The National Wildlife Federation is the United States' largest private, nonprofit conservation education and advocacy organization, with over four million members and supporters, and 48 state and territorial affiliated organizations. The NWF strives to remain "A national network of like-minded state and territorial groups, seeking balanced, common-sense solutions to environmental problems that work for wildlife and people." Its mission statement is "to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future." Wikipedia.
News Article | May 4, 2017
As President Trump passes the milestone of his first 100 days in office, his most effective tool so far has been what he calls “the sledgehammer”—the pen he has used to sign about 30 executive orders, plus memos and pieces of legislation, that knock down a wide range of Obama-era rules and decisions. Among Trump’s construction-related actions are measures to ease contractor disclosure mandates, narrow federal authority over dredging near bodies of water and remove Obama’s roadblocks of high-profile energy pipeline projects. But the sledgehammer hasn’t been effective in advancing Trump’s legislative priorities. GOP-drafted legislation to abolish President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and set up a new system failed in March to gain enough Republicans’ votes to ensure passage in the House. But House Republicans revised the bill and the new version was passed on May 4 by a narrow 217-213. The outlook for the legislation in the Senate is unclear. On tax reform, a second top legislative item, Trump has just gotten the ball rolling, unveiling a bare-bones, one-page outline for an ambitious tax-cut plan that could benefit many engineering and construction firms. But the outline quickly sparked strong criticism from Democrats. If that proposal were to become a reality, it would provide a stunningly large revenue lift to engineering firms and contractors—and more jobs for workers—around the country. Construction industry officials are most anxious about what they view as the biggest of Trump’s Big Three legislative initiatives: his promised plan to pour $1 trillion into improving highways, bridges and other infrastructure over 10 years. If that proposal were to become a reality, it would provide a stunningly large revenue lift to engineering firms and contractors—and more jobs for workers—around the country. Trump’s regulatory actions are important, says Jay Hansen, National Asphalt Pavement Association executive vice president. But he adds, “The biggest thing that Congress and the president can do is to pass a major infrastructure bill to help our country stimulate economic growth.” Laborers’ International Union of North America General President Terry O’Sullivan points out that the American Society of Civil Engineers pegs U.S. infrastructure needs at $4.6 trillion. O’Sullivan says, “A trillion is a big step forward.” Question marks continue to swirl around the infrastructure plan, however, months after Trump floated it during the presidential campaign. As one industry source puts it: “The timing is confusing, the potential content is confusing—whether it’s going to be money, whether it’s going to be primarily regulatory [streamlining]—what type of projects, who’s picking the projects?” The source adds, “It’s all up in the air and obviously … not happening in the first 100 days.” Trump continues to say that a sizable infrastructure measure is in the works. On April 18, he said the plan “is coming and it’s coming fast.” But “fast” is looking like months from now—and that is just until the proposal’s release. Then, Congress will review, debate and, undoubtedly, change it. The administration has been holding talks aimed at sketching out the proposal. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says the plan is “in its early discussions.” Speaking at an April 20 economics conference in Washington, D.C., he added, “I don’t think you’ll actually start to see specific things to be able to …vote on until the fall.” Mulvaney also said Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, which has been targeted for a May release, will have “a $200-billion number” for federal infrastructure spending, sparking five times that amount in private-sector financing. Bud Wright, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials executive director, says, “They are willingly taking input from many parties in developing the plan.” He adds, “Some of the signals that we have heard would suggest that, certainly, we’re not going to see $1 trillion of new [federal] funding as a part of this package. There seems to be a strong emphasis on [project-approval] process reform and attracting private capital for infrastructure investment.” Mulvaney’s statements, like earlier ones from Trump and others on his team, left out key points, such as how much of the $200 billion would be new money or, perhaps, repackage existing spending. In discussing the 2018 budget outline that Trump released in March, which had no funds for U.S. Transportation Dept. programs such as transit new starts and popular TIGER grants, Mulvaney said administration officials see the zeroed-out programs as “less efficient” than the infrastructure plan that is in the works. Bruno Roy, CFO of Montreal-based WSP, noted that despite a strong infrastructure platform touted by Canada’s Liberal government when elected in October 2015, “it’s taken 18 months for the first Canadian project to trickle down.” Construction and engineering companies are pushing to make sure Trump’s proposal represents their sector focus, whether surface and air transportation or drinking water-wastewater, inland and coastal waterways, or electric power. Joe Bennett, vice president for engineering with electric transmission owner and operator ITC Holdings Corp., says, “We see merit in infrastructure investment plans that carry provisions for modernizing perhaps the most critical national infrastructure of all: our interstate high-voltage transmission system.” Nathan Gardner-Andrews, National Association of Clean Water Agencies chief advocacy officer, says, “We’re definitely looking for a significant funding level for water and wastewater infrastructure.” One concern is what share of the plan public-private partnerships will have. He