Federal Water Tap, September 4: Army Corps Plan for Missouri River Reservoirs Raises Ire

Officials from states in the upper Missouri River basin are upset with an Army Corps of Engineers proposal to charge the states for the storage and use of ‘surplus’ water in six reservoirs on the nation’s longest river. South Dakota’s attorney general said he would challenge the plan in court, if it is enacted, while North Dakota’s lieutenant governor said that each state should be responsible for allocating water within its borders.

Meanwhile, U.S. representatives from those two states and from Montana requested that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hold a hearing on the corps’ proposal.

Freshwater Research
Three research universities will use a US$1.5 million National Science Foundation grant to study the effects of population growth and climate change on freshwater resources in the southern tier of the United States. Researchers will consider changes affecting the next 10 to 30 years. North Carolina State University will lead the trio, which includes the University of Georgia and Arizona State University.

Bend, Don’t Break
Floods, drought and fire have tested certain communities across the nation this summer. To improve disaster resilience, federal, state and local governments need a “paradigm shift” towards better planning, preparation and information-sharing, according to a new report from the National Academy of Sciences. Maintaining the status quo portends a future “in which disasters will continue to be very costly in terms of injury, loss of lives, homes and jobs, business interruption, and other damages,” the authors write.

Forest Roads
The U.S. Environmental Protection is clarifying its stormwater rules, noting that logging roads do not require a pollution discharge permit under the Clean Water Act. The only exceptions are facilities involved in rock crushing, gravel washing, log sorting, or log storage. Public comments will be accepted through October 4 at www.regulations.gov, referencing docket number EPA–HQ–OW–2012–0195.

Under a separate rule-making process, the EPA is considering what regulatory medicine it might use to improve water quality from logging-road runoff.

Arkansas River Basin Water Supply
The Bureau of Reclamation has released a draft environmental impact statement for a proposed water conduit in the Arkansas River basin that would supply municipal and industrial water to communities in southeastern Colorado.

Perchlorate Meeting
On September 20 in Arlington, Virginia, the EPA will hold a public meeting discussing a national drinking water standard for perchlorate, a chemical used in explosives. Space is limited; register to attend in-person by sending an email to junie.percy@itsysteminc.com. To participate in the webcast, sign up here.

Also, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council will meet in Chicago on October 4-5 to discuss the perchlorate regulations. To attend, send an email to simon.roy@epa.gov.

Federal Water Tap is a weekly digest spotting trends in U.S. government water policy. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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