Friday, June 24, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

House Committee Passes Bill That Would Limit EPA's Water Quality Regulatory Capabilities
The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act (HR 2018) was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on June 22 on a vote of 39-19 that crossed party line (links to the bill and the Committee's bill mark-up meeting activity and roll call vote are on this Committee web page). The bill, which next will likely proceed to the House floor for consideration, would restrict EPA's ability to issue revised or new water quality standards without a state's permission, according to Committee Chair Mica's press release accompanying the introduction of the legislation.

In a June 21, US Environmental Protection Agency four-page legal analysis of the bill, the EPA warned that the bill would “overturn” clean water law (this is a PDF file).

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week:

Agriculture -
  • USDA Sec Vilsack meets with flooded farmers, relating his budgetary powerlessness in the face of deficit reduction cuts
  • American Farm Bureau launches web site celebrating contributions and heritage of US century farms
  • Agriculture ministers from Group of 20 nations meet to address growing problem: Demand for food outpacing supply
  • New bipartisan House bill mirrors Senate-passed ethanol subsidy reform measure
  • Concerns over record flooding & crop insurance take center stage at Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill hearing
Floodplains, Dams and Navigation -
  • Coalition urges Floor Protection Insurance Program reform before Senate Committee (link) (PDF)
  • 1994 report: “Floodplain Management Into the 21st Century” holds many answer to Mississippi's 2011 flood issues
  • SW IL Flood Prevention District Council proposes $161 million upgrades to Mississippi River levee system
  • Rural bankers in 10 Midwest & Plains states worry Missouri River flooding will hurt region's economy
  • Missouri River flooding: Water flows over tops of MO levees as flooding alert issued for NE nuclear plant
  • Op-ed: Nature, not the Corps of Engineers, driving Missouri River flooding
  • 'Perfect Storm' Along Missouri River Puts Army Corps Policies in Cross Hairs; Congressional hearings likely
  • Vicksburg drying out as Mississippi River level drops; Army Corps: flood protections worked
  • Birds Point levee breach effectively doomed African-American community of Pinhook MO
  • 1000s of acres of Illinois River bottom farmland flood as levee fails
  • USGS national maps show sharp contrasts between current water "haves" (flooding) & "have-nots" (drought)
Water Quality-
  • Omaha, NE forced to discharge raw sewage into swollen Missouri River (NPR audio)
  • NY Times editorial: House attack on clean water rules
  • U of Dubuque receives grant to research "Nutrient Cycling in Two Rehabilitated Mississippi River Backwater Lakes"
  • EPA extends comment deadline on draft stormwater rule for construction site discharges till July 11 (PDF file)
  • US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to vote tomorrow on EPA-limiting clean water legislation
  • House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passes bill that would limit EPA's water quality regulatory abilities
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency calls for major reductions of nutrients in Elk River watershed
  • Blue-green algal toxins (microcystins) accumulate in fish & can pass on to fish-consumers
In the States -
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Sen Lieberman (D-CT) introduces National Fish Habitat Conservation Act to encourage habitat protection/restoration
  • Invasive Emerald Ash Borer moving about 40x faster through Midwest than several years ago
  • Help protect Missouri from devastating aquatic invaders via @ktvo
Federal Budget -
  • LaCrosse Tribune Editorial: Cuts in federal spending absolutely necessary, agriculture spending is ripe for the picking
  • >400 groups' letter to Biden budget negotiators urges funding for farm natural resource conservation programs (PDF)
  • Congressional Budget Office analysis: worsening scenario for growth of the federal debt
  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) pulls out of VP Biden-led debt talks
  • Debt limit discussions come down to President Obama and House Speaker Boehner as Rep. Cantor abdicates
Gulf Coastal Area-
Events -
  • St. Croix River Association's 100th anniversary paddling event; join July 6 & 9-22 as non-registered Day Tripper
  • Horinko Group's Water Division to host its Second Annual Water Resources Summit on October 25; info & registration:
  • Workshop: Fundamentals of Stream Restoration: Applied Geomorphology & Ecology; July 25 - 29, Fergus Falls MN (PDF)
  • Workshop: The Science of Healthy Waters: The Ditching Dilemma; $300; August 15 - 17, Fergus Falls MN (PDF)
Other news-
  • St. Francis Xavier University study: planting trees offers only marginal benefits in climate change fight
  • House Subcommittee passes bill preventing EPA from regulating coal ash as hazardous moves on to full committee
Political Scene -
Last Word -
"A political calculation among the munchkins in the White House." - Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, describing a decision by the Obama Administration to acquiesce to GOP budget resolution demands restricting funding for the Bureau of Land Management's order to protect national roadless areas (quoted in the Las Vegas Journal-Review)

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