Dams in Brazil
Despite calls for a moratorium, Brazil’s government continues full bore toward construction of the controversial Belo Monte dam. The human rights arm of the Organization of American States is the latest entity to be rebuffed, the BBC reports. A request to halt construction by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was rejected. Sources involved in several lawsuits against the Brazilian government told the Rio Times that the dam’s fate will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
Water Use in the Great Plains
The U.S. Supreme Court has given the state of Kansas permission to reopen a lawsuit against Nebraska for excessive water withdrawals, according to the Associated Press. Kansas accuses its neighbor of taking more than its legal share of water from the Republican River in 2005-06. At stake are a half-million acres of irrigated farmland in Nebraska, though most observers do not expect such a punitive outcome.
Mining in Wyoming
Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging its leasing practices for coal mining permits in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana, Business Week reports.
Pipelines in California
A county judge has ruled that the state of California cannot drill on private land to do preparatory work for a canal around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Sacramento Bee reports that the decision will likely cause “substantial delays” to the divisive project to redirect water flows around the state’s largest estuary.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton