What will it take to keep workers from dying of heat? Enforcement and trust, advocates say

The White House announcement last week of a blueprint to address working conditions for laborers in extreme heat was seen widely as a critical first step in developing national rules around heat stress in the workplace, which has killed hundreds of people in the last decade. Heat is the leading weather-related killer in the U.S. The federal proposal prioritizes establishing a first-ever federal heat standard — a widely accepted temperature or series of conditions under which employees would be

We don’t know exactly how many people are dying from heat — here’s why

On the day he died, Florencio Gueta-Vargas woke up at 3 a.m. as he did each day for nearly two decades, so he could arrive early for work as a tractor driver at a hops farm in Yakima County, hand-made tortillas from his wife in hand. On July 29, Gueta-Vargas didn’t return home. His wife, who works at a cherry warehouse, was notified by a cousin that Gueta-Vargas’s truck was still at the farm. The family arrived to the news from a sheriff’s deputy that the father of six had died. “There was no

Farmworkers are dying in extreme heat. Few standards exist to protect them

As he neared the end of his shift July 29 on a hops field in Washington’s Yakima County, Florencio Gueta-Vargas collapsed. That day, temperatures would reach triple digits. When he didn’t return home, his family went searching at the field where he worked; a relative told them that the truck he drove was still at the farm’s main office. That’s where a sheriff’s deputy told the family Gueta-Vargas had died. Gueta-Vargas, 69, had not been taken to the hospital, but instead directly to a local mor

What’s causing the drought in the West — and why it’s so bad

Several Western states, including Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and parts of Oregon and Colorado, are in the grips of a historic drought that has depleted key water sources to a frightening level as temperatures rise and wildfire risk increases. Many scientists are ringing alarm bells that it could mark a tipping point in the water crisis that threatens life in the West as we know it, particularly agriculture. “The word drought just doesn’t do it anymore,” said John Fleck, a pro

How sound could help predict climate change

How the sounds around you could be a harbinger of climate change PHOENIX – Saguaros and cardons tower against a soft gray sky as a family of quail tiptoes through the brush. Flowers glisten with raindrops. Under a tree, a man stands motionless. His eyes are closed, and he’s smiling softly. Paine is an associate professor of digital sound and interactive media at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. He co-leads the Acoustic Ecology Lab, where he studies how sounds can help

Sewage is the real border crisis for many border towns and cities

People who live in Imperial Beach, California, in Naco and Nogales in Arizona and in Texas communities along the Rio Grande all say the same thing: When it rains, it stinks. The reason is a failing, aging network of pipes and wastewater treatment plants that run from Mexico into each of these communities. When heavy rains fall, the pipes often break and spill raw sewage on both sides of the border, causing not only a putrid odor but public health and environmental concerns...

Nogales seeks a fair deal from binational commission on costs of treating wastewater

Nogales seeks a fair deal from binational commission on costs of treating wastewater NOGALES – More than 370 articles on the Nogales International online news archive contain the word “sewage,” and that archive only dates to 2001. These articles reveal a long history of broken pipes, sewage overflows, industrial waste and more. Sewage in Ambos Nogales – “ambos” is Spanish for “both,” referring to the twin cities in Arizona and Sonora – has been an issue since 1944, when the first binational tr

Sewage flowing into Nogales Wash raises concerns about water supply for both Mexico and U.S.

Sewage flowing into Nogales Wash raises concerns about water supply for both Mexico and U.S. NOGALES, Mexico – Wastewater containing raw sewage has been intermittently flowing into the Nogales Wash from Mexico since mid-January, spurring concerns about health and the water supply for communities on both sides of the border. Four of the five pumps at the Los Alisos Wastewater Treatment Plant in Nogales, Mexico, have been malfunctioning since mid-January, but a temporary fix is in the works. Je

How Arizona national parks survived the government shutdown

How Arizona national parks survived the longest government shutdown in U.S. history GRAND CANYON – Waiting for the sun to rise, visitors to Grand Canyon National Park quietly stood at Mather Point. By 7:45, sunbeams pierced the low clouds to illuminate the red rocks and the sparkling snow. Despite the partial federal government shutdown, which ended Jan. 25, for most visitors, the closure didn’t affect their experience. Although Petrified Forest National Park closed during the longest governme

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