Monday, March 30, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 3/30/15

 

National / International News

<> EPA Analysis of FracFocus 1 Data - EPA conducted an analysis to better understand the chemicals and water used to hydraulically fracture oil and gas production wells in the United States and how chemical and water use vary in different locations across the country.

<> UNFCCC Strategy Chief Explains Road to Paris - Halldor Thorgeirsson, Director for Strategy at the UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC), summed up the efforts of governments to reach a new, universal climate change agreement in Paris, in December, including the national climate plans which countries are putting forward as contributions to the final agreement.

<> National Ocean Policy Final Implementation Plan - To translate President Obama's National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes into on-the-ground actions to benefit the American people, the National Ocean Council released the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan.

<> Arctic Potential: Realizing the Promise of U.S. Arctic Oil and Gas Resources - Prudently developing U.S. Arctic oil and natural gas resources would enhance America's position as a global leader in energy production for the next 35 years or more, a new National Petroleum Council (NPC) study concludes

<> Governors challenge Sen. McConnell on EPA defiance - At least two governors -- California, and Vermont -- have punched back at Sen. Mitch McConnell for his recent letter to all 50 governors, calling on them to defy the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's forthcoming rules on climate pollution from power plants....

<> New Report Describes Options for Providing Affordable Flood Insurance Premiums - The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) within the Federal Emergency Management Agency faces dual challenges of maintaining affordable flood insurance premiums for property owners and ensuring that revenues from premiums and fees cover claims and program expenses over time according to a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council 

<> Celebrating Two Years of Building America's Clean Energy Manufacturing Future - Find out how DOE is helping to strengthen U.S. clean energy manufacturing competitiveness.

<> Issues Regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard from Congressional Budget Office - Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Economics Association

<> Fracking (lacking) in Illinois - In June 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 1715, the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act and the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Tax Act, into law. . . As of January 2015, the IDNR stated that zero companies had applied for a fracking permit.

<> The Future of Fracking and Lessons Learned - While over the past few years fracking has become a more predominant energy source in the U.S., the industry is beginning to wane -- interestingly, it is not the increased information about health and environmental concerns that are slowing down the fracking industry, but rather market forces – the decline in the price of crude oil.

Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).

<> ENERGY, WATER - Final Rule/CORRECTION. DOI/Bureau of Land Management Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> University awards grants for study of lake levels - The University's Graham Sustainability Institute awarded seven grants, totaling $70,000, to American and Canadian researchers studying how Michigan residents are adjusting to the fluctuations.

<> Great Lakes ice compared to last year shows astonishing difference - Great Lakes ice has been decreasing quickly in the past few weeks -- The early cold last November caused ice to develop on the Great Lakes earlier than anytime in the last 40 years.

<> Call for Presentations and Field Trips at the 11th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference - WANTED: Individuals to lead dynamic, engaging and fun field trips and presentations at the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition's 11th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Chicago, Illinois, September 29 -October 1, 2015 -- Deadline for submissions: May 8, 2015

Michigan News

<> DRAFT Incremental Sampling Methodology and Applications Resource Material - MDEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division (RRD) announced the publication of the DRAFT Incremental Sampling Methodology and Applications document -- a technical resource document for MDEQ staff and contractors to describe incremental sampling approaches and uses. Comments requested by June 25, 2015.

<> Gerrymandering in Michigan, explained - How, when vote totals across the state are so closely split, did the election results lead to such overwhelming Republican majorities? -- many suggest that the way voting districts are drawn in the state is a major contributor to these results.

<> Engaging with…the State Budget – ". . .we should all care because Michigan's budget is perhaps the truest reflection of the priorities of our elected officials and (hopefully) us."

<> MSU 2015 Fate of the Earth Symposium - Tipping Points, Crises and Solutions; Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2, 2015; Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center; Michigan State University

<> Michigan's forests underused, experts say - Most of the state's harvested timber is sold as logs, but more jobs and dollars could be generated by turning those forests into products such as syrup, furniture and ethanol, according to the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Initiative.

<> Dykema expands, becomes largest Detroit-based firm with addition of Texas law firm - Dykema Gossett PLLC handily will be the largest Detroit-based law firm in May, after adding San Antonio-based Cox Smith Matthews Inc. in a deal that vastly grows its footprint in Texas and would increase both revenue and number of attorneys by nearly a third.

<> Dow Chemical strikes $5 billion chlorine deal With Olin - Jack Kaskey Bloomberg News - Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. agreed to sell almost all of its chlorine business, the world's largest, to Olin Corp. in a $5 billion deal as it pares less profitable products.

<> Senators Stabenow, Peters Urge Full Funding for Selfridge Air National Guard Base's A-10 Program - The Senators highlighted the importance of the A-10 fleet in military combat and requested a suitable alternative be found before a decision is made to retire the fighter jets.

Michigan Legislative Tracking 

Newly introduced bills and bills that are moving, if any, are listed below. Click on the bill number for complete status, full text, & analyses. Uppercase is Senate action; lowercase is House action. Otherwise, for a complete list of environmental legislation this session (click here).

