EJToday: Top Headlines
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Rice farmers in Texas worry about their future in the face of looming water restrictions and drought.
"Crews have made significant progress attacking three major wildfires in Arizona, but fire danger across the Southwest will remain for weeks to come until seasonal rains arrive."
"The current drought, drier than any other October-through-May stretch in Texas history, has heightened the stakes in an already contentious long-term planning battle over water from these lakes, which feed the lower Colorado River as it runs southeast to the Gulf of Mexico. It has pitted fast-growing cities like Austin, which depend on the water for drinking and recreation, against rice farmers near the Gulf, who need vast amounts of water for irrigation."
Firefighters working dangerous night shifts were barely beginning to get a handle on some 6 wildfires in Arizona that were spreading to New Mexico, the largest of which, the Wallow fire, was barely more than 10 percent contained. Regional smoke continued to be a serious health threat. Authorities looked for a human cause to blame the fire on, even though the tinder-dry conditions had been causing the Wallow fire to spread at nearly 1,000 acres per hour. Evacuations began in New Mexico even as some Arizona evacuees were being allowed to return home.
"Flames from a mammoth forest fire licked the ridges surrounding the eastern Arizona town of Eagar on Tuesday afternoon, forcing the evacuation of about half the 4,000 residents as surrounding towns also prepared to empty."
"The Texas House gave a final OK [May 17] to the 'pork chopper' bill and sent it off to the governor's office. The bill would allow licensed hunters to hire helicopters and contract with landowners to shoot feral hogs and coyotes on their property from the sky."
"Radiation has contaminated the underground pipes, water tanks, and plumbing that provide drinking water for much of Central Texas and the famed Texas Hill Country, according to concerned city officials in the region who have tested the pipes with Geiger counters."
"In a last attempt to deep-six a controversial project to mine uranium near two Navajo communities in northwestern New Mexico, a Navajo environmental group is taking its fight to the global stage."
"The Texas House on Wednesday approved what would be the nation's first law to require drilling companies to publicly disclose the contents of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing."
"Wildfires have burned about 1.5 million acres in Texas since January, egged on by a drought that federal forecasters say is the worst to hit the state in 45 years."
"Calmer winds and higher humidity on Wednesday gave the army of firefighters battling several major blazes in north and west Texas hope of halting the worst wildfires in the state's history."
Spanish settlers the wake of Coronado's visit in 1540 brought sheep to New Mexico. Four centuries later the settlers' descendants are scrabbling to produce the only certified-organic spring lamb (also descendants) in New Mexico. There is a close relationship between the food and the land.
"Firefighters battled Monday to contain several large blazes that have burned hundreds of square miles of rural Texas and destroyed dozens of homes since last week, getting reinforcements from out of state as they struggled against some of the worst wildfire conditions in state history."
"Wildfires fed off what were described as 'perfect' conditions for burning again on Monday across drought-stricken Texas and nearby states."