A new electronic barrier in a Chicago shipping canal and a berm across a wetland in Indiana are two projects in the Obama administration’s $US 51 million plan to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Read more from Circle of Blue about the northward march – or flop – of the carp and the politics of halting it.
National Fracking Regulations?
Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said that the federal government’s proper role for regulating hydraulic fracturing might be “disclosure and spill reporting,” according to The Hill. The Oregon Democrat said that he has been talking with lawmakers about letting states control what happens below ground. The Department of the Interior has submitted a draft rule for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands, but most of the unconventional fuels boom has happened on lands outside the U.S. government’s domain.
Farmers Turn Land into Profit
The number of acres enrolled in a voluntary federal farmland conservation program will fall to a 25-year low on October 1, according to Reuters. The Conservation Reserve program pays farmers not to cultivate land that erodes easily, but with high corn and soybean prices in recent years, farmers are raising crops on that soil instead of taking federal payments.
Clean Water Act Settlement
San Antonio’s water utility will spend roughly $1.1 billion to prevent the release of raw sewage into local waterways under a settlement with the federal government over Clean Water Act violations. The utility will have until 2025 to reduce overflows from its sanitary sewers.
Southeastern Water Bickering
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions accused metro Atlanta of using more water from a shared river basin that it is allowed under its contract with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Montgomery Advertiser reports. Sessions, a Republican, leveled the charge during a Senate committee hearing on two river basins shared by Alabama, Florida, and Georgia that have been a source of conflict for decades. A corps official testified that though excessive withdrawals have occurred, the region is now hewing to its allocation.
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