Friday, June 10, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

Federal Budget Negotiations Inch Forward

Negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden continued during a two-hour meeting in the US Capitol on Thursday afternoon, where Congressional Republicans and Democrats discussed taxes and entitlements with White House representatives and Treasury Department officials.  The sixth round of talks designed to reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling were reported to have been "constructive and positive," and explored potential new revenue sources that Democrats say will be central to winning their support for any debt ceiling Congressional measure.

With about two to three more weeks of true negotiating time left before a looming August 2 debt ceiling deadline, the White House has said it wants three meetings a week with lawmakers for the remainder of the month to settle upon a deficit-reduction agreement before Congress recesses for a week over the July 4 holiday.  That end-of-June target would allow time for President Barack Obama and Congressional GOP leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner to settle on any agreement that the negotiators hammer out, and would leave the remainder of July for Congress to write the complex bill raising the federal debt ceiling.

The Biden bipartisan negotiation sessions are set to resume next Tuesday. Republicans have said they want the deal to include spending cuts equal in size to the increase in the debt limit, and the Treasury Department has indicated that it would need a debt-ceiling increase of at least $2 trillion to allow the Federal government to operate through the end of the next Fiscal Year.  A smaller debt-ceiling agreement allowing for a shorter spending time extension also remains a possibility, however, and Republicans are rumored to have signaled that they would agree to $1 trillion in spending cuts.

While the House has begun work on its Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bills, similar activity on the Senate side has effectively been put on hold, as Senate leaders wait for a resolution of the debt-ceiling issue.  The nature of that deal will undoubtedly influence the levels of spending that would be allowed under any Fiscal Year 2012 spending bills.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Floodplains, Dams and Navigation -
Water Quality-
  • Chemicals in Farm Runoff Rattle States on the Mississippi River
  • USDA announces "Watershed Condition Framework" for watershed evaluation, prioritization & protection
  • 2011 Floods Raise a Question: What's in all that Flood Water? - U of MN River Life Blog
  • CEQ Releases Draft Plan to Protect Water Quality & Availability from Climate Change Impacts ; comments due July 15
  • Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District approves stricter water quality standards for Chicago River & tribs 
  • Slides and audio of briefing on Managing Nutrients to Protect Water Quality posted at
Agriculture -
In the States -
  • Illinois Pollution Control Board order: Chicago river cleanup required
  • Democratic chairman of the KY state House Natural Resources & Environment Committee: Feds declaring war on coal
  • US Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement:  KY coal industry compliance drops
  • Louisiana Land and Water Co. owner sentenced to 21 months jail time; fined $310,000 for Clean Water Act violations
  • IA bill 'streamlining' DNR permit process for projects near streams draws criticism
  • IA state committee votes to cut land preservation fund by $26M a year
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • MN DNR to fund Asian Carp eDNA testing this summer in upper Mississippi River
  • Biodiversity loss does not get the attention the problem deserves
  • Protected and endangered fish & birds may benefit from flooding Missouri River
  • WI Asian carp harvesting/angling rules questioned as invasive enters state waters
  • Opening Morganza & Bonnet Carre spillways may move Asian carp from Mississippi River into other Louisiana waters
Federal Budget -
Gulf Coastal Area-
Events -
  • Minnesota River basin documentary to be aired statewide Sunday (6 pm CDT)
  • June 21 webinar: Adaptation in a Changing Climate and its impact on National Security
  • “America’s Grasslands: Status, Threats, & Opportunities” conference, Sioux Falls, SD; August 15-17
  • CIG Showcase in conjunction with Soil & Water Conservation Society International Conference; Washington, DC, July 17-20
Other news-
  • Mississippi River and Mekong River stakeholders exchange river conservation ideas and views
  • Essay on growth, development, sustainability, water resources & climate change
  • Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water blogs on "Waters of the US" jurisdiction issue
  • President will create advisory council to recommend ways to boost US rural economy & quality of life
Political Scene -
  • Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) will decide whether to enter WI US Senate contest by Labor Day
  • Poll: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) would beat her only declared Republican opponent in 2012 US Senate run
  • House seat redistricting case in Louisiana seen as crucial test of Voting Rights Act
  • Republicans targeting Rep. Jerry Costello with TV ad set to air in newly redistricted IL House district
  • Unions occupy middle political ground on environmental policy issues
  • New poll: In KY governor race Gov. Beshear (D) has 21-point lead over Republican state Sen. Williams
Last word - "I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell." - former US President Harry S. Truman, quoted in Look magazine, April 3, 1956.

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