EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
"SAN FRANCISCO -- The use of pesticides and the planting of genetically engineered crops on U.S. national wildlife refuges are illegal and damaging to the environment, say four advocacy groups who have filed a federal lawsuit to halt these practices on national wildlife refuges across the Midwest."
"The Rio Grande is the lifeblood of South Texas. Cities and farmers on both sides of its international border depend on its water. A 70-year-old treaty between the United States and Mexico is supposed to keep the river’s water flowing. But in the last three years, Mexico has fallen behind on its end of the deal. That has heightened tensions between the two countries and jeopardized the future of agriculture in the Rio Grande Valley."
"Crop-damaging pests are moving towards the poles at a rate of more than 25 km (16 miles) a decade, aided by global warming and human transport, posing a potential threat to world food security, a study showed on Sunday."
"Desiccated corn and sun-scorched soybeans have been in high supply lately -- and we're paying through the nose for them. The federal government forked out a record-breaking $17.3 billion last year to compensate farmers for weather-related crop losses—more than four times the annual average over the last decade."
"Abnormally dry conditions and pockets of moderate drought have spread over parts of the U.S. Midwest in the past week, including in the key crop state of Iowa, according to a report issued on Thursday."
"There's a heated debate over the use of antibiotics in farm animals. Critics say farmers overuse these drugs; farmers say they don't. It's hard to resolve the argument, in part because no one knows exactly how farmers use antibiotics."
"Mark Lynas has done the world a service in providing on-the-ground reporting from the Philippines, digging in on some vital questions related to the destruction of field trials of non-commercial, genetically modified, vitamin-fortified Golden Rice there in early August. ... The same is true for Amy Harmon, who wrote an incisive analysis of the research vandalism that ran in The Times on Sunday. The two pieces powerfully strip away distortions and myths surrounding the latest instance of anti-biotechnology violence and the grain that was the focus of the assault."
"Researchers in the key corn-growing state of Illinois are finding significant damage from rootworms in farm fields planted in a rotation with a genetically modified corn that is supposed to protect the crop from the pests, according to a new report."
"In and around Texas’ vast oil and gas fields, the hydraulic fracturing boom is putting a strain on water supplies already reeling under one of the worst droughts in the state’s history."
"DES MOINES, Iowa -- Environmental and animal welfare groups sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, alleging the federal agency unlawfully scrapped a rule that would have authorized it to collect information from large-scale livestock confinement farms."
"Maryland officials pulled back a proposed regulation Monday aimed at reducing farm runoff polluting the Chesapeake Bay after chicken growers warned it could cripple the state's lucrative poultry industry if imposed now."
"Across the high plains, many farmers depend on underground stores of water, and they worry about wells going dry. A new scientific study of western Kansas lays out a predicted timeline for those fears to become reality. But it also shows an alternative path for farming in Kansas: The moment of reckoning can be delayed, and the impact softened, if farmers start conserving water now."
"Ronald Gertson usually plants about 3,000 acres of rice each year on his family farm in Wharton County, Texas. But because of emergency water regulations set in 2012 due to central Texas' painfully persistent drought, Gertson could plant about 40 percent of that land."
"U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co said on Friday it is suspending sales of its Zilmax animal feed additive in the United States and Canada following concerns about animals showing signs of distress after use of the product, which is given to cattle to increase their weight before slaughter."
"WASHINGTON — A troubled new computer system used by inspectors at the nation’s 6,500 meatpacking and processing plants shut down for two days this month, putting at risk millions of pounds of beef, poultry, pork and lamb that had left the plants before workers could collect samples to check for E. coli bacteria and other contaminants."