The National Resources and Defense Council in partnership with David Gardiner & Associates published the 6th edition of the Fighting Oil Addition: Ranking States’ Gasoline Price Vulnerability and Solutions for Change report last month.

The study identifies those states whose citizens are most impacted by gasoline prices as well as states that are doing the most to break their oil addiction. The report uses two indicators to provide state rankings, gasoline price vulnerability, and adoption of smart solutions to reduce oil dependence. Among its conclusions, the research finds that few states are taking significant steps to reduce oil dependence.

To read the report in its entirety, visit

In an article entitled, The Art of the Possible in Energy and Environment Policy, National Journal’s Energy and Environment reporter Amy Harder asks whether the results of the 2012 election pave the way for Washington to achieve bipartisan energy and environment policies. 

A range of responses submitted by environmental leaders in government, think tanks, trade associations, NGOs and academia, discuss issue areas from climate change to natural gas to renewables and make a wide variety of predictions and recommendations taking into account the political challenges, opportunities and need for bipartisan cooperation.

To read the article in its entirety, visit

At the request of the U.S. intelligence community, the National Research Council recently conducted a study to assess the impacts of climate change on social and political stresses. In an 18-month study, researchers investigated possible connections between climate and national security concerns and attempted to identify ways to better equip the intelligence community to take climate change into account in their assessments going forward.

Among many lines of research, the study focused on security risks that may arise in situations where the consequences of droughts, heat waves, or storms exceed the capacity of a country or population to cope with such an event and potentially drive migration across international borders. The study makes numerous recommendations on how to proceed given the current and not nearly well enough understood link between climate events and security outcomes.

To read the full report, visit

USDA’s Economic Research Service recently released a report entitled, Water Conservation in Irrigated Agriculture: Trends and Challenges in the Face of Emerging Demands. This report relies on findings from several national surveys and current literature to assess water resource use and conservation measures within the U.S. irrigated crop sector.

U.S. agriculture accounts for 80-90 percent of the Nation’s consumptive water use (water lost to the environment by evaporation, crop transpiration, or incorporation into products). Expanding water demands to support population and economic growth, environmental flows (water within wetlands, rivers, and groundwater systems needed to maintain natural ecosystems), and energy-sector growth, combined with Native American water-right claims and supply/demand shifts expected with climate change, will present new challenges for agricultural water use and conservation, particularly for the 17 Western States that account for nearly three-quarters of U.S. irrigated agriculture.

To download the report in its entirety, visit

The Executive Order released on September 10, 2012 affirms the Federal Government’s Gulf Coast ecosystem restoration efforts following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and realigns responsibilities for these efforts. To this end, it announces the creation of the Gulf Coast Restoration Council, which will build upon the success and take over the functions of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. The Task Force will be terminated following the creation of the Council.

The Executive Order supports the ongoing role of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council and names EPA and USDA as additional trustees for this council solely for efforts pertaining to damages resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill.

To read the full Executive Order, visit

The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently released a report entitled, Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Key Environmental and Public Health Requirements.  The report reviewed the environmental and public health laws that apply to unconventional oil and gas development noting key exemptions or limitations within this regulatory coverage.  It then reviewed laws and requirements in six different states and on federal land. 

The study discovered several common challenges among federal and state agencies including inspection and enforcement challenges due to limited information as well as the limited legal authority of regulatory agencies under existing laws.

To view the report in its entirety, visit

On August 1, Representative Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced introduced the Water Protection and Reinvestment Act of 2012(HR 6249), a bill that “will provide a deficit-neutral, consistent, and protected source of revenue to help states replace, repair, and rehabilitate critical wastewater treatment facilities”.

At the heart of the Act is a plan to establish a water trust fund to finance clean water infrastructure, funded by those who use water and contribute to water pollution at the manufacturer level. Funding created by the Act would primarily be distributed as grants and loans through the existing Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund and a number of new grant programs, while ten percent would be used in an innovative financing program.

Read the press release about the bill from Congressman Blumenauer’s website.

Download a summary of the bill.

Download the full text of the bill.

The Horinko Group has posted its latest headline “Final Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework Released” which comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

On June 5, 2012, EPA released the final Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework. The framework was developed in conjunction with the October 27, 2011 memorandum to provide further guidance for EPA, States and local governments in developing and implementing effective integrated plans under the Clean Water Act. This framework was finalized after extensive public input including a series of workshops across the country.

For more information, and to download a PDF copy of the Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework, visit the EPA Website.

The Horinko Group has posted its latest headline, “Environmental Management in Economic Hard Times: Getting Back to the Fundamentals”

The downloadable PDF contains remarks delivered by G. Tracy Mehan, III to the University of Kansas’ 62nd Annual Environmental Engineering Conference in Lawrence, Kansas on April 18, 2012. An excerpt of the remarks is included below:

“I want to talk about fundamentals which should anchor the work of every environmental or natural resource professional. I hope to identify some new approaches, possibly outside your comfort zone, which require developing new skill sets which go beyond technical engineering, the natural sciences and purely legal or statutory requirements.

Specifically, I believe that engineers and other technical managers, both within private entities as well as public institutions, must more actively engage the general public, stakeholders, the regulated community and non-governmental organizations (NGO) with a view toward cultivating greater understanding, material and moral support and, just as importantly, fashioning effective public-private partnerships to achieve common goals. These kinds of collaborations are certainly time and labor intensive, but they can facilitate mutual learning, mobilization of resources from non-traditional sources and enhance the political and social legitimacy of both public and private entities.”

Read the rest of the headline by downloading a PDF copy.

The Horinko Group has posted its latest headline about the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s recent review of Innovative Financing Approaches for Community Water Infrastructure Projects.

An excerpt from the press release about the hearing can be found below:

“The Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee on Wednesday will hold the second of a two-part hearing to review innovative approaches for financing community water infrastructure projects. The first part was held on Tuesday, February 28.

The Subcommittee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), will receive testimony on how to better enable local communities to finance wastewater and drinking water facilities mandated by state and federal environmental laws and regulations.”

Read the rest of the headline by visiting the Committee website.