Friday, July 18, 2014
What We Learned This Week - There Be Dragons in Kansas
A Federal appeals court upheld USEPA initiatives aimed at reducing water pollution from mountaintop removal mining, but several coal-state lawmakers didn't appreciate the ruling. In other court water news, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld Iowa's water quality regulations. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy hopes to unmuddle the misunderstandings and misstatements surrounding the Administration's proposed waters of the United State rule. There be dragons in Kansas. And there be men in North Dakota: Thanks to vast amounts of Bakken shale oil, North Dakota has the greatest concentration of men (51%) of any state besides Alaska. The New Madrid Seismic Zone in the Mississippi River valley may not be as hot of an earthquake hot-spot as some think. Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is running for re-election this year, and 100 of his fellow Republicans just endorsed his Democratic challenger. The Louisiana U.S. Senate race contains one fewer Republican contestant than at the beginning of the week. The odds of a strong El Nino, which would disrupt weather worldwide, are increasingly unlikely, while the odds that the planet is warming seem to be increasing. U.S. House Republicans continue to push through fiscal year 2015 appropriations bills, but none will be going anywhere fast, as the Democratically-controlled Senate has yet to pass one. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has apparently backtracked on an earlier commitment to put spending bills on Senate floor this summer. Speaking of partisanship, nurture may not be as powerful as nature when it comes to partisanship. And there may not much hope of that changing in the next generation: Millennials' political views are, at best, in a stage of constant metamorphosis and, at worst, "totally incoherent." The turnouts of both fish and anglers were strong for Illinois River Asian carp bowfishing tournament. In the short-term, the bowfishers won, but don't count the carp out yet. And last but not least, "happy 100th birthday" to the Congressional Research Service, which marked its centennial on Wednesday (the Legislative Reference Service was established in the Library of Congress in 1914).