Arizona is considering a plan to pump water from Mexico to reduce its reliance on the Colorado River. In the meantime, Congress has passed a major spending bill, and a winter storm continues to cause problems.
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(Programming note: We’ll be taking a break next week and coming back in the new year. Happy holidays!)
Arizona is considering a plan to weaken Colo. Dependence on the river
Arizona’s top water authority is considering a plan to pump water from a desalination plant on the Sea of Cortez to reduce the state’s reliance on the Colorado River.
- The plan, presented by Israeli water treatment company IDE Technologies, would include a bi-national effort led by Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora to build the desalination plant and canals to pump water to Arizona and two Sonoran cities.
- Arizona’s Water Infrastructure Finance Authority decided this week to press ahead with the nascent plan, which still needs to overcome regulatory hurdles at state, local and federal levels in both Mexico and the United States.
If built, the desalination plant would be built on the shores of Lake Cortez near Puerto Peñasco, a resort on the Sonoran coast that has long attracted tourism to Arizona.
According to a report from AZ Central, the main sewer from the plant would run north through the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument toward Arizona’s main population center around Phoenix.
A secondary route would pump water south from the plant to Hermosillo, Sonora’s capital, and a third sewer or pipeline running off the main line would send water to the border town of Nogales in Sonora.
According to the IDE pitch, the plan would deliver up to 1 million acres of water to Arizona for purchase. One hectare is roughly the amount of water needed to supply two households with water for one year.
Arizona’s rapidly growing population has contributed to water scarcity in the Southwest as the overwhelmed Colorado River struggles to supply its seven basin states and Mexico.
Read more here.
Bill with billions in disaster aid goes to Biden’s desk
The House of Representatives passed a huge $1.7 trillion omnibus package on Friday, bringing weeks of drama to freeze government funding for fiscal year 2023.
The bill includes $772.5 billion in discretionary spending outside defense and $858 billion in defense funding.
It passed the House of Representatives largely bipartisan (225-201-1), a day after the Senate passed the bill in a bipartisan vote.
The bill is now being presented at President Biden’s desk for signature.
- The bill provides $40.6 billion to help communities recover from “droughts, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, natural disasters, and other events.”
- This includes money to combat the effects of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian and repair the damaged water system in Jackson, Miss.
- It provides modest increases for the Environmental Protection Agency and for the ministries of interior and energy.
Read more here.
GREENS COMPLAIN ABOUT THE OFFER OF OMNIBUS WHALES
The Center for Biological Diversity said on Thursday that the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package passed by Congress will put North Atlantic right whales on the path of “irreversible extinction.”
- A provision in the bill would ensure that the lobster industry does not have to take specific measures to protect endangered whales.
- According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, there are less than 350 North Atlantic right whales left, including less than 100 breeding females.
Stephanie Kurose, a senior policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity, sharply criticized Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday, calling the whales’ “unnecessary suffering” “heartbreaking.”
Some lawmakers also deplored the provision, such as the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who described it as a “step backwards for nature conservation.”
The package also included a provision that prevents the sage grouse, a bird living in the western USA, from falling under the protection of endangered species, which environmentalists also denounce.
Read more from Brad Dress from CNNBreakingNews
WINTER STORM STRANDS THOUSANDS AHEAD OF HOLIDAYS
A massive winter storm stranded thousands at US airports on Friday, just a few days before the Christmas holidays.
- According to commercial flight tracker FlightAware, more than 3,200 flights were canceled on Friday morning, adding to the more than 2,600 flights canceled on Thursday.
- At Chicago’s two major airports alone — O’Hare and Midway — more than 500 flights were canceled on Friday as wind gusts of up to 40 to 50 miles per hour were expected.
Leisure travelers could struggle to find other options to get to their final destinations after Amtrak announced earlier this week that some Midwestern and interurban routes would be suspended until Sunday.
Read more from Julia Shapero from CNNBreakingNews here
WHAT WE READ
- China’s aluminum plants cause climate emissions that last 50,000 years. There is a surprisingly easy solution. (Grid and Inside Climate News)
- A water war is brewing over the dwindling Colorado River (ProPublica)
📺 Easier click: 2022 was wild
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