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SARL Members and Alumni News

Trump signs Colorado River drought plan

AP News | Posted on April 17, 2019

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.

 


Why Breed-specific Legislation Is not the Answer

AVMA | Posted on April 16, 2019

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. 


Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Approves Hearings For Proposed Phosphorus Rule

Wisconsin Public Radio | Posted on April 16, 2019

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.


As citizen-led ballot initiatives soar, so have efforts to block them

High Country News | Posted on April 11, 2019

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.


Governor proposes $240M over two years for agriculture needs

Echo Press | Posted on April 11, 2019

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has proposed spending just over $240 million over two years on the state's agriculture needs, such as meat inspectors, lab equipment and research.His proposal will have to go through a Republican Senate and a Democratic House, and will likely be modified along the way.


New bill to help beginning farmers in Ohio

Farm and Dairy | Posted on April 11, 2019

A new bill was introduced April 10 to give incentives to established and beginning farmers in Ohio. This bill will allow income tax credits for established farmers who sell or rent their agriculture assets to beginning farmers. A beginning farmer is defined as an individual just starting to farm or who has been operating a farm for 10 years or less. An agriculture asset is defined as agricultural land, livestock, facilities or equipment.H.B. 183 was unveiled by Reps. Susan Manchester, R-84, and John Patterson, D-99, during a news conference. There is currently one cosponsor, Rep. Jon Cross, R-83, and the bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.


Michigan revisits policy that limits solar development on farmland

Energy News Network | Posted on April 11, 2019

As states consider the compatibility of utility-scale solar projects on farmland, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is revisiting a state policy that the industry says has acted as a barrier. Michigan’s Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program provides tax incentives to landowners who keep land under contract for agricultural practices for decades. In 2017, under former Gov. Rick Snyder, the state issued a policy saying commercial solar development is not compatible with the program, and landowners would have to end their farmland preservation contracts if they entered into commercial solar leases.Farmers can exit the preservation program under a variety of conditions. However, doing so in most cases means paying back the previous seven years of tax credits plus 6% interest. This has been a barrier for farmers interested in commercial solar leases.Under Whitmer, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reviewing the policy, looking at both short- and long-term solutions for farmers interested in solar leases. The process could result in legislation requiring solar projects on preservation land to include agriculturally compatible features, such as raised panels allowing for grazing or shade-tolerant crops. 


Are state legislatures wising up about broadband coops?

Daily Yonder | Posted on April 11, 2019

Co-ops offer several advantages for rural communities attempting to improve broadband connectivity. But large telcos don’t like them. North Carolina has loosened its restrictions on co-ops. Will other states follow?


Elk overpopulation bill gains traction

Capital Press | Posted on April 11, 2019

Oregon wildlife regulators would be required to consider elk overpopulation when issuing tags to curb property damage under a bill approved for a vote in the Senate. Senate Bill 301, which would add the overpopulation provision, cleared the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on April 8 with a unanimous “do pass” recommendation.Farm and ranch organizations that support SB 301 say the additional consideration is needed because the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife currently issues tags based on historical and active damage rather than herd size.


Illinois:Lottery Held To Decide Which Solar Energy Projects Get Credits To Sell Power To Utilities

WIll | Posted on April 11, 2019

Hundreds of proposals for solar electricity projects in Illinois competed to win renewable energy credits in a special lottery. The credits will be used to mark the sale of renewable energy to utility companies that are required by the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act to buy a certain amount. “Renewable energy credits are designed to recognize the environmental attributes of renewal energy, and put a monetary value on something that traditional markets don’t properly value,” said Anthony Star, who manages the Illinois Power Agency, which conducted the lottery, using a random number generator. Results of the lottery can be found at this link to the IPA website.Solar energy projects in Illinois do not need renewable energy credits to sell electricity to utilities. But Star says their chances for profitability would be less without them.


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