Friday, September 30, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

Briefing on New USGS Water Quality Management Tool
The Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Water Environment Federation invite you to an October 28 briefing in Washington, DC on new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) findings that provide vital information on major sources of nutrients to streams, on how nutrients move downstream, and on nutrient loading to rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries. USGS announced the roll-out of the new tool in a September 6 press announcement, “New Science to Help Water Managers Target Areas to Improve Water Quality." For more briefing details, please see here.

Update on Congressional Appropriations and Debt Reduction Activities
The Senate and House have now passed a stop-gap continuing resolution (CR) to keep the Federal government running through October 4. Following Senate defeat of a House-passed CR last Friday, both chambers worked this week to pass the CR, with the Senate passing the bill on Monday, and the House on September 29.  More details about upcoming appropriation's activities and the interrelated work of the debt reduction "supercommittee" can be found here. 

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

  • World Resources Institute: A New Approach to Feeding the World
  • Rabobank Group believes world is entering into continuing period of food scarcity, rising prices & market volatility
  • Newly formed US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance begins fresh PR campaign to reshape food supply dialogue
  • EWG: 2 new polls show agreement on consumer concerns re:  quality of food & how it’s produced
  • New report authors claim major river basins have enough water to sustainably double future food production (pdf file)
  • Renewable Fuels Assoc against proposal to waive portion of Renewable Fuels Standard when corn stocks-to-use ratio dips
  • New USDA ERS report: Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems: Implications for Conservation Policy
Farm Bill-
  • Chicago Tribune editorial board (re: Farm Bill subsidies): "giveaways at taxpayer expense must stop"
  • National Corn Growers Assoc supports bipartisan Senate bill to replace direct payments with revenue-based safety net
  • American Soybean Association board approves farm safety net proposal for 2012 Farm Bill
  • Major US commodity groups working on proposals for reforming agriculture safety net
  • Coalition outlines key principles for Conservation Title of 2012 farm bill and ways to trim federal deficit
  • Sen. Grassley (R-IA) unsure if farmers who buy fed-subsidized crop insurance should face land conservation requirements
  • American Farm Bureau Federation Policy Recommendations for the 2012 Farm Bill (PDF)
Water Quality -
  • Missouri River Basin flood water inundating nutrient-rich land leads to algal blooms in Kansas reservoirs
  • Coal industry & states blast Obama administration on mining stream proposal (hearing testimony):
  • EPA Announces Healthy Watersheds Initiative National Framework and Action Plan, 2011
  • Cap-and-trade system to protect Ohio River & Gulf of Mexico moving along slowly; could be operational in a few years
In the States -
  • KY Energy & Environment Cabinet proposes $507,000 fine for coal company's Clean Water Act violations
  • Homeowners say Wisconsin law favors big farms, leaves them powerless against smells, pollution
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Coalition of state attorneys general  from 17 states calls for disconnecting Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins
Federal Budget -
  • Senate leaders strike stopgap spending bill deal averting government shutdown
  • House Budget Committee Chair Ryan (R-WI) plans to unveil new Congressional budgeting process reforms
  • Debt reduction supercommittee has become supersecret about most of what it’s doing
  • Calculating the odds of a US deficit deal: will it be "deal" "no deal" "partial deal" or delayed deal?"
  • House passes stopgap spending bill to keep the Fed government going through Oct. 4
Gulf Coastal Area-
  • Scientists & environmentalists cheer bill as "once-in-a-lifetime chance for major Gulf Coast environmental restoration"
  • Science & engineering panel recommends Gulf of Mexico oil spill response should address overall ecosystem needs
Resource extraction -
  • Shale gas fracking wastewater is big business at Ohio underground disposal site
  • Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Rep. Markey (D-MA) letter to DOI: Feds not doing job on coal mining issues 
  • Contentious Tuesday Keystone pipeline hearing in Lincoln NE
  • Parties advocate for and against tougher natural-gas-drilling industry regulation in Arkansas
  • Chesapeake Energy official: WV Marcellus and Utica Shale gas boom "only starting"
Events -
  • Call for Presentations & Posters: Wisconsin Wetlands Association 17th Annual Conference
  • October 28 Briefing on New USGS Water Quality Management Tool; Washington DC
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • September 29 Tennessee Clean Water Network e-newsletter
  • September Update (PDF file) from the Northeast-Midwest Institute on Mississippi River Basin issues
Other news-
Political Scene -
  • Some supporters of ex Wisconsin Gov. Thompson want him to stay retired rather than run for US Senate seat
  • The Other ‘L’ Word: Can Tammy Baldwin win Wisconsin US Senate seat as a 'liberal?'
  • US House is having a polite year, according to new report that assesses chamber insults
Last Word - "And there's always next year." - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at the top of yesterday's press briefing, referring to the Boston Red Sox monumental September collapse - but, nonetheless, good advice for us all.

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