Tuesday, December 09, 2014

WIMS Daily Environmental HotSheet 12/9/14


Today, WIMS is posting our complete Daily Environmental HotSheet. Further information on subscribing and trials are available (click here)

National / International News

<> Building a Global Low-Carbon Technology Pathway - At COP 20 in Lima, Peru, Department of Energy staff will discuss actions we're taking to help implement the United States' commitments to fight global climate change.

<> Lima climate talks: What progress can be made at COP 20? - As the talks enter their second and final week, some of the developments outside of the spotlight are raising concerns even as the US-China bilateral agreement continues to be the basis for broader optimism.

<> Washington takes heat at UN talks over targets - Quizzed by rich and poor countries about its efforts against global warming, President Barack Obama's envoys sought to explain how exactly the U.S. plans to cut emissions 17 percent by 2020 based on 2005 levels.

<> Unleashing Climate Data and Innovation for more Resilient Ecosystems – Dec. 9. Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy in a blog post announced that the Department of Interior and other Executive Branch agencies and offices were releasing, on climate.data.gov, new troves of government data on water and ecosystems, as well as new geospatial tools, as part of the President's Climate Data Initiative.

<> Study: Methane emissions from natural gas production are lower than previously estimated - December 9, 2014 – A major field study by the University of Texas and sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and natural gas producers found that methane emissions from development and production of natural gas are down from previous studies and now represent only 0.38 percent of production.

<> Updated Study Finds Sixty-five Percent of Industrial Carbon Pollution Produced by 90 Entities - Sixty-five percent of all heat-trapping emissions from fossil fuels and cement can be traced to just 90 entities, according to the Climate Accountability Institute (CAI), which has updated a first-of-its-kind database that accounts for historic emissions from major carbon producers in the oil, natural gas, coal, and cement industries.

<> Summary and Presentations from "Estimating the Benefits and Costs of Distributed Energy Technologies" Workshop Now Available - The workshop was intended as an early step toward the development of widely-accepted concepts and methods for conducting valuation studies regarding the impacts of deploying distributed energy technologies.

<> Now Available: Smart Grid Investments Improve Grid Reliability, Resilience, and Storm Responses (November 2014) - Smart grid technologies are helping utilities to speed outage restoration following major storm events, reduce the total number of affected customers, and improve overall service reliability to reduce customer losses from power disruptions.

<> Dr. Ellen Williams Confirmed as Director of ARPA-E - Dr. Ellen Williams was confirmed by the United States Senate on Monday, December 8, 2014 as the Director of the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) -- a novel program that funds high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment.

<> Researchers offer new insights into predicting future droughts in California - According to a new NOAA-sponsored study , natural oceanic and atmospheric patterns are the primary drivers behind California's ongoing drought.

<> NCDC Releases November 2014 U.S. Climate Report - During November, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 39.3°F, 2.4°F below the 20th century average.

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> Supreme Court Denies Youth Climate Advocates Public Trust Climate Suit - The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case (No. 14-405) brought by representatives of Our Children's Trust seeking  protection of essential natural resources for the benefit of future generations under the public trust doctrine.

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).

<> RENEWABLE ENERGY - Proposed Rule. U.S. EPA - Delay in Issuing 2014 Standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program

<> CLIMATE, AIR - Proposed Rule. U.S. EPA - Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule: 2015 Revisions and Confidentiality Determinations for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> H.R.5764 - Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2014 - House debate may begin on the GLRI Act of 2014 which would formally authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for five years at up to $300 million annually.

<> Great Lakes conference coming to Falls in 2016 - The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative will hold its 2016 annual meeting in Niagara Falls.

<> Study: Less lake effect snow, more rain near Great Lakes as climate changes - The Great Lakes region could see less lake effect snow and more rain by the late 21st century, a new study suggests

<> The man with the salmon plan - One biologist's radical dream for the Great Lakes came true when millions of salmon were brought in from the Pacific. Perhaps no single person has had a bigger impact on the Great Lakes as we know them than former Michigan DNR Director Howard Tanner.

<> Ohio group takes on toxic algae head on - Environmental, government and clean water officials are collaborating to find ways to reduce harmful algal blooms.

<> Microbeads Threaten Great Lakes Water Quality & Wildlife - Microbeads are in many of today's most popular personal care items. If one of the product ingredients is "polyethylene" or "polypropylene," it likely has microbeads.

Michigan News

<> Gov. Snyder applauds project recommendations of Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board - Gov. Rick Snyder today applauded the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board of trustees' recommendation to the Legislature that 69 recreational development projects and land acquisitions totaling $24.7 million be funded in 2015.

<> DNR receives $1.2 million grant to expand Hunting Access Program - Voluntary Public Access-Hunting Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) federal grant to enhance the state's Hunting Access Program with an emphasis on Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program land, habitat restoration and more opportunities for youth and apprentice hunting -- public comment sought until Jan. 7, 2015 on adoption of environmental assessment

<> Velsicol Burn Pit Superfund Site - Formerly known as Gratiot County Golf Course, five acres of land in St. Louis, Michigan, added to the NPL in 2010, the site is now eligible for federal cleanup funding -- comments are being accepted until Jan. 24, 2015.

<> MDEQ cleans up near-record number of leaking petroleum storage tanks - Just one closure shy of its all-time record, the DEQ cleaned up 488 leaking underground storage tanks during fiscal year 2014.

<> New House Analysis For SB791(H1) - Senate Bill 791 would amend multiple sections of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA, PA 451 of 1994) that relate to leaking underground storage tanks including the creation of a separate account to pay for corrective action to be taken on leaking underground tanks and the revision of eligibility requirements that must be met by claimants.

<> New House Analysis For SB753 - Senate Bill 753 would amend Section 3109 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) by exempting municipalities from remedy or penalty resulting from unauthorized discharge of raw sewage under certain circumstances.

<> MIOSHA Awards First of $500,000 in Matching Grants to Reduce Workplace Hazards - The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) announced the first five small Michigan businesses to receive a matching grant to improve workplace safety and health

<> Isle Royale National Park's wolf woes spur bigger questions of managing wilderness - Park managers are considering options ranging from doing nothing to a genetic rescue.

<> EPA to discuss continued cleanup of Kalamazoo River Superfund site at Dec. 11 public meeting - Options being considered for next summer's Kalamazoo River cleanup will be the topic of a public meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo.

<> DEQ Informational Meeting on Detroit Incinerator - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be holding an informational meeting, December 11, 2014 at 6:30 PM, regarding the Detroit Renewable Power consent judgment, specific to their odor issues.

<> Natural Resources Commission to meet Thursday in Lansing

<> How to pay for old Kent County landfills: Property tax or surcharge on trash bill? - The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce wants county leaders to reconsider a proposed $3 annual fee.

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 (12/8/14)


HB 4038 of 2013 Natural resources; nonnative species; bush autumn olive; include on restricted species list. [Presented to Governor]


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