Friday, May 15, 2015

What We Learned This Week - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"

The House voted to overturn a controversial Obama administration water jurisdiction rule.  A bill quickly moving through the Missouri legislature would remove "waters of the United States" from the definition of state waters. The impacts of a Washington state dairy pollution settlement are poised to ripple across the country.  A recent Federal Flood Risk Management Standard for new government-funded projects generated more controversy.   Construction of a new rail line through a La Crosse River wetland could be largely completed before a lawsuit designed to stop it is decided.  Lobbyists are lobbying more at the state level, after being stymied in Washington, DC.  Many states expect to meet or even exceed revenue forecasts for this fiscal year following unexpected April tax windfalls.  However, seven Mississippi River Basin states are projecting future budget shortfalls. Incumbent state legislators are being re-elected at record rates.  USDA believes that flood control structures built in three Nebraska counties helped prevent over $3 million in damages during recent flooding. Complainants believe that Army Corps lock and dam mismanagement resulted in severe Illinois flooding. Minnesota isn't the only River Basin state where a battle over riparian buffers is brewing. The South Platte River in Colorado and Nebraska, and Illinois River in Oklahoma flooded following heavy rains and mountain snowmelt. South Dakota bucked a downward national trend and to become an "agricultural powerhouse." Global warming will cut wheat yields in Kansas and beyond. "Even at the best time of the year," U.S. honeybee colonies are still dying.  Most knowledgeable campaigners cite environmental degradation and water contamination as their main reasons for opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.  The FBI breached its own rules when it spied on some of those campaigners.  And last but not least, America is running out of soil.

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