The Department of Natural Resources took a major step on Wednesday to toughen standards for manure spreading after years of complaints over polluted wells and pressure from interest groups that have been pushing officials to protect Wisconsin’s most vulnerable soils. The Natural Resources Board voted 7-0 to add new restrictions on spreading across eastern Wisconsin — a region prone to manure contamination of groundwater and drinking water.The action is the first big step by the administration of Gov. Scott Walker to toughen regulatory powers to control pollution tied to agricultural practices, but the measure still faces funding shortages and an uncertain fate in the Legislature.
Colorado could have nearly 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, according to one estimate. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday released broad plans to foster growth in the state’s already booming electric vehicle market, saying he believes the keys to economic development and cleaner air lie — at least in part — outside of the internal combustion engine. “They say it takes a village,” Hickenlooper told reporters while flanked by a host of electric vehicles in downtown Denver. “Really, it takes a lack of silos to get an electric vehicle framework in place. … I think it really does a great job of capturing Colorado’s vision that we are going to have a network of fast-charging stations, we’re going to be able to address what’s sometimes referred to as ‘range anxiety.’ ” The plan, which largely encompasses previous state electric-vehicle initiatives, calls for public-private partnerships to build out the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, provide a consistent refueling system across the state and Rocky Mountain West and build new relationships to bolster investment in infrastructure.
One of the year’s most important legislative battles in Washington state came to a surprisingly quick conclusion last Thursday evening when a water-use bill passed both chambers and went to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee, who signed it into law the next day. In 2016, the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision essentially halted development across the state when it determined that counties were not adequately examining impacts on stream and river flow levels.The decision weighed heavily on last year’s legislative session when Republicans refused to reach an agreement on a state capital budget until Democrats could devise an appropriate Hirst fix. The capital budget pays for state-funded development, and the stalemate put a delay to a number of projects across Washington, including efforts to improve schools.Inslee and party leaders were vocal heading into this year’s session that solving the Hirst/capital budget issue was a major priority, and House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, said on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” program that a fix was agreed upon late Jan. 17 when leaders from each chamber met with the governor.“I appreciate that the complexity of this issue required several months of negotiations by many legislators,” Inslee said in a Jan. 18 press release. “While far from perfect, this bill helps protect water resources while providing water for families in rural Washington.”
Missouri State Representative J. Eggleston was in surgery all day in order to help a complete stranger, and to secure an organ donation for his wife, Cathie. For years, Cathie Eggleston has suffered from kidney failure.Rep. Eggleston has a different blood type than his wife, so he's not able to donate his kidney directly to Cathie. Instead he agreed to a 'kidney swap.'The exchange involves three families whose relative or friend is not compatible with their recipient.Like an organ donation train, all three people donate their kidneys to one of the three other recipients who have similar blood types. The exchange allows each to give, and help save their loved one.Rep. Eggleston's kidney was flown to Michigan immediately after his donation on Wednesday where another person's kidney was being donated to another city in the United States. The third city is where Cathie's organ donation comes from.
For the second time in less than two years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has denied a request by Gov. Paul LePage to ban food stamp recipientsfrom using their benefits to buy sugary drinks and candy. His spokeswoman, Julie Rabinowitz, said Friday that the administration would “revise our waiver request and resubmit it,” but she did not offer a timeline or specifics about what those revisions might be.In a Jan. 16 letter to Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton, the USDA outlined concerns that a ban would increase administrative costs; impose burdens on small businesses and retailers; choose winners and losers in the food industry; create difficult decisions about the nutritional values of allowable or excluded foods; and “restrict what individuals could eat in their own homes without demonstrating clear evidence of meaningful health outcomes.”
A group of Arkansas state legislators has approved a ban on dicamba use between April 16 and Oct. 31 of this year, meaning that soybean and cotton growers will not be able to use Monsanto's Xtendimax or BASF's Engenia for over-the-top applications. The action by the state's Legislative Council came without discussion this morning. The council's Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee also approved the seasonal ban, which was approved as a proposed rule by the Arkansas State Plant Board in November.In December, the subcommittee sent the proposal back to the plant board, asking it to review the science and consider whether to divide the state into two growing zones for purposes of regulation. The plant board rejected any changes to its proposal, which includes exemptions for the use of dicamba in pastures, rangeland, turf, ornamental, direct injection for forestry, and in the home.
The back-to-back votes ended a yearlong standoff created by the state Supreme Court’s Hirst ruling. Some Democrats said new wells will trample tribal treaty rights. Some Republicans complained lawmakers were turning over millions of dollars to unelected watershed-restoration panels. Still, Senate Bill 6091 received bipartisan support in both chambers. “This bill provides a path forward for the people who just want to build on their few acres,” said Moses Lake Sen. Judy Warnick, the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Committee.The court’s decision was based on the assumption that each new well draws water from streams and harms fish. The ruling left individual landowners in the position of having to prove otherwise.
Pennsylvania's agricultural industry is among the most diverse and powerful in the nation. And yet that industry faces its share of changes and challenges -- in technology, consumer tastes and a rapidly changing workforce; as well as opportunities. On Wednesday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the state unveiled its agricultural economic analysis report -- a document that it hopes will not only capture the state of agriculture now but help provide a path forward as part of a broader strategic planning process for the state's vast agricultural industry."We are at a critical intersection as an industry," said Russell Redding, the state's secretary of agriculture at an event highlighting the report. "We must be mindful of how the landscape is changing."The board umbrella of agriculture in the state has an economic impact in excess of $135 billion annually, supporting more than a half-million jobs and $26.9 billion in earnings. It includes traditional farming and forestry as well as food and forestry processing and new emerging sectors such as hydroponics and urban farming.
The escape of more than 160,000 salmon from a Cooke Aquaculture pen in Washington last year has led to a legal battle between the company and the state. Cooke Aquaculture Pacific is challenging a decision by the state's Department of Natural Resources to terminate the company's ease to operate a salmon farm in Port Angeles, about 128 kilometres west of Seattle.
As temperatures once again spiral down, it's important your furry friends aren't left fending for themselves in the bitter cold. Now, some lawmakers want to give you more power to save an animal you think could be in danger. A new proposal would allow you to rescue a pet from someone else' car.It can be a matter of life and death for a pet. Illinois is one of nearly two dozen states which don't already have this good Samaritan law in place.Animal advocates say it's a disservice to countless animals abandoned in extreme cold or heat.Right now, you can be given a misdemeanor for breaking and entering someone's car to rescue a pet. You must call authorities for help. The proposal would change that.