Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week-Early Edition

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Water Quality -
  • Clean Water Act lawsuit filed by Springfield, Illinois against the US Environmental Protection Agency may be settled
  • Group cites problems with Kentucky Energy cabinet’s proposed new standard for selenium pollution in water
  • Vermillion River Watershed District working to address groundwater and surface water contamination from agriculture
  • Kansas company to pay $2.3 Million to EPA for past Clean Water Act violations and clean up costs (2007 oil spill)
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
Click to enlarge
  • Army Corps says Missouri River will be low, but navigable during upcoming navigation season despite drought
  • Farmers, environmentalists await seventh analysis of 60-year-old, New Madrid flood plain, Mississippi River levee plan
  • Ag Professional Editorial: Mississippi River levee gap may be closed to the benefit of New Madrid flood plain farming
  • Op-ed: "It's Time to Talk About the Future of U.S. Water Infrastructure"
  • Army Corps of Engineers awards its final levee repair contract to repair 2011 Missouri River flood damage
  • Railroads would be shipping option if barges cannot move enough cargo through drought-starved Missouri River basin
  • Army Corps of Engineers asked to explain why it allowed Missouri River water use for oil drilling but not navigation
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair: committee will work first on new Water Resources Development Act
  • House passes Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, would streamline small hydropower project permitting
National Climatic Data Center
Drought Monitor Map
(click to enlarge)
  • U.S. drought conditions continued to improve in the Upper Midwest and Northern and Southern Plains this past week
Farm Bill-
  • Lobbyist speculates that Farm Bill may not move until after May; more likely between September and December (if at all)
  • AGree group issues series of 2013 Position Papers on Farm Bill issues being debated in Congress and the Administration
  • House Ag Committee Ranking Member sees Farm Bill work starting "after we deal with all of these budget issues" (video)
Agriculture -
  • U of IL Agricultural Economists: Ethanol Blend Wall, Biodiesel Production Capacity, and the RFS; Something Has to Give
  • Senate Committee hearing: Drought, Fire and Freeze-Economics of Disasters for Agricultural Producers; info here:
  • 20 ethanol plants cease production as farmers struggle to produce corn during ongoing drought
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduces bill to set a per-farm Federal subsidy cap maximum at $250,000/year and
  • Southern cotton farmers expected to shift significant acreage into more profitable corn and soybean crops
In the Cities -
In the States -
  • Kentucky state legislative hearing held on administration proposals to weaken water quality standards for selenium
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council announces Louisiana public hearings re: BP oil spill fine money
Resource Extraction -
  • U.S. House hearing: how states regulate hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas; Feb 15; 9:30 AM
  • Environmental concerns about Winona County, Minnesota frac sand mining expansion are voiced by a competing firm
Federal Budget -
  • Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY): $85 billion in automatic spending cuts very likely to go into effect March 1
  • House Appropriations Committee crafting spending bill to extend current continuing resolution through Sept. 30
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
  • March 3-8: National Invasive Species Awareness Week; Washington, DC-Arlington, VA; website: agenda
  • Conference on Students as Catalysts for Large Landscape Conservation; Colby College, ME, March 1, 2013
  • Izaac Walton League-MN Summit: “Watershed/Water Management Solutions–Policy to Action” Feb 23, all day, Bloomington, MN
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Tennessee Clean Water Network February 10 e-newsletter
  • National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (Alton, IL) February e-news update
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's "Waterfront Bulletin" for February 2013
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's "Watershed Network News" - February 13 issue
  • Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota e-newsletter (with coverage of new MN "ag certainty" program)
Other news-
  • US House members establish bipartisan "Mississippi River Valley and Tributaries Caucus"
  • In light of reduced global phosphorus supplies, researchers investigate its conservation and recovery in soil and waste
  • Sen. Johanns (R-NE) introduces bills to promote "greater transparency and accountability" of EPA regulatory process
  • Wisconsin DNR plans to transform Poynette environmental education center into hunting and fishing training center
Political Scene -
  • Poll: USDA Secretary Vilsack is Iowa's top choice in race for retiring Sen. Harkin's (D) US Senate seat
  • Republicans nominate state Rep. Jason Smith for open US House seat in Missouri 8th District; June 4 special election
  • Iowa state Rep. Pat Murphy announces that he will seek Iowa's US House 1st District seat being vacated by Braley

Italian Astronomer Galileo Galilei
Last Word -  "The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do." – Italian Astronomer Galileo Galilei,  born on February 15, 1564.

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