Conservation, Energy & Environment


USDA announces $4 million in funding to promote bee habitat

October 29, 2014

On October 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $4 million in Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding for financial and technical assistance to help farmers promote and protect honey bee health and habitat. The funding is a renewal and expansion of the $3 million in EQIP money set aside this year for pollinator protection.  The EQIP funding […]

EPA Advisory Board Backs Scientific Basis for “Waters of the U.S.” Rule

October 24, 2014

On Thursday, October 23, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) released its 103-page review of the agency’s hydrology connectivity report. The report, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence, reviews and synthesizes hydrology literature and is largely the scientific basis for the EPA and […]

USDA Creates New Website for Climate Hubs

October 24, 2014

On Wednesday, October 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a new website dedicated to its regional climate change “hubs,” which the Department created in 2013.  USDA maintains seven hubs–Pacific Northwest, Southwest, Northern Plains, Southern Plains, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast–and three sub-hubs–Caribbean, Northern Forests, and California.  USDA created the three sub-hubs where “special aspects […]

NSAC Helps Deliver Soil Health Vision Statement to USDA

October 21, 2014

On Friday, October 17, more than 40 national organizations, companies, and foundations delivered a joint vision statement for soil health and cover crops to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) joined with the National Association of Conservation Districts and American Soybean Association to issue a press release and deliver the letter […]

60 Members of Congress and 17 Non-Profit Groups Urge EPA to Limit Neonicotinoid Pesticides

October 1, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is getting pressure from environmental and sustainable agriculture organizations and members of Congress to investigate and restrict the use of neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides linked to declining pollinator populations. Neonicotinoids are being cited as one of several factors contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder in bees, leading to sharp […]

Congress Extends 2014 Funding Levels through December 11

September 19, 2014

On Thursday, September 18, the Senate passed a short-term funding extension, known as a “continuing resolution” (CR), to fund the federal government through December 11.  The CR extends fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding levels as well as policy provisions known as appropriations “riders.”  The House passed this temporary funding measure earlier this week, and the […]

House Agriculture Committee Holds Hearing on Soil Health

September 19, 2014

On Thursday, September 18, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing entitled, “The Benefits of Promoting Soil Health in Agriculture and Rural America,” to examine the steps that farmers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), state and local  government agencies, and non-governmental organizations are taking to improve soil health on farms and ranches.  The hearing […]

$68 million in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects Announced

September 19, 2014

On Thursday, September 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $68 million investment in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the country through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The majority of the money, over $56 million, was distributed as loans.  Another $12 million was awarded as grants.  Of the 540 projects […]

New GE Corn and Soybean Varieties Approved

September 18, 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved three new genetically engineered (GE) crops for commercial sale in a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) Record of Decision (ROD) published on the agency’s website on Tuesday, September 16. APHIS approved three petitions from Dow AgroSciences to grant nonregulated status to a […]

Conservation Innovation Grant Recipients Announced

September 16, 2014

On Monday, September 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced 47 new Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) awards, totaling $15.7 million.  Recipients include universities, soil and water conservation districts, tribal organizations, resource conservation and development councils, and non-profit organizations.  Roughly half of this year’s CIG awards focus on soil health. The CIG program is administered […]

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