By Carrie Mihalcik / current.com
March was the warmest ever on record for the continental United States.
More than 15,000 warm temperature records were broken in March, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Every state experienced at least one record warm day and 25 states east of the Rockies had their warmest March on record.
Along with the warm temperatures came an increased number of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across the eastern part of the country. More than 223 preliminary tornado reports came in during March, a month that usually averages 80 tornadoes, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.
NOAA illustrated the increase in temperature over this past month with a day-to-day animation of daily records that were either tied or broken.
Brooklyn: The borough of farms
The largest rooftop farm in the United States, and possibly the entire world, is set to be built in Brooklyn. Bright Farms is building a sprawling 100,000-square-foot, hydrophobic greenhouse on the roof of a former Navy warehouse. The greenhouse is expected to yield 1 million pounds of produce a year, with the first harvest planned for next spring.
"Brooklyn was an agricultural powerhouse in the 19th Century, and it has now become a local food scene second to none," Paul Lightfoot, the chief executive of Bright Farms, told The New York Times. "We're bringing a business model where food is grown and sold right in the community."
Hydraulic fracturing goes Hollywood
Matt Damon will star in the anti-fracking film "The Promised Land," that he co-wrote with actor John Krasinski, Politico confirmed. Krasinski will play a character whose life is thrown into disarray after arriving in a small town and Damon is playing the role of a rival corporate executive. Director Gus Van Sant, who shot "Good Will Hunting," "Milk" and "Finding Forrester," has signed on to the film which is slated to begin filming later this month in Pennsylvania.
Green groups sue EPA over coal ash regulations
Environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA on April 5 in an attempt to force the agency to finalize regulations for the containment and disposal of coal ash, Reuters reports. Coal ash is a toxic solid waste byproduct created when coal is burned to make electricity. The ash contains several harmful metals, including concentrated levels of the radioactive elements uranium and thorium.
The EPA pledged to create new regulations for coal ash after more than 500 million gallons of the toxic sludge spilled from a storage site at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in 2008. The EPA has created two proposals, so far, but the rules are unlikely to go anywhere during an election year when the Obama administration wants to avoid a fight over coal power plants. The Sierra Club, the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice are among the groups suing the EPA for a hard deadline.
Energy Department to approve more loans for renewable energy
The Energy department announced last week that it will begin approving new taxpayer-backed loans to solar, wind and geothermal energy projects. Companies that were not able to secure loans under the 2009 stimulus program have been asked to reapply to a loan guarantee program established under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Energy department is covering the costly upfront fee applicants normally have to pay under the 2005 program.
While conservatives continue to criticize the Obama administration for supporting solar company Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan guarantee and then went bankrupt, The New York Times reports that Republicans have no immediate objections to the new round of loans.
Fox on energy subsides (A love story)
Media Matters for America looks at Fox News' love/hate relationship with energy subsidies: They hate programs supporting renewable energy but love the $4 billion in annual tax breaks for oil and gas companies.
(Photo: Getty Images)