Monday, March 31, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 3/31/14

National / International News


<> IPCC Report: A changing climate creates pervasive risks but opportunities exist for effective responses – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report today that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.

<> White House FACT SHEET: Climate Action Plan - Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions - With an all-of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our kids' health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable. . . 

<> ACORE Releases Outlook for Renewable Energy in America: 2014, Jointly Authored by U.S. Renewable Energy Trade Associations - Report Forecasts Industry Growth and Highlights Policy; details on specific market drivers for the biofuel, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, waste, and wind energy sectors.

<> Five states and the Gulf of Mexico produce more than 80% of U.S. crude oil - (Mon, 31 Mar 2014) Five states and the Gulf of Mexico supplied more than 80%, or 6 million barrels per day, of the crude oil. . .

<> How Can US Natural Gas Reduce Europe's Dependence on Russia? - Russia's annexation of Crimea has drawn new attention to Europe's reliance on energy supplies from Russia. Lacking the means to force Russia's president to back down, US politicians and leading newspapers have latched . . .

<> USDA Explores Feasibility of Alternative Energy Production at Airports - March 29, 2012--A recent study conducted by researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) highlights the potential for alternative energy

<> Dow says US shouldn't bail out Europe with natural gas - Jim Fitterling, Dow Chemical's executive vice president for feedstocks, performance plastics and supply chain, said if Europe wants to reduce its need for Russian natural gas, it should produce it on its own.

<> Governors' Wind Energy Coalition and AWEA to host conference calls on economic importance of renewable energy tax credits to states, manufacturers - On Monday, March 31st, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Governors' Wind Energy Coalition will host two brief teleconference calls on the importance of extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

<> Sidelined Science: Let's Get the House Science Committee Back on Track - The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in the U.S. House of Representatives should lead the way in bringing science into federal legislation and public policy. But, analysis from Union of Concerned Scientists of the witnesses the committee is hearing from reveals some troubling trends.

<> Toxic Morale Grips Forest Service Law Enforcement - The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Forest Service is stumbling backward beset by incompetent leadership, a poisonous culture and scant resources that are often misdirected, according to a new employee survey released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).


Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest for: Monday, March 31, 2014.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).


1. Nothing We're Tracking Today

Friday, March 28, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 3/28/14

National / International News


<> White House to unveil plan to cut greenhouse gas as soon as Friday - (Reuters) - The Obama administration will propose a strategy to slash emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane as soon as Friday, a source with an environmental group said.

<> U.S. Imports of Canadian Oil Sands Have Doubled Since 2005 - Imports of oil sands crude exceed the proposed capacity of the Keystone XL pipeline by more than 350,000 barrels per day

<> Service Lists Lesser Prairie-Chicken as Threatened, Finalizes Special Rule Endorsing Landmark State Conservation Plan - a final special rule under section 4(d) of the ESA that will limit regulatory impacts on landowners and businesses from this listing.

<> Ocean Acidification website launched - A new Ocean Acidification website has been launched that brings together new ocean acidification infographics, publications, background information, presentations and news for researchers, policymakers and the public. . .

<> Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Oversight Hearing on "Advances in Earthquake Science: 50th Anniversary of the Great Alaskan Quake" - Testimony, webcast and documents

<> Sourcing Legally Produced Wood: A Guide for Businesses - booklet provides an overview of key legality issues that businesses should consider when purchasing wood and paper-based products.

<> Members Introduce Four Common Sense Bills to Update the Endangered Species Act - House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04), Rep. Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming-at large), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), and Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02) today introduced four limited bills to improve and. . .

<> Governor Pence Calls for New Direction of Energy Efficiency in Indiana - Statement on allowing SEA 340 to become law without his signature, "I could not sign this bill because it does away with a worthwhile energy efficiency program. I could not veto this bill because doing so would increase the cost of utilities for Hoosier ratepayers and make Indiana less competitive by denying relief to large electricity consumers, including our state's manufacturing base.

