EPA

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

In the middle of working farms between the towns of Notus and Parma, the city of Boise owns a 49 acre field. In March the city plans to start construction there on a unique project to reduce phosphorus in the Boise and Snake Rivers. It's generally referred to as the Dixie Drain Project.

The site for the upcoming project is close enough to the Boise River that you can see the trees along its banks a little to the north.  In the other direction there’s a bluff that disappears into the horizon. But the key feature is the water that runs through the site and empties into the river.

The EPA has given the state of Idaho notice that a corner of the Idaho panhandle isn't meeting stricter new air quality standards. The agency intends to change that by forcing the state to reduce what are called “fine particulates” in the air.

Federal dollars meant to restore toxic areas like old factories, mines and gas stations are now going to clean up after another long-time industry: methamphetamine.

Water is a common and often contentious issue in the West. But now, farmers across the country are also riled up because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to revise the 1972 Clean Water Act.

Idaho is starting the process of taking over wastewater permitting from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, under a law that quietly cleared the Idaho Legislature earlier this year.

Arbyreed / Flickr Creative Commons

The Obama Administration announced Monday that Idaho will have to cut its carbon pollutants by a third over the next 15 years.

The new standard is part of national initiative aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as high as 40 percent in some states from their 2005 level.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Idaho's power sector emitted 1 million metric tons of carbon in 2012 and produced 4 million megawatt hours of energy. This means that the state's emission rate was about 340 pounds per megawatt hours.

EPA

The nice weather we've been having means work on the ground is resuming at one of the largest Superfund sites in the nation.

The EPA is trying to clear decades of mine pollution from Idaho's Coeur d'Alene River Basin and the upper reaches of the Spokane River. But this summer, managers are using an environmental remedy you might not expect: pavement.

cows
Michael_McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

A south-central Idaho milk processing company has agreed to pay a $170,000 fine for dumping wastewater with acidity levels high enough to damage Jerome's wastewater treatment plant.

The Times-News reports that the Environmental Protection Agency announced the agreement with Idaho Milk Products in a statement on Monday.

The agency says the company between March 2009 and July 2012 exceeded its acidity limit 138 times.

tilapia
MHaze / Flickr Creative Commons

A Twin Falls fish and frog farm has agreed to pay a $25,000 fine as part to settle a case over illegal discharging of phosphorus into the Snake River.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement Tuesday with McCollum Enterprises, Limited Partnership, which operates the Canyon Springs Fish Farm.

Regulators accused the company of more than 550 violations of its discharge permit between June 2008 and March 2012.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to begin its new term Monday – despite the federal government shutdown. The new round of legal cases will likely continue a pattern of closely divided rulings.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A river basin cleanup in north Idaho is showing just how difficult it is to remove long-term pollution from Northwest waterways. This month, the EPA is running tests on layers of muck from the bottom of the Coeur d'Alene River. It’s downstream from a federal superfund site.

A technician lowers a 7-foot tube into the riverbed, like a straw into a piece of bread.

Federal regulators say the Amalgamated Sugar Co. has agreed to pay $7,500 for violating the Clean Water Act at its facility in Paul.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the enforcement action Monday.

EPA investigators say the company discharged stormwater without a permit last year. The agency cited the company for discharging 4,000 gallons of stormwater from a storage lagoon to a drainage and irrigation ditch that empties into the Snake River without permission in its permit.

Idaho water quality regulators must go back to the drawing board after the federal Environmental Protection Agency rejected a rule that allowed some pollution to be discharged into state waterways without a review.

In 2011, the EPA actually approved an Idaho Department of Environmental Quality rule exempting activities such as mining from review in some instances, provided their accompanying water pollution fell below a certain threshold.

Cows
Mouldfish / Flickr Creative Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with an Idaho cattle feedlot accused of dumping pollutants into the Boise River.

EPA officials say that in 2011, W/T Land & Cattle dumped animal waste into the river during and after flood events without a permit. The feedlot is located on the banks of the river near Notus.

EPA Now Requires Idaho Dredge Mining Permit

Apr 5, 2013
Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Anyone who wants to mine gold in Idaho streams with a suction dredge will need to get a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency. 

For years, people have flocked to a stretch of the Salmon River north of Riggins to mine for gold. Many of them have used a suction dredge to extract the precious metal from the gravel and silt on the river bottom. Until now, the EPA didn’t require these modern day prospectors to get permission if they used small-scale dredges.

Flickr/agit-prop

Three environmental groups will make the case in court Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to act on their petition to the agency to ban a common pesticide, chlorpyrifos.  

Rhodes International

The owners of a Caldwell frozen bread and cinnamon roll plant will pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency more than $84,000 for hazardous chemical violations.  

The EPA announced Monday that Rhodes International stored large amounts of anhydrous ammonia at its Caldwell facility without proper reporting to public safety officials.  The chemical is a toxic gas that can cause serious injury or death. 

Mike and Chantell Sackett imagine a rustic, three-bedroom A-frame, with views of Priest Lake and the rugged landscape that surrounds it. But the EPA told them in 2007 that because their plot is designated as a wetland, they could face steep fines for building.

The coupled hired engineers who dispute that finding. But they never had a chance to argue that point. In an interview last fall, Chantell Sackett said the case comes down to this exchange with a EPA manager.

"I said, 'So, why would I stop building my house? She said, 'Because we told you to.'"

North Idaho Couple Celebrates Property Rights Victory

Mar 21, 2012
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A north Idaho couple is celebrating a major legal victory at the nation's highest court. Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Mike and Chantell Sackett have the right to challenge a decision by federal regulators that their property is a protected wetland.