Friday, June 15, 2012

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Farm Bill Stumbles on Senate Floor over Amendment Impasse
A flood of farm bill amendments and an inability of Senate Democrats and Republicans to agree on which of the many amendments to formally consider brought farm bill activity on that chamber's floor to a standstill this week.  Many of the (as of this morning) 283 farm bill amendments thus far proposed have very little, if anything, to do with the agricultural and nutrition core purposes of the legislation. Behind the scenes Republicans continue to press their demands that the Senate consider several high-profile, non-agriculture amendments, including an amendment to stop aid to Pakistan, and several that would limit EPA's regulatory authority. On Tuesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) detailed five regulatory issues on which Republicans want to force farm bill amendment votes, including proposals associated with financial derivatives, Clean Water Act and non-navigable waters, and work safety rules for children.  Because of this amendment glut and political impasse, with the exception of several procedural votes on a handful of amendments, there was no real substantive action on the farm bill this week on the Senate floor, and on Thursday, a frustrated Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that there would be no more votes in the Senate at least until next week, announcing from the Senate floor that "A few senators are holding this up and that’s too bad."  To read more details on the stalemate and prospects for resolving it, see here and explore the news articles linked in the "Farm Bill" section, immediately below.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Farm Bill-
Senate Status
  • Farm Bill stalled in Senate by amendment stalemate; Majority Leader defers consideration into next week at earliest
  • Regional divides and food stamps are the 2 major obstacles to passing farm bill before current law expires
  • Sen. Conrad (D-ND) files compromise farm bill amendment aimed at getting southern farm state senators to back bill
  • Sen. McConnell (R-KY) sees must-pass Farm Bill as prime opportunity to enact wish list of anti-regulation legislation
  • GOP Sens. Heller, Barrasso, Inhofe & Sessions file Farm Bill amendment on Clean Water Act jurisdiction. video:
  • Shaheen-Toomey Farm Bill amendment would cap crop insurance premium subsidies at $40,000
  • DTN: Expect a strong Senate floor Farm Bill debate over Adjusted Gross Incomes and crop insurance premium subsidies
  • Senate Majority Leader Reid working on deal on which farm bill amendments could come up for vote
  • Senate farm bill off to rough start on the Senate floor
  • Senate rejects Farm Bill food-stamp cut amendment that mirrors House GOP proposal
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) prepared to block further farm bill amendment votes unless he can secure votes on his amendments
Opinion and Advocacy
  • Senators Stabenow and Roberts outline key reforms contained in Senate Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill
  • Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Farm Bill update
  • Saint Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial: "Farm bill redux" looks at crop insurance issues
  • Food and farm policy leaders to form new nonprofit to track Congressional votes on range of Farm Bill issues
  • National Sustainable Ag Coalition to Senators: complete consideration of farm bill, reject all non-germane amendments
  • 94 conservation groups send letter urging Senate to adopt Cardin Soil and Wetlands Conservation Amendment
  • Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) op-ed on Farm Bill: "A cost-effective Farm Bill with a strong, market-based safety net"
  • Senator John McCain (R-AZ) releases his "Top Ten List” of what he calls Farm Bill pork
House Status
Agriculture -
  • Federal conservation officials use aerial photography to help ensure Iowa farmers are complying with conservation rules
  • Preproposal deadline for NFWF-USDA $10 million Conservation Partners grants is June 18; includes N Great Plains focus
  • Proposal for Iowa 2,294-capacity hog confinement facility has been withdrawn
  • 2/3 of IA farm soil abnormally dry, stressing corn and eroding bumper crop predictions
  • Reports of low-level EPA surveillance aircraft flying over IA livestock operations generate complaints; controversy
  • ND will lose > 0.5 million acres in Conservation Reserve Program this fall, resulting in lost wildlife/game habitat
Water Quality -
  • EPA issues final draft of "Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework" PDF here:
  • Miners and environmentalists gather at EPA hearing in Kentucky; focus on coal mining, water quality and jobs
