Key takeaways from the Explore Act, one of the largest outdoor recreation bills ever

The proposal will streamline the permitting process for outdoor recreation companies, study internet access at National Parks, identify potential long distance bike trails and paths, and support recreation and tourism economies and towns. 

Under new partnership with feds, state AGs can investigate airline complaints

States have not been allowed to pursue air carriers for violating consumer protection laws since 1978, but a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation will give attorneys general power to probe and report violations.

Hundreds of millions up for grabs in environmental justice grants

Housing, air monitoring, green jobs and coastal resilience are some of the initiatives that could receive funding under the Inflation Reduction Act.

8 years into America’s e-scooter experiment, what have we learned?

The climate benefits of shared e-scooters depend upon how companies deploy and manage them, and what steps are taken to keep riders safe.

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New Tools Help State and Local Governments Battle Ransomware, Other Big Disasters

When governments find themselves being ransomed, their choices are typically to pay, which will undercut their ability to deliver key services to their communities due to budget restrictions, or not pay, resulting in the immediate inability to serve their communities and the loss of key data that will inevitably plague them for years afterwards.

Powering down: To prevent wildfires, states try turning off the grid

COMMENTARY | The trend started in California, but now more states are opting to shut off power to parts of the grid in extreme conditions.

Senate rebukes Biden administration on effort to reduce vehicle pollution

Three Democrats and one independent joined the chamber’s Republicans, arguing the Federal Highway Administration overstepped its authority in requiring states to track greenhouse gas emissions. But the president threatened to veto the measure.

‘Valuable and largely overlooked:’ Interest in virtual power plants grows

Virtual power plant programs can be a cost-effective way to support a strained electric grid at a time when huge projected electric demand increases loom.

New Houston mayor reverses course on bike, pedestrian improvements

Mayor John Whitmire ordered pedestrian islands removed, froze projects with bike lanes and suggested cyclists stick to “recreational” trails. It’s a big change in direction from his predecessor’s approach.

EPA issues first-ever drinking water standards for ‘forever chemicals’

The Biden administration also announced nearly $1 billion in newly available funding to help public water utilities implement PFAS testing and treatment.

City-country mortality gap widens amid persistent holes in rural health care access

As rural health services continue to erode, population health declines and mortality rates increase. That endangers local economies and employment, rural health experts say.

Turf wars: States, cities grow skeptical of artificial grass

Bans on synthetic turf look to address its impact on the environment and human health.

Rural students’ access to Wi-Fi is in jeopardy as pandemic-era resources recede

COMMENTARY | Internet access among rural students had begun to decline in 2022, putting them at significant educational disadvantage compared with their better-connected peers. This trend is likely to accelerate with the end of the Affordable Connectivity Program.

2022 was the ‘worst year ever for bicyclist deaths,’ new data shows

Safety advocates blame the upswing in cyclist deaths on larger, more powerful vehicles that have become more common on American roads in the last decade.

End of internet subsidies for low-income households threatens telehealth access

Telehealth enables preventative care and keeps people out of emergency rooms, so loss of the subsidy will have real impacts on health outcomes, experts warn.

California’s new rules allow solar and batteries to help out the grid

Utilities tend to treat solar and batteries as threats to their power grids. California’s policy will now tap their flexible power to benefit the grid instead.

North Carolina tried to rebuild affordable housing after a hurricane. It took half a decade.

Documents show how federal paperwork delayed the state’s recovery from Hurricane Florence and left low-income renters in the lurch.

Biden administration mandates two-person crews on freight trains

The new rules from the Federal Railroad Administration come after nearly a dozen states passed similar requirements in the last decade.

With energy demand surging, utilities fall back on their old standby: Fossil fuels.

Federal incentives for clean energy are struggling to overcome old-school planning.

Congestion pricing plan OK’d in New York

The plan would bring in billions of dollars for the city’s aging subway system. But some details of how it will be enforced are unclear.

Massive ships make protecting bridges a much tougher task

As officials evaluate replacing Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, they must consider the weight and size of increasingly large vessels.