observes, “That model does not work as well on the water side as it does, say, on the surface-transportation side.” Even though administration officials frequently mention highways, bridges and transit when they talk about the coming program,Wright says that doesn’t necessarily mean surface transportation will get most of the $1 trillion. He adds, “We want to make sure that transportation gets its fair share.” Transportation groups also want the plan to include a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund, which has needed general-fund transfers of $143.3 billion since 2008 to stay in the black. “They know they’ve got to address the Highway Trust Fund,” Hansen says. “It’s going to crater, and they can’t let it crater.” Design firm chief financial officers remain mixed on Trump administration impacts. In a survey of 154 CFOs conducted by management consultant EFCG, respondents in transportation sector firms were split between being positive and neutral on Trump impacts. Almost 75% of those in environmental consulting firms were either neutral or negative, although 62% of those in water and wastewater companies were positive on the Trump impact on their sector. Ash Wason, CFO of engineer Carollo, which specializes in water and wastewater treatment design, said population growth and other catalysts would spur work in that sector, “regardless of Trump,” although he speculated that regulatory reform ahead could have strong negative impact on plant-rehabilitation investment. Mike Sweeney, HNTB Corp. president for the Northeast division, urges a forward-focused plan. He says, “We need to look at infrastructure priorities and approaches so new spending goes beyond just catching up to where we should have been years ago [and] takes us to where we need to be for the future.” He cites “new and smart” projects, such as the New York City area’s proposed Gateway Program, which includes a new Hudson River tunnel. “Infrastructure spending is something we need badly,” says Scott Moss, president of Fort Lauderdale-based construction management firm Moss & Associates. But he adds, “If [Trump] really does spend that money on infrastructure, that further exacerbates the labor-market shortage.” Daniel J. Filer, vice president for business development at Austin, Texas, contractor Ferrovial Agroman, said Trump’s interest in infrastructure and private-sector investment is encouraging. But he adds, “It is important that this plan is structured and implemented in a way that addresses priority projects, applies the appropriate contracting structures and considers the needs of the tax-paying public above all else.” Whenever the plan is unveiled, it will be only the first step toward making the $1 trillion a reality. Infrastructure backers say public-works bills traditionally win bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, citing the big vote margins for the 2015 FAST Act surface-transportation measure and the 2016 WIIN Act for water-project funding. Administration officials say private dollars will be a part of the package through P3s or other mechanisms. But Hill Democrats’ $1-trillion infrastructure plan, rolled out in January, uses only direct federal funds. Wright says, “Frankly, many of the projects that we think are going to make a difference on the transportation side are not necessarily ones that have the potential to generate revenue. And those are likely to be the kinds of projects that would be most attractive to the private sector.” Lawmakers from rural states, such as Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), have made it clear that P3s don’t work in their areas and will pitch to include substantial direct federal funds in the infrastructure package. Stephen Sandherr, Associated General Contractors of America CEO, says, “When we have a plan, it’s going to be difficult to thread the needle to get all of the disparate factions on Capitol Hill to support an infrastructure program.” He observes, “You’ve got Republicans who say it has to be paid for. You have Democrats who are going to be pushing back on some opportunities to streamline the permitting process. You’re going to have all kinds of reasons to be against this, even though the public seems to want to get it done.” Trump’s proposed tax outline, announced on April 26, also faces a long, difficult path on Capitol Hill. A key feature of the plan cuts the corporate tax rate to 15% from 35%. It also would apply the 15% rate to “pass-through” entities, such as partnerships and sole proprietorships, which are taxed at individual, not corporate, rates. More than 80% of AGC member firms and more than 75% of Associated Builders and Contractors’ member firms are pass-throughs. Trump’s tax proposal also calls for companies to bring back to the U.S. what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin estimates to be “trillions” of dollars in overseas profits. But unlike earlier “repatriation” proposals from the Obama administration and former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, the Trump plan doesn’t earmark for infrastructure that potential revenue infusion. Chuck Kemp, CFO of Power Engineers, Boise, noted that the firm has boosted its lobbying efforts to affect policy in key business areas, such as medical costs. He says the firm’s cost of employee coverage has risen 20%. “We need to be out in front on this,” he told CFO peers at an April conference in New York. But based on an estimate of hands raised among the more than 100 attendees, only about 20% had adopted a lobbying strategy. Looking internaitnally, "ongoing talk of a new tax regime gives hopes of an uptick in the U.S. economy and therefore investment opportunities," says Julian Andersion, president of global cost consultant Rider Levett Bucknall. "However, this is tempered by the difficulty that the administration seems to be having getting important legislation passed." He says non-U.S. indusltry firms and investors are looking for "cerrtainty and stability." Anderson adds, "The ongoing threat of trade wars with major trading partners means that the U.S. is not considered as reliable a partner as it has been in the past. Once some of the administration’s fervor for renegotiating trade deals has run its course, then international investors will likely feel