West Coast Dockworkers Ratify Contract and Drought Expands
**University of California researchers say satellite data reveals increasing levels of nitrogen dioxide, that can harm plants and crop yields, in remote forest areas.
While short-lived in the atmosphere, researchers say wildfire and soil emissions are contributing reasons for the increase in nitrogen dioxide levels.
Their findings from satellite data were published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
**The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents dockworkers at all West Coast ports, voted to ratify a tentative 6-year contract agreement reached in June.
U.S. Meat Export Federation President Dan Halstrom says the 75% voter-approved ratification is great news because it will bring stability to the West Coast ports and should eliminate work stoppages and interruptions.
Halstrom also hopes West Coast ports can regain some of the import cargo business lost to the East and Gulf Coasts.
**The weekly Drought Monitor showed drought getting worse across areas in the Midwest, South, Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest.
In the Midwest, extreme heat impacted areas like Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
Areas in the South, including the Texas Gulf Coast, Louisiana, and Southern Mississippi, saw continued drought-related deterioration.
Some areas did see improvement, including southern Texas, where heavy rains from Tropical Storm Harold provided much-needed relief.