Trump plan to boost Western water by easing rules worries advocates

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Vandana Ravikumar and Corey Hawk

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

Trump plan to boost Western water by easing rules worries advocates

WASHINGTON - The White House on Friday released a plan that it said would improve water reliability and availability in the West by streamlining regulatory processes and conducting expedited reviews on water projects.Details on the plan were scarce Friday, but environmental groups were immediately skeptical, with one advocate saying she is "sure it's a bad idea," despite the president's claims that the plan will not harm the environment."Whatever he's proposing to roll back protections is the wrong direction," said Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon chapter. "It's wrong for our health, our communities, our economy - this idea that having poor water quality and not protecting our rivers and streams would somehow be good for the economy is ludicrous."But President Donald Trump, who signed the proposal during a stop in Scottsdale on Friday, called it "vital to improve access to water in the American West," where millions rely on federal water projects for crops, drinking water and power."What's happened there is disgraceful," Trump said, according to a White House pool report. "For decades, burdensome federal regulations have made it extremely difficult and expensive to build and maintain federal water projects."Under the memorandum "promoting the reliable supply and delivery of water in the West," Trump directed the chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality and the secretaries of the Army, Commerce, Interior and Energy to repair "uncoordinated, piecemeal regulatory actions" affecting water projects.The memo also required that they identify "unnecessary regulatory burdens" that have prevented water projects from meeting the demands of their citizens and find ways to streamline the process "in accordance with the law."The plan is directed at the Central Valley Water Project in California, the Klamath Irrigation Project in Oregon and the Columbia River Basin. All the directives include strict timelines for compliance.Trump's memo also includes language calling for the adoption of better technology to forecast water availability and improve reliability, and to allow for local input on hydroelectric projects.Todd Reeve, CEO of Business for Water Stewardship, said he was wary of the memo's vague language."Any time there's a notion that there are really simple fixes, they typically aren't incorporating the full realm of factors that go into how we need to use and deliver and conserve and manage water," Reeve said."When we see a really simple declaration of, 'We're just going to change a decision and then everybody's going to get more water' ... it comes across without very much real meat to the concept," Reeve said.But Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at the Morrison Institute, said the changes should not be rejected out of hand. Porter agrees that while environmental reviews are important, the lengthy regulatory processes can stall other meaningful conservation actions."It's a legitimate and important process. It doesn't mean it can't be streamlined," Porter said."We have these processes so that there is a chance for people to raise legitimate objections, many of which are environmental," or are related to cost, Porter said. "And so it's important to have the processes."John Buse, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity, challenged the idea that regulatory delays are hindering water delivery."California is recovering from a multiyear drought. It's not that surprising that (water) deliveries have been cut back," he said. "But blaming environmental considerations for those limitations, I think, is just premising the whole policy change on something that hasn't been proven or established."He questioned the timing of the plan, saying the California portion could come "at the expense of an already critically destabilized Delta ecosystem ... something that really just looks like midterm election pandering to Central Valley agribusiness."Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, said in a statement that changes ordered in the memo will undermine local efforts "in favor of loopholes, slipshod environmental reviews, and hasty, reckless decision-making for the benefit of dam operators and corporate interests.""All of this will be at the expense of endangered species and communities and businesses across the West that rely on healthy rivers," Irvin said.Bahr pointed to the administration's environmental record and said she does not expect a change now."I'm sure it's a bad idea, because everything he's done on water, air, energy, anything having to do with a healthy safe environment, he's gone the wrong direction," Bahr said of Trump. "It would be no surprise that this would do the same."This story is part of Elemental: Covering Sustainability, a multimedia collaboration between Cronkite News, Arizona PBS, KJZZ, KPCC, Rocky Mountain PBS and PBS SoCal.Subscribe to Cronkite News on YouTube. Read more

