The Bulletin—October 18, 2012
The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the U.S. South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the U.S. South.
- Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the 1972 Clean Water Act, which regulates water quality standards and limits water pollution. Citizen groups in Appalachia marked the anniverary by highlighting legislative efforts with the potential to undermine the law and questioning its fair application. The organization Appalachian Voices published a report today titled "The Clean Water Act at 40" (PDF) which details how a majority of legislators in eight Appalachian states have voted for bills challenging the Act, which was initially supported by "all but one of sixty-five representatives from the southeastern states." Also this week, the Sierra Club and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth challenged permits granted under the Clean Water Act for mountaintop removal mining operations in Kentucky and West Virginia arguing that "in Appalachia . . . the Clean Water Act is not being enforced."
- Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant announced today that his state, which has among the highest rates of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, will turn down federal funds to expand Medicaid, even though one in seven of the state's residents are without insurance. Under the new health care law, the federal government would pay for the full cost of expanding Medicaid between 2014 and 2016, but would then rachet down its support until it would be paying for ninety percent of the program's increased costs, requiring states to chip in the remaining ten percent. Mississippi's governor has joined other southern Republican governors from Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas in declining to participate in the program, in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling which upheld the health care law but declared state participation in its Medicaid expansion component optional.