Revealed: millions of Americans can’t afford water as bills rise 80% in a decade

Revealed: millions of Americans can’t afford water as bills rise 80% in a decade

In the first nationwide research of its kind, our findings reveal the painful impact of America’s expanding water poverty crisis as aging infrastructure, environmental clean-ups, changing demographics and the climate emergency fuel exponential price hikes in almost every corner of the country… “More people are in trouble, and the poorest of the poor are in big trouble,” said Roger Colton, a leading utilities analyst, who was commissioned by the Guardian to analyse water poverty. “The data shows that we’ve got…

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Armed with Eminent Domain, pipeline projects continue to burden landowners during the pandemic

Armed with Eminent Domain, pipeline projects continue to burden landowners during the pandemic

Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan is cutting a 400-mile line across the middle of Texas, digging up vast swaths of private land for its planned Permian Highway Pipeline. The project is ceaseless, continuing through the coronavirus pandemic. Landowner Heath Frantzen said that dozens of workers have showed up to his ranch in Fredericksburg, even as public health officials urged people to stay at home. “They weren’t wearing masks. They weren’t wearing gloves. They weren’t practicing social distancing,” he said. Frantzen believes…

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As coronavirus cases rise, so does Austin-area contingency planning

As coronavirus cases rise, so does Austin-area contingency planning

As Texas saw its eighth consecutive day of record COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday, Austin-area officials began preparing for the possibility — considered remote but growing — that a field hospital might be needed to handle overflow patients. The Austin Convention Center would be converted into an alternative care site if hospitals become overwhelmed, said former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, a key decision maker in local efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, “Here’s hoping we never need an alternative care…

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Should we care about conservation during a pandemic?

Should we care about conservation during a pandemic?

Now, more than ever, we need nature and the benefits it provides. COVID-19 has both revealed and exacerbated deep inequities in access to green space. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be at home, away from the frontlines, appreciate the mental and physical health boost provided by walks and nature views even more… At a time when we are worried not only for our health, but our jobs as well, it is worth noting that habitat restoration projects generate a…

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Young North Carolinians could benefit from reviving Depression-era program

Young North Carolinians could benefit from reviving Depression-era program

Manley Fuller, vice president of conservation policy for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, says from 1933 until 1942, the [Civilian Conservation Corps] relief program employed more than 14,000 young people… Fuller also notes North Carolina’s park system, which is saddled with a more than $437 million backlog of maintenance and repairs, could reap the benefits of a statewide CCC, and he says a modern-day CCC could boost the state’s flood-resiliency efforts. Read more from Nadia Ramlagan with Public News Service,…

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7.7 million young people are unemployed. We need a new ‘Tree Army.’

7.7 million young people are unemployed. We need a new ‘Tree Army.’

Nearly 7.7 million American workers younger than 30 are now unemployed and three million dropped out of the labor force in the past month. Combined that’s nearly one in three young workers, by far the highest rate since the country started tracking unemployment by age in 1948… As our country’s leaders consider a range of solutions to address this crisis, there’s one fix that will put millions of young Americans directly to work: a 21st-century version of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Read more from Collin O’Mara,…

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Water access must be part of our COVID recovery

Water access must be part of our COVID recovery

Wash your hands, save lives — it’s a central message during the COVID-19 crisis. But what if you don’t have basic running water, as we assume everyone does? Incredibly, too many Americans don’t… Our recovery from COVID-19 must include a sincere investment in fixing the problems behind these water access failures. That includes assuring a reliable, affordable supply to all households, whether in city neighborhoods or rural communities, strengthening underfunded and struggling water utilities, both urban and rural, and modernizing…

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The credible case for a resilient water supply in Texas

The credible case for a resilient water supply in Texas

In this time of crisis and deep uncertainty, one thing we must be able to depend on is our water supply. Access to water is critical to public health, fragile local economies, and food production. And the benefits are also intangible. Confined to our homes, many of us are realizing that time spent along the banks of a lake or clear flowing creek offers much-needed respite. Now, more than ever, we must protect our water resources. The world is a…

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Farms that sell directly to consumers are thriving amid Coronavirus downturn

Farms that sell directly to consumers are thriving amid Coronavirus downturn

“We feel pretty lucky,” Chris Newman admits. Newman is the owner and operator of Sylvanaqua Farms, a small permaculture operation that sells and delivers directly to consumers. Meat may be running low in grocery stores as farmers across the country face dire decisions about their animals but, in the midst of the coronavirus downturn, farms like Sylvanaqua are managing to thrive. Sylvanaqua delivers meat across a pretty wide area beyond the farm—surrounding areas in Virginia as well as north to…

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Analysis: Coronavirus could threaten local property tax limits

Analysis: Coronavirus could threaten local property tax limits

A law passed less than a year ago requires cities and counties to get approval from voters any time they’re increasing property tax revenue by more than 3.5%. The old restriction was 8% — an increase that lawmakers decided was too generous, especially at a time when voters were boiling mad about rising property taxes. They did leave open some exceptions, though. Local governments don’t have to seek voter approval for increases of more than 3.5% that are attributable to…

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