Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November Update on Mississippi River Basin Issues

Here is the link to the November Update (PDF file) from the Northeast-Midwest Institute on Mississippi River Basin issues.  The November Update contains these items:

  • New Online Tool for Accessing Information on USDA Conservation Programs
  • NRCS Special Wetlands Reserve Program 20th Anniversary Publication
  • Mississippi River Water Quality Monitoring Framework Announced
  • Fifth National Partnership Conference: Explorations of Economic and Environmental Sustainability
  • River-Related Employment Opportunities
  • Upcoming Conferences, Events and Workshops
  • Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act
  • Congress approves spending minibus and continuing resolution; falters on debt-reduction
  • Farm Bill Ramifications

Employment Opportunities: “Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative” and “Water Information Supply” Project Leads

The Northeast-Midwest Institute has announced the availability of two new Project Lead positions and is seeking applications for the positions.  Both have a direct bearing on water resource activities within the Mississippi River Basin.
The first is a “Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative” Project Lead.  Funded by the Walton Family Foundation, this initiative's objective is to bring local leaders of Mississippi River cities and towns together to collaborate on Federal policy matters as they relate to the River and their municipalities.  Those issues are expected to include water quality and habitat restoration, flooding and floodplain issues, River-focused recreation, sustainable economies and celebration of the River culture and history.  The Project Lead will help the leaders catalyze an independent and on-going Mississippi River Cities and Towns organization that is an effective voice for the people, economies and environment in the River region.

The second position currently open is a “Water information Supply” Project Lead.  Funded by and in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey, this project's purpose is to
inventory, assess and analyze the Northeast-Midwest region’s system of water quality and quantity monitoring and determine its capacity to address pressing questions raised by real-world resource-development and use scenarios (present and future), including intense hydraulic fracturing, agricultural development practices, and urban expansion.  The Project Lead will lead this multi-year project to assess and improve the Northeast-Midwest Region’s “Water Information Supply.”  
Applications are due by December 15, 2011.  Full position descriptions and complete application information can be found at the above links.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week - Pre-Holiday Edition

With the Thanksgiving holiday looming for those of us in the U.S., this week's Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week is a tad shorter than normal.  We also have Congress to thank for our brevity by recessing for the week, and keeping political news to a minimum (apart from the failure of the Supercommittee to meet its mandate, that is).

Speaking of the Supercommittee, be sure to check out the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's blog, which looks in-depth at various Farm Bill and USDA funding scenarios in light of the debt-reduction impasse (links under "Farm Bill," below).

And speaking of Congress, don't miss this week's "Last Word" from the DC-based political satire group, The Capitol Steps.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week 

Agriculture -
  • Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy: US should adopt agriculture-climate change linked policies http://bit.ly/tWGlmk
  • Study: As High Plains Aquifer water table drops, Great Plains farmers must cut use by 75% http://bit.ly/sYH391
  • Incorporating trees into traditional agriculture makes crops more resilient in changing climate http://nyti.ms/ueEgQG
  • Wet springs in Illinois have caused an increase in crop tillage, according to study http://bit.ly/tN9Lzz
  • 1st in series of AGree publications re: complex issues & policies related to US food & agriculture system http://bit.ly/tWN8Bd
Farm Bill-
Water Quality -
  • EPA requests proposals for Urban Waters Small Grants to restore urban waters by improving water quality  http://1.usa.gov/rJHSQy
  • Wichita, KS council members seek to meet clean-water requirements but minimally http://bit.ly/vJDS5A
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, etc.) -
  • Congress weighing new ways of funding harbor/port projects without earmarks it's used to http://politi.co/v1wdJ9
  • A reprise of last week's TNC-Corps 5th National Partnership Conference: Explorations of  water resource sustainability http://bit.ly/sR7JSB
  • WI Governor Walker bill package includes proposed revamping of state's wetlands preservation rules http://post.cr/uynF7m
  • WI Wetlands Assoc selected to receive 2012 Wetland Conservation Award by Ramsar Convention on Wetlands http://bit.ly/w4ODpy
  • My take on the Fifth National Partnership Conference: Explorations of Economic and Environmental Sustainability http://bit.ly/sR7JSB
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
Federal Budget -
  • Supercommittee not so super in the end; meets its kryptonite and goes out with a whimper http://bit.ly/t54d9H
  • Congress on track to wrap remaining 9 FY 2012 appropriations bills into single omnibus when it returns after Thanksgiving http://bit.ly/sorFT0
Resource extraction -
  • Environmentalists: Ohio gas drilling/fracking rules fall short http://bit.ly/vVJPyO
  • ND regulators are concerned about the validity of an EPA study into the safety of hydraulic fracking http://bit.ly/sCAnTC
  • Nebraska governor signs bills to reroute Keystone pipeline around Sandhills area http://reut.rs/w4G0az
Events -
  • Free Webinar: "Tools for Developing State Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Reduction Strategies" Nov. 30 http://1.usa.gov/dCcmO0
  • My take on the Fifth National Partnership Conference: Explorations of Economic and Environmental Sustainability http://bit.ly/sR7JSB
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Winter 2011 Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee newsletter published (PDF file) http://bit.ly/siKA0j
Other news-
Last Word"In the least shocking news of the week, the Super Committee was unable to reach a deficit reduction agreement. They also deadlocked when trying to decide if gridlock, dysfunction or partisan politics was to blame." - The Capitol Steps November 22 Facebook feed