  • Survey: Aging infrastructure; capital costs are most pressing challenges facing water and wastewater industries
  • Deal reached between residents and coal company over West Virginia water pollution
  • WI regulators seek civil penalties vs MN-based mine operators for water, wildlife damage from 2 large sand spills
  • Heavy May rainfall leads to more pollution in Minnesota rivers as erosion and sedimentation spike
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, etc.) -
  • 40 speakers testify at MO Clean Water Commission hearing on Army Corps' MO River Jameson Island restoration project
  • Army Corps: no double standard in decision to put excavated soil into MO River in proposed habitat restoration project
  • Video of MO Clean Water Commission’s 6/12 hearing on contentious Army Corps' Missouri River restoration project
  • In southern KS farm country permits for scarce water soar to highest level in 30 yrs; as fracking needs escalate
  • US Gulf Coast communities from Louisiana to FL Panhandle struggle amidst record flooding
  • Senate bill to amend National Flood Insurance Act; restore flood insurance fund solvency likely to floor next week
  • University of Wisconsin launches 5-campus water technology initiative
  • MO River Recovery Implementation Committee stakeholder membership applications now being accepted; on-line application:
Forestry -
  • New AFF website offers landowners interactive tools for managing woodlands: (via @AmForestFndn)
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • IN AG wants to know what Federal steps are being taken to protect state waterways from invasive Asian Carp
  • Investors planning plant in Grafton, IL (SW IL along Mississippi River) to process Asian carp
  • Asian carp remain a threat to the Wabash River's (IN) health
  • Iowa officials: deadly bat disease known as white-nose syndrome discovered in state park near WI border
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Louisiana State University scientists: Gulf Coast energy, fishing industries should adapt now to climate change
  • New law will link coastal restoration with jobs for Louisiana locals (via @EDF_Louisiana)
Resource Extraction -
  • EPA sues Indian multinational company for illegal mining in Kentucky
  • Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (OH) decides to stop selling water to drillers for use in hydraulic fracturing
  • OH Governor signs state law that includes new rules on drilling for natural gas and oil
Federal Budget -
  • Senate Finance Chair Baucus: Dems and GOP quietly negotiating to find agreement avoiding impending "fiscal cliff"
  • Hold the dates: Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC) meeting: July 31-August 2, Billings, MT
  • June 23 - Tennessee Clean Water Network  Annual Membership Meeting; Nashville
  • USGS Webinar: Better Access to Statistical and Assessment Methods for Water Quality; June 21, 11 EDT
  • Upper MIssissippi River Conference - September 26-28; Moline, IL
  • Free native prairie plant and birding event; June 30; Rice and Goodhue counties, MN
  • EPA Nutrient Reduction Strategies Webcast: IN Soil Health Strategy; 6/26, 11 EDT info: register
  • Pollinator Week Briefing & Break; Washington DC; June 18; 3:30 PM; register here:
  • Pollinator Festival at the USDA Farmers Market in Washington DC on Friday, June 22 from 10-2
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • The Horinko Group's June monthly "sustainabulletin" enewsletter is available:
Other news-
  • UN report: world's top river basin regions have vital role in sustaining economic growth
  • NOAA: May’s average global temperature made it second-warmest since record-keeping began in 1880
  • Journal of Wildlife Management: Cougars are making a comeback in the Midwest
Political Scene -
  • In January, US Capitol will be home to one of the least-experienced Congresses in decades
  • Encouraged and emboldened by Scott Walker's victory, Wisconsin GOP aims for US Senate seat
  • Poll: US Senate candidate & former WI Gov. Thompson leads presumptive Democratic nominee US Rep. Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Democratic US House nominees emerge in Arkansas 1st and 4th districts
  • Democrat Enyart jumps into open-seat race for retiring Rep. Costello's (IL-12) seat
Last Word - “I’m the real Joe Walsh.” - Rock singer-guitarist Joe Walsh (former Illinoisan, Grammy-winning musician and guitarist for supergroup the Eagles) in throwing his endorsement behind Democrat Tammy Duckworth in her race against Republican Rep. Joe Walsh for incumbant Walsh's 8th District U.S. House seat.

That sounds to me like a good enough excuse to enjoy a live performance of Walsh's "Life's Been Good" (that's the singer-Walsh, not the House Member-Walsh).

No comments:

Post a Comment