Friday, April 26, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Up Next
Congressional members will be in recess next week, but look for some significant Mississippi River Basin-related legislative activity to happen in the two weeks following their return to Capitol Hill.  The Senate is expected to begin debate on the Water Resources Development Act that passed out of its Environment and Public Works Committee as soon as members return from next week's recess, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).  Reid also has committed to completing work on a Senate version of the Farm Bill in May.  On the House side, Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) has said that "May 15 is a go" for his Committee’s markup of the Farm Bill (see article links, below).

Instead of linking below (under "Water Resource Management") to the very many news articles published this past week on Mississippi River Basin flooding , you can follow this link to see a news summary (updated periodically).  And for real-time river stage, and flood reporting and forecasting information from the National Weather Service, check out these on-line resources:
Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • USEPA plans to "align" two long-awaited rules on coal-fired power plant ash and electrical generation water pollution
  • Appeals Court strikes down Army Corps nationwide permit allowing valley filling of mining waste into US streams
  • Court upholds agreement between U.S. EPA and environmental groups on new wastewater standards at power plants
  • Appeals Court rules USEPA had the Clean Water Act authority to retroactively veto Army Corps' permit for coal mine and
  • Federal appeals court backs Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate mountaintop removal mining
  • More articles on federal appeals court ruling re: EPA veto of West Virginia mountaintop-removal mining permit here:
  • Clean up set for superfund site threatening Opossum Creek, a tributary of the Great Miami River (Ohio River basin)
  • 105 million gallons per day of raw sewage run directly into Mississippi River as two large St. Louis lift pumps fail
  • Concerns grow about endocrine disruptors in Wisconsin lakes, streams and groundwater
  • EPA: Many artificial ponds for storing coal mining sludge have dangerously weak walls because of poor construction
  • GOP senators skeptical at hearing about drones USEPA used to search for pollution and survey animal feedlots
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Senate expected to begin debate on Water Resources Development Act as soon as members return from next week's recess
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Chair: Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to get Senate floor time in early May
  • Two key Senate Democrats press Boxer to 'strike or revise' WRDA streamlining language
  • Supporters hope to add Sen. Casey's RIVER Act as amendment to Water Resources Development Act when it comes to floor
  • Archived webinar: National Academies' Levees and National Flood Insurance Program: Improving Policies and Practices
  • FEMA solicits input on flood hazard mapping, risk assessment tools and Hazard Mitigation Planning; deadline April 30
  • Op-ed by president of the Reinsurance Association of America: "How Can Government Help Prepare for Mother Nature?"
  • Desirability of Mississippi River view has trumped permanent flood protection in some communities north of St. Louis
  • Supreme Court dives into fight over Texas' right to draw water from Oklahoma under 1980 interstate compact
  • For the second time in less than a week, a Mississippi River bridge has been struck by a barge
  • Lewis & Clark Regional Water System considers how to complete Missouri River-sourced water project with less funding
Farm Bill-
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): Senate will take up five-year farm bill in May
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) commits to completing work on farm bill in May
  • House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK): “May 15 is a go" for Committee markup of Farm Bill
  • New Ranking Senate Agriculture Committee Republican Cochran (MS) could be wild card in writing new farm bill
  • Izaak Walton League, SD conservation, agriculture leaders to discuss linking federal farm payments and conservation
Agriculture -
  • USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service may fund repair of conservation practice damage from rains and flooding
  • Energy Department to invest over $10.5 million in two Iowa companies to spur advanced biofuels development
  • Sens. Begich, Stabenow, Coons, Heitkamp, Johnson, Pryor and Tester participating in Democrats' 2nd Rural Summit today
  • Bipartisan groups of senators introduce "Sodsaver Prairie Protection Act" aimed at protecting native prairies
  • Bipartisan, bicameral "Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act" introduced in U.S. Senate and House
Climate and Weather -
Click to enlarge
In the States -
  • Kentucky drafting statewide plan to control pollution causing algae blooms and Gulf's oxygen-depleted "dead zone"
  • Arkansas oil spill probe falls to understaffed agency with close industry ties
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • USDA Radio News - "Don't let unwanted invasives become evasive"
Resource Extraction -
  • Study: Mountaintop removal has frequently-overlooked impacts on forests, biodiversity, climate and public health
  • National Commission on the Health Impacts of Mountaintop Removal Mining report recommends moratorium on new mining
  • EPA on the State Department’s draft review of proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline route: “"insufficient"
  • Illinois state fracking bill that had broad political, industry, environmental, labor buy-in is stalled in committee
Federal Budget -
  • Prospect of a spring Federal budget deal in Congress seem as equally elusive as was the gun legislation
  • White House supports Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s proposal to "turn off" the sequester
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
  • May 6 RFF Seminar: Responding to Ecological Loss: The Promise and Limits of Ingenuity (attend in person in Washington, DC or on-line)
  • Garlic Mustard (Invasive Species) "pull" - May 18 Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin and Hopper Lakes (IL)
  • Free EPA Webinar re: forthcoming national stormwater regulations; April 30; 1:00 - 2:30 pm EDT
  • Free State Level Nutrient Reduction Strategies Webinar: What Drives Successful Nutrient Reduction? May 1; 11 AM EDT
  • Annual Grassland Restoration Network Workshop; Columbia, Missouri; July 16-18
  • USDA NRCS May 7 webinar: Exploring the Environmental and Economic Opportunities and Challenges of Cover Crops
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's April 23 and archived WaterWays e-newsletter links here:
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's River Connections for April 2013
  • The Horinko Group's monthly "Sustainabulletin" e-newsletter including a look at the Mississippi barge industry
  • Weekly "Water Headlines" Newsletter from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water
  • American Farmland Trust April E-Newsletter
Other news-
  • Across Kentucky, Indiana and beyond, religious groups seek to model earth-friendly land uses
  • As CO2 concentrations near portentous 400 parts per million level, daily updates begin on Scripps Institution website
  • Rep. Luetkemeyer (R-MO), colleagues seek Missouri, Mississippi river economic corridor designations to boost trade
  • International River Symposium's River Management Young Achievers Award - Applications Due July 5
  • 2012 Namekagon Paddle and the St. Croix River Association are highlighted in American Profile magazine
  • MN DNR invites public input on Minnesota River State Trail master plan – Franklin to Le Sueur
Political Scene -
  • Further evidence of never-ending federal election cycle: in western MN GOP makes Rep. Collin Peterson an early target
  • US Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to retire rather than seek re-election in 2014
  • Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) considering a run for retiring Sen. Max Baucus's (D-MT) seat
  • Iowa Lieutenant Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) won't make a bid to become the state's first female U.S. senator
  • NY Times: "Slow Start on Environment in Second Obama Term"
  • After three weeks on campaign trail Sona Mehring (D) decides she will not challenge Rep. John Kline (R-MN) in 2014
Last Words -
"Without sounding braggadocios, I'm indispensable in this effort to secure for Louisiana a significant and reliable string of revenue to save our coast." - U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in an interview reported by the NOLA Media Group

"The graveyards are full of indispensable men." - often attributed to the French general Charles de Gaulle

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