Infrastructure is much in the news these days, with battles over politics and funding yielding stories for environment reporters. In play are a Trump plan, who gets to pick projects, who pays and much more. But in an election year, how likely are infrastructure plans to move forward? The backstory, with angles for environment and energy, plus what to watch for in 2018, in our Backgrounder on infrastructure.
Water & Oceans
"Using selective logging and controlled burns, Ashland has reduced fire risk on thousands of acres in the forested watershed that provides the city’s drinking water. The partnership that made it happen could be a model for other fire-prone communities."
"Animals that live in the ocean communicate with sound — humpback whales, for example. But these voices could soon be drowned out by powerful sonic booms from vessels searching for oil and gas."
"Down the palm tree-lined roads of northeast Florida’s Flagler County, a half-dozen dump trucks are shuttling back and forth along the Atlantic coast pouring thousands of tons of sand onto the local beach."
"The Interior Department is planning to hold the largest sale of oil and gas leases in the country's history.
The plans, announced Friday, would auction off 77.3 million acres of offshore waters to drilling, covering coastal waters in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
The auction will take place March 21.
Areas protected under a 2006 congressional moratorium, which bans drilling within 125 miles of the Florida coast until 2022, will be excluded from the lease."
"In just eight days in mid-February, nearly a third of the sea ice covering the Bering Sea off Alaska's west coast disappeared. That kind of ice loss and the changing climate as the planet warms is affecting the lives of the people who live along the coast."
"Although it’s expected that President Trump’s plan to gut Great Lakes programs will be “dead on arrival” in Congress again, a major coalition of environmental groups is prepared to show how such draconian cuts could severely hurt public health and the economy — not just the environment."
"The Trump administration’s stance on climate change became a little less clear this week."
"Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up the already fast pace of sea level rise, new satellite research shows."
"The U.S. military is spending billions to clean up drinking water contaminated with toxic firefighting foam while continuing to use dangerous new formulas."