skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

SCOTUS Narrows 50-Year-Old Clean Water Act, Affecting NM Rivers

play audio
Play

Friday, May 26, 2023   

Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling making it harder for the federal government to enforce clean-water rules has New Mexico environmental groups urging Congress to take the lead.

The 5-4 opinion by conservative justices, minus Bret Kavanaugh, is a blow to the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate wetlands and waterways. The court decided wetlands under the 50-year-old Clean Water Act can only be protected if they have a "continuous surface connection" to larger, regulated bodies of water. As a very arid state, said Tannis Fox, a staff attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center, said New Mexico doesn't have many, leaving it especially vulnerable.

"That could displace from federal protection just a multitude, perhaps a majority, of New Mexico surface waters," she said, "at least New Mexico perennial, ephemeral waters and wetlands."

The ruling stems from Sackett vs. EPA, a 14-year-old court case filed after the EPA halted construction on an Idaho home owned by Michael and Chantell Sackett, arguing that it jeopardized protected wetlands. In Thursday's ruling, all nine justices agreed the wetlands on the Sacketts' property are not covered by the Clean Water Act, essentially protecting property rights over clean water.

New Mexico is one of only three states without a surface water-quality permitting program, leaving its wetlands with the fewest protections. However, Jon Devine, a senior attorney and director of federal water policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council, predicted that all communities across the country will pay the price.

"I would estimate that at least half of the wetlands in the country are now at risk of being destroyed without the federal safeguards the Clean Water Act provides," he said, "over 50 million acres of wetlands."

Environmental groups want Congress and states to beef up protections for water used for drinking, swimming, fishing, irrigation and more. In the court's minority opinion, Justice Elena Kagan said much like a previous ruling limiting the EPA's ability to fight climate change, the court again has appointed itself the "national decisionmaker on environmental policy."


get more stories like this via email

more stories
North Carolina has received more than 105,000 contacts to its 988 system via call, chat and text in the past 12 months. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

North Carolina must increase its crisis response capacity for long-term success, according to a new report by the mental-health policy group …


Health and Wellness

play sound

In response to an alarmingly high number of suicides among construction workers, Michigan's construction leaders have taken measures to tackle mental …

Environment

play sound

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $271,000 in grants for environmental education projects across the state. The programs will …


Organizers say the Swingman Classic is the closest a modern-day fan can get to the historic Negro Leagues. (Danny Hooks/Adobe Stock)

play sound

Major League Baseball's All-Star week kicks off tonight at Globe Life Field in Arlington with the Swingman Classic featuring 50 student athletes from …

Health and Wellness

play sound

New York doctors are advising people how to stay healthy in the summer heat. Temperatures across the state will reach the high 80s and mid-90s in …

Along with extreme temperatures and public health-related states of emergency, a new Virginia law prevents utility shutoffs on Fridays, weekends and the day before or during state holidays. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

A new Virginia law protects residents from utility shutoffs in extreme weather. The law prevents utility company shutoffs when temperatures are at …

Social Issues

play sound

Minnesotans this month have a chance to share their thoughts on how the state should distribute home energy rebates. With federal incentives coming …

Social Issues

play sound

New Mexico teachers educating young people about climate change don't want them to feel hopeless - and they've developed an educational curriculum to …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021