Friday, August 28, 2015

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Most of the Water News - None of the Spin~
Neither Here Nor There
The U.S. Congress is scheduled to reconvene, following its summer recess, on September 8, and once in session, Congress will have only three workweeks left until the end of the 2015 fiscal year and eleven legislative weeks until the year's Congressional calendar runs its course. Those tight production windows are especially daunting given the autumnal legislative agenda facing Congress: the September 30 need to authorize fiscal year 2016 funding for most Federal agencies; an October 29 expiration of Highway Trust Fund authority and associated mid-December prediction for when transportation funding will run dry; and a forecast mid-November to early-December Federal debt ceiling collision.

An alternative to clock-watching: the National Zoo Panda Cam
Closer on the event horizon is today's (August 28) scheduled implementation date for the Clean Water Rule (also known as the Waters of the U.S. rule). Three Federal District courts (in Georgia, North Dakota and West Virginia) were petitioned by a total of 24 states and one mining company (Murray Energy) to issue an injunction blocking Friday's rule implementation. One of the petitions was successful. Late on Thursday, Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court in North Dakota found that the 13 states petitioning that Court to block the rule met conditions necessary for a preliminary injunction, including that they would likely be harmed if the rule became effective and that the states are likely to succeed in their underlying lawsuit. On Wednesday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia effectively denied Murray Energy's request to block the rule from taking effect. And late on Thursday, Judge Lisa Godbey Wood in the District Court for the Southern District of Georgia also declined a plea from 11 states to block the rule, saying she lacked jurisdiction. Judge Erickson's injunction only affects the states involved in that particular petition: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The rule is effective today elsewhere in the U.S.

As a service to the sane among us not yet keeping track, as of this Friday, there are only 438 days until the 2016 Presidential election. And along that lengthy campaign trail, the Waters of the U.S. rule is not gaining the attention of its many candidates. One exception is Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who said at this month's Iowa State Fair that he is "taking it seriously," noting that something needs to be done to fix "the most convoluted regulatory system in the world," and going on to tell the Fair crowd what the Governor said they didn't need to be told: "I don't need to tell Iowans about the EPA rules as it relates to water and air that will stifle the need for industry to be created and for agriculture to work feeding the world."

Should you be looking for something to do while these various clocks wind down to their inevitable "witching hours," we recommend checking out the panda cam from the National Zoo. It's "safe for work," much more therapeutic than clock-watching, and you may even catch a glimpse of the newborn panda cub.

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
Waters of the United States
  • U.S. District Court judge in North Dakota blocks Obama administration's controversial Clean Water rule from going into effect (NY Times) and (E&E Greenwire) Also see: Federal judge blocks Obama’s water rule - The Hill
  • AP: Things to Know: EPA Water Rules Take Effect in Some States
  • Judge blocks WOTUS; Obama administration says it will largely enforce the regulation as planned
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia rebuffs Murray Energy's request to block Clean Water rule from taking effect
  • Federal judge in West Virginia declines to block implementation of Obama controversial water rule, saying court does not have jurisdiction
  • National Association of State Departments of Agriculture letter requests delay in Friday's implementation of WOTUS rule
  • Sen. Inhofe warns that new Clean Water Act jurisdiction rule could spur crackdown on sewer systems
  • Farmers, public agencies still searching for answers as new 'waters of the U.S.' begins
Other Water Quality News

