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Coal company claims water rules would kill underground mining

The nation’s largest underground coal mining company claims a proposed update to the federal stream protection rule is the top regulatory threat to its industry.  “What this rule does is put an end to underground mining in the United States,” Gary Broadbent of Murray Energy Corporation said at an Ohio State Bar Association program in Columbus on April 14. The closely-held company is headquartered in St. Clairsville, Ohio.

Fort McMurray,Alberta fire: Entire city forced to flee as inferno rages

The sky in northern Alberta's Fort McMurray resembled a wall of fire and smoke as a mammoth inferno swallowed parts of the Canadian city. Authorities ordered the evacuation of about 88,000 people, including the entire city of Fort McMurray.A state of emergency across the province was declared later in the day.The blaze has already destroyed 80% of Fort McMurray's Beacon Hill community.In all, some 1,600 structures have been destroyed by the fire, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said. However, there have been no reports of deaths or injuries, officials said.

Regulators warn updated grid needs updated reliability rules

The lumbering coal-fired power stations facing closure because of age and air emissions have been the workhorses of the U.S. high-voltage electric transmission grid. When the grid was stressed and frequency dropped, they ran harder.

Now, as tomorrow's grid is reshaped with more wind farms, solar arrays and gas-fired plants, experts warn that new regulation will be needed to ensure that these new resources provide the frequency support and other essential services that the coal plants delivered.

April winds led to ‘unprecedented’ power production in Upper Midwes

It’s not your imagination. It’s been windier than usual lately across Minnesota.  April is the windiest month of the year on average in Minnesota. And this April our winds have blown harder than average.  It turns out our winds have been producing some unprecedented power production across the Upper Midwest lately.  On one day last November, more than 50 percent of Xcel’s total energy output was produced by wind. That’s a pretty remarkable fact for renewable energy, and one that might have been unthinkable just five or 10 years ago.

Avian Influenza strikes down Missouri turkeys

H5N1 Low path Avian Influenza was confirmed in a 39,000 bird turkey flock in Jasper County, Missouri. The entire flock was euthanized. Japan banned poultry prodiucts fromthe region. 

USDA Unveils Three-Year Conservation Strategy for Lesser Prairie-Chicken

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the release of a three-year conservation strategy that will guide the voluntary restoration of 500,000 acres of habitat for the lesser prairie-chicken, an iconic grassland bird of the southern Great Plains. The bird has historically suffered from population declines and this strategy is part of an ongoing science-based strategic effort by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to restore grassland and prairie ecosystems while enhancing grazing lands in five states.

NRCS to Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts on Water Quality

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as it leaves their fields, providing data to evaluate the success of various conservation efforts. The funding is available to farmers located across key watersheds in nine states and is part of USDA’s ongoing commitment to measure the effectiveness of a wide range of conservation initiatives.  

Legume Bloat Problems Killing Cattle in SW Missouri

There has been an unusually high number of bloat problems among cattle in southwest Missouri.

"Some of those cattle deaths were posted by veterinarians, and frothy bloat was found to be the cause," said Cole.

Clover is very evident in most pastures this year. This follows a tremendous amount of common white or ladino clover in 2015.

"Some farmers report the clover is so dense it is crowding out their fescue, ryegrass, and orchardgrass," said Cole.

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