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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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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.

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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.

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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.

Climate change alters ME biodiversity as species' range shifts north

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Monday, June 3, 2024   

Scientists said climate change is having an unprecedented and accelerating effect on the biodiversity of plants and animals in Maine. Rising sea temperatures are altering critical habitats and food webs, as seen in the collapse of Atlantic shrimp stock and loss of kelp beds, which hurts both marine life and Maine's vital fishing industry.

Kristen Puryear, ecologist for the Maine Natural Areas Program, said climate change is compounding existing threats like overdevelopment along the coast, where biodiverse tidal marshes are running out of space.

"Species likely to be vulnerable are those that are already rare on the state or global level, or have narrow or specialized habitat needs," Puryear explained.

Puryear pointed out scientists have the conservation tools to help mitigate the effects of climate change on wildlife, including using strategically connected landscapes and corridors to help species adapt and grow more resilient, even as they seek habitat further north.

Forests make up nearly 90% of Maine's land area, and scientists said they have reached a biological tipping point, growing more vulnerable to wildfires, disease and invasive pests. Species like glossy buckthorn, bittersweet and barberry can crowd out other native plants and become breeding grounds for ticks.

Puryear acknowledged other species will arrive in Maine's hardwood and softwood forests with minimal effects.

"To some degree, allowing these novel species to just move in on their own if they're not causing big upsets to the whole ecosystem may be something that we do have to let go," Puryear emphasized.

State officials said the vast number of trees in Maine offset nearly all the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the state, but emerging threats could change it. Maine's four-year plan to prepare for climate change is being updated by scientists with the Maine Climate Council and should be released later this year.


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Health and Wellness

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Environment

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Health and Wellness

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Social Issues

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

Social Issues

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Social Issues

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