The Washington Post reports that rain, runoff from the season’s first snowfall, and restored flow release levels, have contributed to a rise in the alarmingly low water levels of the Mississippi River. As of yesterday, the St. Louis channel, the river was at 12 feet deep, up from 10.5 feet on Monday. The fear is that the river will drop lower than 9 feet — at which point some barge traffic may stop completely — which is not expected to happen until mid-January, if at all.
The effects of the 2012 drought are still reverberating beyond the Mississippi. NPR helps to put together the equation: drought + holiday meals = economics. Despite economics predictions, poultry and pork prices didn’t spike, and beef prices went up, arguably not caused by the drought either. Butter and dairy product prices have increased, which is connected to this year’s drought. Listen to the story for more ways this year’s drought is or isn’t connected to the cost of holiday feasting.
In more U.S. news, the Environmental Protection Agency has updated rules for pathogens in drinking water and set new limits for E. coli, according to a news release by the organization. The revised rule, which does not go into effect until April 1, 2016, requires public drinking water systems to notify the public if or when maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) are reached.
Air Pollution in China
According to Bloomberg Hong Kong, China is to ban high polluting vehicles in an attempt to improve air quality. Other measures to improve air quality include providing subsidies to replace diesel vehicles with more efficient ones.
Tana River Violence in Kenya
At least 39 have been killed in new clashes over resources in the Tana River district of Kenya, reports the BBC. In August, tensions flared over disputed cattle grazing land and ownership rights. Now, the violence is largely explained as retaliation for previously perpetrated attacks.
Allison Voglesong is an editorial intern for Circle of Blue based out of Traverse City, Michigan. She holds a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University's James Madison College. Her interests include water pricing, environmental economics and policy, and conflict mediation.
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