Friday, May 16, 2014

What We Learned This Week - To Bike or Not To Bike

Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock
The Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock (in Minneapolis) will very likely be permanently closed to boat traffic to limit Asian carp movement sometime during the next year.  The Mississippi River ecosystem's ability to effectively filter nitrates from its waters appears to be operating at or near capacity.  Indiana has the most coal-ash ponds of any state in the nation, along with a troubling number of spills.  The Mississippi River went over its banks, flooding some low-lying roads and agricultural land in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri: something not out of the ordinary in the springtime.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published new water quality criteria for selenium and 94 chemical pollutants.  Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is truly a Kansas resident, allowing him to seek re-election this year. Coastal Louisiana has one more thing to worry about, as scientists confirmed that the Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already irreversibly begun, with "major consequences for sea level rise worldwide."  Midterm election enthusiasm is at a ten-year low in the United States, with only 35 percent of eligible voters being all that
EPA's employee bike room in
Washington, DC
excited about the upcoming November elections.  Harvard School of Public Health scientists and neonicotinoid chemical makers disagree on whether neonicotinoid-based insecticides applied to corn and soybean seeds are at root of recent honeybee colony collapses.  But while there are still bees to be seen, you can watch them 24 hours-a-day on the Department of Agriculture's new "Bee Watch" cam. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the world's fifth most resilient city.  And last but not least, Friday is “Bike to Work Day” in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency plans to close its only state-of-the-art employee bike room in Washington, D.C. this July, as it consolidates office space.  About 100 employees are not sure whether they will continue to bike to work.

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