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fifth National Partnership Conference: Explorations of Economic and Environmental Sustainability

I had the pleasure of participating in the Fifth National Partnership Conference among The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, the Army Corps of Engineers and others last week in Memphis, Tennessee.  The Partnership Conference is designed to periodically bring Federal, State and NGO conservation partners together to discuss and advance sustainable water resources projects across the country.

The agenda of the Conference included plenary talks, work sessions, poster presentations, networking opportunities and a day on the Mississippi River (looking at levee repair and conservation restoration projects near Memphis).  I spoke to the group on two occasions, once to explore the meaning of sustainability, as it relates to the country's economy and environment and to our organizations, and a second time to probe the outdated road map we tend to follow while seeking a sustainable future (and suggest that it might be time for a new map) (Click here to see more photos from the Conference).

There were a lot of well-thought out and progressive recommendations that came out of the work group sessions and that emerged from the dialogue during and after the plenary and poster sessions.  But as I left the conference I had to wonder (and this as an avowed tree-hugger from the woods of North-central Pennsylvania) whether this decade’s pursuit of very laudable environmental and watershed goals by the Corps-Conservation partnership isn’t just as narrow and short-sighted in its own way as were the pursuits of irrigation, navigation and flood control goals during past Corps’ partnerships with others.

Put another way, if, as I heard last week, we don’t really want to know the true cost of the salmon we recently bought at the store, because of the millions of restoration dollars heavily invested in fish ladders on rivers in the Pacific Northwest, then how long will it be until that true cost, and the true costs of hydroelectric dam investments before that, run headlong into the interests of others within and beyond those watersheds?  Why weren’t those people at the table when those projects were being planned?  And where were those people last week, while partners in Memphis, Tennessee debated the future of conservation in their watersheds?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

Congress approves spending minibus and continuing resolution, falters on debt-reduction 

Yesterday Congress easily passed a Fiscal Year 2012 "minibus" spending bill (H.R. 2112, approved in a 70-30 Senate vote, following a prior 298-121 House vote), and sent it on to the President for his signature, likely today. The measure also contains a continuing spending resolution that will keep the government funded and running through December 16. The minibus spending package includes the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture/FDA, Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS), and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bills. The funding approved in the passed bill is in line with the $1.043 trillion spending cap that both parties agreed to within August's debt-reduction bill and among numerous cuts, reduces funding for agriculture conservation programsUSDA funding includes $844 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which ended up being $58 million above the original House appropriations bill amount and $7 million above the Senate's.  And it includes $15 million for the Watershed Rehabilitation Program.

Congressional leaders have indicated over the past week that they plan to package the remaining nine appropriations bills into an omnibus bill, hoping to pass that before the current constituting spending authority ends on December 16.

