Friday, April 23, 2010

Mississippi River Water Resource News for the Week

The House Agriculture Committee has scheduled a series of field hearings across the country "to review U.S. agriculture policy in advance of the 2012 Farm Bill," including one in the Mississippi River basin. That public hearing will be held on Friday, April 30, at 1:00 p.m. CDT at the Iowa State Fair Grounds, Penningroth Sale Center, in Des Moines, Iowa. A map to the Fair Grounds can be found here. The House Agriculture Committee public hearing web page is here.  The Committee has already held two hearings to inform the direction of the 2012 Farm Bill (one in Harrisburg, PA and one in Washington, DC).

Here is a link to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's press release regarding the April 21 introduction by Rep. James Oberstar (MN-8th) of HR 5088, “America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act” (see additional discussion on the issue here). The purpose of the legislation would be to restore the authority of the Clean Water Act that was altered by two Supreme Court decisions handed down in 2001 and 2006.

Several articles ran in the April 21 editions of Wisconsin newspapers about the state's newly proposed phosphorus wastewater discharge limits and the associated, potential costs to municipal wastewater treatment facilities. Here are links to three of the articles:

After adding amendments broadening the bill's scope, the House on April 15 passed HR 4715 (Clean Estuaries Act of 2010), reauthorizing the National Estuary Program (bill summary page here and the roll call vote here ). The National Estuary Program was created in 1987 to provide grants to improve the quality of estuaries of national importance. There are currently 28 estuary programs, each with the objective of evaluating watersheds feeding the estuary (including downstream impacts caused by upstream pollution), and developing plans for addressing those issues. A map overview of the watersheds within the EPA National Estuary Program can be viewed here. The web site for the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuarine Complex in Louisiana is located here.

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