Tag Archives: wetlands

‘Like It Never Happened’: Federal Judge Tosses Trump Attack on Clean Water Rule

Denying a Biden administration request to temporarily retain the rule, the judge reestablished “the careful balance of state and federal power to protect clean water that Congress intended when it wrote the Clean Water Act.”

By Brett Wilkins is staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10=22=2021

A salmon jumps as it swims upstream against a waterfall. (Photo: josullivan.59/Flickr/cc)

Environmental and Indigenous advocates on Friday cheered as a federal judge rejected a Biden administration request to temporarily keep in place a Trump-era Clean Water Act rule that one attorney said would have “devastated” states’ ability to manage their rivers.

On Thursday, Judge William H. Alsup of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco threw out a June 2020 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule changing the Clean Water Act Section 401 certification process to allow federal agencies to approve large projects—including fossil fuel pipelines, hydroelectric dams, industrial plants, wetland developments, and municipal facilities—against the wishes of states and Native American tribes. Continue reading

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Green Groups Sue Army Corps of Engineers Over Nationwide Pipeline Permit

“There’s simply no justification for allowing destructive and dangerous pipelines to avoid rigorous environmental review.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-3-2021

In December 2016, the Belle Fourche pipeline spilled 180,000 gallons of crude oil into the Ash Coulee Creek in North Dakota, just three hours’ drive from the site of a massive Indigenous-led protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. (Photo: Jennifer Skjod/North Dakota Department of Health)

Five eco-advocacy groups sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday for allegedly violating federal law by issuing a nationwide fossil fuel pipeline permit without adequate analysis of its environmental impacts.

The lawsuit (pdf)—filed in a federal district court in Montanta by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Sierra Club, Montana Environmental Information Center, Friends of the Earth, and Waterkeeper Alliance Inc.—accuses the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) of violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act by reissuing Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) “without adequately assessing its significant direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects.” Continue reading

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Sea level rise is killing trees along the Atlantic coast, creating ‘ghost forests’ that are visible from space

Ghost forest panorama in coastal North Carolina. Emily Ury, CC BY-ND

Emily Ury, Duke University

Trekking out to my research sites near North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, I slog through knee-deep water on a section of trail that is completely submerged. Permanent flooding has become commonplace on this low-lying peninsula, nestled behind North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The trees growing in the water are small and stunted. Many are dead.

Throughout coastal North Carolina, evidence of forest die-off is everywhere. Nearly every roadside ditch I pass while driving around the region is lined with dead or dying trees. Continue reading

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Two-thirds of Earth’s land is on pace to lose water as the climate warms – that’s a problem for people, crops and forests

Cape Town residents queued up for water as the taps nearly ran dry in 2018. Morgana Wingard/Getty Images

Yadu Pokhrel, Michigan State University

The world watched with a sense of dread in 2018 as Cape Town, South Africa, counted down the days until the city would run out of water. The region’s surface reservoirs were going dry amid its worst drought on record, and the public countdown was a plea for help.

By drastically cutting their water use, Cape Town residents and farmers were able to push back “Day Zero” until the rain came, but the close call showed just how precarious water security can be. California also faced severe water restrictions during its recent multiyear drought. And Mexico City is now facing water restrictions after a year with little rain. Continue reading

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Australia is Dropping Vegetables From Choppers to Feed Wildlife Starved by Fires

Helicopters are dropping thousands of pounds of food for animals starving to death amid Australia’s fires.

By Elias Marat,  Published 1-12-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

As Australia’s bushfire crisis continues to impact wildlife, aircraft have been deployed to feed thousands of starving wild animals who have been stranded by the blazes.

The government of the hard-hit state of New South Wales (NSW) has begun a campaign of airdrops across scorched regions, delivering thousands of pounds of root veggies —like carrots and sweet potatoes —from choppers flying above in a bid to sate the appetites of hungry colonies of brush-trailed rock wallabies, reports Daily Mail. Continue reading

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Latest Count of ONE BILLION Animals Killed in Australia Fires a “Very Conservative” Estimate

“Over a billion would be a very conservative figure,” according to Ecologist Chris Dickman.

By Elias Marat  Published 1-7-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

While Australia’s unprecedented wave of fires has devastated the country, it’s been difficult for experts and authorities to accurately measure the true extent of the damage sustained by the country’s wild animals and plants.

However, new figures released by specialists studying the blaze reveal horrifying new statistics about the number of animals killed in the bushfires, which likely now exceed one billion. Continue reading

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But Wait! There’s MORE!

 

Ometepe Isle in Lake Nicaragua. Popular tourist destination. Picture taken by Jose Carlos Manuel Hugo, Enero 2005

Ometepe Isle in Lake Nicaragua. Popular tourist destination. Picture taken by Jose Carlos Manuel Hugo, Enero 2005

Last June, the Nicaraguan government announced a deal granting 50 year rights to the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (HKND) for building a competitor to the Panama Canal across Nicaragua. The project’s cost is estimated to be $40 billion, and the Nicaraguan government claims that the canal would: 1) raise the country’s GDP 11% annually, and 2) create a million new jobs. While this sounds good on paper (Nicaragua’s the second poorest country in the Americas), what they aren’t saying should be what’s being discussed.

Both the Nicaraguan government and HKND bypassed any environmental review of the proposal. When you see what would be impacted by the proposed canal, you’ll understand why they wouldn’t want those pesky treehuggers to have any say in the matter.

First of all, with all the proposed routes, the canal would go through Lake Nicaragua. The lake is the primary source of drinking water for the whole country, and in addition to the pollution that would be created by the ships themselves, the proposed industries along the lake would add to the decline in drinking water. There’s also the obvious salt water contamination; you’re connecting to the ocean on both sides, after all. And then, there’s the sludge. The lake would be dredged to double its current depth of 15 meters to accommodate larger ships, and all the sludge would need to go somewhere. But wait- there’s more!

Panama Canal “mule” used to guide ships. Stan Shebs [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Panama Canal “mule” used to guide ships. Stan Shebs [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Building the canal would lead to the destruction of 400,000 hectares (almost one million acres) of rainforests and wetlands. Furthermore, the canal would endanger the MesoAmerican Biological Corridor, which incorporates the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, and the Cerro Silva Nature Reserve, all of which are homes to many endangered species of plants and animals. But wait- there’s still more!

The canal’s entry and exit would be right in the middle of the sea turtle nesting grounds on both coasts- you guessed it; another endangered species. It would also destroy the coral reefs and mangroves that act as a buffer protecting inland Nicaragua from tropical storms.  And, then there’s the impact on the indigenous communities. Hundreds of villages would need to be moved as they’re in the canal’s proposed path. Were they asked? Silly question- of course not. But wait- there’s still more!

As bad as all of this sounds, we need to add to it the rather sketchy history of the man behind HKND; a man named Wang Jing. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega cited Wang Jing’s wireless communications company as a reason why he was awarded the contract. However, in the twenty foreign countries where Xinwei (the company) is supposedly expanding, they’re either woefully behind schedule or (even more telling), trade officials in the country have never heard of him or his company. Just the kind of person who I’d trust with 40 billion dollars. But wait- there’s still more!

The really crazy part of the story? The canal’s redundant. The Panama Canal is 1/3 of the length of the Nicaraguan proposal, and it’s in the process of being widened and deepened for larger ships. Plus, the canal handles only a small fraction of world shipping; why would we need another canal a couple hundred miles north of the current one?

“Sure, we destroyed the planet- but we earned our shareholders a profit!”

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