Meat and poultry processing plants would reduce their emissions of water pollutants, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, by 100 million pounds annually under proposed wastewater rules, said the Environmental Protection Agency. It would be the first update of effluent limitation guidelines in a generation.
Now an infant industry, carbon capture will play a significant role in achieving President Biden’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, said administration officials on Thursday. Senators from coal and gas states said the administration, after including incentives in the 2022 climate law, should unleash carbon capture projects.
The Biden administration made only minimal changes to its “waters of the United States” regulation to comply with the Supreme Court’s new and stricter definition of wetlands, and that will perpetuate litigation over the Clean Water Act, said West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on Wednesday.
Researchers conducting the first broadscale test for so-called PFAS in private and public water supplies found the so-called forever chemicals in 45 percent of the nation’s tap water, said the U.S. Geological Survey on Wednesday. The agency said PFAS were far more likely to be detected in tap water in urban areas than in rural America.
Although the Biden administration says it will update its “waters of the United States” regulation by Sept. 1, it might have to act a bit faster than that under a motion filed in federal court in Texas. The motion asks the court to discard the Biden regulation entirely “and request that the agencies promulgate a new rule within 45 days.”
The Biden administration intends to update its “waters of the United States” regulation, which determines the upstream reach of anti-pollution laws, by Sept. 1, said the EPA on Wednesday. The revised WOTUS rule will reflect the recent Supreme Court decision that reduces federal protection of wetlands, it said.
In a decision that will narrow federal protection of wetlands, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the 1972 clean water law applies only to marshy areas with “a continuous surface connection” to streams, oceans, rivers, or lakes. “Today’s ruling is a profound win for property rights and the constitutional separation of powers,” said the Pacific Legal Foundation, which argued the case for a couple blocked from building a home in northern Idaho. (No paywall)
Less than four months ago, the Biden administration unveiled “a durable definition” of the upstream reach of clean water laws across the country — a so-called waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation. With a ruling on Wednesday, federal judges have enjoined implementation of the rule in 26 of the 50 states while they hear lawsuits that would void the regulation.
In an appellate court order, the EPA agreed on Monday to decide by Aug. 15 if it would tighten water pollution standards for large livestock and poultry farms, a goal pursued for years by environmental groups. Only three in 10 of the largest factory farms are regulated at present, said Food and Water Watch.
The Senate joined the House on Wednesday in voting to overturn the Biden administration’s “waters of the United States” regulation, which spells out the upstream reach of water pollution laws. The White House said earlier this month that President Biden would veto the Republican-sponsored resolution of disapproval if it reached his desk.
In a long-shot tactic, Republicans in the Senate and House pressed on Thursday for a vote to overturn the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States rule, which spells out the upstream reach of water pollution laws. It was the third WOTUS rule to be issued in less than a decade. The Supreme Court is expected to rule in coming weeks on an Idaho case that would greatly limit federal protection of wetlands.
Seventeen farm, construction, and mining groups filed suit in federal court to overturn the Biden administration’s definition of the upstream reach of water pollution laws. They argued that the new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule was “so opaque, uncertain, and all-encompassing” that no one could confidently know its limits.
A watchdog group gave the bay and its watershed a health grade of D+ for water pollution, habitat, and fisheries on Thursday, the same as its last assessment in 2020. “Overall, the unchanged score is largely the result of failures to make needed changes on farmland to reduce pollution,” said the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
With three years left to meet the goals of a “pollution diet,” the three major states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have greatly improved their wastewater treatment, though they still lag in three other areas, including reducing agricultural runoff, said the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
With views of the Rocky Mountains, the occasional squadron of American white pelicans passing through, and a boardwalk for strolling, northern Colorado’s Windsor Lake is a popular destination for paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming. But the lake is off-limits this week after city officials sampled the water and found concerning levels of blue-green algae, which can contain toxins harmful to humans, pets, and wildlife. (No paywall)
Last week, water experts marked the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act with a dire warning: After evaluating over 700,000 miles of rivers and streams across the country, they concluded that half of those waters are too polluted to fish or swim in—and agriculture is often to blame.(No paywall)
Drinking water for more than 370,000 Californians is contaminated with arsenic, nitrate, and other chemicals, according to an extensive analysis by researchers at UC Berkeley and UCLA. In many cases, the state’s agricultural industry is to blame. (No paywall)
The president of the largest U.S. farm group called for members to bring the "same energy and devotion when it comes to WOTUS" that they used last year to preserve a tax break on inherited property. President Zippy Duvall said the American Farm Bureau Federation also influenced legislation and USDA programs on climate mitigation to ensure that they "respect farmers."
Corn growers in 11 states can apply for crop insurance coverage this year for a practice that reduces nutrient runoff, said the Risk Management Agency on Wednesday. The policy will cover yield losses if bad weather prevents growers from making multiple applications of nitrogen fertilizer during key parts of the growing season.