Friday, April 10, 2015

What We Learned This Week - "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"

An appeals court ordered a federal judge to reconsider his 2013 ruling that the U.S. EPA must decide whether more stringent rules are needed to curb nutrients flowing into the Mississippi River.  The ruling was not all bad. Environmental groups sued the Patriot Coal Corp. over alleged "widespread water pollution" in West Virginia. Legal allies are lining up on both sides of the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit against three northwestern Iowa counties.  An explosion rocked the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District's treatment plant, and hundreds of millions of gallons of marginally-treated sewage could flow into the Ohio River before the damage is undone.  The U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers sent their final draft of a proposed clean water act jurisdiction rule to the White House for review.  The first round of new, higher federal flood insurance premiums kicked in.  The Army Corps of Engineers decreased its annual runoff forecast for  the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa because the mountain snowpack is lower than average this year. Upper Midwest climate shifts are changing the way people farm.   An Upper Midwest state board enacted a ban on state staff communications on climate change. Administrators of an Upper Midwest state's Department of Natural Resources are considering eliminating the agency’s Bureau of Science Service. Minnesota's Governor Dayton heard from all sides of the state's stream buffer proposal debate.  The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will spend $73 million this year to rehabilitate and assess dams in 23 states, including a dozen Mississippi River Basin states.  The agency also committed $10 million this year to address Mississippi River Basin nutrient pollution in 27 new high-priority watersheds and thirteen existing projects.  And last but not least: two rare species of Appalachian crayfish may one day be "endangered;"  three Mississippi River Basin rivers are already "endangered;"  the northern long-eared bat is officially "threatened;" and a moose is unofficially lost in the Nebraska Panhandle.

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