In the meantime the deficit-reduction supercommittee's plan, due next Tuesday and meant to cut the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over a decade, is on life-support, with hopes of a deal fading (see series of news links below). However, should a supercommittee deal happen, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee told POLITICO yesterday that Senate and House Agriculture Committee negotiators were close to striking a deal to pass on to the supercommittee a five-year plan (effectively a new Farm Bill) that would help meet deficit-reduction targets by projecting cuts something on the order of $23 billion from Farm Bill spending over 10 years.   Should the supercommittee not be able to reach agreement on an overall deal, the Farm Bill details now being negotiated for inclusion in the supercommittee's plan could be resurrected early next year as a beginning basis for what would then be a more "traditional" Farm Bill negotiation process.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week 
Agriculture -

  • Grants available for farm/ranch sustainable agricultural practices in North Central US: MN & ND to KS, IL, OH http://bit.ly/uHn0dz
  • US farm-product exports surged 27% to record $137.4 billion in year ending Sept. 30; China tops importers http://bloom.bg/tS5FHr
  • Dry conditions have spread now into parts of the Southeast and Midwest, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor http://bit.ly/qBRrqC
  • Drought across US South thatís already cost $10 billion appears to be expanding its reach http://usat.ly/teU30B
  • Senators introduced the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act http://bit.ly/sTH5CI
  • Ohio farmers battle sedimentation, nutrient runoff in creative ways http://tinyurl.com/86p2vg8
Farm Bill-
  • Ag Committee negotiators signal they are near agreement on 5-year Farm Bill plan for supercommittee; paragraph 2: http://tinyurl.com/84sn4ys
  • House and Senate Agriculture Committees are more than two weeks behind schedule on releasing Farm Bill details http://tinyurl.com/bqh8j87
  • Farm Bureau Fed president predicts direct payment elimination, Conservation Reserve Program cuts in new Farm Bill http://tinyurl.com/73jxf4g
  • Kansas State Agri Economist says multiple commodity Farm Bill program would have higher administrative costs http://tinyurl.com/d2tvyqq
Water Quality -
  • DC Circuit Court becomes latest court to rule that EPA overstepped authority & "regulated" via interim guidance http://tinyurl.com/8yz7hqj
  • NY Times editorial: Republicans just won’t give up on their misguided attempts to subvert the Clean Water Act http://tinyurl.com/6paqker
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Flooding, etc.) -
  • Union of Concerned Scientists: Power plant water use increasing stress on lakes, rivers & aquifers across US http://tinyurl.com/6tpap4t
In the States -
  • MPCA invites comments on water quality improvement report for streams in Zumbro River Watershed (MN) http://t.co/Ps3JGYt1
Federal Budget -
Events - 
  • USGS Webinar: New Online Management Tool to Help Guide Action on Excessive Nutrients in Rivers & Estuaries; Dec. 2 http://on.doi.gov/uwN3IN
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
Other news-
Political Scene - 
Last Word - "Pull a rabbit out of a hat." - what, according to House Speaker John Boehner, the deficit reduction supercommittee needs to do to meet its goal of finding $1.2 trillion in Federal budget reductions by next Tuesday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Federal Appropriations Update

The federal Fiscal Year of 2012 (FY 2012) began on October 1, 2011, and Federal program funding is currently being provided under the authority of a Continuing Resolution (CR) that ends on November 18, 2011.  Since it is extremely unlikely that final appropriations bills will all be passed by November 18, it is widely expected that another CR will be needed after November 18, to authorize Federal spending until until late December, when Congress is supposed to consider the deficit package that would aim to save nearly $1.2 trillion over the next ten years (see background here).

In the meantime, the Senate has begun work on a series of “minibuses;” a combination of several appropriations measures (background here). This minibus approach will allow the Senate and House to form a Conference Committee to reconcile differences between the various appropriation bills, including consideration of appropriations measures that passed the respective Senate and House Appropriation Committees but were never considered by the full chamber.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week - Pre-Holiday Edition

This abbreviated edition of the Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week is coming out a day ahead of its normal Friday publication date because of tomorrow's Federal Veterans Day holiday.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week 