  • Iowa State University Extension survey: Iowa farmers committed to clean water but unsure of Gulf impact (also see
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency seeks comments on report on reducing pollutants in Lake Winona, 17 stream sections in Mississippi River-Winona Basin
  • Des Moines Register editorial: Iowa's waterways are a disgrace, as officials post microcystin warnings at a record pace
  • Blue-green algae concerns continue on the Ohio River
  • Chicago River still teems with fecal bacteria, tests show
  • EPA updates core requirements of the federal water quality standards regulation that interprets part of the Clean Water Act (Federal Register notice:
  • Environmental groups sue West Virginia coal company in federal court over alleged regulated waterways pollution
  • Environmental groups threaten to sue EPA over fracking wastewater rules
  • Owner of North Dakota well used to dispose oil and gas operation wastewater indicted on 13 charges
  • Illinois lawmakers and the president of a state coal association ask Interior Department to hold off on issuing stream protection rules for mining
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Mapped: The countries that will face the biggest water shortages by 2040 
    Source: The Telegraph
  • Impassioned opposition expressed at Mississippi River Commission meeting against proposed New Madrid levee (also see: U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO-8) adamant New Madrid floodway project needs to go forward
  • Journal of Applied Ecology: Prioritizing barrier removal to improve functional connectivity of rivers
  • La Crosse River levee system would need significant changes to gain federal recognition as flood protection
  • Executive Order 13690 and the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard - Background and Opportunities for Public Input
  • No frac sand at Winona's Mississippi River port this year; although falling frac sand demand hasn't affected overall traffic
Click to enlarge
Agriculture -
  • Mississippi farmers preparing for "inevitable" regulations regarding nutrient transport out of fields
  • Nebraska rancher shares his fascination at the lush diversity of the shortgrass ecosystem
  • USDA Economic Research Service: Net farm income expected to drop to $58.3 billion this year, a steep 36 percent decline
Climate and Weather -
  • NOAA: globally, no other month was as hot as this July in records that date back to the late
  • El Nino a ‘friend of the Midwest' according to Iowa climate experts
  • US weekly drought update: Louisiana and Oklahoma dryness prompted condition degradations
  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook for September (will be published next Monday)
  • NOAA’s Green Infrastructure product suite helps coastal communities reduce extreme weather impacts
  • NASA: Sea levels worldwide rose an average of nearly 3 inches (8 cm) since 1992
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Public comment period closes Friday on USEPA's proposal on mitigation for pesticides that are acutely toxic to bees
  • Fish and Wildlife Service is opening more areas to fishing and hunting on 21 national wildlife
    New Landscape Conservation Cooperative Map
    (click to enlarge)
    refuges, including several in Mississippi River Basin
  • Independent Petroleum Association of America wants the American burying beetle removed from the endangered species list
  • USDA Secretary Vilsack announces four-year, $211 million Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0 strategy
  • Western Governors' Association to undertake a review of the Endangered Species Act with eye toward effecting changes
  • Fish and Wildlife Service releases Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Impact Statement for the comprehensive conservation plan
  • The Landscape Conservation Cooperative Network has revised its region map
  • Fish and Wildlife Service may reconsider details re: proposed Endangered Species Act protections for Appalachian crawfish facing threats from mountaintop-removal coal mining
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers what it calls concrete steps to boost the number of Lake Mille Lacs walleye
In the Cities -
  • Brookings Institution: Post-Katrina New Orleans is bouncing back, but not for the better
  • Racially disparate views of New Orleans’ recovery after Hurricane Katrina
  • New Orleans has built the infrastructure to protect itself from hurricanes, but can it win a
    Photo: Getty
    battle against rising seas?
  • It was New Orleans’ musicians, not its politicians, who saved the city post-Katrina
  • Is New Orleans in danger of turning into a modern-day Atlantis?
  • New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu unveils experimental plan to bring water into city in an effort to prevent it from sinking
  • Youngstown, Ohio wanted to move forward with an anti-fracking ballot initiative, despite recent secretary of state ruling; however, the Mahoning County (Ohio) elections board voted to keep Youngstown proposal off the ballot
