Friday, June 26, 2015

What We Learned This Week - "Billions and Billions"

Columbus, Ohio lifted its two-week nitrate drinking water advisory, although its water problems aren't really over. Indiana joined a growing list of states banning synthetic plastic microbeads to protect its water resources. Floods tend to grab more headlines, but drought is actually much more costly in terms of its impact on agriculture. The U.S. may face up to $180 billion in economic losses because of drought and water shortages by end of century. And here are some flood headlines: Rainfall and resulting high waters closed some Red River locks; moderate to major flooding is predicted in the Illinois and Upper Mississippi River valleys and the Army Corps of Engineers is watching sand boils and levee seepage along the Mississippi River. The Agriculture Department announced a new web based tool to proactively monitor 12,000 dams nationwide in real time. The National Flood Insurance Program was called a "circus" in a Senate hearing. An Arkansas company proposed to pipe 840 thousand acre feet of Mississippi River water from Arkansas to Texas each year for “up to 75+ years.” That's about 274 billion gallons of water each year. Lead fishing tackle ingested by fish is killing Minnesota loons. The Citizens' Board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency met for the last time. The White House said it might veto a House EPA and Interior Department spending bill and has serious concerns over a Senate Commerce, Justice and Science, spending bill. There were 35 earthquakes in Oklahoma and regulators are rethinking the need for new oil and gas drilling restrictions. Activists said that Minnesota's Lake Calhoun needs a new name, as the current name honors a pro-slavery South Carolinian. The U.S. Conference of Mayors urged Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund. However, key members of Congress disagree on how to do that. And last but not least, if you want find "golden fried peanut butter and jelly on a stick" at this year's Iowa State Fair, there's an app for that.

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