Friday, September 18, 2015

What We Learned This Week - "Risky Business"

Forty-seven senators want to try to kill the Obama administration's controversial clean water rule via a rarely-used legislative approach created under the Congressional Review Act, while some states' attorneys general continued their legal push before two federal appeals courts to block the rule.  Some coal industry officials don't like the Interior Department's stream protection rule (and some really don't like it).  EPA's Office of Inspector General found little evidence that costly sewer upgrades required in cities across the country are improving water quality.  Flushing the toilets in those cities has "never been riskier," but the internet of things may help cities manage their fresh, waste and storm water resources better.  The mayors of many Mississippi River cities met in Dubuque to plan a sustainable River future.  Minnesota has a long way to go to clean its lakes, rivers and streams, but it has a plan for how to get there.  There's no Congressional plan for avoiding a federal government shutdown at the end of the month, and Pennsylvania seems to be following a similar planless path. The White Fringeless Orchid - found in wet areas in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky - was proposed for Endangered Species Act protection.  The Interior Department secretary hopes that the sage grouse won’t need similar federal protections. This summer was the hottest on record and 2015 is headed that way, too.  And last but not least, federal subsidies for Powder River Basin coal (in the upper Missouri River Basin) amounts to $8 a ton.  Eight dollars will purchase about 27 watts worth of crystalline silicon solar cells.

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