Friday, July 31, 2015

What We Learned This Week - "And that's the way it is"

The House sought to "rein in" the Obama administration's regulatory machine by passing a new  bill that the White House doesn't like.  EPA revised and re-issued draft water quality criteria for protecting aquatic life from the adverse effects of selenium, but environmental groups still aren't enamoured with it.  The Interior Department officially kicked off a 60-day comment period on its proposed stream protection rule, which the coal industry casts as threat to dwindling jobs.  In Minnesota farm country, tainted water is "just the way it is."  Illinois Senator Dick Durbin urged the EPA to veto the controversial St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway project along the Mississippi River in Missouri.  The EPA made official its disapproval of a Louisiana decision last year not to list 43 water quality-impaired water bodies as impaired.  Army Corps of Engineers experts disagreed with the Obama administration on the scope of and basis for the new waters of the U.S rule, and the EPA said that it addressed the Army Corps' concerns. The Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee used Army Corps' memos expressing those concerns to attack the basis for the clean water rule.  Kansas farmers are beginning to face the harsh reality that the overused Ogallala Aquifer will someday run dry, and neighboring Nebraska uses a groundwater management approach that might help.  After being "missing in action" for more than a century, mountain lions are recolonizing the Midwest.  Also missing in action: Illinois and Pennsylvania state budgets for the fiscal year that began on July 1.  Crude oil pipeline eminent domain challenges took center stage in Nebraska and Iowa. And last but not least, Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources is reorganizing, in part to appease a Republican-controlled state Legislature.

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