Friday, June 19, 2015

What We Learned This Week - "He's dead Jim"

Environmental organizations gave mixed reviews on the Obama Administration's final Clean Water jurisdiction rule. New NASA data show the world’s largest aquifers are being depleted at alarming rates and that we don't really know how much water the aquifers contain to begin with.  This year is on track to be the hottest year globally on record.  Among scientists and popes, climate change is pretty much an accepted fact.  The Fish and Wildlife Service declared the eastern puma extinct and will remove it from the endangered species list.  Black bears are not extinct in Indiana, which saw its first black bear in over 140 years.  Interior and Environment Appropriations bills making their way through both the U.S. House and Senate would cut U.S. EPA funding significantly and contain numerous policy "riders" blocking controversial environmental policies.  The Gulf of Mexico should see an average-sized "dead zone" this summer.  The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative became an independent nonprofit organization.  State legislators rejected, changed, accepted, changed and accepted again Minnesota's controversial environment and agriculture state spending bill that axed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Citizens' Board and contained a stream buffer provision that the Governor wanted. Louisiana's lawmakers resolved a largely self-inflicted budget crisis that will return again next year.  And last but not least, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says that a newly-passed state budget that increases sales and other taxes does not count as a tax increase.

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