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Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

A U.S. Senate hearing on drought and energy provided some statements to ponder.

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Clean Water Act Interpretation The Obama administration is mulling regulatory guidance for the Clean Water Act that would reinstate language that was proposed by the George W. Bush administration, but was stymied by opposition from industry groups. Greenwire reports that the new guidance would make a broader claim as to which wetlands and small streams […]

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye Last Thursday the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs heard testimony on tribal water rights settlements. Federal officials talked about the Obama administration’s preference for negotiated settlements instead of litigation. Some 16 negotiations are in progress, two of which—the Blackfeet and the Navajo-Hopi—have legislation under consideration in Congress. The chair of the […]

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Military Base Water Contamination From the 1950s to the 1980s people living at Camp Lejeune Marine Base near Jacksonville, N.C. unknowingly drank tap water contaminated with benzene and other chemicals. Lawsuits have been filed. Now, the state’s U.S. senators are criticizing attempts by military officials to redact information in a federal report about the base’s […]

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A few choice items have already trickled out or were set in deals made months ago, but today President Barack Obama will submit his fiscal year 2013 budget to Congress. We’ll have all the water details here, once the complete document lands. Afterward, the budget debate moves to the east end of the National Mall […]

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Haste and Waste The Commission on America’s Nuclear Future released its report on how to handle the nation’s growing pile of nuclear waste. Co-chaired by Lee Hamilton, a former Congressman, and Brent Scowcroft, a former National Security Advisor, the commission made numerous recommendations that would require action from the administration or Congress. Since halting work […]

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Frack the Halls The shale gas boom rolled through Congress last week. At a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee hearing, chairman Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) said states are doing a good job regulating gas drilling and that states would lose the economic benefits if “needlessly restrictive” federal regulations for wastewater were put in place. The Senate […]

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Wastewater Standards The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a schedule for regulating wastewater from shale gas drilling and from coalbed methane extraction. The agency will publish draft rules for public comment in 2013 for coalbed methane and in 2014 for shale gas. The longer timetable for shale gas owes to the greater amount of data […]

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Global Change Research Program A federal program for studying environmental change and its effect on society has released a draft version of its strategic plan for the next decade. Comprising 13 agencies and cabinet-level departments, the Global Change Research Program was established by Congress in 1990. The draft plan anticipates that climate-change risk assessment and […]

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US Forest Service Maps its Waters For the past few years, through the marbled halls of government and the glass towers of multi-lateral development agencies, a conservationist buzz phrase has resonated: ecosystem services. The term designates the things nature does—like scrub the air and pollinate flowers—that benefit humans. For forests, one of the key functions […]

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Central Utah Project The government is looking to lease. The Department of the Interior is signing away “power privilege”—the right for a non-federal entity to use a federal project to generate electricity. The federal project in this case is the Spanish Fork Flow Control Structures, part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Utah Project. According […]

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Farm-to-Tank Takes a Congressional Detour While the budget brouhaha got top billing, biofuels were working their way through the back alleys of Congress last week. On April 7 the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on the national renewable fuels policy. In acknowledging that hope exceeded reality, committee member Lisa Murkowski […]

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