WUI in the News

Here you can find current news articles about wildland-urban interface issues in the U.S. and abroad. Please note that while Interface South maintains news archives for reference, the links may no longer be active. You may need to contact the source or host website for more information.

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Feb 2004 contains 66 News Articles.

Tiny toxic specks may be big trouble
Los Angeles Daily News, CA - 29 Feb 2004
Air researchers are using Southern California as their laboratory to study microscopic specks of toxic pollution spewing from tailpipes, concentrated along freeways and potentially affecting commuters' health.

Sewage issues cast doubt on LaSalle County village's future
Peoria Journal Star, IL - 29 Feb 2004
Troy Grove has no sewer. Village residents have private wells and septic systems, and according to city officials, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has consistently been on their backs to bring the village into the present by installing a sewer. But that takes money - lots of money, and for a town of 300 people, that kind of expense is phenomenal. If the village would unincorporate, then the powers that be could not force the sewer issue.

More Wonder About What's Safe to Eat
Associated Press - 29 Feb 2004
Mad cow disease. Fish tainted with mercury and PCBs. Contaminated green onions from Mexico. Bird flu in ducks and chickens. Is anything safe to eat these days? Across the nation, many consumers have made adjustments to their grocery lists, opting for organically grown meats and vegetables following recent food-borne illness scares.

Hills still feels in dark about toxins
Quad-City Tiems, IA - 29 Feb 2004
Residents of this small eastern Iowa town are still worried about their water and frustrated by the way the unusual case has been handled. Many are drinking bottled water because a rocket-fuel ingredient has spoiled their wells. They don’t know what caused the pollution, how serious it is, or what they’re supposed to do about it.

Roads taken for downtown success
Charlotte Sun-Herald, FL - 29 Feb 2004
While taking different avenues to reach their goals, local jurisdictions are all driving toward the development -- or redevelopment -- of traditional downtowns. The city of Punta Gorda and Sarasota County in Englewood are trying to resurrect what had been their communities' longtime tradition. Charlotte County and the city of North Port are trying to break their strip mall-suburban plats and create neo-downtowns, a new urbanism for their communities.

'Hydrogen highway' by 2010 says California official
Environmental News Network - 27 Feb 2004
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's top environmental aide told state lawmakers the governor's vision of a "hydrogen highway" that would usher in an age of cleaner cars is realistic by 2010, and won't even cost the state much money.

Hot Trash-To-Fuel Technology Gathering Steam
Planet Ark, United Kingdom - 27 Feb 2004
Got garbage? Toxic trash? Zap it with a torch three times hotter than the sun and gather the resulting gas to fuel pollution-free cars and home power units.

Washington D.C. warns about lead in water
Environmental News Network - 26 Feb 2004
City health officials are warning pregnant women and children under 6 who live in homes with lead service lines to stop drinking unfiltered tap water and have their blood tested.

Managing wildlife workshop informs land's urban owners
Houston Chronicle, TX - 26 Feb 2004
Urban Texans own a lot of rural Texas. And they are buying more. When a piece of rural land is sold in Texas these days, the buyer is almost a cinch to be an urban or suburban resident purchasing the tract for what can be generalized as "recreational" purposes. This new group of rural landowners often has little or no experience with managing land and lacks the knowledge necessary to make the property as productive for wild things as they almost all want them to be.

To the Rescue: Fungi That Invade Also Protect Leaves
New York Times, NY - 24 Feb 2004
Leaves, scientists are discovering, are chock-full of microscopic fungi and are pummeled by them daily. Now scientists studying the cocoa tree, whose beans are used to make chocolate or cocoa, say these fungi, which many had suspected were parasites, are actually powerful protectors able to fend off plant diseases.

Planning for growth in Tangipahoa Parish
Hammond Daily Star, LA - 24 Feb 2004
Bridging the impasse between rural and urban views about land use management is the biggest hurdle in moving Tangipahoa Parish toward planning for the future, according to Frank Neelis of the Tangipahoa Future Network.

State to study pollution control for road bids
Poughkeepsie Journal, NY - 23 Feb 2004
The Department of Environmental Conservation and other state environmental agencies will have authority to consider emission reduction strategies when granting contracts for highway construction. Approximately 1.2 million pieces of construction equipment lack modern pollution controls, according to the EPA. A typical bulldozer can emit as much pollution as 26 new cars.

Wanted: clean water
West Nyack Journal News, NY - 23 Feb 2004
Late last year, more than three-dozen residents with wells were warned by the county Department of Health about chemical contamination from a closed gas station. In all, the residents of 39 homes on the streets will be allowed to connect to the public water supply.