NOAA: Arizona outlook promises warmer, wetter winter – but not too wet

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Alexis Egeland

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

NOAA: Arizona outlook promises warmer, wetter winter – but not too wet

WASHINGTON - Arizona will see a wetter and warmer winter than usual, with a weak El Nino system bringing steady, mild rains to the state, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.NOAA's winter forecast, released Thursday, is just what state farmers are hoping for - rain, but not the recent torrential storms that made October the wettest month ever recorded at Sky Harbor International Airport."Ranchers are loving the rain and even the crop farmers, but we're kind of saying, 'OK, slow down, Mother Nature,' because we're worried about the cotton crop," said Julie Murphree, outreach director for the Arizona Farm Bureau.State Climatologist Nancy Selover said the coming winter rains, coupled with October's downpours, should help make a dent in Arizona's long-running drought.That was echoed by NOAA, which said drought conditions are expected to improve in Arizona and New Mexico this winter, among other regions.Where the October tropical storms that blew up the coast of Mexico were "like flipping a switch," Selover said this year's El Nino is expected to be relatively weak for most of the country.But weaker storms are good for southern-tier states. The stronger storms typically hit California and Colorado harder, she said, while the weaker storms give a good amount of precipitation to Arizona.Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, agreed, saying December, January and February will bring more "garden-variety low pressure systems" than the recent storms.The National Weather Service cannot forecast specific rainfall amounts this far out, said Marvin Percha, an NWS meteorologist in Phoenix, but there could be a chance for more flooding across the state.He said there "really isn't any correlation between what happened this month and what will happen for the rest of the winter." This winter's precipitation is "more the large-scale pattern that's evolving along the Pacific and into the western U.S."Ideally, Murphree said, El Nino will bring a lot of snow this winter, because it is easier to collect water in the reservoirs if there's a big snowpack in the mountains.But Selover said the key to maximizing reservoir retention is a good rain before the snowpack."It would be really helpful if we can saturate the soil before we get that snowpack on top of it," Selover said. "That way when the snow melts in the spring, it won't soak into the soil, it'll just drain down into the streams and into our reservoirs."Murphree said the rain is good for farmers - in moderation. Too much rain can keep them out of the fields and can compromise the cotton crop.At this point, she said, it's a guessing game. And for farmers and ranchers across the state, there's nothing to do but "pray for rain.""We still have to wait for Mother Nature to decide what she's going to do, but we can be a little bit hopeful," Murphree said. "We really, really need it."Follow us on Instagram. Read more

The O.C.: It’s goodbye, Mike McCoy, hello, Byron Leftwich as Cardinals make changes

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Isaac Colindres

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

The O.C.: It’s goodbye, Mike McCoy, hello, Byron Leftwich as Cardinals make changes

TEMPE – The turnovers kept coming for the Cardinals on the field Thursday night. After an embarrassing 45-10 loss to the Denver Broncos, the team decided to execute one more, and this one was related to their coaching staff.The team announced Friday it had fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.“It’s my job as a head coach to figure out exactly what needs to be done, and I felt we needed a change,” coach Steve Wilks said. “We weren’t productive enough, let’s just say that. And that may be an understatement.”The lopsided game featured five turnovers was accompanied by a soundtrack of frequent boos, prompting the team to share a tweet afterward of puppies on a swing with the words, “There was a game tonight. Instead of a final score graphic, here’s a GIF of puppies to cheer you up.” That angered some fans more. Many called for the firing of McCoy. Others called for Wilks to share a carpool out of town with McCoy. Then, as if to illustrate just how far the Cardinals had fallen, a sprinkle of Cleveland Browns fans showed up on social media, expressing how they grieved for Arizona fans.The supporters of one of the least accomplished franchises in sport history felt the need to give Cardinal fans a digital hug.On Friday, the team seemed to acknowledge what many fans had been suggesting for weeks: The offense was in need of a revamping.“Last night was embarrassing … we got to do better,” Wilks said of his teams performance against the Broncos. “Our fans deserve more, and it’s unacceptable”The Cardinals rank last in the league in total offense (yards per game), and 31st in passing yards, rushing yards, receiving yards and touchdowns.For McCoy, his release from the team marks consecutive years that he has been fired as offensive coordinator in the middle of the season. In 2017, the Broncos fired him after a six-game losing streak.Byron Leftwich takes over as the Cardinals offensive coordinator, while remaining the quarterbacks coach for 21-year-old rookie Josh Rosen. Leftwich, a 2003 first round pick, played nine seasons in the NFL at quarterback.Wilks notes that Leftwich’s experience connects him to Rosen is severable valuable ways, including his understanding of the pressures of being a starting NFL quarterback, and his ability to communicate to Rosen from a quarterback’s perspective.“I feel very confident in the coaching staff we have on that side. We just need to really tap in and use those resources. It’s going to be a collective effort on everybody’s part to be able to get this thing going,” Wilks said.Nine games remain in the Cardinals’ 2018 regular season, and 10 more weeks are left for the team to shows encouraging signs of life.If not, many believe, McCoy may not be the only one out of a job.Connect with us on Facebook. Read more