more comfortable." Of the administration’s regulatory actions so far, contractor groups point to legislation Trump signed on March 27 abolishing what critics have called the “blacklisting” rule. It required potential bidders on federal projects to disclose past labor and workplace-safety violations, going back three years. They also single out a measure, signed in April, to revoke an Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule extending the statute of limitations for citing firms for violations. Those regulations were canceled under the Congressional Review Act, which provides fast-track action against rules issued within a certain time period. Contractors also praise a Feb. 28 order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin revising a 2015 rule that defines which streams, wetlands and other water bodies are subject to federal regulation. “That was a big one,” says Kristen Swearingen, ABC vice president for legislative and political affairs. LIUNA’s O’Sullivan cites memos Trump issued on Jan. 24 to get new energy pipelines moving, including Keystone XL and Dakota Access, and expedite project permitting. Those actions have advanced pipeline projects involving more than 22,500 jobs for construction union members, he says. More action on the regulatory front is coming. For example, the Congressional Review Act did not apply to the “waters of the U.S.” rule, and the administration is just getting started on a revision. It will have to be drafted and then formally proposed, undergo a public comment period, possibly be altered and published as a final version. That process could take a year or two. However, the National Wildlife Federation has said it will seek to block the rewrite in federal court. With R. Alexander Acosta’s April 28 swearing in as Labor secretary, the administration may take a new look at a 2016 Obama rule that raises the salary threshold at which companies must pay overtime. The rule’s opponents also have challenged it in the courts. ABC wants the administration to rescind an Obama executive order that encourages project labor agreements on federal contracts over $25 million. The group also wants to reinstate a George W. Bush administration directive that federal contracts should not require the use of PLAs. But construction unions are sure to oppose that plan. With Trump in the White House, Sandherr says, “We’re advancing the ball, rather than playing defense, and on a lot of these issues we’ve crossed the 50-yard line.” But Trump and his allies don’t face a clear field. Congressional Democrats and their supporters, such as environmental groups, are digging in to a “prevent defense” formation. They are aiming to alter the president’s proposals on Capitol Hill and go to court to block his deregulation moves. But construction groups hope both sides can team up on their industry’s chief priority: a hefty infrastructure package. Story updated on May 5 with House health-care bill approval.
News Article | May 8, 2017
The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan resolution designating May 20 "Kids to Parks Day." [Co-sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Rob Portman (R-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI).] Mayors from more than 350 cities and towns – including Chicago (IL), Boston (MA), Philadelphia (PA), Orlando (FL), Dallas (TX), San Diego (CA), Atlanta (GA), Tucson (AZ), Chattanooga (TN), Portland (OR), Vineland (NJ), Denver (CO), and Youngstown (OH) have signed resolutions of support and are planning Kids to Parks Day events on May 20th. Visit www.kidstoparks.org for a complete list of park events by state and downloadable tips and activity guides to help children, families and teachers plan park adventures. Those who pledge to participate will also have a chance to win a camping package from The North Face, including a tent, 4 sleeping bags and a duffel bag. National Park Trust's Kids to Parks Day has the support of the National Park Service and America's State Parks. Other NPT collaborators include: the National League of Cities' Institute for Youth, Education, and Families; American Academy of Pediatrics; National Recreation and Park Association; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; National Geographic Kids; American Hiking Society; Children & Nature Network; National Wildlife Federation; Sierra Club; Outdoors Alliance for Kids; National Environmental Education Foundation; American Recreation Coalition; National Parks Conservation Association; The Wilderness Society; Girl Scouts Nation's Capital; and Outdoor Families Magazine. Kids to Parks Day is the signature event of NPT's popular Buddy Bison® School Program which teaches environmental education. Through its woolly mascot Buddy Bison, NPT encourages children to "Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!" More than 60 elementary and middle Title I schools in 15 states and Washington, D.C. participate in the Buddy Bison School Program, which provides classroom resources and fully funded park trips that enhance and expand school curricula. In 2012, NPT launched the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest. This year, NPT awarded park grants to 70 Title I schools in 28 states and Washington, D.C. benefiting nearly 4,000 children, grades pre-K through 12. The grants will help students put their ideas into action and visit, learn, steward and play in their local, state and national parks and public lands this month. Share your park experience on Facebook and Instagram: @nationalparktrust #kidstoparks #buddybison To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/7th-annual--kids-to-parks-day-saturday-may-20-2017-300452853.html
News Article | February 28, 2017