Friday, March 27, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 3/27/15

 

National / International News

<> McConnell Statement on Senate Passage of FY 2016 Balanced Budget - "By passing a balanced budget that emphasizes growth, common sense and the needs of the middle class, Republicans have shown that the Senate is under new management and delivering on the change and responsible government the American people expect."

<> Administration's Plan to Combat and Prevent Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria - The Administration is releasing the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (NAP).

<> Sens. Lankford & Heitkamp Launch #CutRedTape Initiative to Gather Stories About Impacts of Federal Regulations - Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) launched a new bipartisan #CutRedTape Initiative, a new way for American families and businesses to communicate with the Senate about how federal regulations impact them.

<> Republican Senators Submit Comments on CEQ's Draft Climate Guidance - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee and other GOP Senators submitted comments on draft guidance from the CEQ on considering climate change under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

<> DOE & Financing the Growing American Auto Industry - With more than $16 billion in remaining Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan authority, the Department of Energy is making a $259 million loan to aluminum manufacturer Alcoa, Inc. to support manufacturing of high-strength aluminum sheet at the company's Alcoa, Tennessee facility -- the first new loan since 2011.

<> Energy Efficiency Improvement Act passes by voice vote - The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act was passed by voice vote, with the two senators the only two on the floor after 4 a.m. Friday.

<> Bill to Thwart GMO Labeling Effort is Back - Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) has reintroduced his bill that would block federal and state efforts to require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

<> Ethanol and Agriculture Groups Challenge Anti-Biofuels Effort - Ethanol and agriculture industry groups came together today to advocate for continued funding of U.S. blender pump initiatives and U.S. export promotion efforts in a letter to the House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Programs Committee on Appropriations.

<> Beijing to Shut All Major Coal Power Plants to Cut Pollution - Beijing, where pollution averaged more than twice China's national standard last year, will close the last of its four major coal-fired power plants next year.

<> Without the Cochin pipeline, western Canadian propane seeks new outlets - (Fri, 27 Mar 2015) In April 2014, after 35 years of shipping propane from western Canada to the upper Midwest, the Cochin pipeline was removed from propane service, and in July repurposed to ship light petroleum liquids north from Illinois to western Canada.

<> Kentucky's Proposed Tar Sands Mining Puts People, Water, Wildlife at Risk - The Center for Biological Diversity called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits for a tar sands mining project in Logan County, KY, that would include strip-mining wetlands and streams in pursuit of these particularly dirty and dangerous fossil fuels.

<> Green Climate Fund Board approves first seven entities for Fund's resources - The Green Climate Fund Board approved the first seven entities that will be allowed to channel the Fund's resources into developing countries.

Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).

<> Nothing We're Tracking Today (click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> Bill to cut Lake Erie toxic algae goes to Ohio governor - New rules for farmers aimed at reducing the toxic algae in Lake Erie won unanimous approval from the Legislature on Wednesday and were headed to the governor for his expected signature.

  • Ohio Senate Bill 1 – passed unanimously in House & Senate on March 25, 2015
  • EDITORIAL: A cleaner Lake Erie - As lawmakers in both houses negotiated a compromise, Governor Kasich reportedly conveyed hard truths to Statehouse lobbyists and their House helpers about what he wanted to see in the bill before he would sign it.

<> EPA Awards $17 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grants to Reduce Runoff that Contributes to Algal Blooms - U.S. EPA announced the award of 14 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants totaling over $17 million to fund projects that will improve Great Lakes water quality by preventing phosphorus runoff and soil erosion that contribute to algal blooms and by reducing suspended sediments in Great Lakes tributaries.

Michigan News

<> Bear Lake restoration work commences in Muskegon Lake Area of Concern - The Great Lakes Commission has received new funding to support ecological restoration efforts in Muskegon Lake by removing sediments that contain harmful levels of phosphorus, restoring natural water flow and creating wetlands in Bear Creek, a tributary to Muskegon Lake in west Michigan.

<> Spring workshops offer current research and information on status of lakes Erie, Huron and St. Clair fisheries - Free workshops open to anglers, charter captains, resource professionals and other community members.

<> Partnership gives wintering U.P. deer new outlook - MDNR and Plum Creek Timber Company are working together to manage more than 16,500 acres of industrial forest land for winter deer habitat.

Michigan Legislative Tracking 

Newly introduced bills and bills that are moving, if any, are listed below. Click on the bill number for complete status, full text, & analyses. Uppercase is Senate action; lowercase is House action. Otherwise, for a complete list of environmental legislation this session (click here).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 3/26/15

 

National / International News

<> Argument analysis: Michigan v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – In the U.S. Supreme Court. EPA may be a vote short -- or not. . . The agency's decision to regulate the emissions of mercury and other poisonous chemicals from the stacks of electricity-generating power plants that burn coal came out of the argument with clear support from only three Justices and possibly a fourth, offset by clear opposition from two and probably three others.