<> Scientists Study Effects of Water Released Across U.S.-Mexico Border -  Summary: As a large pulse of water is being released into the former delta of the Colorado River along the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. Geological Survey scientists are studying the effects on the environment as part of a historic. . .

<> EPA Agreement with Vehicle and Engine Company Requires Imports to Meet Federal Emission Limits - This is the first time that the EPA has secured such a bond in a Clean Air Act settlement.

<> U.S. Drought Monitor Update for March 25, 2014 - According to the March 25 U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to exceptional drought covers 38.3% of the contiguous U.S.

<> Analysis of Energy Efficiency Program Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification (EM&V) Reports: Residential Space Cooling and Commercial Lighting Measures - (Thu, 27 Mar 2014) New one-time analysis report is based on the rapidly growing data from evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) reporting on the results of energy efficiency programs.

<> Safe Climate Caucus Members: The Debate on Climate Change is Settled - This week, members of the Safe Climate Caucus pointed to specific examples of the cost of ignoring climate change and highlighted the unequivocal scientific consensus on the issue. In the weekly. . .

<> Energy Boom Fuels Rapid Population Growth in Parts of Great Plains; Gulf Coast Also Has High Growth Areas, Says Census Bureau - Oil- and gas-rich areas in and near the Great Plains contained many of the fastest-growing areas in the U.S. last year. . .


Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest for: Friday, March 28, 2014.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).


1. Nothing We're Tracking Today


Thursday, March 27, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 3/27/14

National / International News


<> President Obama on energy exports to Europe & trade ageement -  ". . .the United States is blessed with some additional energy sources that have been developed in part because of new technologies, and we've already licensed, authorized the export of as much natural gas each day as Europe uses each day. . . The question is whether through our energy ministers and at the highest levels we're able to find ways in which we can accelerate this process of diversification, and this is something we're very much committed to. . ."

<> Importing Energy, Exporting Jobs. Can it be Reversed? - Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing on natural gas exports; statements, testimony and webcast

<> Carbon dioxide in the tropical Pacific Ocean is increasing faster than expected - New NOAA research has revealed unprecedented changes in ocean carbon dioxide in the tropical Pacific Ocean over the last 14 years, influencing the role the oceans play in current and projected ..

<> Bishop Bill To Give Americans A Voice In Use Of Antiquities Act Passes The House - U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 1459, the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act (222-201). 

<> WTO issues panel reports on China's rare earths exports - On 26 March 2014, the WTO issued the dispute panel reports in the case "China – Measures Related to the Exportation of Rare Earths, Tungsten, and Molybdenum"

<> Senate EPW Hearing On MAP-21 Reauthorization - Senate Envireonment and Public Works Committee hearing on MAP-21 Reauthorization: State and Local Perspectives on Transportation Priorities and Funding. Testimony and webcast

<> NRC, DOE Officials to Meet April 7 to Discuss Yucca Mountain Groundwater Report - to discuss DOE's plans to update its 2009 technical report on groundwater impacts of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, NV

<> Sen. Vitter Asks Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) for unbiased review of EPA's "flawed assessments" - letter relays Vitter's concerns with the continued lack of transparency by the EPA when creating and implementing air regulations and the associated health benefits

<> Testimony of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Before Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Proposed FY 2015 Budget - EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today at a hearing to discuss EPA's proposed FY 2015 

<> Government Accounting Office Report Shows Limited Cost of Environmental Litigation - Center for Biological Diversity: A report released today by the Government Accountability Office  demonstrates that litigation brought by environmental groups is not the calamity-inducing threat to the National Forest system that House Republicans have repeatedly claimed for the past three years.

  • Release Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-PA) - Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry & link to testimony on the impact of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and related legislation on the U.S. Forest Service.

<> Chairman Upton: We Remain Vigilant Over All Emerging Threats to the Grid - As part of the committee's ongoing commitment to the safety and security of our nation's energy infrastructure, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) hosted a briefing on grid security issues, including the attack last spring on the Metcalf substation in San Jose, California.

<> California Senate Health Committee Passes Bill to Label Genetically Engineered Foods - Committee passage is critical first step in winning statewide GE labeling Today, the California Senate Health Committee passed SB 1381, a bill to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods in California. . .

