Friday, October 24, 2014
What We Learned This Week - "We're Not in Kansas Any More"
The U.S. Agriculture and Interior departments are partnering to measure farmland conservation impacts on water quality. The U.S. EPA approved most of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' proposed new and revised Water Quality Standards. The EPA's proposed clean water rule passed a crucial test, when it received the approval of the agency’s Science Advisory Board. Republican senators and EPA sparred over the intent and scope of that rule. The North American drought of 1934 that epitomized that decade's "Dust Bowl" was the driest and most widespread of the last millennium. In general, the drier the U.S. state, the higher its household water use, the driest states' populations are growing the quickest, and little relationship exists between water scarcity and price. In the "it's a small world" news category, some of the road salt running into Ohio streams this winter will have originated in Morocco. This year is on pace to be hottest ever, after September global temperatures exceeded past marks. The U.S. EPA found that there is little to no benefit to using neonicotinoid pesticides (linked to bee declines) to treat soybeans. Green infrastructure is better than gray in responding to the more frequent storms, sea-level rise, and other results of climate change. The redbelly snake may not be found in Kansas much longer: having long drawn the ire of developers, the snake is to be taken off Kansas' threatened species list. Also not in Kansas: the striking sunflower field image that Kansas Senator Pat Roberts used on every website page and in his press releases. Scientists and voodoo practitioners partnered at New Orleans' Anba Dlo festival to address water challenges. Anba Dlo translates in a Haitian dialect as "beneath the waters," which describes parts of New Orleans in the aftermath of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. But it's no longer your mother's (pre-Katrina) New Orleans. It's also not the traditional, rural Iowa we once knew and loved. President Obama took advantage of Illinois' first day of early voting, and cast his ballot in Chicago. However, many other Democratic voters are tuning out the U.S. midterms. And last but not least, IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, WEDNESDAY WAS INTERNATIONAL CAPSLOCK DAY (yes, it's been a slow news week).