<> EPA Report: Automakers Surpassing Light-Duty Greenhouse Gas Standards - March 26, 2015. For the second consecutive model year, the automotive industry outperformed the national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards by a wide margin. Overall industry compliance in model year 2013 was 12 grams/mile – or 1.4 miles per gallon – better than required by the 2013 standard.

<> EPA Proposes Reporting and Record Keeping Requirements on Nanoscale Materials in the Marketplace - EPA is proposing one-time reporting and recordkeeping requirements on nanoscale chemical substances in the marketplace -- for the first time, the agency is proposing to use TSCA to collect existing exposure and health and safety information on chemicals currently in the marketplace when manufactured or processed as nanoscale materials.

<> DOE Literature Survey of Crude Oil Properties Relevant to Handling and Fire Safety in Transport - The dramatic increase in the quantity of crude being shipped by rail and the significant distances traveled, along with several notable recent train derailments, have raised serious transportation safety concerns.

<> NRDC's List of Problems with California's Draft Environmental Report on Fracking - NRDC reviewed that draft with partners at the Center for Biological Diversity, LA Waterkeeper, and the Sierra Club & together they submitted a107-page comment letter in response, along with two expert reports--one on the significant air pollution impacts and another discrediting claims about the economic impacts of well stimulation.

<> Washington, DC Takes No. 1 Spot on EPA's Energy Star Top Cities List - Washington, D.C. Leads Nation on EPA's Energy Star Top Cities List. . . DC has the most Energy Star buildings of any city in the U.S.; followed by Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York 

<> Ted Cruz: 'Global Warming Alarmists Are The Equivalent Of The Flat-Earthers' - Ted Cruz, the junior U.S. senator from Texas and first official contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, compared people who think that the climate is warming to "flat-Earthers" and described himself as a modern-day Galileo in an interview with the Texas Tribune.

<> RFF/Stanford seminar/webcast on Offshore Energy in the Arctic - April 1, 2015, 12:45-2:00 p.m. EDT. The Obama administration has taken steps—including the development of a targeted leasing model and the recent release of proposed Arctic drilling standards—to develop offshore oil and gas regulations tailored to the unique environment of the Arctic

<> Senate Committee Approves Railroad Safety and Positive Train Control Extension Act

Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).

<> ENERGY, WATER - Final Rule. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management - Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> Proposed fracking ban vital for protecting Great Lakes, says Council of Canadians - March 25, 2015 Toronto – Peter Tabuns, MPP for Toronto-Danforth, introduced a bill that would ban fracking in Ontario -- Other provinces such as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia already have similar bans

<> Soo Locks open despite bitter winter weather conditions with abundant snow and ice - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announced the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., opened on-time Wednesday, March 25, initiating the start of the 2015 Great Lakes shipping season.

Michigan News

<> Governor's Recycling Summit registration is open - The Governor's Recycling Summit and 33rd Annual Michigan Recycling Coalition Conference, taking place May 5-7, in Kalamazoo, mark the end of the first year of Governor Snyder's two year push to double Michigan's recycling rate. 

<> MDEQ approves revisions to Eagle Mine groundwater permit - Mercury levels in the effluent and the groundwater are limited pursuant to Rule 1098, Antidegradation, of the Part 4 Rules of Part 31 of 1994 PA 451, as amended. Mercury is the only Bioaccumulative Substance of International Concern in the discharge.

<> Enrollment in the 2015 Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program - 2015 CLMP Documents, Training Videos, and Manual -- All of the 2015 monitoring schedules, data forms, and other resources

<> Concerned citizens plan 3 days of protest against Graymont proposal, more, March 27, 28, 29 - Dr. Martin Reinhardt, a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and an assistant professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University, initiated this demonstration to cast a light on how the State of Michigan is violating the treaty rights of Michigan tribes and disenfranchising both tribal and non-tribal citizens from their right to clean air, water, and land.

<> Grand Rapids asks for help to keep lampreys out - The new barrier would take over the function of blocking the lampreys' spread after the planned demolition of a dam as part of an effort to restore the rapids that give the city its name.

<> Detroit water payments should be income based - According to the newly created Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), nearly 36,000 households in Detroit are facing water shut-offs as soon as the weather clears.

<> The water wars in Flint - If you don't live in the Flint area, you may be wondering what on earth is going on with the politicians and the water. 

<> Snyder faces challenges in boosting Michigan's energy efficiency, renewable energy - While he starts on that road, he faces some headwinds, some of which are coming from his own party.

Michigan Legislative Tracking 

Newly introduced bills and bills that are moving, if any, are listed below. Click on the bill number for complete status, full text, & analyses. Uppercase is Senate action; lowercase is House action. Otherwise, for a complete list of environmental legislation this session (click here).

 

Daily Activity (3/25/15)

IN THE SENATE

SB 0236 of 2015 Environmental protection; water pollution; annual wastewater discharge permit fees; modify. [COMMITTEE]

SB 0237 of 2015 Health facilities; other; procedures for health professionals exposed to antineoplastic or other hazardous drugs; require department to promulgate rules to establish. [COMMITTEE]