Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 4/30/14

National / International News


<> DOT Secretary Foxx Sends Transportation Bill to Congress - The GROW AMERICA Actreflects President Obama's vision for a four-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that would create millions of jobs and lay the foundation for long-term competitiveness. . .

<> Supreme Court Ruling on Air Pollution Is a Big Win for Public Health - Dan Utech, Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change & Mike Boots, Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality comment on the Supreme Court's ruling upholding EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).

<> Changes in Arctic Systems Give Rise to Emerging Research Questions - The climate, ecosystems, and communities of the Arctic are changing rapidly in complex ways that have implications throughout the region and, increasingly, around the globe. A new report from the National Research Council.  . .

<> Why TNC and JPMorgan Chase are investing $1 billion in nature - The Nature Conservancy and JPMorgan Chase have a bold goal: Raise $1 billion over the next three years toward projects that protect agriculture, fisheries, water and land.

<> Industry Campaign and Congressional Hearing Mislead on Bee Decline - A new report, released this week by author Michele Simon and Friends of the Earth documents the tactics used by Bayer and other pesticide companies to delay regulatory action on neonicotinoid pesticides –a key contributor to bee declines.

<> Invest In the Future - Not in Fossil Fuels - Over the last year, NRDC has partnered with BlackRock and FTSE Group, the global index provider, to launch the first stock market index to exclude fossil fuel companies – a new tool that will help ensure that climate-conscious investors can match their financial interests with their values.

<> More U.S. Corporations Must Scale Up Sustainability Efforts, Report Says - A report released today by Ceres and Sustainalytics found that while there are encouraging pockets of sustainability leadership in the U.S. . .

<> Whatever Floats Your Boat – #DitchTheRule - "Navigable waters." The American Farm Bureau Federation blog post. "The new proposed ruling for the expanded Clean Water Act from the EPA would become the most far-reaching regulations we've yet seen from this regulatory agency."

<> UN Climate Chief: Raise Support Now for Accelerating Global Climate Action - Communities across the developing world have a wealth of local knowledge and ingenuity to adapt more successfully to climate change but they urgently need greater international support to unlock their ambitions, according to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

<> Energy Department Announces $10 Million to Advance Zero-Emission Cargo Transport Vehicles - April 29, 2014. The U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $10 million to demonstrate and deploy innovative alternate. . .

<> America's Energy Revolution Requires A New Architecture Of Abundance – Op-Ed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) Technological advances have dramatically transformed our lives over the last decade. Thanks to new advancements and American ingenuity. . .

<> ARPA-E Announces $60 Million for Disruptive Technologies to Cut Emissions, Boost Energy Efficiency - April 29, 2014. Two New Programs Aim to Detect and Measure Methane Emissions and Develop Energy Efficient Heating and Cooling. . .

<> Nuclear Utility, Energy Future Holdings, Reaches Bankruptcy Restructuring Agreement - Energy Future Holdings (EFH) announced that it has entered into an agreement with certain of its key financial stakeholders to reduce its approximately $40 billion of debt, lower its annual cash interest costs, access significant additional capital and create a sustainable capital structure for the future.

<> SBIR/STTR Phase II Release 1 Award Winners Announced, Includes Two Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Projects - April 23, 2014SBIR/STTR Phase II Release 1 Award Winners Announced, Includes Two Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Projects The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the FY 2014 Small Business Innovation

<> WMO Update Indicates Possible onset of El Nino Around Middle of Year - Sub-surface water temperatures in the tropical Pacific have warmed to levels similar to the onset of an El Nino event, and climate models surveyed by WMO experts predict a steady warming of the tropical Pacific during the months. . .

<> API Taps Democrat as Number Two; Finkel to Head Government Relations Team - April 30, 2014 – The American Petroleum Institute announced today veteran Democratic policy strategist Louis Finkel will lead the oil and natural gas industry association's government relations efforts. . .


