Friday, March 11, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

Budget Debates and Cuts Continue
Ten Senate Democrats joined 48 Republicans on Wednesday in voting against a Democratic Continuing Resolution (CR) to cut less than $5 billion from the Federal budget through the remainder of this Fiscal Year (58 against and 42 for; roll call here), with five of those ten Democrats planning to run for re-election in 2012 (including, in Mississippi River states, Herb Kohl in Wisconsin and Claire McCaskill in Missouri), and each of the five up against potentially formidable opponents. On that same day, the Senate voted on a GOP bill that would have cut $57 billion from current spending. That vote was 56 against and 44 for (roll call here).

Since Senate Republicans and Democrats are still more than $50 billion apart on those dueling alternatives to fund the government, House Republicans today (March 11) plan to unveil yet another CR that would finance government operations an additional three weeks beyond March 18, when the current CR expires. Details are unknown at present, but it's expected that the GOP proposal will contain about $6 billion in additional budget cuts. The cuts will likely come from earmarks already slated in the 2011 budget for agriculture, law enforcement, scientific, defense, military construction, environmental, public lands and foreign aid projects. Republicans are divided as to whether the new CR will be a "clean" funding bill or will include "riders" that limit or eliminate government authority or the ability to implement Federal programs already in place. However, it would be safe to bet on a "clean," rider-free CR, so that it sails relatively smoothly through the House and Senate before next Friday's CR deadline.

A chronological review of the week's budget "highlights" is included in our "Federal Budget" section, below.  Look to our blog for details on the new Republican proposal when it is released later on March 11.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Agriculture -
Water Quality-
  • Pharmaceutical chemicals widespread in water samples from 25 sewage treatment plants across MN
  • National Association of Water Companies calls for more tax-free financing to invest in water/wastewater systems
  • Chicago's Link to Gulf Hypoxia
In the States -
  • MN Gov Dayton signs into law bill to speed state environmental reviews & permits for businesses
  • Coal ash waste management plan raises concerns in Missouri community
  • Here is the latest issue of the Tennessee Clean Water Network e-newsletter
  • Environmental group demands that MN regulators impose new clean-up plan on abandoned iron ore pit owner
  • Four environmental groups accuse KY coal mining companies of Clean Water Act violations
  • Army Corps issues permit for WV mountaintop mine
  • Environmental groups say that water quality protections take big hit in WI Gov. Walker's budget
Flooding, Floodplains, Dams and Navigation -
Federal Budget - (happenings during the week in chronological order from top to bottom)
Events -
  • National League of Cities’ Conference in DC this weekend to highlight EPA's new stormwater rulemaking
  • April 2, 2011 "Green Tie Affair" Nashville, TN Benefits the Tennessee Environmental Council
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
Other news-
Political Scene -
  • Despite failing scores from interest group, House GOP freshmen defend environmental credentials
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) may be in more trouble over billing for political trips (possible ethics violations)
Last word- "We need to get back to where we can talk about compromise. It's a word that people have kind of demonized." - Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) quoted in this Time magazine article.

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