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As water shortages loom, Wyoming seeks water bank law

Worried by growing demands and shrinking water supplies in the Colorado River Basin, Wyoming lawmakers are seeking legislation to authorize water banking in Wyoming and declare it a “beneficial use.” The proposed changes to water law could allow Wyoming to “bank” Green River water for the purpose of meeting obligations to downstream states, and in doing so keep the state’s water users from running dry in the event of a shortage.Lawmakers on two legislative committees were briefed recently of looming disruption in the Colorado River Basin due to drought and growing demand.

The HSUS Wildlife Land Trust: 25 Years of Waste and Pointlessness?

The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, an affiliate of the D-rated Humane Society of the United States, celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Trust’s goal is to take donated land and “[prohibit] commercial and recreational hunting and trapping, a promise that no other national land conservation organization makes.” In fact, there is good reason to suspect this $12 million organization has a bankrupt track record on conservation. The HSUS Wildlife Land Trust boasts about 20,000 acres of protected land—which is next to nothing to accumulate over two and half decades.

Trails connect region yo economic growth

Footpaths, bike trails and car tours guide tourists and locals alike through the region’s natural and cultural heritage. The spending that accompanies the use of such trails has helped revive local economies. But wage levels remain a challenge.

A tale of two ICE raids

What to make of the nearly back-to-back raids at meat plants in Tennessee and Ohio by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? Let's set aside, for a moment, the discussion of the role of undocumented workers in an industry desperate for warm bodies to keep up with demand. They are here illegally, the law says they go back home. These raids set off a firestorm of debate over immigration and employment within the industry. From the perspective of those outside the industry — which is almost everybody — all meat processors look shady.

Our Growing Economy Should Not Leave Rural America Behind

At a basic level, our rural communities — just like cities and suburbs — need job opportunities that retain residents and attract new ones, quality schools, up-to-date infrastructure, accessible and affordable health care, broadband internet, financial institutions that are close by, and affordable housing. How we achieve these goals will require new approaches. We need to level the playing field to help smaller communities compete with larger cities.

A rural city's aggressive push for more housing

In rural Oregon, a lack of new and good quality housing hampers economic development in communities that are desperate for investment.   The lack of new housing means rural communities miss out on valuable property taxes that could be used to provide many of the amenities enjoyed by urban residents.   In the small eastern Oregon city of John Day, government officials have a plan to reverse this trend by offering generous financial incentives for new home construction and remodels. John Day, pop. 1,674, currently has 170 acres of underdeveloped land that has almost no tax value.

Commodity prices decline, farmer suicides rise

Ag suicides are the greatest unreported tragedy of its kind in America and around the world. If veteran suicide in America is epidemic, ag suicide is pandemic. Here's the hard data: Suicides among a group labeled Farming/Fishing/Forestry totaled 84.5 per hundred thousand. Far behind in second place was Construction/Extraction at 53.3 per hundred thousand. A few weeks ago, Washington state legislators unanimously passed House Bill 2671 which establishes a pilot program for free suicide prevention for employees of the agriculture industry.

House approves massive bill to fight opioid addiction

The House overwhelmingly passed legislation Friday that would give several federal agencies more tools to fight opioid addiction and death in the U.S., and open the door to more treatment and prevention for the public. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act passed in an easy 396-14 vote following months of hearings and debate. The legislation helps to direct some of the $4 billion in funding for the crisis that Congress approved as part of a long-term spending deal this year.


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