"The US government is set to unleash drones that fire vaccine-covered M&Ms in a bid to save the endangered black-footed ferret, a species that is facing a plague epidemic across America’s great plains."
Great Plains (IA KS ND NE MO SD)
"A coalition of state wildlife regulators today announced that the population of lesser prairie chickens in the wild has fallen by more than 13 percent since the last annual aerial survey -- a troubling outcome the Obama administration predicted earlier this year."
"Records say when the first plows sliced through the great Midwestern prairie, a popping sound rang through the air like a volley of pistol shots. It was the sound of millions of roots snapping against the plow's steel blade."
"The U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigated only one out of 27 fatal accidents in the last fiscal year, part of a five-year slide that saw the agency fail to probe more than 90 percent of workplace fatalities, U.S. EPA's inspector general said in a report released yesterday."
"STUTSMAN COUNTY, N.D. — Over the past few years, Neil Shook has watched his world burn acre by acre. 'I could tell something was happening,' Shook recalled, when he first noticed the plumes of smoke in 2011. By 2013, fires were raging every day, sending smoke billowing into the air — imagery that reminded Shook of Kuwait’s burning oil wells during the Persian Gulf War."
"Sixteen years ago, a presidential task force mapped a plan for the United States to eliminate childhood lead poisoning by 2010. It never happened."
"The head of a Nebraska utility recommended shutting down the nation's smallest nuclear power plant by the end of the year, saying Thursday that it doesn't make economic sense to keep it open."
The Iowa-based publication Farm News has fired an editorial cartoonist who had contributed to the publication for 21 years. His crime: pointing out that the CEOs of Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer and John Deere made far more than average farmers.
"Brine spills from oil development in western North Dakota are releasing toxins into soils and waterways, sometimes at levels exceeding federal water quality standards, scientists reported Wednesday."
"While falling oil prices have slowed production from North Dakota's oil and natural gas fields, a company sees that lull as the perfect opportunity to build a crude oil refinery in the state. However, its proposed location just three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park has raised concerns from the National Park Service and conservation groups about how it will impact the park."