Agriculture -
  • Crop Life America report touts economic benefits of farm chemicals http://bit.ly/tw1jyx (PDF)
  • Ohio State University Professor: overpriced farm land possibly constitutes speculative bubble that could burst http://bit.ly/thZDA9 (PDF)
  • EPA webinar on Proposed NPDES CAFO Reporting Rule; Nov. 17; 1-2:30 EST http://bit.ly/sAoD6Z
  • Forced to cut its budget, USDA has decided to eliminate dozens of reports http://nyti.ms/vyqjQx
Farm Bill-
  • Environmental Working Group criticizes crop insurance as excessive and inefficient http://bit.ly/vsgnRl
  • Regional differences emerge as lawmakers attempt rewrite of Farm Bill commodity title & cut $23B from ag spending http://bit.ly/trVljo
  • Crop insurance tops the U.S. wheat industry’s priority list for 2012 Farm Bill http://bit.ly/trS6wj
  • Sen. Lugar & Rep. Stutzman (both R-IN) Op-Ed: “Reform farm programs and harvest savings” http://bit.ly/rFwGUY
Water Quality -
  • 3M says that its MN Mississippi River cleanup is paying off http://bit.ly/sMabdG
  • Technical advisory group will recommend that OK's current phosphorus limit for scenic rivers be upheld http://bit.ly/tRJeWP
  • EPA Webinar: Tools for Developing State Nitrogen & Phosphorus Pollution Reduction Strategies; Nov.  30; PDF info  http://1.usa.gov/tCjjWA
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Flooding, etc.) -
  • Army Corps of Engineers has put its national levee database online for the public to access http://cjky.it/srtdkd
In the States -
  • Almost half the water samples in IA survey of 475 wells contained arsenic: high levels documented in 31 counties http://bit.ly/tzj3u9
  • No state penalties for Olin following Tennessee's Hiwassee River mercury pollution http://bit.ly/u2nckG
  • Technical advisory group will recommend that OK's current phosphorus limit for scenic rivers be upheld http://bit.ly/tRJeWP
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Invasive species on the move: the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins http://bit.ly/u1zisK (interactive map)
  • Invasive species spreading across America (10-minute CBS news video story) http://bit.ly/sDAVKC (includes IL River Asian Carp coverage)
Federal Budget -
  • House Approps Chair Rogers: 3 2012 spending bills to be packaged with stopgap bill funding Fed government into Dec http://wapo.st/vN5Phl
  • House & Senate conferees work on compromise on Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science & Transportation-HUD spending bill http://bit.ly/snxsnb 
  • Republican supercommittee members might allow some additional tax revenue as part of deal with Democrats http://t.co/ZiSLIFLG & http://on.wsj.com/tqlWEc
  • Neither side appears optimistic about prospects for supercommittee breakthrough http://wapo.st/t1dsRj
  • Supercommittee blame game: Democrats beginning to seek ways to blame potential failure on the GOP http://t.co/pa6212cu
  • US scientific and engineering societies tell supercommittee to retain funding for the sciences in letter http://bit.ly/suyVea (PDF)
  • Democrats on supercommittee want war savings to fund new stimulus package; infrastructure projects http://bit.ly/vsr3z0
Gulf Coastal Area-
  • Federal deficit-reduction effort called threat to efforts to shrink Gulf of Mexico dead zone http://bit.ly/tRZuE6
  • Louisiana refuses to sign BP-Coast Guard oil spill cleanup transition plan http://bit.ly/vkOVer
  • Gulf Coast lawmakers optimistic about garnering 80% of BP oil spill fines for Gulf Restoration Trust Fund http://bit.ly/sBhiEi
  • Gulf Restoration Network launches campaign to persuade Congress to pass Gulf Restoration Trust Fund legislation http://bit.ly/tR8eCv
Resource extraction -
  • WV legislature takes up package imposing regulations on Marcellus shale gas industry http://bit.ly/vP9kRW
  • Nebraska lawmakers debate tightening eminent domain rules for procuring oil pipeline land http://reut.rs/rYkEtc
  • US State Department weighing change to Keystone pipeline route away from sensitive areas http://on.wsj.com/rUlzQj
Events -
  • Archived version of EPA Watershed Academy Webinar on "Conducting Effective Stormwater Outreach"  http://1.usa.gov/sIhiRy
  • 2012 Ohio Stormwater Conference; June 7-8; SeaGate Convention Center; Toledo, OH http://bit.ly/sKq8zE
  • Conservation Forward:Ideas That Work & How Science Can Effect Change; Nov 17-18; Nat Geographic Soc.; Washington, DC http://bit.ly/sKrFRt
  • EPA Webinar: Tools for Developing State Nitrogen & Phosphorus Pollution Reduction Strategies; Nov.  30; PDF info  http://1.usa.gov/tCjjWA
  • EPA webinar on Proposed NPDES CAFO Reporting Rule; Nov. 17; 1-2:30 EST http://bit.ly/sAoD6Z
  • Horinko Group's 2011 Water Resources Summit proceedings and resources now on-line http://bit.ly/qr8riN (very worthwhile)
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
Political Scene -
  • Former ND Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) makes her campaign for retiring US Sen. Conrad's (D) seat official http://bit.ly/uyr3Dp
  • Rep. Boswell (D-IA) is a top GOP target in his newly redrawn congressional district http://bit.ly/sufEvZ (near bottom of article)
Last Word -  “I was wrong—see that didn’t hurt too bad.” - Former President Bill Clinton during a Tuesday night talk, announcing that he is trying once daily to say out loud “either ‘I don’t know' or 'I was wrong.'”  “I think it would be therapeutic for everyone in Washington” to do the same, Clinton advised.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