<> First e-learning tool launched to prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and waste - INTERPOL and the BRS Secretariat launch e-learning module to help law enforcement officers identify and prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes


U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions


<> Organized Village of Kake v. USDA - 3/26/14. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 11-35517. The panel reversed the district court's order, which invalidated a 2003 United States Department of Agriculture regulation temporarily exempting the Tongass National Forest in Alaska from application of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule.


Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest for: Thursday, March 27, 2014.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).


1. Air Quality - Proposed Rule. EPA. Revision to the Regulatory Definition of Volatile Organic Compounds-Exclusion of 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol (AMP) PDF | Text |

2. Air Quality - Direct Final Rule. EPA. Revision to the Regulatory Definition of Volatile Organic Compounds-Exclusion of 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol (AMP) PDF | Text | 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 3/26/14

National / International News


<> EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Clarify Protection for Nation's Streams and Wetlands - U.S. EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation's water resources. The proposed rule will benefit businesses by increasing efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act.

<> G-7 Agrees To Strengthen Energy Security & Obama Says Accelerated U.S. Exports - We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission met in The Hague. . . decided that G-7 Energy Ministers will meet to discuss ways to strengthen our collective energy security. . . We will suspend our participation in the G-8 until Russia changes course. . .

<> Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing on EPA Budget - Full Committee hearing entitled, "Oversight Hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget." Testimony of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and webcast

<> $1.1 Billion to State Wildlife Agencies from Excise Taxes on Anglers, Hunters, and Boaters - Secretary Jewell announced $1.1 billion in excise tax revenues paid by sportsmen and sportswomen to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation. Michigan gets $35+ million

<> World's Largest Investors Launch Effort to Engage Global Stock Exchanges on Sustainability Reporting Standard for Companies - Sustainability advocacy group Ceres, in collaboration with BlackRock and other major institutional investors, today announced an initiative to engage global stock exchanges via the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) on a. . .

<> Coal Ash Ponds: How Power Companies Get a 'Bypass' on Regulations Against Pollution - When we think of electric power plants and pollution, we often think of air pollution and climate change, and especially when it comes to coal-fired power plants. But power plants are also huge polluters of our waterways. . .

<> 7 Million Deaths Annually Linked to Air Pollution-WHO Report - In new estimates released today, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world's largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.

<> The Natural Gas Revolution: Critical Questions for a Sustainable Energy Future - This report is part of Resources for the Future's (RFF) Natural Gas Initiative, a collaboration between RFF's Center for Energy Economics and Policy (CEEP) and RFF's Center for Climate and Electricity Policy (CCEP).

<> Strengthening Public-Private Partnerships to Reduce Cyber Risks to Our Nation's Critical Infrastructure - Senate Hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; webcast and testimony

<> EPA Releases the Draft FY 2015 Addendum to the FY 2014 National Water Program Guidance for Public Comment - The draft National Water Program Guidance Addendum focuses on key changes to priorities, strategies, and measures from FY 2014. Public comments by April 4, 2014.

<> Water and Energy Nexus in Disasters Webinar Series: Coordination between Electric and Water Utilities - EPA will be hosting its second of four webinars focusing on the nexus between water and energy usage during disasters on April 2, 2014 from 1 to 2pm EST.  The webinar will feature two speakers from electric utilities and one speaker from a water utility who will share their experiences and recommendations for increasing coordination and communication between the two types of utilities. 

<> PV is already competitive against retail electricity in the commercial sector of major European markets - The results of the third issue of the study "PV Grid Parity Monitor", carried out by the consulting firm ECLAREON, sponsored by SunEdison, BayWa, and Gesternova, and in cooperation with Cooper Alliance, show that photovoltaic grid parity (the moment when PV LCOE becomes competitive with retail electricity prices, assuming that 100% of the electricity is self-consumed on-site)

<> New Report: Widely-Used Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments Are Unnecessary in Most Cases - Center for Food Safety today released a scientific literature review which reveals that neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments offer little benefit, do not increase crop yields, and cause widespread environmental and economic damage.

