NEWS WORTH NOTING: CRS Report: WIIN Act: Bureau of Reclamation and California water provisions; Research brief: Microplastics: Developing standards that inform policy

CRS Report: Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act: Bureau of Reclamation and California Water Provisions

From the Congressional Research Service:

Most of the provisions in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act; P.L. 114-322), enacted on December 16, 2016, relate to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, the WIIN Act also includes a subtitle (Title II, Subtitle J, §§4001-4013) with the potential to affect western water infrastructure owned by the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation; part of the Department of the Interior). Three sections in Subtitle J (§4007, §4009, and §4011) made alterations that would apply throughout Reclamation’s service area, the 17 states to the west of the Mississippi River. Most of the remaining sections of this subtitle include provisions specific to the Central Valley Project (CVP), a multipurpose water-conveyance system in California operated by Reclamation. Most of Subtitle J’s provisions were derived from bills that received consideration in the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses.

Although most parts of the WIIN Act had broad stakeholder support when enacted, some of Subtitle J’s provisions were (and continue to be) debated. Particularly controversial provisions include those related to implementation of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 U.S.C. §§1531-1544) as it relates to endangered salmon and threatened Delta smelt and to California water infrastructure, as well as authorities that alter Reclamation’s approach to water resources project development. The controversy of these provisions was evidenced by President Obama’s signing statement accompanying the bill, which focused on the Obama Administration’s interpretation of Subtitle J, particularly the act’s environmental provisions. …

This report discusses selected provisions enacted under Subtitle J of the WIIN Act. It provides background and context related to selected drought- and water-related provisions, summarizes the changes authorized in the WIIN Act, and discusses issues and questions that Congress may consider.

Click here to read this report:  Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act: Bureau of Reclamation and California Water Provisions

Research brief: Microplastics: Developing Standards that Inform Policy

From Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment:

Plastics have become an indispensable and pervasive material in modern society, but their true cost to humanity and the environment is not reflected in their price. Costs include harm to environmental aesthetics, habitat, tourism, marine wildlife and food chains. State and federal legislation has fallen short of fully addressing the problem. Defining a scientifically recognized standard for degradable plastic materials that are safe for human health and the environment will be a critical first step to a solution. Stanford researchers have joined a team of scientists to develop such a standard, Ecocyclable (see Box). The aim of this standard is to enable policymakers to distinguish plastic materials’ safety based on biodegradability, toxicity and potential for accumulation within food chains.

To read this research brief click here:  Research brief: Microplastics: Developing Standards that Inform Policy

 

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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