American Hiking Society (AHS) has enjoyed another year of awarding funds to trail projects across the country through its 2011 National Trails Fund (NTF). This year the NTF awarded $27,000 and eclipsed the half million dollar mark with total awards of $514,500 since its inception in 1998.AHS received 114 applications from 38 states seeking funding. Of these, the eight outstanding projects listed below were chosen to recieve grants ranging between $500 and $5,000.
According to reports from Reuters and Greenpeace, U.S. climate change skeptic Willie Soon, who has also discounted the health risks of mercury emissions from coal, has received more than $1 million in funding from oil and energy companies since 2002. Soon's benefactors include Southern Co., one of the largest coal burners in the U.S., the American Petroleum Institute as well as Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries and brother to co-owner David Koch. David Koch is the founder of Americans for Prosperity, a group aligned with the Tea Party movement, which opposes new air pollution regulations.
An astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Soon has also recieved funding from purely scientific sources including NASA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But starting early in the last decade, Soon began receiving more funding from the energy companies. Greenpeace filed a Freedom of Information Act and obtained information revealing the Koch Brothers gave $175,000 in 2005/2006 and once again in 2010. The American Petroleum institute gave grants totalling $274,000 between 2001 and 2007, and Exxon Mobile provided Soon with $335,000 in grants between 2005 and 2010.
A fiscal year 2012 bill approved by the House Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment Appropriations proposes drastic cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), reducing the program by 80 percent from 2011 levels that were already 30 percent below 2010 levels."If enacted, the Subcommittee's proposed funding level would be the lowest in the history of the program, which strong enjoys strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate," said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land (TPL). "While we are disappointed in the bill approved today, we look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to find the funds needed to meet the critical land conservation and outdoor recreation needs that simply cannot wait."
Adult obesity rates increased in 16 states in the past year and did not decline in any state, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011, a report from the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Twelve states now have obesity rates above 30 percent. Four years ago, only one state was above 30 percent.The obesity epidemic continues to be most dramatic in the South, which includes nine of the 10 states with the highest adult obesity rates. States in the Northeast and West tend to have lower rates. Mississippi maintained the highest adult obesity rate for the seventh year in a row, and Colorado has the lowest obesity rate and is the only state with a rate under 20 percent.