Even organic farming adds chemicals to the process
Salinas Californian, CA - 23 Feb 2004
Growing crops organically does not add chemicals to the environment in the way that conventionally grown crops do, as they are nurtured with fertilizers and treated with pesticides. But natural elements like nitrogen and phosphorous are part of every plant's cycle of growth, whether cultivated organically or conventionally. When it comes to protecting the environment, using organic growing practices alone isn't enough.

Residents fear sewer price tag
Allentown Morning Call, PA - 23 Feb 2004
About 200 families living around the village of Vera Cruz may have to pay $25,000 per household to hook up to a proposed public sewer system. Smaller clusters of homes with failing septic systems in two other areas of Upper Milford Township may be required to pay nearly as much.

Bluffton landowners blame developer for damage to trees
Beaufort Gazette, SC - 23 Feb 2004
Owners of 11 lots in The Crescent nieghborhood say their trees are dying because of damage caused by developer Centex Homes when the company prepared their lots for building.

Got habitat?
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, MO - 23 Feb 2004
Missouri's landowners play a very important role in the production of wildlife, since over 85 percent of the state is privately owned. Landowners often believe that habitat improvement projects are too costly or time consuming. As a result, many end up doing nothing. In reality, lots of improvements can be inexpensive and simple.

Payments to landowners offered
Elk Valley Times, TN - 23 Feb 2004
The Tennessee Quail Unlimited State Council (TN QU) will offer a one-time $50 per care incentive payment to landowners who establish native warm season grasses on certain USDA program buffer practices in 10 middle Tennessee counties.

Office Depot Dumps Paper Supplier on Account of Clear-Cutting Logging Practice
Miami Herald, FL - 23 Feb 2004
Office Depot, the largest office-supplies company in the world, will no longer buy products from giant Asia Pulp and Paper Co. because APP's logging operations are destroying rain forests in Sumatra, Office Depot said Friday.

Region's kids left gasping for air
Los Angeles Daily News, CA - 22 Feb 2004
Asthma among children is rising -- affecting an estimated 390,000 youngsters in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties -- and exhaust from a growing number of cars and trucks is among the suspected causes.

Cutting harmful spraying is goal
Boston Globe, MA - 22 Feb 2004
Amesbury is using a $12,000 federal grant to show city departments and residents how to reduce their use of harmful chemicals in controlling pests and weeds. The funds were awarded to the city last year by a national foundation that promotes ''integrated pest management," an approach to pest control that seeks to minimize risk from and use of pesticides.

Making emeralds of open space eyesores
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI - 22 Feb 2004
In an area with more pressing social concerns, parkland might seem like a frill. But Henry Hamilton begs to differ. "For long-term economic development, you must have a beautiful neighborhood," says Hamilton, a community activist who co-chairs the NAACP's environmental justice committee. "Open space can enhance property values. And here, you wouldn't even have to tear down a house to get it."

Controlled burn clears area for native growth
Harlingen Valley Morning Star, TX - 21 Feb 2004
After several months of delays, firefighters with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday burned about 30 acres south of Brownsville to prevent wildfires and clear space for future native vegetation.

Vermont Ski Resort Gives Renewable Energy a Lift
GreenBiz.com - 20 Feb 2004
Smugglers' Notch Resort has partnered with Vermont energy provider NativeEnergy to create a new program that will allow skiers and riders to purchase "green" passes and lift tickets for climate-friendlier skiing and riding at the resort.

Southern California Communities Reduce Risk with Firewise Concepts
FEMA News - 20 Feb 2004
Last year's Southern California firestorms in October of 2003 will go down in the state's history as one of the worst fire seasons on record with eight major fires burning more than 1,000 square miles, destroying 3,600 homes and claiming 23 lives. What will not go down in the record books is the fact that thousands of homes were saved not only because of the heroic efforts of firefighters, but because of the numerous Firewise techniques that were implemented by communities throughout the region.

NYMEX says eyeing emissions trading market
Forbes.com - 19 Feb 2004
The New York Mercantile Exchange believes emissions trading will be big business and is open to the idea of launching its own emissions contracts, NYMEX President Robert Collins said on Thursday.

Chiquita Earns CSR Certification for Farming Operations in Three Countries
GreenBiz.com - 19 Feb 2004
Chiquita Brands International recently announced that independent auditors have certified its banana farms in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama to the Social Accountability 8000(1) labor and human rights standard and the EUREPGAP(2) food safety standard. Chiquita's operations are the first to earn SA8000 certification in each of these countries.

