Biden administration will replace Trump clean water rule

Shortly after telling senators that he wanted a "long-term, durable solution," EPA administrator Michael Regan said on Wednesday that the Biden administration would write a new definition of the upstream reach of clean water laws. The process would include repeal of the 2020 Trump-era rule that replaced 2015 Obama water regulations the farm sector decried as federal overreach.

Conservation group gives Chesapeake Bay a grade of D-plus

Most water quality measures are improving in the Chesapeake Bay but the overall grade of the 64,000 square-mile watershed remains a D-plus, said the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in an annual report on Tuesday. Phosphorus and nitrogen runoff lessened in 2020 and the oxygen-depleted “dead zone” was …

When the West Coast wildfires are out, can mushrooms help with the cleanup?

When the worst wildfire season on record in the West finally subsides, it will give way to another potentially devastating environmental crisis: toxins from charred and melted plastics, electronics, and other household materials leaching into watersheds, endangering residents, agriculture, and ecosystems.(No paywall)

EPA says it will continue use of three weedkillers

The EPA added precautions to the use and handling for the weedkillers atrazine, simazine and propazine in deciding the herbicides can remain in use in the United States. Atrazine is used primarily in agriculture to kill weeds in corn, sorghum and sugarcane, but it also is used on golf courses and residential lawns.

Algae blooms have cost at least $1.1 billion over past decade, says EWG

Potentially toxic algae blooms, which are caused by farm runoff and urban wastewater running into streams and lakes, have cost an estimated $1.1 billion over the past decade in the United States, and that "is almost certainly a significant undercount," said a report Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group.

Churned by hurricane, ‘dead zone’ is one-third expected size

The fish-killing "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this summer is the third-smallest in 34 years of surveys, reported scientists. At 2,116 square miles, the hypoxic region is about one-third the size of the forecast of 6,700 square miles.

Coronavirus forces California farmworkers to scramble for safe drinking water

Some 1 million residents of California farmworker communities have relied for years on bottled water because their tap water is tainted with nitrate and other agricultural pollutants. Now, as stores ration water to prevent hoarding during the coronavirus crisis, these residents are relying on friends and family, or driving many miles to bigger towns in search of water, reports Liza Gross in FERN's latest story. (No paywall)

Sarasota officials oppose EPA aquaculture pilot project

The city commissioners of Sarasota, Florida, decided Monday to send a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency opposing an aquaculture pilot project that sought to farm fish about 45 miles off the city's coast. In the letter, signed by Sarasota mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, the commissioners file "strong and formal opposition" to the project.

Across the country, a call grows for moratoriums on huge livestock farms

As the number of massive livestock farms balloons in states like Iowa, Maryland, and Nebraska, communities are scrambling to figure out how to control the pollution and waste produced by thousands — or tens of thousands — of animals. In some places, officials have opted to ban the mega-farms altogether, and the idea of a moratorium on the biggest animal farms is gaining support in local governments, statehouses, and even in Congress. (No paywall)