Frustrated by lawmakers’ refusal to consider a bill to get tougher on sources of agricultural pollution feeding Lake Erie’s chronic toxic algae problem, Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday took matters into his own hands with an executive order. “This is just requiring farmers to figure out a way to manage their land in a more effective and environmentally friendly way,” the Republican governor said. “I believe that farmers want to do that.”Under the order, his administration will ask the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission at its July 19 meeting to designate eight watersheds or portions of watersheds with high phosphorous levels within the Maumee River Basin as “distressed.” That would trigger the writing of rules affecting all agricultural nutrient sources, including such things as storage, handling, and application of manure; erosion and sediment control from the land; and other agricultural practices. Civil penalties could apply for violations.
Baltimore has become the first major city to prohibit restaurants from including sugary drinks on children's menus. The measure, which went into effect on Wednesday, is intended to promote healthy habits in young children and their families by making the default kids' menu options water, milk and 100 percent fruit juices.Parents will still be able to order sugary drinks, such as sodas, for their children.
Automaker BMW says it will build more of its popular SUVs overseas to offset the higher cost of sending cars to China due to recently enacted tariffs. BMW also said it will raise the price of South Carolina-built vehicles sold in China to help offset that country's new 40 percent import tax on cars from the U.S., retaliation for higher tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by President Donald Trump.The dpa news agency reported that Munich-based BMW said Monday it is "not in a position to completely absorb the tariff increases."
House lawmakers in both parties are hoping to use a spending bill to block offshore oil and natural gas drilling in the waterways off their states’ coasts. A handful of lawmakers, mainly from coastal states, are sponsoring proposed amendments to the annual appropriations bill for the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would block Interior funding to allow drilling in particular areas.
Six New Hampshire biomass plants might be in jeopardy of closing after a bill was recently vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu. The governor said the bill could have cost Granite Staters millions, but plant managers and employees said the plants are in jeopardy if lawmakers don't act. The governor issued the veto in June, saying the veto would not take anything away from the biomass industry. He said the bill would have given the industry an additional $30 million in subsidies, and vetoing it saved ratepayers about $25 million. Plant managers said the veto has already had an impact. At Pinetree, the pile of wood chips that fuels the plant is running low and will likely last for about a week."Once we go through that fuel, we will go into economic shutdown," manager Robert Lussier said.Officials at six biomass plants that employ about 900 people said they could close if nothing changes.
The Canadian government has announced an investment of up to C$14 million to help the country’s beef industry to boost sustainability and exports, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said in a news release. Ottawa’s contribution to the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) adds to the BCRC’s own contribution of up to C$7.6 million, for a total investment of about C$21 million. BCRC is a division of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Clusters.
Governor Scott announced that more than $1.6 million has been awarded to support projects in rural communities across the state. This grant funding was provided through the Rural Infrastructure Fund to help with the planning, preparation and financing of infrastructure projects in rural communities. These projects will result in job creation, capital investment and the strengthening and diversification of Florida’s rural economies. During Gov. Scott’s time in office, every county has had a decrease in unemployment and every region in Florida has experienced job growth.
Virginia regulators have accused the builder of the Mountain Valley Pipeline of environmental violations punishable by fines and repair mandates, saying the company’s failure to install and maintain erosion-control devices has fouled 8,800 feet of streams in six locations.The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality gave Robert Cooper, project manager for EQT Corp. in Pittsburgh, a nine-page notice of violations on Monday. The energy company, which hopes to fill the line with natural gas by the end of the year and is permitted to continue working, has 10 days to respond.Five months into tree-clearing, grading and digging needed to bury the pipe, the $3 billion project faces possible state enforcement action for the first time. West Virginia previously notified EQT of alleged violations on that state’s portion of the pipeline.
North Dakota's attorney general is suing the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline over agricultural land the company owns in violation of a state law banning large corporations from owning farmland. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a civil complaint in state district court against Dakota Access LLC, a company formed by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners to build the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. The pipeline began operating a year ago. Dakota Access in September 2016 bought about 6,000 acres (2,400 hectares) from a ranch family in an area of southern North Dakota where thousands of pipeline opponents had gathered to protest. North Dakota law prohibits large corporations from owning and operating farms, to protect the state's family farming heritage, but Stenehjem reached a deal with the company under which he agreed not to immediately sue. He deemed the purchase temporarily necessary to provide a safer environment for pipeline workers. The agreement with the company expired at the end of last year but was extended through June. The company's "continued ownership of the land constitutes a continuing violation of state law,"
The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report detailing observations from the Animal Rights National Conference, held June 28 through July 1 in Los Angeles, Ca. The event was organized by the Farm Animal Rights Movement and sponsored by Mercy for Animals, The Save Movement, Compassion Over Killing and The Humane League, along with other animal rights extremist groups. According to conference organizers, the Animal Rights National Conference is the world’s largest and longest-running gathering of animal rights activists with the shared belief that “animals have the right to be free from all forms of human exploitation.” Speakers at the conference made it clear that their objective is the liberation of animals, not enhancing animal welfare. “Animal rights is different from animal welfare. It’s not about better cages; it’s about empty cages,”said Anita Krajnc of The Save Movement, a group who conducts “vigils” at slaughterhouses across the country. Speakers agreed that any form of meat production is inherently inhumane, making statements such as “There is no such thing as humane slaughter” (Michael Budkie, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!), “You cannot humanely kill something that doesn’t want to die”(Justin Van Kleek, Triangle Chicken Advocates), “I do believe that all farming and slaughterhouses are cruel”(Jaya Bhumitra, Animal Equality) and “All farms are factory farms, no matter the size”(Hope Bonahec, United Poultry Concerns).