The Idaho Legislature and Gov. Brad Little have approved $8 million for construction of a state Department of Agriculture pathology lab. The funding is included in Senate Bill 1198, the $70.35 million appropriation to the state Permanent Building Fund for the fiscal year that starts July 1.Estimated cost of the 20,000-square-foot Agricultural Health Laboratory is $10 million, including $2 million in dedicated revenue from ISDA fees for services such as livestock disease testing.It will accommodate recent and anticipated growth in demand, ISDA said. It will have about 50% more usable space than the current facility, a 1965 building shared with the state Department of Health and Welfare Bureau of Laboratories.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Thursday signed into law a 100% renewable energy mandate that the hurricane-battered island must meet by 2050. The Public Energy Policy Law of Puerto Rico, passed last month by territory legislators, directs the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to source 40% of its power from renewables by 2025 and cease burning coal in 2028 on its way to 100% renewables. The signing comes days after a Department of Energy official recommended the installation of a large gas generator in San Juan, but admitted it "may be at odds" with the 100% goal. PREPA's CEO told reporters it is evaluating the proposal in its revised integrated resource plan
Washington's House of Representatives on Thursday approved a 100% clean energy bill, following Senate approval on March 1, making it the fourth state in the country to commit to such a goal. Senate Bill 5116 passed the House 56-42, and will require the state to power 100% of its electricity from carbon-free resources by 2045. The legislation phases out coal entirely by 2025 and requires all electricity sales to be carbon-neutral by 2030.The bill was amended in the House so will still need to be reconciled in the Senate. Then, the bill will move on to Gov. Jay Inslee, D, who released a clean energy legislative package in December, which included five policy goals to reduce the state's carbon emissions, including the 2045 and 2025 goals in the bill.
New permitting requirements for Oregon’s confined animal feeding operations have failed to gain enough support on a key legislative committee to move forward this year. Large CAFOs would have needed preliminary approval from state regulators prior to construction and final approval to begin operating under Senate Bill 876, which was killed off by a recent legislative deadline.The Oregon Department of Agriculture worked hard to contain environmental problems at Lost Valley Farm — a large dairy that went bankrupt after repeated wastewater violations — but the incident exposed regulatory weaknesses that could be easily fixed, said Sen. Mike Dembrow, D-Portland.
Recovery continues in and along the Missouri Valley in Iowa. And in Nebraska – where a dam burst on the Niobrara River leading to the collapse of many Missouri River levees and flooding downstream in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri – the landscape is bleak.As is too often the case, it ain’t over till it’s over, and it ain’t over yet.Governors in Iowa and Nebraska have declared disasters, and Nebraska has already deployed close to $12.5 million in aid to displaced workers, families, businesses, and farms hammered by the torrent of water, ice, and debris.There’s been no disaster declaration in Missouri, where at least two counties in the northwest corner received the brunt of a record-setting crest close to two feet higher than any recorded flood.Now the Missouri Valley is impassable — due to road and bridge damage, and water — from US Hwy 34 near Plattsmouth, Nebraska, and Pacific Junction, Iowa, all the way down to Rulo, Nebraska, and Big Lake Missouri, on US 159. In all, four river crossings in a row are disabled. That also includes Highway 2, which connects Iowa and Nebraska at Nebraska City; and and US 136 in Missouri at the Brownville Nebraska bridge. Those 4 closures leave a 140 mile long transportation gap in the heart of America.
A controversial proposal to allow more home-building on farmland along Oregon’s border with Idaho has survived a critical deadline, potentially keeping it viable through the end of the legislative session. Property within the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region could be rezoned from “exclusive farm use” to residential uses under House Bill 2456, subject to multiple conditions.Under the amendments approved by the committee, rezoning proposals would have to be examined by a review board that would issue an opinion to the county government. Homes would also have to be built on parcels larger than 2 acres and only 200 acres could be rezoned for residential development per county, among other provisions.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed a plan to cut back on the use of water from the Colorado River, which serves 40 million people in the U.S. West. The Colorado River drought contingency plan aims to keep two key reservoirs, Lakes Powell and Mead, from falling so low they cannot deliver water or produce hydropower. It was negotiated among the seven states that draw water from the river.Mexico also agreed to store water in Lake Mead on the Arizona-Nevada border if the U.S. legislation was approved by April 22.
reed-specific legislation (BSL) targets specific breeds of dogs that are wrongly thought to all be dangerous – most frequently "pit bull types" – and places stricter regulations on these dogs or even makes ownership of them illegal. Several cities, towns and states across the United States and Canada have adopted breed-specific measures in an attempt to prevent dog bites in their communities. However, while BSL may look good on the surface, it is not a reliable or effective solution for dog bite prevention.Breed-specific laws can be difficult to enforce, especially when a dog's breed can't easily be determined or if it is of mixed breed.Breed-specific legislation is discriminatory against responsible owners and their dogs.Breed bans do not address the social issue of irresponsible pet ownership.It is not possible to calculate a bite rate for a breed or to compare rates between breeds because the data reported is often unreliable.
The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board unanimously approved public hearings on a proposed rule that would create a process for setting site-specific phosphorus standards on the state's bodies of water. Wisconsin already has statewide water quality standards for phosphorus, but these vary depending on the water system. Phosphorus in the water can support the growth of algae and other plants, but too much can overwhelm the system. The proposed rule would pinpoint situations where site-specific standards may be appropriate, according to Marcia Willhite, water evaluation section chief with the state Department of Natural Resources.
Yet in Idaho, as in many Western states, lawmakers can legally overturn or alter voter-approved ballot measures with little or no input from voters. And as Westerners reckon with issues that conservative governments have been reluctant to take up — including marijuana legalization, increased minimum wage, gun control and Medicaid expansion — legislators are increasingly attempting to block them, curtailing a century-old tradition of direct democracy.