Suddenly, groundwater matters
Helena Independent Record, MT - 19 Feb 2004
In any event, the first rejection of a major subdivision in her more than four years of tenure on the commission marks what seems to be a significant change in subdivision review. Faced with a 2001 attorney general opinion that groundwater considerations must be addressed early in the review process, the majority of the commission now appears prepared to demand hard data on water up front, rather than passing off such worries to state government after local approval has been given.

City commits to renewable energy plan
Yale Daily News, CT - 18 Feb 2004
The city of New Haven will commit to purchasing 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2010, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. announced yesterday. The mayor cited smart economics and a desire to improve New Haven air quality as reasons for adopting this plan. DeStefano explained that the policy specifically targets New Haven's high rate of asthma and the spending cuts in the national clean air budget by the Bush administration.

Immigration dispute spawns factions, anger in Sierra Club
Seattle Times, WA - 18 Feb 2004
The immigration question has been posed by a coalition of club members, self-described "reform activists" who argue that immigration reduction is environmentally responsible: Fewer people mean less sprawl and less impact to the natural environment.

Water issues halt Valley subdivision
Helena Independent Record, MT - 18 Feb 2004
Questions of water quantity and quality convinced a majority of Lewis and Clark County commissioners to shoot down a proposed North Hills subdivision - the first to be denied in nearly five years.

Peacocks call neighborhood home
Salem Statesman Journal, OR - 18 Feb 2004
Some neighborhoods have feral cats that meander through front yards. Others have stray dogs that stop traffic by haphazardly crossing the streets. A north Monmouth neighborhood outdoes them all, however, with a flock of peafowl that does those all those things and more.

Facts about flame retardants
Knoxville News Sentinel, TN - 17 Feb 2004
PBDEs have been found virtually everywhere scientists have looked, including the Arctic. They have been measured in human breast milk, household dust, air samples, sewage sludge, fish, marine mammals and a variety of foods.

Greener cleaners spot pressing need
Seattle Times, WA - 17 Feb 2004
Corry's is one of a growing number of local dry cleaners shifting away from the traditional cleaning agent, perchloroethylene ' a water and air pollutant and possible carcinogen known as perc ' to more environmentally friendly cleaning systems.

Industry Reaches Agreement on National e-Waste Recycling Program
GreenBiz.com - 17 Feb 2004
Representatives from the U.S. electronics industry have endorsed a resolution with state governments and environmental groups to develop sustainable, fair and flexible recycling efforts nationwide, the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) announced. As part of that resolution, manufacturers will work together to develop a framework for financing the nationwide recycling program that an EPA-initiated stakeholders group known as the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) will then recommend to Congress.

City-county battle looms on Broward growth
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, FL - 17 Feb 2004
County commissioners are in the midst of a major push to seize control over development with the support of environmentalists and slow-growth advocates. Municipal leaders and the development community are rallying to stop the power grab, vowing to take the fight to the state Legislature if the county does not retreat.

Governor seeks prevention of more catastrophic wildfires
Casa Grande Valley Newspapers, AZ - 17 Feb 2004
Dubbed the Arizona Forest Health and Safety Act, O'Halleran's bill tackles changes that can be implemented at the state level. The bill would let towns pass ordinances allowing them to make homeowners clear flammable vegetation around their homes, broaden the role of the state forester and establish a comprehensive urban-wildland interface code.

Unwanted guests drive family from home
Hilton Head Island Packet, SC - 15 Feb 2004
Keith Baebler stood helplessly Thursday as he watched workers rip another hole in the ceiling of his spare bedroom. They were after bats. The bats probably went to Baebler's house after their natural habitat, which includes trees, was removed.

New Technology Improves Power Plant Efficiency
GreenBiz.com - 13 Feb 2004
Researchers at the University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center have made major strides to improve the efficiency and dramatically reduce emissions of coal-fired power plants by burning a combination of pure oxygen and coal to generate electricity in an advanced power system.

Agriculture officials to remove ash trees in parts of Michigan to stop spread of insect
Environmental News Network - 12 Feb 2004
State crews will remove hundreds of ash trees in southeastern Michigan in hopes of stopping the spread of an exotic, tree-killing beetle, officials said. The insect was first discovered in Michigan in 2002. It has killed nearly 6 million trees in southeastern Michigan and has been detected in several other areas in the southern part of the state. More than a dozen counties have been quarantined this year.

California Utilities Lead the Charge in GHG Management
GreenBiz.com - 12 Feb 2004
San Diego Gas and Electric and The Southern California Gas Company have elected to implement a companywide data management system for tracking and reporting on greenhouse gases.

Legislation to target household cleaners
Beacon Villager, MA - 12 Feb 2004
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Pamela Resor, D-Acton, to reduce and then virtually eliminate phosphorous from household cleaners sold in Massachusetts should reach the floor of the Senate this week. High phosphorous levels in a body of water contribute to eutrophication, in which plants grow on the surface. The decay of these plants causes the water to smell like sewage and deprives fish of dissolved oxygen, especially in slow-moving waters.

Pollution Is Blamed for Thinner Air at Edge of Atmosphere
New York Times, NY - 10 Feb 2004
Scientists say they have found strong new evidence that carbon dioxide, the main smokestack and tailpipe emission linked to global warming, is cooling and shrinking the atmosphere's outermost layers in ways that could aid as well as endanger space activities.

Magazine grades city's water 'D'
El Paso Times, TX - 9 Feb 2004
Knowing that El Paso's drinking water meets government health standards isn't enough for Eastsider Barbara Sherwood. Sherwood's suspicions are backed up in an article in the March issue of Men's Health magazine. The national magazine, in a look at 101 U.S. cities, gave El Paso's drinking water a grade of "D" based on its measure of what makes for the healthiest glass from the tap.

Debate over local watershed continues
San Diego North County Times, CA - 9 Feb 2004
The habitat around the Santa Margarita River is considered some of the least disturbed in Southern California, but the water flowing into it from Southwest County doesn't meet federal and state water-quality standards. The presence of pollutants has been on the books for years. Yet, now that the regional water board is pressing local city and county agencies to enhance their efforts to monitor and enforce what goes into local storm drains, those agencies are questioning whether that pollution poses a health risk and justifies proposed changes to storm-water regulations they say could cost cities millions.

Residents Learn to Cope With Fire
Lakeland Ledger, FL - 9 Feb 2004
As winter turns into spring, the Central Florida dry season is at its height and the chances that a wooded area somewhere will ignite increases. That's where the Firewise program comes in. The program includes a demonstration project, education and outreach to residents in a handful of subdivisions along the Lake Wales Ridge.

Hearing may be last for land-use plan
The State, SC - 9 Feb 2004
Jackson’s concerns illustrate one of the biggest questions about the county’s proposed land-use plan: How would it affect rural property owners? Some of those residents question whether the rules are designed to protect Lower Richland’s rural character and natural resources, as supporters say, or to prevent development, from which the rural residents could profit.

Group touts trails as healthy assets
St. Cloud Times, MN - 9 Feb 2004
Well-developed parks and trails could inspire people to turn to, say, cross-country skiing instead of channel surfing. Studies have shown that if people have the option of an enjoyable atmosphere during physical activity, they will be more likely to do it.

E.P.A. Raises Estimate of Babies Affected by Mercury Exposure
New York Times, NY - 9 Feb 2004
More than one child in six born in the United States could be at risk for developmental disorders because of mercury exposure in the mother's womb, according to revised estimates released last week by Environmental Protection Agency scientists. The agency doubled its estimate, equivalent to 630,000 of the 4 million babies born each year, because recent research has shown that mercury tends to concentrate in the blood in the umbilical cord of pregnant women.

Creating a Model Ecofriendly Housing Project
New York Times, NY - 8 Feb 2004
"You must be from California," people say to the ecology-minded developer Anthony Sblendorio when they hear him talking about rainwater harvesting, wetland habitat construction and pavement made out of dirt. Quite the contrary. He is from New Jersey, the densely populated, highly built-up Garden State ' and it is here, he argues, that "environmentally sensitive building is the perfect approach for the land we have left."

Driving us nuts
Sacramento Bee, CA - 7 Feb 2004
Much more endearing and people friendly than skunks, raccoons, opossum and rats, squirrels will eat out of your hand, fueling up before chewing sprinkler heads, gnawing into wiring, wood and cedar shingles and digging up bulbs. They'll also girdle trees but prefer tree bark only when there's nothing else on the menu.

California approves rules for water-efficient washing machines, which need feds' approval
Environmental News Network - 6 Feb 2004
California regulators approved efficiency rules this week for washing machines designed to save billions of gallons of water a year, but the changes will need the federal government's blessing. If the Energy Department issues a needed waiver, California will become the first state to have water-efficiency rules for washing machines, which consume about 20 percent of households' annual water use.