Historic Lakota Treaty Meeting in Green Grass, Oct 20 — 21, 2018

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Contact: Floyd Looks For Buffalo Hand; Naca Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty CouncilIvan Looking HorseCanupa Gluha Mani. Itacan and Spokesman Strong Heart Warrior SocietyHistoric Lakota Treaty Meeting in Green Grass, SD This WeekendWHO: Lakota Treaty Representatives, Headsmen, and other Traditional Representatives of the Oceti SakowinWHAT:  Oceti Sakowin and Allies Read more

Stakes are high as playoffs arrive for Phoenix Rising

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Ricardo Ávila

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

Stakes are high as playoffs arrive for Phoenix Rising

SCOTTSDALE - The implications of Phoenix Rising FC’s first playoff game are far-reaching.Not only is advancement in the postseason at stake, but the club hopes to make a strong case for becoming one of Major League Soccer’s expansion franchises.The Rising face Portland Timbers 2 at 7:30 tonight at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in the United Soccer League’s 16-team single elimination tournament. The Rising ended their regular season with a 1-0 loss to the Timbers.“Focusing pretty intently all week,” Rising defender Joe Farrell said. “The level has definitely raised. Everyone’s kind of buzzing to get into this first game and really get a chance to bite back at Portland for the last weekend.”The game is about more than just a ticket to the conference semifinals.The club’s MLS aspirations could be jeopardized. The Rising hope to land one of two MLS expansion spots, Nos. 27 or 28.The club is hosting MLS executives, who will be attending the match tonight, although Rising general manager Bobby Dulle said the MLS visit is “just a visit.”The league fields 23 teams, but has confirmed three more spots, for FC Cincinnati in 2019, and for Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC in 2020.Detroit and Sacramento were the other two finalists in the vote to grant MLS franchises Nos. 24 and 25. They are competing directly with the Rising, among others, for an MLS spot.It appears likely one of the two remaining spots will be going to Austin FC, the team from the Texas city where the Columbus Crew franchise had planned on landing.The Crew could now remain in Columbus due to Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam emerging as strong candidates to buy the team and keep it in Ohio.MLS hasn’t fully clarified whether Austin FC will take up one of two remaining MLS spots but strongly hinted at that possibility.“Regardless of any scenario in Columbus, there is a clear path forward for (Prescourt Sports Ventures) to operate Austin FC as a Major League Soccer club,” MLS said via a statement on their website. [caption id="attachment_101126" align="alignright" width="300"] Solomon Asante of Phoenix Rising FC is among the players who hope to lead the team in the postseason. (Photo by Joe Hicks/Getty Images)[/caption]PSV is Crew CEO Anthony Precourt’s ownership group.A lot has changed for the Rising in a month.A month ago, the Rising trailed first-placed Orange County SC by four points, with two games in hand. A first-place finish was attainable.A month ago, the Rising won seven of eight games between August and September, scoring 18 goals and allowing only four.A month ago, the Rising had three club records in sight: most club points in a single season, most goals scored in a single season and best-ever finish.And even though they achieved all three records, their hot September form has cooled off along with the Arizona weather.The last three games of the regular season saw the Rising lose twice and tie once, scoring two goals and allowing six in the process.The Rising finished the regular season in third place of the Western Conference, three points behind first-placed Orange County SC.Farrell said the team can’t take anything for granted, after having significantly more scoring options than Portland last week, and said scoring early is key for Timbers 2 to lose confidence.Rising coach Rick Schantz said losing to Portland gave the Rising focus.“At this point now, we know everything we need to know about Portland. The idea here is being a little bit more focused in the final third,” Schantz said.Schantz said the last three games served the Rising as preparation for the playoffs.“ ‘Ifs’ don’t get you anything in this game,” he said. “All we have now is we have to win. If we take our chances and put the game away early, that’ll definitely be in our favor. … In the front third in particular, we have to be killers.”They have the fifth-best offense in the league with 63 goals and the second best defense, with 16 shutouts allowed.If the Rising win, they will face the winner of the Sacramento Republic-Swope Park Rangers matchup.Connect with us on Facebook. Read more