Levees and the National Flood Insurance Program: Improving Policies and Practices
The National Academies' National Research Council (NRC) will convene a meeting, including a public session, on Levees and the National Flood Insurance Program: Improving Policies and Practices, on November 7 and 8,  in Washington DC.    Since August, the ad hoc NRC committee has been examining current FEMA treatment of levees within the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  The committee has been tasked to provide advice in a report on how those levee-related policies and activities might be improved.  The report is expected to be issued in early 2013.  The study is addressing the following topics regarding how levees are considered in the NFIP:
  • risk analysis
  • flood insurance
  • risk reduction
  • risk communication
The public section of the two-day meeting will run from 10:15 AM through 4:30 PM (Eastern) on November 7.  Those wishing to attend that public session or who need more information should contact Michael Stoever at mstoever@nas.edu (or by telephone at 202-334-1889). 

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week 

Agriculture -
  • Peoria Journal Star editorial: USDA needs adequate funds for conservation http://bit.ly/tmbmMT
  • EPA blasted in House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load http://1.usa.gov/sbXyt7
  • NASDA Research Foundation resource guide on Federal & State environmental regulations impacting agriculture http://bit.ly/rANYGM
  • USDA announces bioenergy program grant recipients under Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels http://1.usa.gov/sRSCyu
  • Groups/speakers call for end of federal aid to CAFO producers at National Conference to End Factory Farming http://bit.ly/orHvLp
  • Mississippi Farm Bureau pushes for end to state's eminent domain law in November 8 ballot referendum http://bit.ly/sMgpi3
  • Researchers report promising results from new farm conservation practice that removes nitrate from groundwater http://bit.ly/t131eb
  • National Farmers Union supports Local Farms, Food & Jobs Act, introduced by Rep. Pingree (D- ME) & Sen. Brown (D-OH) http://bit.ly/vPihmy
Farm Bill-
  • Economists & conservationists worry fragile lands will be farmed with USDA help without conservation compliance http://bit.ly/tgnfOj
  • Bipartisan group sends letter of concern to supercommittee re: House & Senate Agri Committees' “secret” Farm Bill http://bit.ly/thybVP (PDF)
  • More coverage (Rep. Ron Kind; WI-3): "27 Members Advise Super Committee to Avoid Secret Farm Bill" http://bit.ly/vX488g
  • Rep. Peterson (MN-7) rejects charge that House & Senate Agri Comms are secretly crafting Farm Bill; hopeful of result http://bit.ly/tVgqGN
  • In Iowa speech, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack underscores what is at stake with Farm Bill & deficit reduction http://bit.ly/vi5MmN
  • Sen. Conrad (D-ND) convenes meeting of his farm Advisory Comm to detail strategy on securing ND Farm Bill priorities http://1.usa.gov/sxZ9ZE
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition letter to House & Senate Ag Comm leaders sets top line Farm Bill priorities http://bit.ly/uKtFL1
  • House & Senate Ag Committees miss self-imposed Nov. 1 deadline  to present plan to reduce agriculture spending by $23B http://bit.ly/tqybcg
  • Farmers fight cuts as billions in indemnity payments head to farmers with crops hurt by bad weather http://politi.co/vhdsVc
Water Quality -
EPA and Water -
  • Sens Inhofe & Sessions; Reps Mica & Gibbs urge EPA to withdraw recently proposed Clean Water Act jurisdiction guidance http://t.co/mfrHI8Jd
  • FL DEP moves forward with draft rules on numeric nutrient standards for state's waterways http://bit.ly/tbt2Uf (national implications)
  • EPA grants "preliminary" okay of Florida draft state-authored water pollution regulations; PDF of letter: http://1.usa.gov/rsRBNI (national implications)
