• Man-made earthquakesUpdate on earthquakes: Newest results from Oklahoma Commission look “encouraging”

    By Robert Lee Maril

    The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), the regulatory agency overseeing the state’s oil and gas industry, now has data that may suggest their directives to owners of production and induction wells have successfully contributed to a decline in seismic activity in the most volatile areas prone to earthquakes.Scientists at the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) continue to remind the public that there are a wide variety of unanswered questions about immediate and long-term remedies even with the new directives in place. 

  • Water securityChanging land uses in California will drive water needs beyond available supply

    If past patterns of California land-use change continue, projected water needs by the year 2062 will increase beyond current supply. If historical trends of land use changes to or from urban, agricultural or other uses continue, the result will be increased water-use demand beyond what existing supplies can provide. Large uncertainties associated with weather and climate variability have the potential to exacerbate the problem.

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  • Water securityWith drought easing, California rolls back water conservation rules

    California announced on Wednesday that it was rolling back mandatory water conservation rules which were put in place at the height of a 4-year drought. The decision to roll back the restrictions came after water conditions in many parts of the state have improved as a result of a wet winter.

  • Plum IslandHouse temporarily halts sale of Plum Island

    New York and Connecticut lawmakers who have been campaigning against the sale of Plum Island by the federal government, have won an impressive victory as the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously on Monday to halt efforts to sell the property, at least temporarily. Plum Island, located of the north-eastern tip of Long Island, has for decades housed a high-security biolab in which research into deadly animal diseases pathogens. The aging lab is closing, and its operations will be moved to a modern high-security lab being built in the campus of Kansas State University.

  • Water securityMapping Louisiana’s water flow interactions to preserve state’s fresh water

    As part of an effort to preserve Louisiana’s fresh water resources, RTI International worked with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to develop two online tools, released today, that offer a first-of-their-kind look at how Louisiana’s waters interact with each other. These tools will help fishermen, oystermen, planners, decision makers, and all Louisianans understand the state’s unique water flow patterns.

  • GridRaccoon brings down grid, cutting power to 40,000 Seattle homes

    A raccoon broke into a Seattle, Washington power substation on Wednesday morning and single-handedly (some suggest: single-pawedly) brought down the electrical grid, cutting power to more about 40,000 homes. The raccoon did not stay inside the substation for long, but still managed to cause thirteen separate system outages.

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  • GridProtecting Texas electrical grid key to preserving national security

    Protecting America’s most vulnerable asset – our electric power grid – starts with Texas, according to a new study. “As Texas goes, so goes our national security,” says the study’s author. “Outside of California and the Beltway, Texas is arguably the most important state for defense readiness.” Hardening the state’s electric power grid should be top priority.

  • U.S. MuslimsHijab-wearing Muslim women kicked out of California café suing for discrimination

    Seven Muslim women who were kicked out of a southern California restaurant for wearing a hijab have sued the business for discrimination. The women, six of whom were wearing hijabs, were ordered to leave Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach on 22 April. The manager who told them to leave explained that they violated the café’s policy of limiting seating to forty-five minutes—but videos show that the restaurant was half-empty when the women were told to leave, and the restaurant states on its Webpage that “If tables are available, you are certainly welcome to enjoy Urth for as long as you desire.”

  • ImmigrationState sued for licensing detention center

    By Madlin Mekelburg

    Grassroots Leadership, which opposes for-profit prisons, has sued the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for issuing a temporary child-care license to an immigration detention facility in Karnes City. Thenon-profit organization says the department has no authority to regulate detention centers or prisons, and is asking a Travis County District Court for a temporary injunction and restraining order to stop the licensing.

  • InfrastructureFixing NYC’s aging infrastructure one engineering problem at a time

    How do you make sure aging bridges which are vital links in New York City’s transportation network are safe or keep the city’s sewer system from breaking down? These are among the questions that occupy Columbia University researchers, who have installed sensors to analyze vibration on some of the city’s bridges and in landmark buildings and museums, and have focused on the functioning of the city’s water system.

  • HijabCalif. Muslim woman sues Long Beach police for forcibly removing her headscarf

    Kirsty Powell, an African American Muslim woman, has on Monday sued the police in California, charging that her headscarf, which she was wearing for religious reasons, was forcibly removed by officers after she was arrested on outstanding warrants. The suit states that Powell “suffered and continues to suffer extreme shame, humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress” as a result of her experience at the police station.

  • ImmigrationEl Paso doesn't want ID as "sanctuary city"

    By Julián Aguilar

    An El Paso-based immigrant rights group could see its hopes for a municipal ID card dashed after leaders there determined that issuing the card might prompt immigration hardliners to label the town a “sanctuary city.”

  • Plum IslandPlum Island may be turned into a national park rather than sold to developers

    Members of the New York and Connecticut congressional delegations announced on Friday a plan to launch a study of Plum Island’s natural and historic resources, saying the plan is one step toward halting the sale of the island to developers. In 2009 DHS said the island would be sold to developers to help fund the new BioLab Level 4 on the campus of Kansas State University, which is set to open in 2022.

  • GunsThree gun-safety laws in effect in some states could significantly reduce gun deaths

    A nationwide study which analyzes the impact of gun-control laws in the United States has found that just 9 of 25 state laws are effective in reducing firearm deaths. The research suggests that three laws implemented in some states could reduce gun deaths by more than 80 percent if they were implemented nationwide. Laws requiring firearm identification through ballistic imprinting or microstamping were found to reduce the projected mortality risk by 84 percent; ammunition background checks by 82 percent; and universal background checks for all gun purchases by 61 percent. Nineother states laws — such as the so-called “Stand your Ground” laws — were associated with increased mortality.

  • ImmigrationState-level immigration policies should be subject of cost-benefit analysis

    While immigration policy has been the purview of the U.S. federal government, nearly all states have taken a more-active role on the issue of unauthorized immigration in the past fifteen years through actions such as making drivers licenses available regardless of immigration status and requiring employers to verify eligibility to work, according to a new study. States, however, rarely examine the costs and benefits of such policies before enacting them, suggesting the need for a comprehensive tool to help state policymakers assess the full range of costs and benefits of immigration policies before they are adopted.