Marcia L. Goodman, Ph.D. Honored as a Woman of Excellence by Strathmore's Who's Who Worldwide Publication About Marcia L. Goodman, Ph.D., PH.D. Dr. Goodman has over 50 years experience in the healthcare field. She is a Medical Resident providing patient care at Knox Cardiology Practice in East Hartford, Connecticut. She specializes in treating cardiology patients. Dr. Goodman’s interest in cardiology developed after she had open-heart surgery. She was so grateful and impressed by the outstanding professionals who nursed her back to health that she decided to pursue a career in cardiology nursing. Previously, Dr. Goodman served as a Registered Nurse for almost 10 years, working in the West Indies and Bermuda, a laboratory technician with the American Red Cross for 15 years and an employee of the Social Security Administration for five years, where she helped to start the Medicare program. Dr. Goodman received an Honorary MD and a Ph.D. from Yale University. She is a member of the Supreme Council of the Order of the Amaranth, and is affiliated with the American Red Cross, the American Diabetes Association, the Order of the Eastern Star, the National Wildlife Federation and the A.S.P.C.A. In her spare time, Dr. Goodman enjoys being involved with the theatre. She served as Assistant Director for the Championship Season on Broadway, working with many of Broadway’s biggest stars. She appeared on the soap opera, “Another World,” and a production of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.” Dr. Goodman also managed a community theatre group. About Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide highlights the professional lives of individuals from every significant field or industry including business, medicine, law, education, art, government and entertainment. Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide is both an online and hard cover publication where we provide our members’ current and pertinent business information. It is also a biographical information source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms throughout the world. Our goal is to ensure that our members receive all of the networking, exposure and recognition capabilities to potentially increase their business. East Hartford, CT, February 28, 2017 --( PR.com )-- Marcia L. Goodman, Ph.D. of East Hartford, Connecticut has been honored as a Woman of Excellence for 2017 by Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide Edition for her outstanding contributions and achievements in the field of healthcare.About Marcia L. Goodman, Ph.D., PH.D.Dr. Goodman has over 50 years experience in the healthcare field. She is a Medical Resident providing patient care at Knox Cardiology Practice in East Hartford, Connecticut. She specializes in treating cardiology patients. Dr. Goodman’s interest in cardiology developed after she had open-heart surgery. She was so grateful and impressed by the outstanding professionals who nursed her back to health that she decided to pursue a career in cardiology nursing.Previously, Dr. Goodman served as a Registered Nurse for almost 10 years, working in the West Indies and Bermuda, a laboratory technician with the American Red Cross for 15 years and an employee of the Social Security Administration for five years, where she helped to start the Medicare program.Dr. Goodman received an Honorary MD and a Ph.D. from Yale University. She is a member of the Supreme Council of the Order of the Amaranth, and is affiliated with the American Red Cross, the American Diabetes Association, the Order of the Eastern Star, the National Wildlife Federation and the A.S.P.C.A.In her spare time, Dr. Goodman enjoys being involved with the theatre. She served as Assistant Director for the Championship Season on Broadway, working with many of Broadway’s biggest stars. She appeared on the soap opera, “Another World,” and a production of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.” Dr. Goodman also managed a community theatre group.About Strathmore’s Who’s Who WorldwideStrathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide highlights the professional lives of individuals from every significant field or industry including business, medicine, law, education, art, government and entertainment. Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide is both an online and hard cover publication where we provide our members’ current and pertinent business information. It is also a biographical information source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms throughout the world. Our goal is to ensure that our members receive all of the networking, exposure and recognition capabilities to potentially increase their business. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from Strathmore Worldwide
News Article | February 17, 2017
SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Automaker Subaru of America, Inc. and the local Wasatch Front Subaru Retailers are bringing the love to Salt Lake Comic Con (saltlakecomiccon.com) and will be a driving force for one of the fastest growing comic cons in North America, beginning with Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience 2017 (FanX™) on March 17-18, 2017. Subaru will play an important role in FanX 2017, specifically through providing official Salt Lake Comic Con vehicles, a significant presence at ongoing Salt Lake Comic Con and FanX events, as well as other joint community involvement such as movie screenings, and a soon to be announced partnership with the Humane Society. Subaru vehicles are renowned for their safety, longevity, versatility and have one of the highest residual values in the U.S. Today, the Subaru product line features the all-new 2017 Impreza, as well as the WRX, STI, BRZ, Legacy, Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek. “We’re excited to partner with Salt Lake Comic Con and be a part of what is considered to be one of the premier comic cons in the country,” said Charles Lamoureux, Zone Retailer Marketing Manager, Western Region, at Subaru of America. “We look forward to supporting Salt Lake Comic Con in its innovative approach to making their fans dreams come true and teaming with them to make a positive impact in the Salt Lake community.” “We’re pleased to partner with a company like Subaru and the local Wasatch Front Subaru Retailers,” said Dan Farr, Salt Lake Comic Con Founder and Show Producer. “Subaru and their local retailers are committed to their customers, employees and the communities in which they do business, which aligns perfectly with our core values and makes this alliance a natural fit.” FanX 2017 will provide fans with a more intimate, up close and personal experience with their favorite pop culture icons and fun, family-oriented and affordable FanXperience. In addition to celebrity appearances, Fanx17 will feature official Stan Lee