  • In new guidance EPA says it will be flexible on municipal sewer overflows; relief for strapped cities http://1.usa.gov/uMbz5o (PDF file)
  • EPA announces a new planning process to help local governments deal with costs of wastewater & stormwater controls http://1.usa.gov/v3pkgi
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Flooding, etc.) -
  • Army Corps of Engineers: needs about $1 B to repair damage from 2011 flooding in Missouri & Mississippi basins http://bit.ly/uKkTFl
  • Army Corps making slow progress on national flood levee inventory http://bit.ly/rAqrE8
  • Senate's 2nd "minibus" spending bill debate starts this week; includes civil works budget for Army Corps of Engineers http://bit.ly/vlt8sS
  • NRC meeting on Levees and the National Flood Insurance Program: Improving Policies and Practices Nov 7,  Washington DC http://bit.ly/sbgFqq
In the States -
  • MN's clean water Legacy Fund goals are unclear bit.ly/rVyfan
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency finds numerous pollution problems throughout Sauk River watershed http://bit.ly/viryTR
  • 178 environmental experts rank recommended MN nonprofit organizations that work on conservation/environment: http://bit.ly/vgr73r
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • MN DNR: finding invasive Asian Carp like finding "needle in a haystack" http://bit.ly/rtLzs0
  • Workers along Illinois River seek to turn Asian Carp into organic fertilizer; fillets; other commercial products http://bit.ly/vPafwA
Federal Budget -
  • Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction has far to go before any agreement can be reached http://bit.ly/rKEZUR
  • Nearing November 23 deadline, supercommittee holds public hearing on 2 old debt reduction plans http://bit.ly/w4Sl12
  • With barely 3 weeks remaining until  supercommittee’s  deadline, there is little outward sign of progress http://wapo.st/vSplYT
  • Senate passes USDA-Transportation-Commerce 2012 spending minibus bill; USDA cut slightly from 2011 http://bit.ly/uolpma; bill: http://bit.ly/w4233B
  • OMB Watch identifies numerous riders in Senate's just-passed minibus spending bill http://bit.ly/sPs96W
  • Obama vows to veto spending bills with too many riders or spending cuts in letter from OMB http://1.usa.gov/s01NJQ (p. 2 of PDF)
  • House & Senate appropriators to convene 1st conference committee in 2 yrs in search of compromise spending agreement http://bit.ly/s27mK5
  • Senate's 2nd "minibus" spending bill debate starts this week; includes civil works budget for Army Corps of Engineers http://bit.ly/vlt8sS
  • House will conference with Senate on FY 2012 USDA spending bill that both chambers have approved; in different forms http://bit.ly/uLTJzR
  • Congressional Research Service detailed analysis of “Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2012 Appropriations” (PDF) http://bit.ly/sMWkxB
Resource extraction -
Events -
  • NRC meeting on Levees and the National Flood Insurance Program: Improving Policies and Practices Nov 7,  Washington DC http://bit.ly/sbgFqq
  • Restore America's Estuaries National Conference - Call for Proposals http://t.co/9LtyHODU
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center's monthly e-newsletter is out http://bit.ly/tFpUh9
Other news-
  • Earthjustice: EPA data reveals more dangerous coal ash ponds http://bit.ly/vCXzsN
  • Surge in mining & several proposals to streamline WI mining code could pose threats to WI water resources http://bit.ly/tzYkTa (mostly N WI)
  • Digital applications win U.S. EPA's Apps for the Environment competition http://bit.ly/ncymBT
Political Scene -
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on President Obama: will campaign with him, while emphasizing their differences http://bit.ly/vqtllC
Last Word -  “Good morning. It has been 916 days since the Senate passed a budget. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries could have married and filed for divorce over 12 times in that same span of time.” - Tuesday morning's House GOP daily whip notice