Saturday, January 28, 2023

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A critical number of rural IA nursing homes close; TX lawmakers consider measures to restrict, and expand voting in 2023 Session; and CT groups, and unions call for public-health reforms.

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Attorney General announces enforcement actions on ransomware, Democrats discuss border policies, and the FDA is relaxing rules for gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

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"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

On Clean Water Act’s 50th Anniversary, Issue Returns to Supreme Court

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Thursday, October 20, 2022   

The Clean Water Act turns 50 years old this week, but parts of it are currently under attack in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case could remove protections from some streams and wetlands, which would then make it easier and cheaper to pollute or even eliminate these waterways.

Chanté Coleman, senior vice president for equity and justice at the National Wildlife Federation, said the law was partially motivated by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.

"There weren't any federal controls on industrial pollution or oil spills," Coleman explained. "So, many cities dumped largely untreated sewage into the Pacific Ocean or its coastal bays. And the federal government itself dumped 50,000 barrels of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean."

California has strict rules to protect water, but a new report from the National Wildlife Federation said the case, Sackett versus EPA, could allow factories, hog farms and wastewater plants to pollute waters in other states lacking strong water quality protections.

The report highlights the success in turning Monterey Bay from an ecological disaster caused by pollution and overfishing into a healthy ecosystem and thriving tourist destination, and credits the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Coleman noted few laws have ever had such a massive impact.

"The Clean Water Act keeps 700 billion pounds of pollutants out of our waters annually," Coleman reported. "And has slowed the rate of decline of wetland loss and doubled the number of waters that are safe for fishing and swimming."

The report also called on Congress to do more to address agricultural runoff, which is the leading reason bodies of water across the U.S. do not meet water-quality standards.

Disclosure: The National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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