Friday, October 17, 2014

What We Learned This Week - "Some Like It Hot"

Iowa's new clean water rule has drawn complaints from citizen activists for not going far enough in protecting state waters from pollution at large-scale livestock facilities.  Drugs flushed into the environment may be a significant factor in wildlife decline. The Illinois River town of Havana, Illinois has more Asian carp than anywhere else in the world.  Nearly four decades ago a Food and Drug Administration consultant was right on the farm antibiotic overuse issue, though Congress told him to back off.  Farmers are now able to plant new types of corn and soybeans that are genetically engineered to tolerate Roundup and 2,4-D herbicides approved by the U.S. EPA this week for use in the Midwest.  The Natural Resources Defense Council asked a federal court to review the U.S. EPA approval.  The USDA announced efforts to assist farmers in addressing the increase in weeds growing resistant to herbicides such as Roundup and 2,4-D.  The Earth is on a hot streak thanks to its human inhabitants, having just experienced the warmest six-month stretch ever recorded and the hottest summer in over century of record-keeping.  Pentagon leaders believe that the trend poses an immediate threat to national security; however, others don't seem particularly concerned.  The U.S. Treasury Department cleared the way for Gulf of Mexico states and local governments to receive coastal restoration money. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and a group representing small businesses called upon the Obama Administration to withdraw a proposed rule clarifying which waters fall under Clean Water Act jurisdiction. And last but not least, fish in one in four U.S. streams contain methylmercury at levels above U.S. EPA's human health protection criterion (including streams in Pennsylvania and near small businesses).

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