Monday, November 25, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News-Holiday Week Edition

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Thanksgiving Recess Sees Initial Water Bill Meeting But Little Movement on Farm Bill
Both the House and Senate have adjourned for the Thanksgiving week break. The House returns on December 1; the Senate on December 9.  Before the recess began last Friday, there were the beginnings of negotiations among members of the House-Senate water resources conference committee, while negotiations among farm bill conference committee members ground to a contentious halt following a Thursday meeting marked with more diatribe than dialogue.  And while the farm bill conferees have reportedly made some progress on settling their commodity title differences, dairy and nutrition issues continue to be major issues blocking a path toward compromise.  House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas has admitted that the conference committee will be hard-pressed to meet a December 13 Congressional recess deadline for getting a compromise bill before the House and Senate for a vote. Another farm bill extension may be in the cards, although the conference committee has an early-January window of settlement opportunity open to it before the USDA can fully tool-up to implement "permanent law" dairy support provisions dating back to the 1940s.  Those changes, should they come to pass, would drastically raise the price of dairy products.  You can see further news on both bills, below, and (for the farm bill) in our farm bill blog.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • EPA to appeal judge's order that agency decide if Mississippi River Basin nutrient numeric water quality standards are needed
  • EPA extends public comment period for proposed Water Quality Standards Regulatory Clarifications rule until January 2
  • Connection found between nitrogen levels in water and toxic algae production
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's draft 2014 Impaired Waters List will be open for public comment in January 2014
  • EPA defends Clean Water Act jurisdiction plan amid calls to withdraw its draft rule
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • House and Senate conferees formally open $8.2 billion water resources bill negotiations
  • As WRDA talks begin: NEPA reviews, ocean policy among sticking points
  • U.S.Geological Survey will discontinue operation of up to 375 streamgages nationwide due to budget cuts 
    Streamgauges discontinued or to be discontinued 
    due to lack of funding (click to enlarge)
  • FEMA Files to Dismiss Mississippi Lawsuit to Stop Flood Rate Hikes
  • U.S. Senate vote to delay flood insurance rate hikes could still come before Thanksgiving
  • EPA releases public-domain software application designed to facilitate integrated water resources management
  • USFWS and NOAA issue new report: Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of Conterminous US 2004-2009 (see additional story below)
  • Multi-agency research project finds half of Minnesota’s stream miles have been physically altered
  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon critical of idea of diverting Missouri River water to Kansas
Farm Bill-
  • Farm bill talks stumbled badly on the way to this week's Congressional recess
  • Farm bill talks "fall short" (written and video report)
  • As talks stall, no further conference committee meetings scheduled among the farm bill's principal negotiators
  • Among many Congressional failings, negotiators fail to meet self-imposed Thanksgiving deadline farm bill agreement
  • Bipartisan House letter to farm bill conferees urges linking soil, wetland conservation to crop insurance subsidies (PDF file of letter)
Agriculture -
  • Iowa's senior political leaders pondering how to shore up political support for the corn-based fuel
  • Overweight tend to hail from same places, including Missouri, Kansas, where agricultural antibiotic drug use is high
  • Per capita income set to eclipse population growth as the dominant driver of change in the global food system
  • Obama administration has formally moved to trim statutory ethanol blending mandate for the first time
  • Multiyear run-up in the value of farmland in the U.S. Midwest may be running out of steam
  • State and national environmental groups plan lawsuit over Iowa pork producer manure spills
Climate and Weather -
  • Here is the latest NOAA/NWS national drought update:
  • USDA, EPA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launch the U.S. Drought Portal
  • NOAA's Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook (December outlook will be published at the end of the month)
  • Tech experts work to help farms weather climate shift
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • "Let's Just Harvest Invasive Species -- Problem Solved?"
  • West Virginia Division of Natural Resources: New tests have found Asian carp DNA in Ohio River between Wheeling, WV and Pittsburgh, PA and
Louisiana Coastal Region-
  • BP has begun publishing a mass of environmental assessment data collected from the Gulf of Mexico since 2010
  • New Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority member aims to halt wetlands loss lawsuit agains oil companies
  • More than 70 percent of the estimated US coastal wetland loss between 2004-2009 came in the Gulf of Mexico
Resource Development -
  • House passes two bills aimed at speeding up oil and gas permitting; moves on to pipeline bill
  • "A neighborhood shattered: Families emptying out of oil-hit Arkansas town"
Federal Budget -
  • House Appropriations Chairman raises prospect of a stopgap Federal spending continuing resolution in mid-January
  • Hopes are grow that conference committee may reach deal to replace portion of automatic sequestration spending cuts
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Achieving healthy headwaters events set for December in Southeastern Minnesota
  • 2014 America's Watershed Initiative Summit; Louisville, Kentucky; September 30-October 2, 2014
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
Politics and People-
  • GOP State Sen. Westrom mulling a run for the Minnesota congressional seat now held by Rep. Collin Peterson (D)
  • Senate vote to eliminate filibuster clears way for appointment of key EPA and environmentally-central appeals court nominees
Last Word -
Albert Einstein
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not." - Albert Einstein

No comments:

Post a Comment