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The Tucson Million Trees initiative, led by Mayor Regina Romero, intends to plant one million trees by 2030 to increase the city’s tree canopy and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Many community leaders now consider trees to be critical infrastructure, along with a growing recognition that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color often have far less tree cover — and suffer increased vulnerability to extreme heat as a result. Read more»

Water from the Santa Cruz River Heritage Project, which recharges water by sending it down the watercourse near Downtown Tucson, flows in the river in 2019.

Dozens of legislatures are considering bills to crack down on the use of PFAS - “forever chemicals” that don’t break down naturally and are shown to cause myriad health issues - including legislation to strengthen product disclosure laws and increase liability for polluters. Read more»

Many municipal chicken laws allow residents to keep four to eight hens, often prohibiting roosters due to noise concerns.

Prompted in part by the high price of supermarket eggs, city councils from Arizona to Florida to Oklahoma have approved ordinances allowing people to welcome hens into their yards - but aspiring chicken owners who are motivated solely by egg prices are in for a reality check. Read more»

The Tucson Million Trees initiative, led by Mayor Regina Romero, intends to plant one million trees by 2030 to increase the city’s tree canopy and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

As communities prepare for a massive influx of federal funding to support urban forestry, their leaders say the tree canopy that grows to maturity 50 years from now will need to be painted with a different palette than the one that exists today. Read more»

The Tucson Million Trees initiative, led by Mayor Regina Romero, intends to plant one million trees by 2030 to increase the city’s tree canopy and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes $1.5 billion for the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program - funding that could potentially help Tucson purchase saplings, hire labor and expand its youth program as part of the city's Million Trees initiative. Read more»

State Sen. Lela Alston, D-Phoenix, seated, and Dora Vasquez, director of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, right, join climate advocates at a news conference at Justa Center in downtown Phoenix in 2021.

Medical experts say climate change will affect nearly every aspect of public health - and many of those impacts are already being felt - but little to no climate funding has reached the budgets of many public health departments. Read more»

Many areas have turned to community land trusts as a solution to provide affordable housing and prevent displacement of minority residents.

As housing prices skyrocket in neighborhoods across the country, some state lawmakers and local officials are turning to a decades-old model for keeping homes affordable: community land trusts. Read more»

Tatahatso Wash, along the Colorado River at Grand Canyon National Park, during a flash flood in July, 2018.

Critics fear that Florida’s move to assume authority over wetland management could open the floodgates for more states to claim Section 404 authority - but the hurdles that have mostly stymied such efforts for decades remain significant. Read more»

Electric vehicle charging station in Casa Grande. The federal infrastructure package Congress passed last year includes $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, with $5 billion given directly to the states.

Automakers are planning to put nearly 1 million new electric vehicles on American roads in 2022 as sales in the United States doubled in 2021 compared with 2020, and lawmakers are trying to make sure their states are ready. Read more»

With 80% of the nation's population in urban areas, there are strong environmental, social, and economic cases to be made for the conservation of green spaces to guide growth and revitalize city centers and older suburbs.

The Build Back Better plan being debated in Congress would provide $2.5 billion to improve and maintain urban tree canopy - unshaded areas suffer from a heat island effect and trees help filter air pollution and absorb stormwater runoff - with focus on underserved communities. Read more»

A team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conduct site assessments of potential alternate care facilities in Apache County, Arizona, in response to COVID-19. State officials have refused to adopt OSHA’s new safety standards for health care workers, and federal regulators announced this week that they will begin the process of taking over Arizona’s workplace safety program.

In a rare move, federal labor officials have threatened to take over Arizona, South Carolina and Utah’s workplace safety programs because they failed to adopt emergency COVID-19 rules to protect health care workers. Read more»

Pineview Reservoir in Utah’s Ogden Valley fell to a quarter full in August. One water district in the valley has blocked new hookups for developers to save its scarce supply for existing users.

The nation’s five fastest-growing states are all in the Southwest or Mountain West, and communities are facing difficult questions about water scarcity and what it means for future growth— because climate change is expected to make such droughts more frequent and intense. Read more»

Farmworkers pick strawberries at Lewis Taylor Farms in Fort Valley, Georgia.

President Joe Biden announced this week that his administration’s efforts to address extreme heat will include new rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect workers from dangerous conditions. Read more»

Protestor gather at a demonstration against COVID-19 vaccination mandates at Tucson Medical Center on August 14, 2021.

Before Pres. Biden’s announcement requiring millions of workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly, 18 states and the District of Columbia already had told public sector workers to get their jabs or risk losing their jobs. Read more»

OSHA has announced that in October it will begin exploring the possibility of creating a heat standard, but the process is expected to take years.

Federal safety regulators have issued no standards to protect workers from heat-related hazards - even as climate change increases the risk of deadly heat waves and extreme weather conditions - prompting some states to begin enacting regulations on their own. Read more»

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