Crowds await Trump as he criss-crosses three corners of Phoenix metro area

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Cronkite Staff

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

Crowds await Trump as he criss-crosses three corners of Phoenix metro area

MESA – As President Donald Trump started crisscrossing the Phoenix metro area Friday, people lined up hours before an evening rally that has become a trademark of his administration.Trump was moving from a fundraiser in Scottsdale to a tour of Luke Air Force Base in Glendale and back again for the Mesa “Make America Great” rally expected to draw hundreds to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport at 6:30 p.m. Friday He’ll head back to the White House on Saturday.– Map by Daisy Finch and Gina Dattolo/Cronkite NewsSupporters lined up in Mesa as dawn broke.Jay Cole, a Trump rally veteran, said for these events, it’s best to leave his house in Mesa by 3 a.m. or, at the latest, 4 a.m., to be among the first in line.“I like to be in the front so I can get front row seats so I can be close to him,” Jay Cole said. He said he expected the president to be worth the wait, calling the chance to hear him speak a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for him.He brought his brother, Tim Cole, to his first rally.Tim Cole said he’s not sure what to expect, but he’s game.“I’ve never met or been around the president or any president so I thought it would be fun,” he said. By 1 p.m. Friday, the line snaked around the building. Mesa police said about 1,000 people were there but called it a rough estimate.One of those was Teresa Mendoza, a Mesa resident and a member of the Latinas for Trump national group. She said she was a longtime Democrat but became a Republican after Trump became president."The Democrats are out of control," she said. "Now I'm not only an ex-Democrat, I'll never vote Democrat again. He turned me into a Trumpster."She attended the Phoenix rally last year, which led to Phoenix police turning tear gas and pepper-spray bullets on protesters after the rally. The Phoenix chapter of the ACLU has filed a class action lawsuit, saying police overreacted.But Mendoza said she hopes police would use force again if protesters act irrationally. What brought her to this rally is seeing people of all backgrounds supporting Trump's values.The president arrived late Thursday night at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and headed directly to the Scottsdale Princess resort. On Friday, according to his schedule, he participated in a roundtable discussion with supporters, delivered remarks at a fundraising committee luncheon and sign a presidential memorandum about the “reliable supply and delivery of water in the West.”Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally, who is vying against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, announced Trump’s tour of the base during a debate on Monday night that aired on Arizona PBS. While on base, the President is expected to participate in a defense roundtable as well.[su_divider top="no" size="1" margin="10"] [sub-tag] Read more