merchandise, a Tattoo Pavilion, a Sword Experience, new merchandise, comicbook artists and creators, authors and panelists. As part of the sponsorship, Subaru and Salt Lake Comic Con will partner with the Utah Humane Society to create a give back program to support animals throughout Utah. Specific details of the program will be announced at a later date, but the program will include a matching donation from both the Wasatch Front Subaru Retailers and Salt Lake Comic Con. “By partnering with a respected brand like Subaru, it builds on the credibility we’ve worked so hard to establish and sends a clear message to fans, celebrities, artists and authors that our reputation is attracting world class companies, guests and partners,” said Bryan Brandenburg, Salt Lake Comic Con Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer. “We look forward to building on this relationship and continuing to innovate and provide our fans with the experiences that will meet and exceed their expectations and help shape the way comic cons and pop culture events are conducted here in the United States and throughout the world.” For more information about FanX 2017 or to purchase tickets now, visit http://www.saltlakecomiccon.com/. For more information about Subaru visit https://www.subaru.com/. About Subaru of America, Inc. Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts, and accessories through a network of more than 620 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants, and Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information, visit media.subaru.com. Salt Lake Comic Con is organized by Dan Farr Productions, in partnership with ABC4/CW30 of the Nexstar Broadcasting Group and was co-founded by Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg. Dan Farr Productions is an event and marketing group devoted to organizing events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium celebrities and brands in the pop culture arena. Dan Farr Productions is dedicated to producing spectacular celebrations of popular culture that lead the market in providing exceptional and rewarding experiences for our consumers, fans, celebrity guests, vendors and partners. Find out more at: www.SaltLakeComicCon.com, www.abc4.com/.
News Article | November 28, 2016
Rural and rust belt America: wind power is ready to help There was quite a bit of news coverage over the holidays about President-elect Trump’s comments on wind energy to The New York Times. Here’s what you need to know: wind energy works for America. And American wind power is ready to work with President-elect Trump’s incoming administration to create good jobs and bring billions of dollars in economic development to rural and rust belt communities. A majority of the value of a U.S. wind farm is built right here in the U.S.A., making wind power a bright spot for rust belt states that are hurting for business. No. 1 in the U.S. wind turbine market is General Electric, an American company. The No. 2 and No. 3 suppliers operate factories in Iowa, Kansas, and Colorado. More than 500 U.S. factories build wind-related parts and materials Ohio, for example, now has 62 factories that make wind turbine parts. In Iowa, a former Maytag plant closed and sent jobs overseas, only to be replaced by a wind turbine blade manufacturer. This means well-paying jobs for American workers: wind-supported jobs grew by 20 percent last year alone. There are now 88,000 overall positions spread across all 50 states, and 380,000 jobs predicted by 2030. Wind farm construction has already brought $128 billion of private investment into the U.S. economy over the last decade, and the industry is prepared to invest another $80 billion in the next four years. This money typically goes where it’s needed most, as seven out of 10 wind farms are in low-income counties. Landowners receive $222 million in lease payments every year for hosting wind turbines, providing stable income they can count on. It’s becoming “the new corn” for America’s farmers and ranchers. “Wind energy, the fastest-growing source of electricity in the U.S., is transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the federal government gave land to homesteaders 150 years ago,” Nebraska’s Omaha World-Herald recently reported. Wind farms increase local tax revenue, providing small-town America with resources to fix roads, build hospitals, and buy new emergency equipment. It’s been a huge boon for local schools. Wind projects in Oklahoma are expected to pay counties and schools over $1 billion during their lifetimes. An Ohio school district bought every student a laptop using wind farm revenue, fully-funded the repair and replacement program, and built a new athletic center for everyone in town. In New York, one rural town was able to eliminate local taxes for eight years. For young people who want to stay in their hometowns, wind energy offers an attractive career choice—wind turbine technician. That’s now by far the country’s fastest growing job description, expected to increase by 108 percent within a decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Studies show that wind energy has among the lowest impacts on wildlife and their habitats of any way to generate large amounts of electricity. Despite the misconceptions, wind turbines are involved in less than 0.01 percent of all human-related bird impacts. That’s why leading wildlife organizations like the National Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation support responsibly-sited wind farms. Wind power is now cost-competitive with all other sources of electricity in many areas of the country, saving consumers money on their electric bills and hedging against rising prices for fuel. All forms of energy have incentives, most of them permanent in the tax code. The federal incentive for wind power is already being phased out starting on Jan. 1, having succeeded in creating a new low-cost solution for America’s power needs. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why 83 percent of Americans support wind energy, according to a recent Pew poll. If you want this clean, affordable, homegrown energy source to keep growing, please sign up today to be counted among wind’s supporters at the Power of Wind, and make your voice heard when it matters the most.