U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions


<> Ark Initiative v. Thomas Tidwell - 4/29/14. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 13-5103. Responding to a petition by the State of Colorado, the U.S. Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture promulgated a final rule revising its inventory of protected "roadless" land in Colorado. The Panel rules, "Although we reject the challenge by the Service and the Company to Ark's standing, we agree that Ark's challenges lack merit and we therefore affirm."

Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest for: Wednesday, April 30, 2014.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).


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


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 4/29/14

 National / International News


<> McCarthy slams critics' 'dangerous game' of trying to discredit agency science - U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy today struck back at EPA critics in a forceful address to scientists that defended agency actions on climate change, air quality issues and safe drinking water. "With science as our North Star. . .

  • Smith Criticizes EPA for Standing by Secret Science - Washington, D.C. –Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement in response to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's decision to stand by the agency's use of. . .

<> Energy Dept. Report Finds Major Potential to Grow Clean, Sustainable U.S. Hydropower - April 29, 2014Energy Dept. Report Finds Major Potential to Grow Clean, Sustainable U.S. Hydropower More than 65 Gigawatts of Potential Hydropower Resource Development. . .

<> OIG: Chemical Import Data May Help EPA Identify Facilities That Need to File or Update Risk Management Plans - Import data showed large shipments of anhydrous ammonia and chlorine to ports and facilities across the United States for which facilities may need to prepare an RMP or revise their RMPs.

<> Agua Caliente, World's Largest Solar Photovoltaic Plant, Helps Advance America's Solar Leadership - Agua Caliente, World's Largest Solar Photovoltaic Plant, Helps Advance America's Solar Leadership Announcing the launch of Agua Caliente, a utility-scale solar plant that will generate enough clean electricity to power. . . 

<> Committee Members Raise Concerns about Impact of "Chemicals in Commerce Act" on State Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations – Members sent a letter to Chairman John Shimkus expressing significant concerns about the sweeping preemption language in the latest discussion draft of the Chemicals in Commerce Act.

<> Why Wave Power Has Lagged Far Behind as Energy Source - A host of challenges, including the difficulty of designing a device to capture the energy of waves, have stymied efforts to generate electricity from the sea.

<> GAO-14-73, Electricity Markets: Demand-Response Activities Have Increased, but FERC Could Improve Data Collection and Reporting Efforts, March 27, 2014 – The Government Accountability Office found that since 2004, the federal government has made efforts to facilitate demand-response activities, including expanding their use in wholesale electricity markets. . .

<> Energy Department Announces $10 million for Wave Energy Demonstration at Navy's Hawaii Test Site - April 28, 2014Energy Department Announces $10 million for Wave Energy Demonstration at Navy's Hawaii Test Site The Energy Department today announced $10 million to test prototypes designed to generate clean. . .

<> Fossil Fuel Subsidies Hamper Pathway to Inclusive Green Economy, Experts Say - UNEP sponsored event indicates fossil fuel subsidies are contributing to fiscal instability and undermining governments' efforts to combat serious economic and environmental challenges, such as climate change, and the transition to an inclusive green economy. . .

<> Science Datasets from GoMRI Oil Spill Research Publicly Available - Researchers studying impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have scientific data available for public access. Data comes from research funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)


U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> American Lung Association v. EME Homer City Generation - 4/29/14. In the U.S. Supreme Court, Case No. 12-1182. The cases concern the efforts of Congress and U.S. EPA to cope with a complex problem: air pollution emitted in one State, but causing harm in other States. The Majority 6-2 opinion reverses and remands the D.C. Circuit on the the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (Transport Rule), which curbs NOX and SO2 emissions in 27 upwind States to achieve downwind attainment of three NAAQS. The two dissenting Justices said, "the majority approves that undemocratic revi­sion of the Clean Air Act. The Agency came forward with a textual justification for its action, relying on a farfetched meaning of the word 'significantly' in the statutory text."

<> Shell Oil Company v. US – 4/28/14. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Case No. 13-5051. The majority concludes that a "Taxes" clause in several contracts for high-octane aviation gas ("avgas") should be broadly interpreted to require the United States to indemnify the Oil Companies for a CERCLA judgment covering restoration efforts of the McColl acid waste site more than fifty years after the completion of the contracts.

