Thursday, January 30, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 1/30/14

<> FULL COMMITTEE HEARING: U.S. Crude Oil Exports: Opportunities and Challenges- Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. The purpose of this oversight hearing is to explore opportunities and challenges associated with lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports

<> Farm Bill Conference Report Passes House - David Rogers reported yesterday at Politico that, "Given up for dead just months ago, a new five-year farm bill easily cleared the House Wednesday morning, raising hopes that Congress can send it to President Barack Obama next week. "The strength of the House's 251-166 vote makes this easier, and it's now expected that when the bill papers arrive in the Senate Thursday, cloture. . .

<> Shell To Stop Alaska Exploration Program In 2014 - New Shell CEO Ben van Beurden updated on the company's priorities and indicated that the recent Ninth Circuit Court decision against the Department of the Interior raises substantial obstacles to Shell's plans for drilling in offshore Alaska. As a result, Shell has decided to stop its exploration programme for Alaska in 2014.

<> Mayors from 10 major US cities unite to boost energy efficiency in buildings - The mayors from 10 major U.S. cities and Natural Resources Defense Council announced they will undertake a united effort -- new City Energy Project -- to significantly boost energy efficiency in their buildings, a move that combined could cut as much climate change pollution as generated by 1 million to 1.5 million passenger vehicles every year, and lower energy bills by nearly $1 billion annually.

<> New Energy Efficiency Standards for Metal Halide Lamp Fixtures to Save on Energy Bills and Reduce Carbon Pollution - Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced that the Department has finalized new energy efficiency standards for metal halide lamp fixtures

<> Divest-Invest: Philanthropy initiative launched - A group of like-minded foundations have come together in a new initiative to divest our assets from fossil fuels and to invest in climate solutions in the new energy economy.

<> Oversight Hearing: NRC's Implementation of the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force Recommendations and other Actions to Enhance and Maintain Nuclear Safety - Senate Environment & Public Works Full and Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety hearing

<> Press Conference: Labor, Environmentalists, Elected Leaders to Oppose Secret Trade Agreement, Trans-Pacific Partnership – Friday groups will host a press conference in solidarity with the International Day of Action surrounding the highly secretive global trade agreement, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

<> California Facing Worst Drought on Record - The most populated state in the country is facing what may be the worst drought in a century of record-keeping. The last week of January is the midway point of the winter wet season, and accumulated precipitation since July is the lowest on record.

<> Negotiating a Post-2020 Climate Agreement in a Mosaic World - As we approach the end game of serious negotiations for a post-2020 international climate regime, Brian Flannery a scientist at Resources for the Future describes the difficult road ahead.

<> United States joins push for transparency in Extractive Industries - The United States is now preparing to participate in the EITI, Clare Short and panelists representing implementing countries, mining companies, and civil society will discuss this and other high profile changes to the transparency regime.

<> Emmett Center Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court GHG Case on Behalf of South Coast Air District - UCLA's Emmett Center filed an amicus curiae brief yesterday  in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG)  v. EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court case that will determine whether EPA's greenhouse gas emissions rules under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration section of the Clean Air Act are valid.   Arguing on behalf of the South Coast Air Quality. . .

<> Coral or coal decision looms for Australia's Great Barrier Reef - MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's Great Barrier Reef watchdog is to decide by Friday whether to allow millions of cubic meters of dredged mud to be dumped near the fragile reef to create the world's biggest coal port and possibly unlock $28 billion in coal projects.