News Article | November 29, 2016
SANTA FE, N.M., Nov. 29, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Canyon Gate, an Associa company, congratulates the community of Aldea de Santa Fe for becoming the first homeowners' association in New Mexico officially designated as a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Community Wildlife Habitat. Aldea de Santa Fe is a subdivision located just west of Santa Fe, New Mexico comprised of close to 500 homes and more than 250 acres of open space the residents have purposed for wildlife and conservation initiatives. The homeowners' association was recognized for its efforts to educate residents about land sustainability, a community-wide reforestation seedling program, endangered bird habitat project at the local high school, and other ongoing environmental preservation projects. "We are proud to be a part of such a tight-knit neighborhood where the residents work with one another to attain the overall vision for the community." says Canyon Gate President Kim Corcoran. "Maintaining a thriving environment and ecosystem not only protects the homeowners' investment in their property, it serves to sustain wildlife in its natural surroundings for years to come." NWF's Certified Wildlife Habitat program has been helping communities take action on behalf of wildlife for more than 40 years. Its intent is to engage and educate homeowners, businesses, schools, churches, parks and other institutions that want to make their communities wildlife-friendly. For more information, please go to: www.nwf.org/garden. Building and managing successful communities for more than 37 years, Associa is the leader in community management with over 10,000 employees operating more than 180 branch offices in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Based in Dallas, Texas, our industry expertise, financial strength, and innovation meet the unique needs of clients across the world with customized services and solutions designed to help communities achieve their vision. To learn more about Associa and its charitable organization, Associa Cares, go to www.associaonline.com or www.associacares.com. Stay Connected: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/associa Twitter: https://twitter.com/associa LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/associa Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/associa/ YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/associamarketing Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Associaonline/
News Article | March 1, 2017
President Donald Trump has ordered federal agencies to rewrite an Obama administration rule that would shield many wetlands and small streams from development and pollution. Trump promised during his campaign to withdraw the measure, describing it as a classic case of federal overreach. Environmental groups say they'll fight in court to protect the rule. The likely outcome is years of continued political and legal wrangling over a long-contested issue. Some basics on the regulation and the debate: WHAT IT'S ABOUT The Clean Water Act of 1972 empowers the federal government to protect the "waters of the United States," but which waters are under the government's jurisdiction is a fiercely contested question. Everyone agrees that navigable waters such as large rivers and lakes are covered. But the status of headwaters, streams that flow only part of the year, and wetlands that aren't directly connected to large waterways is less certain. Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006 that sought to clarify the matter only added to the confusion. Under President Barack Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers crafted a regulation that was promptly challenged by more than two dozen states and business groups. The rule establishes a legal definition of protected tributaries, saying they must have physical features of flowing water such as a bed, bank and ordinary high water mark. Organizations representing farmers, builders and property-rights advocates contend the 2015 rule imposes unfair limits on use of private lands. "A breathtaking power grab," says the Pacific Legal Foundation, which has represented opponents in lawsuits. "The rule is so broad and vague that federal regulators would be licensed to micro-manage property owners who are far away from genuinely navigable waters such as rivers, lakes or the ocean." Farm groups say it gives regulators nearly unlimited power over virtually any wet spots, from ditches to farm ponds, leaving producers uncertain about what they can do without obtaining government permits and risking fines. When the rule was issued, the EPA said it would not extend federal control over any waters that hadn't historically been covered by the Clean Water Act and would add no new requirements for agriculture. The EPA says about 60 percent of the river and stream miles in the Lower 48 states — about 2 million miles — are headwaters or have only intermittent flows. Environmentalists, and some hunting and fishing groups, say keeping those humble waterways intact and clean is essential to the larger downstream waters they feed. Also protected under the Obama rule are some 20 million acres of wetlands that don't have a visible connection to other waters but are vital for storing floodwaters, filtering pollutants and hosting wildlife. Among them: "prairie pothole" wetlands in the Upper Midwest that Ducks Unlimited calls "the most important and threatened waterfowl habitat in North America." WHAT HAPPENS NEXT Trump instructed the EPA and the Army Corps to "rescind or revise" the rule, which can't be done quickly or easily. The Obama rule hasn't taken effect because of the dozens of lawsuits pending in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Separately, the Supreme Court is considering whether the 6th Circuit should have jurisdiction over those cases. Legal experts say the Trump administration likely will attempt to have the suits dismissed while it crafts a new regulation. The president's executive order requires the agencies to follow the guidance of the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in producing a new definition of protected waters. In a 2006 opinion, Scalia interpreted federal jurisdiction narrowly, saying only "relatively permanent, standing or continuously flowing" waters or wetlands with a surface connection to navigable waterways were covered. After proposing a new rule, the agencies would have to take public comments and consider them when putting together a final version. Environmental groups would be certain to challenge a rule based on the Scalia standards, saying it ignores scientific evidence. "This is likely to take years," said Jan Goldman-Carter, an attorney for the National Wildlife Federation.
