Friday, November 21, 2014

What We Learned This Week - "Resistance is Futile"

The U.S. Senate came up one vote short of passing a bill approving construction of the XL pipeline through the western half of the Mississippi River Basin.  In that same vote, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) fell one "aye" shy, as well.  The proposed clean water rule comment period officially ended, but not the war of words. Early winter ice forced a record early closure of the Upper Mississippi River shipping season.   But despite the U.S. chill, 2014 should still end up globally being the hottest ever recorded.  That climate change could substantially increase losses in Federal flood and crop insurance programs in the decades to come.  Much of the world is in danger of overdrafting its groundwater account, including Iowa and the Upper Midwest's Jordan Aquifer.  Shallow groundwater in the Northern Plains oil region shows no evidence of contamination from its energy boom. Millions of U.S. farm acres have been affected by herbicide-resistant weeds, rendering some fields unfarmable. Your next farmer's market might be in your computer. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill upping the price of Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation stamps, and increasing funding for conservation easement purchases.  House Republican bills passed this week would place restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency, even though the White House threatened to veto the measures.  The House has scheduled 35 weeks in Washington, DC and 17 weeks out of town next year.  The Army Corps of Engineers is considering new efforts to block the upriver movement of invasive Asian carp on the Des Plaines River. And last but not least, Kentucky hopes you'll want to eat its Asian carp, because not much else does.

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