<> Bayless v. United States - 4/28/14. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Case No. 12-4120. Sixteen years after a debilitating illness, Bayless, in 2008, convinced that she was the victim of exposure to nerve gas emitted by an Army testing facility, she filed a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The majority Panel ruled, "We conclude that under the unusual circumstances presented here, the period of limitation did not accrue until February 2007."


Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest for: Tuesday, April 29, 2014.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).


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


Monday, April 28, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 4/28/14

 National / International News


<> Keystone XL Pipeline Project Review Process: Provision of More Time for Submission of Agency Views - On April 18, 2014, the Department of State notified the eight federal agencies specified in Executive Order 13337 it will provide more time for the submission of views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project saying, agencies need additional time based on the uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state.

<> EPA Report: Data Show Automakers on Track in meeting Greenhouse Gas Standards - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a Manufacturers Performance Report that assesses the automobile industry's progress toward meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. . .

<> SAB Draft Review Report Of EPA's Waters Connectivity Report - Science Advisory Board (SAB) Draft Report (4/23/14) to Assist Meeting Deliberations Review of the Draft EPA Report Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters

<> EPA U.S. EPA Administrator Kicking Off Earth Week Tour on Climate Action Plan / McCarthy traveling to New York, Boston, Cleveland, Atlanta and Memphis – Apr 21 – In recognition of Earth Week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy is taking to the road to ask Americans to act on climate change through simple actions to reduce carbon. . .

<> Keynote Address at the National Academy of Sciences - On Monday, April 28, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will deliver a keynote address to the National Academy of Sciences at their 151st annual meeting.

<> C2ES: Losing nuclear power makes it harder to meet U.S. climate goals - April 28, 2014. Further closures of U.S. nuclear power plants will make it harder for the United States to reduce carbon emissions and meet its climate goals, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) says in a new policy brief. 

<> Projected CO2 emissions vary with coal and nuclear power plant retirements - (Mon, 28 Apr 2014) Significant retirements of nuclear and coal power plants in the United States could change the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by the electric power sector.

<> Responding to Oil Spills in U.S. Arctic Waters - A new report from the National Research Council says that the a full suite of proven oil spill response technologies is needed to respond to a potential spill in Arctic waters, but not all of them are readily available.

<> EPA Seeks Small Businesses' Input on Lead Paint for Public and Commercial Buildings -  The U.S. EPA is inviting small businesses to participate as consultants for a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel as the agency considers steps to reduce lead . . .

<> No More Wind Welfare - The American Energy Alliance joined with 30 other organizations in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee urging them to oppose an extension of the wind Production Tax Credit.

<> ACC Announces New Principles to Enhance Chemical Hazard and Risk Assessments - American Chemistry Council (ACC) introduced a set of comprehensive principles for improving chemical hazard and risk assessment programs ("Principles").

<> Update to Large Power Transformers and the U.S. Electric Grid Report Now Available - April 25, 2014Update to Large Power Transformers and the U.S. Electric Grid Report Now Available The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability has released an update to its 2012 Large Power Transformers and the U.S

<> Fracking issues raised by Auburn wastewater report - An engineering firm hired by Auburn, N.Y. to clear the way for the city to accept wastewater from gas drilling has concluded the city's wastewater treatment plant can't handle it which could have broad implications. . .

<> EPA Recognizes Seven University Teams for Environmental Solutions - Today, the U.S. EPA announced seven winning student teams of EPA's People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) phase II awards for innovative and sustainable designs to. . .


U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions


<> Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al v. City of New York, New York, et al - Apr 21: In the U.S. Supreme Court, Case No. 13-842. Appealed from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Case Nos. 10-4135, 10-4329). Petition DENIED. Justice Alito took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition.


