What’s the word on WRDA? Not this week. Staff from both chambers are pre-conferencing so that the bill may move more rapidly when the Senate finds floor time to pass its version post labor day.
Water Resources Appropriations - The appropriations minibus HR 5895 must be conferenced through final passage before the end of September since the House will likely recess in October as early as possible so that members may campaign. The House does not have much time left before elections and the Senate is focused on the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Big oil wants to be protected from its own consequences – Texas’ petroleum industry has requested that a 60-mile spine of concrete seawalls, levees and floating gates be constructed by the Corps along the Texas Gulf Coast to mitigate the effects of climate change and sea level rise. The project would protect homes, business, infrastructure and vital ecosystems, however the main priority is to protect some of the world’s largest petrochemical facilities, which make up roughly 30 percent of the nation’s refining capacity. Texas is asking the public to fund the $12 billion dollar project. Some think Texas should be funding it’s own projects. The Corps’ construction projects are typically cost shared at 35% by the non-Federal sponsor, so some money would have to be put up front. Power plants and refineries must be located along bodies of water to function, making them vulnerable to storm surge. We want to know how you think projects like this should be funded. Please let us know.
US Virgin Islands will receive a $1 million-dollar grant for the National Coastal Zone Management Program. The grant is funded by NOAA and is to help administer the program to implement solutions to coastal issues including climate change, habitat restoration & protection, watershed management, coastal community development, shoreline management, dredging and public access. The funding will make the island ‘whole’ again following the 2017 storms.
Kroger to phase out plastic bags by 2025 – This is good news for our coastal and non-coastal waters. After the video surfaced of a whale whose stomach was filled with 20 lbs. of plastic, we can agree that we use too much plastic, and that overuse can have a negative impact on more than just air and water quality and pollution – but cause widespread suffering to marine life. There is more to worry about than just plastic bags. Microbeads, fishing nets, confetti, etc. cause great harm to marine life and water quality. Do what you can to reduce consumption of single use plastics. Coastal communities have begun to phase out other single use plastics like straws beginning as early as January 2019. Hopefully America’s 2nd largest grocer will set an example for other stores to be less wasteful and provide more sustainable alternatives. Perhaps CVS will stop printing the 1 yard receipt of coupons that will never be used.
Enjoy Labor Day weekend!