Friday, June 18, 2010

What we're watching (and you should too!)

There are several "large scale ecosystem restoration and protection" bills working their ways through the U.S. Congress at the moment (see the list, and links to the bills, below).  Although none are directly related to work in the Mississippi River Basin, they are related to potential future Basin legislative measures in the sense that (1) Congress is beginning to more and more see the value in addressing watershed issues at a basinwide level, and (2) the Chesapeake Bay programs, in particular, are being touted by the Administration, and some Senators and House Members, as models that could be rolled out nationally (including in the Mississippi River region), once implemented and tested in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

There is a chance that some or all of the above bills might be wrapped up into one "Great Waters Omnibus" bill.  That likelihood depends on a variety of factors, including the pace that each of the measures is considered by the various House and Senate committees in which they must be considered, as well as the very tight legislative calendar through the remainder of 2010.  Action on any omnibus measure, if it happens this year at all, would likely occur in the time window following the November election and the end of the year.

"And what is the likelihood of ever introducing similar legislation relating to the whole Mississippi River watershed?" one might ask.  Not too good right now, I would suggest.  But that's another story altogether, and will be the subject of a more lengthy analysis that we'll post next week.

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