Federal Register Highlights 

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


1. AIR, TRANSPORTATION, CLIMATE - Final Rule. U.S. EPA. Emissions and Fuel Standards: Control of Air Pollution From Motor Vehicles: Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards PDF | Text | 

2. (April 21, 2014) Water. Proposed Rule. U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). Clean Water Act; Definitions: Definition of "Waters of the United States" Under the Clean Water Act PDF | Text | 

(click for today's  complete Energy & EPA announcements)


Monday, April 21, 2014


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Friday, April 18, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 4/18/14

 National / International News


<> Report Challenges EIA's Renewable Energy Projections - New research released by the SUN DAY Campaign challenges the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) assertion that only 16 percent of U.S. electrical generation in 2040 will come from renewable sources of energy.

<> IPCC seeks comment on the Synthesis Report of its Fifth Assessment - April 17. The expert and government review of the first order draft of the Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) starts on Monday, April 21. The Synthesis Report is the final product of the Fifth Assessment cycle. It will integrate key messages from the three recent working group reports: the physical science basis (September 2013), climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (March 2014), and mitigation (April 2014).

<> Corporate-wide Settlement with Lowe's Protects Public from Lead Pollution During Home Renovations - Lowe's agreed to implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide compliance program at its over 1,700 stores nationwide to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work minimize lead dust from home renovation activities. . . will also pay a $500,000 civil penalty, which is the largest ever for violations of the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule

<> APGA Files Motion to Intervene in Sabine Pass LNG Export Application - On April 14, American Public Gas Association filed a motion to intervene in an application filed by Sabine Pass Liquefaction to export approximately 314 Bcf/year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-free trade agreement (FTA) countries from the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Cameron Parish, LA. In its filing, APGA states that the export application is inconsistent with the public interest and should be denied. . .

<> Mercury in Fishes from 21 National Parks in the Western United States - USGS report finds that Mercury (Hg) is a global contaminant and human activities have increased atmospheric Hg concentrations 3- to 5-fold during the past 150 years.

<> EPA Announces Winner of Annual Energy Star National Building Competition - an elementary school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has won the annual Energy Star National Building Competition by cutting its energy use nearly in half.

<> A Broad Coalition To Support the Global Environment - The Global Environment Facility (GEF), announced that 30 donor countries pledged US$ 4.43 billion for the GEF to support developing countries' efforts over the next four years to prevent degradation of the global environment.

<> VA Supreme Court Protects Climate Scientists' Private Emails - The University of Virginia (UVA) doesn't have to release the private emails of climate scientists like Michael Mann -- university was correct in defining deliberative records as "proprietary."

<> FERC Staff Issues Energy Infrastructure Update for March 2014

<> CITES Trade Database Breaks New Ground with Open-Source Technology - Access to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Trade Database - which contains some 14 million records on the international trade in CITES-listed species - is now easier and more reliable, thanks to cutting-edge, open source technologies

<> EPA's new Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) framework a step in the right direction - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering new guidance for risk analysts who conduct important human health assessments on behalf of the Agency.

<> Enviros Claim Gulf Spill Impacts to Wildlife and Habitat Still Unaddressed - "Four years after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, Gulf recovery remains elusive. We must hope for a measure of justice for communities, wildlife and habitats. However, the urgent need for restoration is still unfulfilled."


<> What America is Thinking on Energy Issues – Poll: Large majorities support U.S. investments in oil and natural gas - April 17, 2014 ─ Strong bipartisan majorities of voters support increased investment in energy infrastructure, according to a new poll American Petroleum Institute is unveiling as part of a recess campaign highlighting the voices of Americans.

<> NC Gov. McCrory Outlines Comprehensive Coal Ash Action Plan - NC Governor Pat McCrory announced a plan that would address coal ash ponds and strengthen environmental and health regulations. The initiative would result in the conversion or closure of all the state's coal ash ponds, close loopholes in state law to strengthen the state's ability to regulate coal ash ponds, eliminate special exemptions. . .

<> Report Finds Top Banks Moving Away From Coal - Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Sierra Club and BankTrack report that Citigroup and Barclays Seen as Laggards; JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo End Financing for mountaintop removal


Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest for: Friday, April 18, 2014.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).


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