Environment

North Carolina has exceeded the limits on emissions for ground-level ozone only once in the past two years. That could change under a proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is preparing to release a new rule lowering the ground-level ozone standard from 75 parts per billion, where it’s been since 2008, to an expected range of 70 to 60 parts per billion. The Council of State Governments will hold an eCademy session, “How Clean is Clean Enough: A Look at EPA’s Upcoming Ozone Regulations,” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. EST Nov. 19.

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Ballot Measure 4 touches on a familiar topic to many Alaskans – the Bristol Bay.  The bay is a 36,000 square mile fisheries reserve established by the Alaska state legislature in 1972.  As part of the legislation it required that a surface entry permit for oil and gas on state owned or controlled lands be subject to approval of the legislature to protect the fishery.  Proposed...

Western states are unique in that the federal government owns and manages large portions of the land in every state in the region. The federal government is responsible for managing between 635 million and 640 million acres of land in the United States;1 roughly 592 million of those acres are located in the West.2 The federal government controls 62 percent of the land in Alaska and 47 percent of the land in the 11 mainland Western states. For comparison, the federal government controls only 4 percent of the land in the remaining 38 states.

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Eight years ago, a statewide ballot initiative ended the hunting of mourning doves in Michigan. Ever since then, Matt Evans of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs notes, sportsmen in the state have been concerned about what animal hunts might be banned next.

They turned those concerns into action this year, resulting in legislative enactment this summer of a citizen-initiated statute. The law requires future decisions on hunting, fishing and trapping of different species to be controlled by the seven-member, governor-appointed Natural Resources Commission.

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During the past six months, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced several initiatives as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The EPA proposed the Clean Power Plan in June, which aims to reduce carbon emissions from new and existing power plants on a state-by-state basis. The EPA in April also issued a proposed rule that would redefine the Clean Water Act’s definition of “Waters of the United States.” EPA has issued an open comment period for both proposals, which are still open.

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Millions of people rely on the Great Lakes for their drinking water. But for a short time in early August, about 500,000 of those people — in the Ohio town of Toledo —were told not to use it due to an algae-related contamination. The problem of algal blooms is nothing new in western Lake Erie (the shallowest of the Great Lakes), but as Joel Brammeier of the Alliance for the Great Lakes notes, the incident in Toledo still served as a wake-up call....

Only 3 percent of the world’s water is fresh, with 2 percent locked up in glaciers and polar ice caps. The remaining 1 percent that is available for human and animal uses has seemed, in the past, to be an inexhaustible, yet vital, resource. Abundant water for drinking, sanitation, industry, irrigation, transportation and recreation has been a hallmark of much of the South. Development pressures, changes in precipitation patterns and transitioning priorities and consumption levels, however, have caused a shift in this situation.

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With the passage of SB 2727, Illinois has become the first U.S. state to ban the manufacture and sale of personal care products and over-the-counter drugs that contain plastic microbeads. The bill is in large part a response to arecent two-year survey of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. It found that microbeads (tiny particles often too small to be captured by wastewater systems) account for the highest count of plastic pollution in the freshwater system. 
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The millions of people going to a Great Lakes beach might not see and probably don’t want to think about the E. coli bacteria present in the freshwater system’s near-shore waters. But the bacteria are there — and sometimes at counts that exceed a standard for swimmer safety set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Bacteria counts, in fact, are more likely to be higher on a beach in the Great Lakes than in any other coastal region of the country, according to “Testing the Waters,” a June report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The study was based on a survey of nearly 3,500 beaches in 30 different states.
Thirteen percent of the water samples taken at Great Lakes beaches exceed the Beach Action Value, the EPA’s most protective benchmark for swimmer safety. That compares to the national average of 10 percent.
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The millions of people going to a Great Lakes beach might not see and probably don’t want to think about the E. coli bacteria present in the freshwater system’s near-shore waters. But the bacteria are there — and sometimes at counts that exceed a standard for swimmer safety set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Bacteria counts, in fact, are more likely to be higher on a beach in the Great Lakes than in any other coastal region of the country, according to “Testing the Waters,” a June report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The study was based on a survey of nearly 3,500 beaches in 30 different states.
Thirteen percent of the water samples taken at Great Lakes beaches exceed the Beach Action Value, the EPA’s most protective benchmark for swimmer safety. That compares to the national average of 10 percent.

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