President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration may be nearing, but that doesn’t mean President Obama’s Interior Department is finished making decisions about the future of the United States’ vast natural resources and open spaces.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama ordered the closure Tuesday of 125 million acres of the Arctic Ocean and its estimated 27 billion barrels of oil, indefinitely. The executive action bars new leases in the vast majority of U.S. Arctic offshore waters. The Obama administration announcement, decried by Alaska's congressional delegation, came in conjunction with one from the Canadian government that it would bar future oil and gas licensing for all its offshore Arctic waters. The Canadian decision will be reviewed every five years.
WASHINGTON — The White House announced parting protections for the northern reaches of Alaska's lands and waters on Friday, closing off more than 40,000 square miles of Bering Strait-area waters to future oil leases and requiring the federal government to set up a system for increasing the input of Native people.
New California Law Recognizes Meadows, Streams As “Green Infrastructure”, Eligible For Public Works Funding
As degraded watersheds drag California into its sixth year of drought, a new law makes forests, farms, and fields eligible for infrastructure funding – and the state is hardly alone, according to new research by Ecosystem Marketplace, which shows a dramatic surge in payments for watershed services across the United States and around the world.
From the report's Foreword:
Experience shows that when paired with traditional infrastructure, natural infrastructure—wetlands and forests—can reduce water management costs and deliver other cultural and economic benefits coveted by twenty-first century communities, like recreational green spaces and fish and wildlife habitats. For many communities, the biggest challenge to adopting these green approaches is understanding how to finance and implement them. Fortunately, a handful of projects across the country offers helpful insights to landowners and managers, utilities, and community groups.
I wanted to alert you to a new report from River Network about water policy and management of water security and instream flows. While the report focuses on Southeastern Rivers, the way they approach the topic can be very instructional for the issue of instream flow policy for any region. I recommend taking a look to consider how stream flow is being impacted by climate for your waters (drought, flood, withdrawals, etc,) and consider adaptation strategies for your region for enhanced water security. The weblink and details are below. River Network would like to support outreach and policy action on stream flows. If you're interested, I recommend contacting Katherine Baer at River Network to discuss the possibilities.
The announcement of new guidance from the White House Council on Environmental Quality requiring agencies to consider climate change as part of their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews caused a stir in the climate community. However, the implications can be challenging to convey to individuals less involved with the ins and outs of federal policy.
Climate Access asked a select group of climate leaders - Oil Change International’s David Turnbull, Sierra Club’s Liz Perera, and Earthjustice’s Raul Garcia - to reflect on the new guidance, the key takeaways to communicate, and opportunities for public engagement. Here’s what they said.