Sunday, December 4, 2022

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Runoff for the Louisiana Public Service Commission could impact energy policies; NM's LGBTQ advocates await final passage of "Respect for Marriage Act" - Democracy gets a voter-approved overhaul in Oregon.

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The Senate passes a bill forcing a labor agreement in an effort to avoid a costly railway worker strike. The House Ways and Means Committee has former President Trump's tax returns in hand. The Agriculture Committee is looking at possible regulations for cryptocurrency following the collapse of cryptocurrency giant FTX. The Supreme Court will be reviewing the legality of Biden s student debt relief program next year. Anti-semitic comments from Ye spark the deletion of tweets from the the House Judiciary Committee GOP's Twitter account.

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The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Following River Report, Action Pursued to Protect the Mississippi

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Friday, April 29, 2022   

The Great Lakes, Puget Sound and other notable watersheds are afforded massive federal support to coordinate and fund pollution-reduction efforts. But the Mississippi River is not, and clean-water advocates contended a troubling report should spur action.

The Mississippi, which flows past ten states including Iowa, recently landed on American Rivers' ten most endangered rivers list for 2022.

Olivia Dorothy, Upper Mississippi River basin director for American Rivers, said the major river is at a crossroads. Despite existing programs and volunteer efforts to shield it from pollution such as agriculture runoff, she argued the patchwork approach is not enough.

"They're not all marching to the beat of the same drum," Dorothy asserted. "What we hope and what we've seen the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) do in other watersheds, the EPA does a really, really great job getting everybody working in lockstep."

Congress is being asked to approve the Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Initiative, which would provide around $300 million annually to aid a more coordinated response. Some skeptics have floated concerns about adding regulations, but supporters countered it does not come with mandates and would not take over existing restoration programs.

Alicia Vasto, program associate director for the Iowa Environmental Council, said threats such as farm fertilizer pollution not only affect communities along the Mississippi River, but other regions as well because of the numerous tributaries around the state.

"Anything that we do to protect the Mississippi River is also going to protect our, our local waterways and improve things for Iowans," Vasto contended.

Nutrients flow down the Mississippi to the so-called "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. At the state level, Vasto emphasized the report should prompt policymakers to enhance Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

The Council said it should include mandatory participation among farmers, so long as it is tailored to meet the size of each producer's operation.


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