[imgcontainer] [img:4dbf77ebeef3d.image_.jpeg] [source]St. Louis Post-Dispatch[/source] The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blew up a levee on the Mississippi River last night, flooding 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland and, perhaps, saving Cairo, Illinois [/imgcontainer]

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation that would have limited rural residents’ rights to win damages from industrial hog farms.

The law would have limited the amount of money residents could collect from large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The bill, passed by large majorities in the legislatures, limited damages to the total value of a person’s property.

Nixon has sent the legislature changes that would restore punitive damages in these kinds of lawsuits.

Earlier this year, a jury awarded landowners $11 million after they showed that their property was damaged by a large hog feeding operation. Intense lobbying by large meat producers led to the bill Nixon vetoed. 

• The Texas legislature is set to pass a bill that has a rural exemption to a bill requiring all women seeking an abortion to first either look at a sonogram and listen to a fetal heartbeat or hear an explanation of what the sonogram shows.

The bill requires the sonogram to be done 24 hours ahead of an abortion. In a version passed by the Senate, this standard was reduced to two hours for women who live more than 100 miles from the nearest abortion provider. 

•The man who kept billboards out of Vermont has died.

Elbert “Al” Moulton, the state’s economic development chief under two governors, died in Townshend, Vermont, at age 85. Moulton helped create the state’s land development law, which banned billboards. 

• Conservatives won a majority of seats in Canada’s Parliament, as Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper built his support in rural areas and among working class Canadians, according to the AP. (The AP calls this the “Tim Hortons crowd,” in reference to a chain of doughnut shops popular among blue collar Canadians.) 

The electoral map in Canada mirrored U.S. results, with Conservatives holding an “iron grip on rural sections” of the country as liberals were limited to the most urban areas. 

• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers set off explosives that destroyed levees along the Mississippi River that flooded 130,000 acres of Missouri farm land. The St. Louis paper has great coverage here

The Corps blew the levees in order to reduce flooding downstream at Cairo, Illinois. The water rushed across the lowland, flooding a third of Mississippi County, Missouri. “You tell me what’s that going to do to this area,” said presiding county commissioner Carlin Bennett. “Nobody knows.”

• People who moved to rural Pennsylvania are now leaving to get away from the turmoil that comes with the gas drilling boom there, Reuters reports

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