Friday, December 19, 2014

What We Learned This Week - "Si Change"

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving ahead with plans to finalize a proposed Clean Water Act rule by next spring, despite significant opposition.  The Tennessee Valley Authority reported that it is nearing the end of its cleanup of a massive 2008 coal ash spill.  Road salt is rapidly increasing U.S. urban stream contamination. Groups criticized Iowa's voluntary-based nitrate reduction strategy, as levels in Des Moines-area rivers increase. Dubuque, Iowa plans to "green" about 240 of its alleys by 2034. The thawing of U.S. relations with Cuba may be a boon for U.S. and Upper Midwest agriculture.  The Army Corps of Engineers says that the imminent closure of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis will not adversely impact the environment.  The Obama administration finalized Interagency Guidelines as part of a policy package meant to direct how Federal agencies evaluate proposed water resource development projects.  Environmental groups and local and officials sent letters asking the EPA to block a controversial St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway project on the Mississippi River. One of the most unproductive and least popular Congresses in history ended.  In a flurry of activity before adjourning, the Senate passed a $1.1 Trillion federal funding bill and bill that included a nine-cent increase in a fuel tax that supports the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. The 114th Congress begins in 18 days. One of the first things on the agenda for next year's Senate will be a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline.  And last but not least, among the Mississippi River Basin's 2014 spills were a corndog spill near Shreveport, Louisiana, a Bud Light spill in North Dakota, and food-coloring spill in Kentucky.

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