Today's intersection: the Prairie Pothole Region and 'networked federalism'

Throughout its history the US Army Corps of Engineers has had purview over water that flows into bodies that can support navigation and in 2014, through the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Obama White House moved to identify more closely the sources of non-point pollution. Despite a judge's ruling EPA went forward with a new federal rule protecting small streams, tributaries and wetlands. 

Waters of the United States or WOTUS legislation seeks to give authority to EPA and the Corps to use some teeth to enforce the rights of people downstream to have clean water. 

When the US Constitution was written the Federalists argued for a strong central government with co-equal branches but today neo-Federalists advocate for a weaker central government with a strong unitary executive. Tribes are bound by the Supremacy Clause just like individual states are. Nevertheless, Republicans and their toadies cry government overreach while WOTUS architects regroup for another round in Congress. 

Republican welfare farmers are the real ecoterrorists who hate subsidies unless they benefit from them.
Waterfowl are well adapted to naturally occurring drought conditions, but much of today’s waterfowl habitat loss is human-caused. That includes everything from emissions that make droughts more severe, to the drainage of wetlands – a practice Chuck Dieter said has been steadily increasing for decades. According to Duck[s] Unlimited, a waterfowl conservation group, the Great Plains and Prairie Pothole Region are the most important and threatened waterfowl habitats on the continent. They say up to 90 percent of the potholes in some regions have been lost or severely degraded – a trend that continues in South Dakota today. [Bill Janklow's idea of public radio]
Sackett v. EPA is in the Supreme Court spotlight in a test of the authority of the agency to regulate wetland protection.
Jared Mott is the conservation director of the Izaak Walton League of America. He said changing the EPA's jurisdiction is unsupported by law, science, and common sense. "It's not a mystery why the Clean Water Act was able to improve water quality so quickly, and that's because it established this federal floor," Mott said. "And if we removed that floor, I think it's silly to think the states are going to step up and replace those protections. And in a state like South Dakota, I think that means a loss of water quality because these wetlands are absolutely part of these larger watersheds. It's not going to be good for wildlife." Isolated wetlands that lack a continuous surface connection to another body of water can directly affect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of downstream waters through underground connections, or "sub-surface waterways." [Bill Janklow's idea of public radio]
Craig Holt Segall, JD is Assistant Chief Counsel of the California Air Resources Board, a Visiting Assistant Scholar at UCLA Law, a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh Law School and is married to Lilly Allen, who grew up in our Red Rock Road/Baja Waldo neighborhood. She got her Master’s at the University of Edinburgh and is expecting their first child. They stayed at our casita before their sojourn in Scotland. Craig was vetted for a post at EPA and Lilly's dad sent me the link to Craig’s paper.
Subnational governments, working with non-governmental advocates, drove climate action during the Trump administration while rebuffing federal rollbacks. Under the Biden administration, focus may initially shift towards the federal government, but the subnational network is critical to continued progress on climate change. I use the term “networked federalism” to describe how a horizontal, interconnected, and polycentric collection of states, local governments, Tribes, and advocates provides the resilient frame needed to buttress national action. Indeed, this structure mirrors the successful structure of the Paris Agreement[1]—in which international action depends on subsidiary national contributions. The climate problem is too big for any one government to take it on—including the federal government. The Biden administration, as it confronts this challenge, should embrace the irony that the Trump administration has left it a gift: an engaged, effective, and growing network of subnational actors. The Biden administration should nurture that network, setting us on a course for sustained progress with little time to lose. [excerpt, Segall, Networked Federalism: Subnational Governments in the Biden Era]
Diving ducks like the Canvasback, Redhead, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup and the Common Goldeneye feed on invasive zebra mussels that have been plaguing the mainstem dams in the Missouri River since at least 2004 but they're just some of over a hundred species at risk to the South Dakota Republican Party. To prop up the pheasant industry the state's Republican governor put bounties on raccoons and skunks also known to feed on the prolific invasive bivalves.
Both conservative and liberal justices — including the court’s newest member, Ketanji Brown Jackson — expressed skepticism that the Sacketts’ preferred definition of WOTUS was consistent with Congress’ primary purpose in creating the Clean Water Act. Mark Ryan, a former Clean Water Act attorney for EPA Region 10, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the court delivered a 6-3 win for the federal government. [Supreme Court appears to back EPA in WOTUS war]
Most East River lakes are eutrophic shit holes filled with toxic algae and unable to even support fish populations so the Prairie Pothole Region is becoming increasingly threatened by the encroachment of industrial agriculture but more irrigation means pumping fossil water from depleted aquifers mainly recharged by the Prairie Pothole Region. 

The grassland fire danger index will be in the very high and extreme categories today and tomorrow for most of South Dakota including in the Prairie Pothole Region.


All Mammal said...

Meanwhile, the bastard conceived through screwing with the devil takes on a truly ugly form downstream. The end is drawing nigh when the Mississippi River isn’t even 10 ft in the middle in Louisiana. https://kbhbradio.com/news/low-river-levels-slow-shipments-threatens-supply-prices
We created a little Damian. He’s going to get us and we’re all going to burn.

larry kurtz said...

And the upper Missouri basin is historically dry so the Corps is storing all the water it can for hydropower generation. Scary time.