Friday, January 25, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

U.S. Congress in 2013: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Our series previewing the U.S. Congress in 2013 continues this week with an overview of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (or "T&I") Committee, and its likely activity this year that will be particularly relevant to Mississippi River Basin water issues. The preview (available here) has complete Committee member rosters, highlights new members and those from Mississippi River Basin states, and includes links to Congressional Internet home pages for the Committee's 21 Mississippi River Basin members. Important from a Mississippi River Basin perspective, the T&I Committee has jurisdiction over Federal management of emergencies and natural disasters, flood control, improvement of rivers, harbors and inland waterways (including public works for the benefit of navigation, bridges and dams), and the Coast Guard. Like its complimentary Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the House T&I Committee will have as its likely top priority consideration of the Water Resources Development Act ("WRDA").

To view earlier coverage of the 113th Congress' Senate and House committees, also see:
Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • Legal overview: Society will face new and difficult stormwater, nutrient, wetland and water right questions in 2013
  • Triclosan, an antibiotic used in soaps and cosmetics, and its byproducts are found in Minnesota's lakes and rivers
  • Tugboat carrying 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel sinks in Mississippi River
  • Aquatic mussels wearing tiny sensor "backpacks" could help monitor Mississippi River pollution
  • Evansville, IN to share in class-action water contamination settlement with manufacturer of weed killer atrazine
  • 73 cities in Iowa end up receiving money under atrazine settlement in lawsuit against Syngenta
  • Wisconsin DNR investigating extent of molybdenum well contamination in southeastern WI area served by private wells
  • To tackle urban stormwater runoff, cities turn to green initiatives
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • EPA begins dialogue with mayors; local communities struggling to pay for expensive water system upgrades (PDF file)
  • Experts: New Orleans post-Katrina upgrades made by Army Corps are improvement over past levees, but outdated already
  • U.S. Coast Guard must sign-off on transporting fracking brine from Pennsylvania by Ohio River barges
  • Science Daily: Heat waves, storms, flooding: climate change to profoundly affect U.S. Midwest in coming decades
  • Key Mississippi River stretch reopened to shipping after hasty repairs were made to damaged lock
  • House bill introduced to require Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider its current levee vegetation policy
Drought Mitigation Center Drought
Monitor Map-January 22
(click to enlarge)
  • National Drought Mitigation Center: On drought front, the Midwest sees some improvement while Plains remain "bone dry"
  • Drought highlights "critical role" of waterway transportation on the Mississippi River
  • Dredging Today: "Rainfall Provides Improved Outlook for Mississippi River Navigation"
  • Mississippi River section impacted by the U.S. drought will remain navigable at least through February 20
  • Persistent U.S. drought imperils winter wheat crop; may mean dry start for corn, soybeans and other spring-plantings
Farm Bill-
  • Washington Post editorial board opinion: food shortages-threat rationale for federal agricultural subsidies is "far-fetched"
  • Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman commits to convening a Committee Farm Bill mark up as soon as possible
  • Into the weeds: Kansas State University economist details nine possible Farm Bill crop insurance outcomes
  • Fiscal battles in Congress could prevent lawmakers from writing a new farm bill for weeks or months
Agriculture -
In the Cities -
Forestry -
  • Small trees left behind following logging, violent storms and epidemics help stream and lake water quality
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
A red-eyed treefrog (Agalychnis callidryas)
Photograph: Peter Lilja/Getty Images
  • Study concludes that existing risk assessment procedures for pesticide regulation are not protecting amphibians
  • New research suggests chemicals are playing significant and previously unknown role in global amphibian decline
  • Senate bill introduced to reauthorize National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (matching habitat conservation grants)
  • First bat from Mammoth Cave National Park, KY confirmed to have developed deadly white-nose syndrome
  • Aerial eagle survey finds hundreds of eagles along lower Wisconsin River
  • Senators Brown (D-OH) and Toomey (R-PA) introduce bill to prevent invasion of Asian Carp in Ohio River Basin
  • WKSU (NPR): As Asian carp migrate north, concerns spreads to Ohio lakes to rivers
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Scientists gather for comprehensive review of the short- and long-term effects of BP Deepwater Horizon accident
  • Internet-based app may help track cultural impact of coastal losses in Louisiana
Resource Extraction -
  • Interior Department delaying planned rules on controversial oil and gas well hydraulic fracturing
  • Billions in private investment $$ earmarked for Ohio gas drilling in Utica Shale this year
  • Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) approves revised route for Keystone XL pipeline through state
  • Nebraska Keystone XL oil sands pipeline route approval escalates Republican pressure on the White House
Federal Budget -
Upcoming Federal Budget Deadlines (Washington Post)
(click to enlarge)
  • Here are all of the budget deadlines the Federal government is facing over the next three months
  • Senate will pass a 2014 budget House budget will contain deeper spending cuts than 2013 version
  • U.S. House approves No Budget, No Pay Act in a 285-144 vote, skirting debt ceiling limit and pressuring Senate to produce a fiscal year 2014 budget
Events - Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar on this Blog page and here as a stand-alone calendar
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Weekly Newsletter from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water: "Water Headlines"
  • The Horinko Group Newsletter: January 2013 "Sustainabulletin"
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's January 2013 "River Connections" e-newsletter
Other news-
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) suggests U.S. EPA uses environmental group settlements to gain more stringent regulations
  • Global investments to improve natural ecosystem health grow as opposed to paying for costly industrial infrastructure
  • Mississippi state and federal agencies are testing areas around former chemical plant in Hattiesburg, MS for pollution
  • Advocacy group pushes more infrastructure spending by highlighting Governors' early 2013 State of the State speeches
Political Scene -
  • Dozen-plus candidates vie to run in June 4, 2013 Missouri special election to fill vacant 8th District US House seat
  • Washington Post interactive analysis of who’s staying, who’s going, and who’s coming in the Obama Administration
  • Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN-1) named top Democrat on Agriculture Committee's conservation and energy subcommittee
  • U.S. House Agriculture Committee announces 2013 membership for its five Subcommittees
  • POLITICO's 113th Congress New Member Guide
  • Republican Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr planning a 2014 U.S. Senate bid to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor
  • GOP US Rep. Shelley Moore Capito begins 2014 race to replace retiring Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) in very strong position
Last Word -
Everything changes everything.” - Former Baltimore Orioles manager and Hall of Famer Earl Weaver, who died on January 18 at the age of 82.

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