Mayors look to premier on lower water levels solution

Excerpt on IJC USA Canadian response to solve lower water levels. Huge economic hit to local, regional economies:

Twenty-four of 44 Georgian Bay municipalities weighed in for the casebook. They reported water levels are affecting 68 marinas and 76 other businesses, as well as 31 government facilities, including municipal water systems, coast guard stations and the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry.
It is estimated cottagers will spend $500 million to extend and repair docks and water systems, and the negative impact on local economies is pegged between $50 million to $100 million.
“It’s great to have this long-term discussion, but we need to do something for 2013. We have our summer season upon us,” said Midland Mayor Gord McKay.
The mayors want a streamlining of the system required to get permits for dredging, blasting, dock repairs and other quick fixes, and they want $20 million – half each from the federal and provincial governments – to help cover the cost of the work.
Penetanguishene Mayor Gerry Marshall said municipal officials have met with both the NDP and Progressive Conservative caucuses, but have had less luck with the ruling Liberals.
“During the recent Liberal leadership campaign, I brought this issue directly to the attention of many of the leadership contenders, including Premier Kathleen Wynne herself and (Finance) Minister Charles Sousa and Minister of Infrastructure Glen Murray,” he said.
It’s imperative that Wynne spearheads an economic relief program, said Marshall, adding the premier then needs to engage with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama to find a solution.
“The leaders have to lead on this issue,” he said, estimating up to 700 jobs are at stake across the region.
“If we closed a factory that was losing 700 jobs, politicians would be lined up for photos handing out cheques, but, because the jobs are spread across the Georgian Bay shoreline, they are being ignored,” the mayor said.
Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson said he agrees the province must come up with funds for this “emergency.”
“The provincial government is going to have to step up to the plate or we’re going to have a miserable economic condition all along the shoreline,” Wilson said. “We have immediate problems.”

http://www.cottagecountrynow.ca/iphone/news/article/1622990–mayors-look-to-premier-pm-to-lead

U.S. Lawmaker Proposes New Criteria for Choosing NSF Grants – ScienceInsider

Lamar Smith (R-TX) attacks NSF criteria for funding guidelines singling out political science research with caveat for economic or national security projects. This sets a disturbing precedent for agency guidelines in general. Why is Congressman Smith so threatened by social science research? Why single out one academic discipline’s possible research agenda? The following is an excerpt from an interview of one member of the science committee in Science Magazine:

Smith’s request to NSF didn’t sit well with the top Democrat on the science committee, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). On Friday, she sent a blistering missive to Smith questioning his judgment and his motives.

“In the history of this committee, no chairman has ever put themselves forward as an expert in the science that underlies specific grant proposals funded by NSF,” Johnson wrote in a letter obtained by ScienceInsider. “I have never seen a chairman decide to go after specific grants simply because the chairman does not believe them to be of high value.”

In her letter, Johnson warns Smith that “the moment you compromise both the merit review process and the basic research mission of NSF is the moment you undo everything that has enabled NSF to contribute so profoundly to our national health, prosperity, and welfare.” She asks him to “withdraw” his letter and offers to work with him “to identify a less destructive, but more effective, effort” to make sure NSF is meeting that mission.

Smith’s bill would require NSF’s oversight body, the National Science Board, to monitor the director’s actions and issue a report in a year. It also asks Holdren’s office to tell Congress how the principles laid down in the legislation “may be implemented in other Federal science agencies.”

For more on this topic go to:

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/04/us-lawmaker-proposes-new-criteri-1.html