In the States-
  • Tennessee may join the handful of states that charge citizens for seeking public information
    Mississippi River Basin States in the News
    from the government
  • Pennsylvania’s long-running budget stalemate is reaching a fork in the road that could lead either to a breakthrough or GOP veto override attempt
  • Pennsylvania's budget impasse remains firmly in place; Republican majority fails to override any portion of Governor's budget veto
  • Pennsylvania Governor and GOP legislators put off plans to resume deadlocked state budget talks
  • Arkansas lawmakers advance proposed five-year ban on new hog farms in the Buffalo National River watershed
Gulf Coastal Region-
Photo: David Kidd
  • Scientific American: Mississippi River mouth must be abandoned to save New Orleans from next Hurricane Katrina; three nationwide design teams reveal realistic plans to massively rebuild the disintegrating delta
  • Southern Louisiana picks a fight with big oil to save the wetlands
  • Aerial planting of mangrove seeds proving to be effective method of protecting struggling marshes in Louisiana
  • Rising sea level threatens coastal restoration, New Orleans levees, scientists say
Resource Development -
  • Montana environmental groups claim that Interior Department illegally approved coal mining expansion northeast of Billings
  • Iowa regulators receive 3,700 letters objecting to a proposed oil pipeline across the state
  • Environmental groups plan to appeal last week's federal court decision upholding leasing of over 1.6 billion tons of Powder River Basin coal
Federal Budget (You can follow the status of all of the fiscal year 2016 appropriation bills on this web page) -
  • CBO: Debt ceiling will be hit by early December, when the Treasury Department is expected to run out of cash
  • OMB: Federal agencies facing nearly $1.8 billion in budget cuts due to sequestration in House appropriations bills
Events - Information on all past and future events listed here each week can be viewed in the on-line calendar, located above and to the right (and here as a stand-alone calendar
  • Natural Floodplain Functions Alliance Webinar: Stream/Wet Meadow Restoration, September 8, 3 PM ET
  • Webinar: Use of NRCS Conservation Practice Standards and Specifications; September 9, 2-3:30 pm ET
  • UW-Madison Academy Talk: The state of Wisconsin forests and its changes over the last 100 years, October 8, 7–8:30 pm
  • Wisconsin Academy Member Meeting; November 6-7, in and around the University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Minnesota Watershed Network fall meeting, November 19, 9:30 am-3 pm, Pizza Ranch, New Ulm, Minnesota
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy August 20 TUWaterWays e-newsletter
  • Lower Mississippi River Dispatch, August 29, 10-year commemoration of Hurricane Katrina
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency ‏Watershed Connections - August 2015
  • Lower Mississippi River Dispatch, August 25, This weekend on the River!
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council, August 27, Watershed News
Click to enlarge
Other news-
  • Ojibwe band member rice harvest outside reservation boundaries without Minnesota permit goes beyond fish and wild rice issues (see later news: Minnesota DNR grants one-day wild rice harvesting permit, avoids treaty rights court battle
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to address the closure of coal combustion residual impoundments at its coal-fired power plants; seeks public input
  • Industry groups and environmentalists file grievances against USEPA coal combustion waste disposal rule
  • Sacramento Superior Court judge orders California to write stricter controls for agriculture water runoff in three counties
  • Based on Fortune's list of 50 companies that are changing the world, here are nine that are revolutionizing the food game
  • Lawns now cover an area three times larger than any irrigated U.S. crop
  • Pew Charitable Trusts Stateline analysis: 1,300 rural counties in 46 states have lost population since 2010; a look at the causes and ramifications
  • FEMA: "Louisiana Recovery Update: Katrina and Rita by the Numbers"
  • Welcome to Quakelahoma: the state that has gone from having about two noticeable earthquakes a year to about two a day
  • Minnesota railroad industry official says disclosing emergency response plans to public "is like giving terrorists a road map on how to do something bad"
  • Position opening: St. Croix River Corridor Steward sought
Politics and People-
  • Op-ed by Michael Brown: Stop blaming me for Hurricane Katrina
  • Kentucky GOP greenlights joint Senate, presidential run for Rand Paul
  • North Dakota's Republican governor Jack Dalrymple will not seek re-election in 2016; open race could lure Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
  • Villa Park Mayor Deb Bullwinkel (D) enters race for Illinois 8th District House seat currently held by Tammy Duckworth
Your Moment of Zen -
Photo: James Edward Freaney/GuardianWitness

No comments:

Post a Comment