Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Infrastructure & Environment Roudup

Drinking Water Supplies Threatened by Dry Weather

The Associated Press put together a nice, short summary the problem of shrinking water supplies.  You can read it at the NBC News site and see video of a related story.

Earthquake Preparedness: The Great Shakeout

February 7 will be the Great Central U.S. Shakeout.  If you’re a fellow Missourian, find more information at the Missouri Division of Geology.  If you live elsewhere in the central United States, check out the Shakeout Web site (participating states are Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Tennessee).

Highway Trust Fund Out of Money by 2015

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released projections of funds available in the Highway Trust Fund.  They expect it to have insufficient funds to meet obligations by fiscal year 2015.

The Highway Trust Fund is the primary source of money for the federal-aid highway system.  Revenues to the fund come primarily from the federal gas tax.

You can see the CBO projections here→.

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Hydropower Bill Reported Out of Committee

The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 (H.R. 267) was reported out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  The bill would expand hydropower development.

Mississippi River Affected by Drought

We’ve been following stories about the effects of the prolonged drought on the Mississippi River.  Our posts have mostly related to barge traffic and the effort to keep the river open downstream of St. Louis.

NPR has posted an article about the effects at the mouth of the river.  One of the issues is salt water intrusion, which as the potential to change the water quality in that part of the river and has already reached the intake of one drinking water system in Louisiana.  Of course, barge traffic is an issue for New Orleans, too, because the port there is where goods move from river barges to ocean-going vessels.

Recently, barge traffic has been back up by an oil spill on the river, too.  Cleanup of the spill near Vicksburg, Mississippi, continues.

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New Staff Leader Announced for Senate Environment & Public Works Committee

Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA), chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, announced that Jeremy Symons will join the committee staff as Deputy Staff Director. He will focus on environmental issues, including clean water, air quality, wildlife, and climate change.  Symons currently serves as the Senior Vice President for Conservation and Education at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Previously, he was Executive Director of NWF's Climate Change Campaign, held positions in the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Air and Radiation, and served in Sen. Ron Wyden's (OR) office.

You can read the original news release here→.

Secretary Chu Leaving Energy

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced he will be resigning his post.  Other officials who announced their resignation include Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

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