Proposed Water Funding Cuts
The House Appropriations Committee released its fiscal year 2012 funding proposal for various land, water and environmental agencies. The Interior and Environment Appropriations bill would cut most deeply from the Environmental Protection Agency, Water World reports. The bill would fund the EPA at $7.1 billion, or $1.8 billion less than the president’s budget request. Within the agency, the biggest line item cut comes from the drinking water and clean water revolving funds, which would be reduced by nearly a billion dollars combined. The two funds provide money for loans to improve water infrastructure.
The Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service are beginning a review of operations at Glen Canyon Dam. After an extension review process to balance hydropower, environmental and tribal concerns, the new management plan for the Colorado River dam will replace one developed 15 years ago. Scientific data compiled in the interim period, including information on climate change and high-flow releases, will be incorporated.
Fracking in the Forest
On Friday, a House Agriculture subcommittee held a hearing on a proposed ban on hydraulic fracturing in Virginia’s George Washington National Forest. Witnesses from both sides of the issue gave testimony, but the committee website has quotations from only those who support natural gas drilling in the forest.
Flood Threat Persists
According to a National Weather Service forecast, the upper Midwest and the plains states remain at risk of flooding throughout the summer. Even a small amount of rain is a threat because, as the weather service’s director Jack Hayes said, “the sponge is fully saturated – there is nowhere for any additional water to go.”
On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on the EPA’s implementation of the unregulated contaminants program.
On July 12 and 13 in Reston, Virginia, a conglomerate body on water issues will hold its annual meeting, which is open to the public. Comprised of 35 governmental, academic and industry water groups, the Advisory Committee on Water Information will discuss water policy and water initiatives from the federal government. The public can join the meeting via tele- or web-conferencing. Dial-in information can be found here.
Water Meeting, Part II
The EPA’s Science Advisory Board will hold a meeting on July 12 and 13 to discuss the Great Lakes restoration plan. The plan, agenda and panel members can be found here.
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