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Stories by Abrahm Lustgarten

Killing the Colorado

California and EPA poised to expand pollution of potential drinking water reserves

A little-known program under federal environment law is being used to permit oil and gas companies to inject waste into the state’s aquifers, even as the thirst for groundwater grows. ... Read more»0

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Killing the Colorado

California eases water restrictions, even as Lake Mead dries up

A single relatively wet winter has led California officials to relax in a way some water experts fear is reckless. ... Read more»0

Killing the Colorado

Drought be dammed: Unplugging the Colorado River

The water crisis in the West has renewed debate about the effectiveness of major dams, with some pushing for the enormous Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River to be decommissioned... Read more»0

Analysis

Amid drought, California experiments with leasing water rights

The state’s cities need water. Its farmers have it. Could leasing rights to it solve the crisis responsibly? ... Read more»2

Killing the Colorado

Trickle-down drought: Arizona dodges connection between ground & surface water

Despite decades of accepted science, California and Arizona are still counting and regulate groundwater and surface water as if they were entirely separate. Damage from the West’s increasing reliance on underground supplies is proliferating, with groundwater levels in some places being drawn down so quickly that the earth above them is collapsing.... Read more»1

Killing the Colorado

What you need to know about California's part in the West's water crisis

What does California's drought mean for the seven states that share water supplies from the Colorado River?... Read more»1

Killing the Colorado

The Az power plant fueling America's drought

Arizona's Navajo Generating Station, the West's largest power plant, is consuming 22,000 tons of coal and emitting 44,000 tons of carbon dioxide each day, in large part to deliver Arizona’s water. ... Read more»0

Killing the Colorado

Across West, 'use or lose' laws encourage water waste

A vestige of 139-year-old water law pushes ranchers to use as much water as they possibly can, even during a drought. “Use it or lose it” clauses are common in state laws throughout the Colorado River basin and give the farmers, ranchers and governments holding water rights a powerful incentive to use more water than they need. ... Read more»0

Killing the Colorado

How Arizona cotton is fueling the West's water crisis

The government's damaging choice to back cotton in the desert.... Read more»1

Fracking banned in New York

After years of delays and debate, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo decides risks outweigh rewards. ... Read more»0

Message from Mexico: U.S. polluting water it may someday need to drink

U.S. environmental regulators have long assumed that reservoirs located thousands of feet underground will be too expensive to tap. As a result, American scientists and policy-makers often exempt these deep aquifers from clean water protections and allow energy and mining companies to inject pollutants directly into them. ... Read more»0

On a Wyoming ranch, feds sacrifice tomorrow’s water to mine uranium today

Underground vast reservoirs hold billions of gallons of water suitable for drinking, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Yet every day injection wells pump more than 200,000 gallons of toxic and radioactive waste from uranium mining into local aquifers.... Read more»0

Polluting the well: Feds let industry poison water supply

Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.... Read more»0

Feds file criminal charges in BP Gulf oil spill

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed criminal charges alleging that a former BP employee destroyed critical evidence in the early days of the Gulf oil spill. ... Read more»0

Feds link water contamination to fracking

In a first, federal environment officials Thursday scientifically linked underground water pollution with hydraulic fracturing, concluding that contaminants found in central Wyoming likely were caused by the gas drilling process. ... Read more»0

Limited reach for Japan's nuclear disaster

The rough consensus: The long-term and most severe effects from radiation at the plant, where four of six reactors are in crisis and hundreds of tons of spent fuel is a risk, will be largely contained to the area around the plant, affect a relatively limited population and will likely not spread outside Japan.... Read more»1

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