Friday, February 20, 2015

What We Learned This Week - Sheep or Goats?

The National Weather Service believes that a drought is likely to develop in the Upper Midwest by this spring. The "aging farmer problem" may be overblown. For the first time since the 1970s, corn planting will decline for three straight seasons. That slumping corn market is driving farmers from Louisiana to North Dakota to switch more land to soybeans, as they seek to limit their losses. Oil trains threaten 3,600 miles of U.S. streams as well as 73,000 square miles of lakes, wetlands and reservoirs. One of those trains, carrying over 100 tank cars of crude oil, derailed in West Virginia sending at least one car into the the Kanawha River. It's the Chinese Year of the Sheep, or Year of the Goat, depending on which old English translation of a Chinese hoofed, grass-eating, bleating mammal you choose. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has detected Asian carp eDNA in the upper Ohio River for the second year running. Another invasive, the emerald ash borer, has been found in Louisiana; the 25th state in which the insect has been detected. The governors of Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Illinois are proposing deep state budget cuts that may impact state park, conservation and environmental programs. A federal judge dismissed an historic southeast Louisiana flood protection board wetland-loss lawsuit against oil and gas companies. Satellite images show that new delta land is forming off Louisiana's coast. The new Congress has a slightly higher approval rating than the last one: 20%. And last but not least, conservatives discount scientific theories that run counter to their worldview; liberals do the same.

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