<> American Meteorological Society seven minute video on the basics of climate change - An edited version of Paul Higgins, Director, AMS Policy Program,  on the basics of climate change from his appearance on 24 Hours of Climate Reality.


Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest for: Wednesday, March 26, 2014.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).


1. Climate, Air - Proposed Rule. EPA. Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Updates to HCFC Trade Language As Applied to Article 5 Countries; Ratification Status of Parties to the Montreal Protocol; and Harmonized Tariff Schedule Commodity Codes PDF | Text | 

2. Climate, Air - Direct Final Rule. EPA. Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Updates to HCFC Trade Language As Applied to Article 5 Countries; Ratification Status of Parties to the Montreal Protocol; and Harmonized Tariff Schedule Commodity Codes PDF | Text |


Click here for details on the WIMS Environmental HotSheet

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 3/25/14

National / International News


<> Today the Obama Administration proposed a landmark  rule that will clarify which types of water bodies are protected by the Clean Water Act -  National Wildlife Federation's response to the Environmental Protection Agency's announcement

(Note: at press time EPA had not yet released an announcement)

<> Biofuel Trade Organizations Ask for Extension of Advanced Biofuel Tax Incentives - Biofuel trade organizations sent a letter to the Senate encouraging extension of critical advanced biofuel tax incentives.

<> IPCC starts meeting to finalize Working Group II report - Japan, 25 March – Government representatives and scientists on Tuesday opened a five-day meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to finalize a report assessing the impacts of climate change on human and natural systems, options for adaptation, and the interactions among climate changes, other stresses on societies, and opportunities for the future.

<> Energy Department Authorizes Jordan Cove to Export Liquefied Natural Gas - Energy Department Authorizes Jordan Cove to Export Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon Authorized to Export Liquefied Natural Gas to Non-Free Trade Agreement Countries. . .

<> Upcoming Funding Opportunity for Water Power Manufacturing - March 24, 2014Upcoming Funding Opportunity for Water Power Manufacturing On March 24, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a Notice of Intent to issue a funding opportunity titled "Water Power Manufacturing."

<> Designing Effective State Programs for the Industrial Sector - March 24, 2014 New SEE Action Publication "Industrial Energy Efficiency: Designing Effective State Programs for the Industrial Sector - an overview of U.S. industrial energy efficiency programs delivered by a variety of entities.

<> Coast Guard Update 5: Texas City "Y" incident response - TEXAS CITY, Texas — As of this evening, the Port of Houston remains closed. The Unified Command continues to assess the situation with oil in the channel to determine when vessel traffic can resume. There are 46 outbound. . .

<> Barnes & Thornburg's Due-Diligence Mini-Series - Next webinar: April 10; US EPA's All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) regulatory updates and how it impacts use of Phase I ESA standards

<> Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on National Agriculture Day - March 25, 2014—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the following statement. . .

<> USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Increased Opportunity for Producers as part of New Farm Bill - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced increased opportunity for producers as a result of the 2014 Farm Bill. A fact sheet outlining modifications including an increase of the guarantee amount on Conservation Loans from 75 to 80 percent and 90 percent for socially disadvantaged borrowers and beginning farmers. . .

<> New UNEP/IRP report confirms role of forests & forest products in fighting climate change - Geneva/Jakarta, 21 March 2014 – Building Natural Capital: How REDD+ Can Support a Green Economy, a report by the International Resource Panel (IRP) and the UN REDD Programme, outlines that forests, forest services and. . .

<> EPA Office of Inspector General Report - "EPA Needs to Improve Management of the Cross-Media Electronic Reporting Regulation Program in Order to Strengthen Protection of Human Health and the Environment," March 21, 2014.

<> EPA Office of Inspector General Report - "EPA's Information Systems and Data Are at Risk Due to Insufficient Training of Personnel With Significant Information Security Responsibilities," March 21, 2014.

Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest for: Tuesday, March 25, 2014.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).


1. Nothing We're Tracking Today