Friday, May 13, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

Mississippi River Basin Floods Prompting Policy Reconsideration
Flood waters continued to take center stage in the middle and lower Mississippi River valley this week in the aftermath of the Army Corps of Engineers May 2, planned levee breach near Birds Point, Missouri, and as the River crest moved downstream past Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, and toward Louisiana.  The near-record flooding has prompted renewed calls for a change in the way water resources are managed in the region and elsewhere, and has particularly focused attention on the River Basin's extensive levee system, and its impacts on neighboring urban and rural communities and on the environment.  You can read a summary of the week's flood news and an overview of its policy implications here.

House Republican Appropriators Propose Further Discretionary Spending Cuts for Fiscal Year 2012
House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY-5) on Wednesday announced a schedule calling for the completion of work on the 12 fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills by the end of the fiscal year, along with proposed 2012 allocations that would cut $30 billion from this year's (2011) appropriated levels, including a $1 billion reduction to the Energy and Water subcommittee that among other things deals with Army Corps civil works funding, an almost $2 billion cut to the Interior and Environment subcommittee that oversees development of the Department of Interior and U.S. EPA budgets, and a $2.7 billion cut to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration subcommittee, which oversees USDA spending.   Read more details and see a full breakdown of the allocations here.   (The House, by the way, is now in recess for the next ten days, while the Senate will be in session next week.)

Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee Directory
The latest (May 2011) Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee directory is now available for downloading as a PDF file. The Directory is a valuable resource; filled with a wealth of contact information for private and public Upper Mississippi stakeholders working on natural resource issues. Here is the link to the directory  (pdf file).

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Flooding, Floodplains, Dams and Navigation -
Water Quality-
Agriculture -
In the States -
  • WI Gov. Walker & Legislature move quickly to weaken state environmental & energy programs
  • 4 inducted into WI Conservation Hall of Fame include citizen conservationists, researcher & industrialist
  • EPA will not fine parties involved in TN sewage spill; state may yet pursue penalties
  • IA Senate Dem leader raises possibility of July 1 state government shutdown absent budget agreement with GOP Gov
  • TVA will keep 900 acres acquired in 2008 KY coal ash spill; convert to "green space"
  • Following previous veto, MO lawmakers send Gov. Nixon revised bill limiting nuisance lawsuits against farms
  • Letter to the Editor: Farm conservation investment pays off in improved TN water & helping farmers
  • Two KY environmental groups file suit over illegal discharges from mines into rivers
  • Enviro groups' lawsuit alleges Kentucky coal company filed falsified Clean Water Act water reports
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Research explores role of WI bait businesses in communicating aquatic invasive species info
  • MN DNR: fishing supports 43,000 MN jobs, generates $2.8 B in direct spending & contributes >$640 M/yr in taxes
  • Momentum building for WI state wolf hunt
  • US reaches settlement on Endangered Species decisions; commits to decisions on 251 species in next 6 yrs
  • Opening spillways to divert flooding Mississippi River "almost certainly" will kill significant #s of oysters
  • Encouraging early signs that MN's migratory birds fared well while wintering in Gulf of Mexico
Federal Budget -
  • Sen Conrad (D-ND) presents budget resolution that calls for 50-50 split in spending cuts & tax increases
  • Senate Budget Committee Chair Conrad (D-ND) says he’s planning for budget resolution markup next Wednesday
  • VP-led deficit-reduction task force appears no closer to a deal
  • House GOP Appropriators Propose Further Discretionary Spending Cuts to EPA, Interior, USDA, Army Corps in 2012
Events -
  • Full recording & PowerPoint PDF available for Horinko Group's Flood Risk Webinar
  • For DC friends: June 8 World Oceans Day at Smithsonian's National History Museum & related sustainable seafood feasts
Political Scene -
  • Former MN state Sen. Clark (D) announces 2012 US House run vs. Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN-8)
  • Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO-2) will announce his 2012 US Senate campaign vs Sen Claire McCaskill (D-MO) next Tuesday
  • OK & IN finalize their new Congressional redistricting maps; join AR, IA, MO & LA as states completing process
  • Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) announces that he will retire at the end of his current tenure
Other news-
  • Monmouth College Poll: Midwesterners see few globalization benefits; fear job loss
  • New USDA map shows low income rural America correlates with "food desert" locations
Last word -  “We’re in the same rowboat, and one person says, ‘If you don’t give me that last loaf of bread, I’m going to shoot a hole in the boat, and we’ll both sink.'" - - William Ury, quoted in the Washington Post, describing the current state of budget and debt ceiling negotiations in Washington, DC.  Ury founded Harvard’s Project on Negotiation and co-authored the negotiation  classic “Getting to Yes.”

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