Trump rallies Mesa crowd to support Republican McSally in tight Senate race

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Cronkite Staff

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

Trump rallies Mesa crowd to support Republican McSally in tight Senate race

Story updated 8:05 p.m.MESA – President Donald Trump told a crowd of thousands in a Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport hangar Friday night that a vote for U.S. Senate candidate Martha McSally would be the "second-best vote you ever cast." The greatest vote was for him, he said.Trump had crisscrossed metro Phoenix Friday to stump for McSally, culminating in the rally.The president said McSally will “protect your jobs, defend your borders and continue making America great again.” And he reminded the crowd that early voting already has begun in Arizona.“If anybody would like to leave and go out to vote, I don’t mind at all,” Trump said.McSally faces Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the race for U.S. Senate. Trump had referred to McSally as “brilliant” earlier in the day, while calling Sinema a “very, very strange opponent.”At the rally, Trump touched on many familiar themes – tightening border security, improving health care and “draining the swamp.”McSally took the stage and told the president: “I just want to let you know, we are not crazy here. Unlike what my opponent said, we are not the meth lab of democracy.”The race has attracted national attention, and Democrats have cited it as an opportunity to shift the power balance in Congress.Friday’s rally comes as a Democratic senatorial seat appears to be a real possibility. A poll released Friday by Data Orbital had Sinema with a slight lead. The poll included 600 general election voters.In response to Trump’s visit, Sinema told reporters that Arizonans “don’t care about big fancy names” from outside. They care about health care.Earlier in the day, Trump went from a fundraiser in Scottsdale to a tour of Luke Air Force Base in Glendale before heading to the “Make America Great” rally.Thousands of people had lined up in Mesa as dawn broke Friday.Jay Cole of Mesa, a Trump rally veteran, said for these events, it’s best to leave before dawn to be among the first in line.“I like to be in the front so I can get front row seats so I can be close to him,” Cole said, adding that hearing the president speak would be worth the long wait.His brother, Tim Cole, was attending his first Trump rally. He's said he wasn't sure what to expect, but he was game.“I’ve never met or been around the president or any president, so I thought it would be fun,” he said. By 1 p.m., the line snaked around the building, owned by a private air-services provider, where the rally was scheduled. Mesa police said about 1,000 people were waiting but called it a rough estimate.One of those was Teresa Mendoza, a Mesa resident and a member of the Latinas for Trump national group. She said she was a longtime Democrat but became a Republican after Trump was elected."The Democrats are out of control," she said. "Now I'm not only an ex-Democrat, I'll never vote Democrat again. He turned me into a Trumpster."She attended Trump's Phoenix rally last year, which led to Phoenix police using tear gas and pepper-spray bullets on protesters after the rally. The Phoenix chapter of the ACLU has filed a class action lawsuit, saying police overreacted.But Mendoza said she hopes police would use force again if protesters act irrationally. What brought her to this rally, she said, is seeing people of all backgrounds supporting Trump's values.But protesters did not show up in droves ahead of Mesa's rally. Only two protesters were inside the designated area for opposition protest before Trump's arrival in Mesa.The president had arrived late Thursday night at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and headed directly to the Scottsdale Princess resort.McSally had announced Trump’s tour of Luke during a debate on Monday night that aired on Arizona PBS.[masterslider id="155"]While the president worked, so did Mike Harris, 55, a vendor from San Antonio who has attended rallies consistently since 2016. The Mesa rally is his 54th, he said.“I wasn’t even a Trump follower in the beginning," Harris said. "Now that I’ve seen the change in the economy, it changed my mind.”Harris has also attended rallies for political parties, including a Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. “I like to know both sides.”Many people buying buttons, shirts and other Trump gear are from out of state, he said.Cronkite News reporters Gabriella Bachara, Micah Alise Bledsoe, Jordan Dafnis, Jordan Evans, Adriana Falero, Samie Gebers, Anya Magnuson, Karisma Sandoval and Beichen Tong contributed to this article.[su_divider top="no" size="1" margin="10"] [sub-tag] Read more

Native Women Demand Banks Respect Indigenous Rights and Lands

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.Native Women Demand Banks Respect Indigenous Rights and LandsBy WECAN InternationalCensored NewsThe Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation, and local and national organizations, took action outside of the Equator Principles (EP) Association annual member meeting in Washington D.C - to demand that the banks respect Indigenous rights and lands, and end their investments in dirty Read more