Friday, October 15, 2010

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

Fiscal Conditions Bode Poorly for a Smooth Farm Bill Reauthorization Process
An October 7 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, “Actual Farm Bill Spending and Cost Estimates,” by Agricultural Policy Specialists Jim Monke and Renee Johnson, highlights the difficulties facing Congress as it ramps up work on the 2012 Farm Bill, particularly as that bill relates to the tight Federal budget and the nation's recession  (pdf file of the report).

The report stresses that ““as Congress moves toward considering reauthorization of the omnibus farm bill, questions about the cost of the farm bill and policy considerations about different farm bill programs—each with sometimes different constituencies—will likely become more prominent.”

The report also notes that "the budget situation for a new farm bill is going to be more like that for the 2008 farm bill than for the 2002 farm bill. The budget resolution that funded the 2002 farm bill was written during a brief period of budget surplus at the turn of the millennium, and allowed the Agriculture Committees to spend $73 billion more than baseline over the 10-year budget window. In contrast, the 2008 farm bill was basically budget-neutral. The 2008 farm bill was unusual in that tax provisions outside the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Committees were used to create offsets for new provisions, presumably for nutrition programs. The procedural difficulties of reaching budget and policy compromises with multiple committees of jurisdiction (particularly the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees) prolonged the development of the farm bill. Given these difficulties in 2007 and 2008, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Peterson has expressed a desire to keep the finances of the 2012 farm bill within the jurisdiction of the Committee of Agriculture.”

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week: 

In the States -
  • TN Clean Water Network sues Chattanooga for violating state & federal H2O regs; releasing raw sewage into TN River
  • EPA: IA Flooding may have scattered chemical tanks, drums, cylinders & barrels along Maquoketa & South Skunk rivers
  • MN ethanol plants' price is pollution for communities hosting facilities (Star Tribune)
  • IL AG asked to pursue enforcement vs dairy for discharge of purple liquid into Apple River tributary
  • IA Gov. Culver: state should consider limiting commercial fertilizer applied to crop fields
  • IA Gov. Culver calls ag nutrient pollution "outrageous;" says regulation is needed
  • Trial Expert: Industrial waste flowed to IL's McCullom Lake (Fox River watershed) from chemical plant
  • Save The Illinois River (STIR) announces  Illinois River Film Contest
  • IN State Conservationist highlights urban wetland values re: H2O quality & downstream impact on Gulf of Mexico
  • IA conservation trust fund amendment to go before state's voters
Stormwater and wastewater -
Floodplains, Dams and Navigation -
Agriculture -
  • CRS Report: 37 programs (including conservation prgms) set to lose baseline funding in 2012 Farm Bill (pdf file)
  • America’s farm belt booming even as overall economy struggles
  • Tight corn supply may revive debate over impact of corn ethanol
  • Dem IA Secretary of Agriculture challenger: N is pollution problem from farm runoff ; IA needs to do better
  • Senate Budget Committee held field hearing Monday: "Writing the Next Farm Bill”
  • Study: "Benefits of Bt Corn to Farmers" & Bt corn insecticidal proteins in Corn Belt streams
  • Environmental, tax-reform & food-industry organizations oppose ethanol industry proposal on subsidized ethanol
  • Struggle of ~1 billion small farmers worldwide to be focus of World Food Conference in Iowa this week
  • Wal-Mart's plan for small farmers expands its private-sector climate agenda
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack & economists disagree on consumer benefits of federal farm subsidies
Events -
Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Zebra Mussel population explodes in Minnesota's Prior Lake near Twin Cities
  • MN anglers & trappers can't use ciscoes or smelt for bait unless processed & certified VHS free
  • Audubon Society: bird populations along La. shores did surprisingly well after BP oil spill
Other news -
Mississippi River Basin politics -
  • Dem IA Secretary of Agriculture challenger: N is pollution problem from farm runoff ; IA needs to do better
  • Mississippi River political poll: Rep. candidate Fincher up by 10% in race for retiring Rep. Tanner’s (D) TN seat
  • New poll shows Sen. Feingold (D) trailing businessman Ron Johnson (R) 51-44 % for WI US Senate seat
  • Mississippi River Basin politics: Trailing badly in polls, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) hunts for votes
  • 2010 Congressional race snapshot with interactive district by district map:
  • Mississippi River political poll: Republican Rick Crawford leads by 12% in retiring Rep. Berry’s AR House district

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