Friday, June 20, 2014

What We Learned This Week - Oh Canada!

The summer's warming weather has ushered in the return of blue-green algal blooms in the Midwest, in areas like Southern Wisconsin and Kentucky.   Just in time for that algal reprise, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation to study and combat algae blooms, sending it to President for his signature.   Partisanship and amendments bogged down progress on Federal appropriations bills.  Which may explain why the current U.S. congressional job approval rating of 16 percent is on pace to be lowest in any midterm election year since Gallup first began measuring the approval in 1974.  U.S. House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves of Missouri believes that the Obama Administration's Waters of the United States proposed rule would “drown” farmers in regulations.   Senate Republicans agree, and introduced legislation to block the Obama administration's proposed clarification of the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction.  But the Los Angeles Times editorial board disagrees with the Senators, calling the proposed Clean Water Act jurisdiction rule "sensible."    American burying beetles in Rep. Grave's home state may be  "digging" their way off the endangered species list.  Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise cashed in on his extensive network to win the vaunted House Whip leadership position, but it was really only a tryout for the next GOP House leadership vote, which will be held after the November midterm election.  Scalise's Louisiana First District will be a bit smaller by then, being one of the fastest disappearing land masses on the Earth.  Midwestern cities like Des Moines, Iowa often remove nitrates from their drinking water sources, only to discharge them into the same water sources, sending them downstream. Western Illinois University faculty are studying ways to slow the inevitable spread of invasive Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. There are fish-eating spiders in every continent that is not named "Antarctica," and they have been found in hatchery rearing ponds in Oklahoma and Tennessee. Chattanooga, Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana are trying to green themselves by managing stormwater more wisely, but Kansas City, Missouri, Springfield, Illinois, and Louisville, Kentucky are very green already.  Trains hauling crude oil from production hot spots like North Dakota’s Bakken and the Alberta, Canada tar sands regions are spilling their contents at record rates.  And - speaking of Canada - last but not least, the United States has no plans to invade its neighbor to the north - it's official.

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