Wednesday Roundup: From the Supreme Court to Snowpack and Beyond

Author: Merritt Frey

Five Stories and Resources You Don't Want to Miss From the Last Week

Sackett v. EPA Argued at Supreme Court on Monday
One of the most covered stories this week was the Supreme Court Sackett v. EPA case. Wondering what all the fuss is about? Catch up by reading coverage that included an NPR story, to an interesting blog posting from the Center for Progressive Reform, a short and to-the-point editorial from the New York Times, to numerous stories in the subscription-only Inside EPA. After the arguments on Monday, one Inside EPA story summarized the likely outcome: “The Supreme Court appears poised to allow recipients of EPA Clean Water Act (CWA) orders to challenge them in court before the agency seeks to enforce them, a move that at least one high court justice says could force EPA to revise its enforcement system to allow for more review of its findings.”

New Resource: EPA Releases Restoration Screening Tool
U.S. EPA released a new technical tool: the Recovery Potential Screening website. According to the EPA: “Recovery Potential Screening is a user-driven, flexible approach for comparing relative differences in restorability among impaired waters. The website provides step-by-step screening directions, time-saving tools for calculating indices and displaying results, summaries of over 120 ecological, stressor and social indicators, a recovery literature database, and several case studies.” We’d be curious to hear about your experience if you use this new tool – in theory it is a very interesting idea.

Interesting Webinar: Free Webinar: Family Farms, Rural Landscapes, and the Farm Bill
This January 18th webinar, hosted by The Horinko Group’s Water Division, will explore some of the issues and opportunities tied to moving our nation forward on a path of sustainable agriculture practices, while strengthening small family farms and diversifying rural economies to foster more livable rural communities.

A Flurry of Stories About the Lack of Flurries
At the risk of cursing ourselves and provoking the blizzard of the century here in Utah, we took note in a January 10 blog post of a raft of stories about the current snow situation in the country, particularly in the West. Check out this post for a summary of the stories.

Green Infrastructure for Clean Water
Back on January 3rd, the Washington post ran an article on the challenges facing our aging water systems. As the article stated: “…the vast majority of the country’s water systems are in urgent need of repair and replacement. At a Senate hearing last month, it was estimated that, on average, 25 percent of drinking water leaks from water system pipes before reaching the faucet. The same committee was told it will take $335 billion to resurrect water systems and $300 billion to fix sewer systems.” This week, a strong response to the article made the case for Washington D.C.’s green infrastructure approaches to the challenge, and for Congressional funding of these types of solutions. (Please note: these articles may be behind a pay wall.)

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