-7610875.
Land retirement 25x cheaper than Tunnel plan and could save 450,000 acre-feet of water
Sacramento, CA – A new report by EcoNorthwest, an independent economic analysis firm, estimates that 300,000 acres of toxic land in the Westlands Water District and three adjacent water districts could be retired at a cost of $580 million to $1 billion. READ MORE »
By Emma Bailey
Water continues to be the source of all life-giving power. The microorganisms which formed petroleum were, of course, first found beneath the sea bed; however the harmful, expensive and dirty process of their extraction negates most if not all benefits of their continued use. Algae, also typically found in aquatic environments, may seem to be an unlikely candidate for energy generation. However, these waterborne organisms, capable of cleaning wastewater while also providing a viable source of biofuel, might be the clean, “renewable” energy source we’ve all been looking for.