Energy & Environment

Obama rolls out climate initiatives for Western US


President Obama is unveiling millions of dollars in programs Wednesday to help the Western United States adapt to the effects of climate change.

The announcements come as Obama travels to southern Nevada for the 20th Lake Tahoe Summit, a gathering to celebrate progress in cleaning up the lake and plan for future environmental efforts.

{mosads}The White House said Obama’s speech and his visit, along with a trip to Alaska last year and Yosemite National Park earlier this summer, “provides another vivid example of the new challenges we face as climate change threatens communities and ecosystems through impacts like increasingly frequent and severe drought and wildfires.”

With an eye toward helping the West through its historic drought, the Interior Department is setting aside $29.5 million to remove dead and dying trees from public and private land, a process known as hazardous fuels reduction.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Fish and Wildlife Service are rolling out new initiatives to help Lake Tahoe’s water quality. The EPA’s grants, totaling more than $230 million, focus on stormwater management, while the Fish and Wildlife Service’s nearly $1 million program will try to stop invasive mussel species.

The Department of Energy, meanwhile, is picking two projects to get up to $29 million for geothermal energy research in Nevada and Utah.

A number of the actions announced Wednesday are meant to help the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, which has lost significant amounts of water and is very polluted.

Other programs announced Wednesday focus on renewable energy in California’s southern desert, water conservation and more.

Tags California Climate change Lake Tahoe Nevada
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