A parking lot effect?
Christian Science Monitor - 5 Feb 2004
So why are a tiny but growing number of atmospheric scientists taking a hard look at parking lots? Because, they say, land-use changes have at least as much, and perhaps even greater, impact on climate change than CO2. It's a radical idea that has heated up the scientific community and is prompting a wider look at the forces behind climate change. The effect on public policy could be enormous.

Clearing the air: Companies give employees incentives to reduce pollution
Anchorage Daily News, AK - 4 Feb 2004
Some companies with Anchorage offices have developed ways to make Anchorage's air a little cleaner, from flat out paying their employees not to drive to helping them buy more efficient cars.

Risk doesn't deter growth in fire-prone areas
USA Today - 4 Feb 2004
Growth pressure will worsen an alarming fire risk in the West, experts say. Whether it's driven by the tug of nature, hope for affordable housing, the dream of a vacation home or a yen to leave congestion behind, suburban sprawl to the metropolitan fringe will increasingly encroach on wildlands.

Smog-busting paint soaks up noxious gases
New Scientist - 4 Feb 2004
A paint that soaks up some of the most noxious gases from vehicle exhausts will goes on sale in Europe in March. Its makers hope it will give architects and town planners a new weapon in the fight against pollution.

Candidates on the issues: Global warming
Miami Herald, FL - 3 Feb 2004
The Associated Press chooses an issue three times a week and asks the presidential candidates a question about it. Today's question and responses: GLOBAL WARMING: Should the United States support the Kyoto treaty to limit global warming?

Masked rascals invade couple's woodland home
Miami Herald, FL - 3 Feb 2004
The 40 rowdy raccoons outnumber the family and their pets -- two birds, two dogs and 12 cats. Although such infestations happen in foliage-happy South Florida, such concentrated critter chaos is not normal.

Massive spill cuts water supplies
London Free Press, Ontario - 2 Feb 2004
A massive spill of more than 150,000 litres of volatile chemicals into the St. Clair River early yesterday forced at least six Canadian and American communities to shut down their water intake systems. The leak of two solvents used to make lubricating oil is "a considerable spill," said Janet Maaten, spokesperson for Imperial Oil in Sarnia.

Report Hits Out at Failure to Manage Wetlands
Edinburgh Scotsman, Scotland - 2 Feb 2004
Goods and services worth 70 billion US dollars (£38 billion) could be at risk annually if governments around the world fail to manage wetlands sustainably, according to a report today. The report, the Economic Values of the World’s Wetland, is the first comprehensive overview of the economic values of the world’s wetlands.

New bill to help boost ethanol use
Knoxville News, TN - 2 Feb 2004
A coalition of interest groups is pushing legislation that would give a state tax break to gasoline when it's blended with ethanol. The tax break would amount to at least 3 cents per gallon and perhaps could be twice that much.

Polluting cars getting repaired with state's help
Star-Telegram, TX - 2 Feb 2004
The state provides those who qualify with up to $600 for repair costs or up to $1,000 toward the cost of a cleaner replacement vehicle. Since the program started in October 2002, a total of 3,678 cars that failed emissions tests have been repaired. Those repairs, officials estimate, have reduced nitrogen oxides emissions by an average of 70 percent per car.

Davis to learn why most landfills go to poor or minority towns
Birmingham News, AL - 2 Feb 2004
The patterns of inequality in environmental hazards he sees - in housing contaminated with lead, in polluted waterways, and with landfills, for example - have inspired [U.S. Rep.] Davis to launch an environmental justice initiative this spring, which he will formally announce in the next two weeks, he said Friday. The highlight will be a symposium drawing together environmental groups, corporations and lawmakers, he said.

DigitalGlobe Products Support Wildland Urban Interface Mapping
SpatialNews.com - 2 Feb 2004
DigitalGlobe(R) announced it has entered into an agreement with Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Native Communities Development Corporation (NCDC) to provide high-resolution satellite imagery for integration with NCDC's remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS) and mapping technologies in order to provide a suite of wildfire risk assessment services.

Fate of S. Platte of interest to all
Denver Post, CO - 2 Feb 2004
These diverse enterprises, farming and frolic, share a common, critical denominator, and that is water. How recreation and agriculture complement and compete for this most precious resource promises to be one of the more compelling dramas of this century. The extent to which they find ways to cooperate will determine the well-being of both.

Environmentalists Head for the States
New York Times, NY - 1 Feb 2004
The states may be taking the lead on electricity usage standards, just as they did on car and truck pollution in the 1980's and 1990's, and as they soon may on power-plant pollution.