News Article | March 1, 2017
President Trump's newest executive order could rewrite a powerful law that protects drinking water for 117 million people. The mandate aims to grossly reduce how, and how much, of our waterways the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule is allowed to regulate. True to form, Trump promised his order would restore economic growth, without explaining how that's going to work. In a grand display of his intent, he invited the American Farm Bureau Federation, a conservative industry lobbying group, to the signing ceremony in the Oval Office on Tuesday. "All of America thanks you," one attendee said. "This is putting America back to work," commented another. What's certain is that without these federal protections, companies will find it easy to pollute waterways that supply clean water for humans, and key habitat for wildlife. But little evidence exists to suggest this will lead to economic growth or new jobs. Meanwhile, clean water does mean more jobs and money. The economic benefits of outdoor recreation are especially significant in rural areas, where small businesses can rely solely on the revenue generated by tourism. More than 40 million Americans contribute to this valuable economy each year. "The $646-billion outdoor recreation economy—plus the 6 million American jobs this economy supports—depends on clean water… there's a very clear connection between regulatory uncertainty and risks for wildlife populations, sportsmen's access, and outdoor recreation businesses," Christy Plumer, chief conservation officer for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a bipartisan group that represents sportsmen, told me. Of course, outdoor recreation is dwarfed by the influence of farming and fossil fuel interests. Last year, agribusiness groups spent $126,242,202 on lobbying, while oil and gas spent $117,516,956, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Not to mention, as Oklahoma attorney general, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt spent years fighting to repeal WOTUS, and repeatedly sided with corporations over citizens when it came to protecting local waterways. "It is encouraging to see the administration prioritize actions that balance the importance of environmental protections with both states' authority and the regulatory certainty that is required to support a thriving economy," Hal Quinn, CEO of the National Mining Association, a mining trade association that has heavily lobbied against the Clean Water Act, told me. At the signing ceremony yesterday, Trump echoed these sentiments. But a fact-check of his statements reveals another truth. For starters, Trump said the "EPA's regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands." Yet, nothing suggests the Clean Water Act is harmful to jobs. In fact, hundreds of small business-owners wrote to President Obama in 2014, urging him to move forward with the rule. Trump also alleged that WOTUS targets "small farmers and small businesses as if they were a major industrial polluter," when farmers actually receive multiple exemptions under the regulation. "Most Americans are not going to be helped by this action." WOTUS was finalized in 2015 to clarify which bodies of water the Clean Water Act—a suite of laws—can regulate, but is still under judicial review. Each state within the continental US shares a waterway with another state, so it was important for lawmakers to understand how these ecosystems are interrelated. Imagining what toxic streams and rivers might look like isn't difficult. In 1952, industrial waste in Ohio's Cuyahoga River famously caught fire near Cleveland. During the 1960s, pollution in Lake Erie, which supplies drinking water to 11 million people today, was so bad that many declared it "dead." And when the Mississippi River flooded with 3.5 million gallons of oil in 1962 and 1963, no immediate protocols existed for cleaning it up. While modern water protections aren't perfect, most environmentalists would argue they're a big improvement over decades past. And as a result of that, outdoor recreationists spend over $86 billion on water sports each year, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. More than 1.5 million jobs are supported by America's waterways, generating $104 billion in annual income. Yet, for more than a decade, farming and fossil fuel groups have lobbied against WOTUS, arguing that it overreaches, and regulates "nearly every piece of land that touches a pothole, ditch, or puddle," according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has repeatedly called the rule unconstitutional. Last year, the Senate failed to overturn President Obama's vetoing of a decision to repeal WOTUS after Congress undid the measure using the Congressional Review Act. The ambiguous definition of "waters of the United States" has always been a point of contention for conservatives. Its more recent iteration includes non-permanent and isolated waterways, such as ponds or streams that don't flow annually. To put that in perspective, about 60 percent of streams in the lower 48 states aren't active year-round. Detractors of WOTUS almost always cite a 2006 Supreme Court ruling on its jurisdiction, for which Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: WOTUS should be restricted to "only relatively permanent, standing or flowing bodies of water…The phrase does not include channels through which water flows intermittently or ephemerally, or channels that periodically provide drainage for rainfall." In his executive order, Trump commands Pruitt and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, to "consider interpreting" Scalia's definition of WOTUS in future rulemaking. It's still unclear whether enforcing this alternate interpretation is even legal. A few of the environmental groups I spoke to said they will likely sue over the issue. "Most Americans are not going to be helped by this action," Jon Devine, a senior attorney at the National Resources Defense Council, a public lands conservation group, told me. "Companies who discharge pollution into our nation's waterways would prefer not to incur pollution control costs, so [the executive order] is in their economic interest." But the road to approval will be a slow one for Trump's proposed changes. Some experts believe it will take at least a year before anything can be rewritten. Americans will get the chance to comment on the draft, and may very well decimate the new rule. A survey found that 80 percent of small business owners supported WOTUS when it was proposed. "Removing millions of acres from the scope of Clean Water Act is not going to create a lot of jobs," said Jan Goldman-Carter, director of wetlands and water resources at the National Wildlife Federation. "We had really strong economies through the 80s and 90s with a much stronger and broader Clean Water Act than what we've had in the last 10 years. A lot of businesses thrive and depend on it."
News Article | December 19, 2016
The Obama administration finalized a rule Monday morning that aims to protect thousands of miles of streams by forcing coal mining companies “to avoid mining practices that permanently pollute streams, destroy drinking water sources … and threaten forests,” officials said in a statement. Under the rule, which overhauls regulations in place for more than three decades, coal companies that have finished mining in an area will be required to restore the land to the same condition that existed before digging began. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called the new regulations “a balanced approach to meeting the nation’s energy needs.” In the statement, released before the rule was published in the Federal Register, she noted that the administration “worked closely with many stakeholders to craft a plan that protects water quality, supports economic opportunities, safeguards our environment and makes coalfield communities more resilient.” But the announcement, coming a month before power is handed over to a new presidential administration, is almost certain to anger coal companies and conservative Republicans. The rule likely will be an early target of President-elect Donald Trump, who pledged during his campaign to help turn around an industry beset by debt, job losses and declining profits — all of which make the cleanup requirements of a 1977 federal law more difficult. [In West Virginia coal country, voters are ‘thrilled’ about Donald Trump] The industry’s financial crisis has led to fears that the nation’s largest coal companies might leave taxpayers with hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs for closed mines. Companies are currently obligated to rehabilitate hundreds of huge strip mines in the West and mountaintop-removal sites in the East. Those worries spiked this year when Peabody Energy, the world’s largest publicly traded coal company, appealed to creditors for an extra month to pay its debts. Over six months ending in March, two more of the nation’s four biggest coal companies have declared bankruptcy. The National Mining Association quickly slammed the new rule, calling it a duplication of regulations that already exist under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. “This is after the agency failed in its obligation to engage mining states in the rule’s development and ended up with a massive rule making that is a win for bureaucracy and extreme environmental groups and a loss for everyday Americans,” said Hal Quinn, the group’s president and chief executive. He said the rule reflects “the environmental lobby’s keep it in the ground platform, locking away important U.S. domestic coal reserves, while putting tens of thousands of Americans out of work, raising energy costs for millions of Americans and preserving the agency’s regulatory mission that is diminished with the declining number of coal mines.” Quinn did not mention the sharp drop in the price and use of coal as power plants switch to natural gas —a major reason why coal workers are being released and mines are being shut. The new rule is the sort of regulation that Trump has vowed to undo. In this case, he could issue a stop-work order to temporarily delay the process it takes to implement it, and the Republican-controlled Congress could assist him by issuing a review order and overturning any rule adopted after midyear. [Trump wants to lift restrictions on ‘clean coal.’ Whatever that is.] Some lawmakers are already complaining. “I continue to have real concerns about this administration’s one-size-fits-all approach to the regulation of energy development and production, which doesn’t work for our state,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). Heitkamp said she had toured with a top Interior official who visited North Dakota to show her how the rule would hurt the industry and workers, but to no avail. “Going forward, I’ll work with my colleagues in the [Senate] and the incoming administration to see if this rule is workable,” she said. The leader of the National Wildlife Federation, Collin O’Mara, called the stream protection rule “an important step forward for wildlife protection.” It’s important to public health and for ecosystems that support fish and wildlife. “This rule will ensure the protection and restoration of streams and update the requirements needed to protect threatened or endangered species and critical wildlife and wild places,” he said. Interior officials first announced their intent to draft new regulations in 2009. Officials said Monday that the result is guided by the best science and an understanding of improved technology used by coal companies. In the seven years it took to draft and finalize the rule, the department received more than 150,000 comments and recorded statements from 15 public meetings and other gatherings. “This updated … rule will make life better for a countless number of Americans who live near places where coal is being mined,” said Joseph Pizarchik, director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Coal is mined throughout the United States, but the top producing states are Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Illinois, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “We are closing loopholes and improving our rules to more completely implement the law passed by Congress,” Pizarchik said. Coal is king among pollution that causes heart disease
Inkley D.B.,National Wildlife Federation
Journal of Entomological Science | Year: 2012
The abundance and activity of brown marmorated stink bugs, Halyomorpha halys Stål, over-wintering inside a Maryland home were documented. Brown marmorated stink bugs, an invasive species, were collected daily, and their collection rate assessed with respect to outside temperature, location within the structure, and date. During the 181 -day study period 26,205 adult brown marmorated stink bugs were collected inside the home. The exiting of stink bugs from hiding in the walls and other suitable areas into indoor living space was positively correlated with outside daily high temperature variation from the long-term daily high. Control measures to block exit from walls into living space reduced collection rate, but failed to halt it. This heavy infestation in a single home demonstrates the potential nuisance to millions of homes across the country if the range and population of the brown marmorated stink bug continues to expand.