Friday, February 07, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 2/7/14

<> Bipartisan Group of Senators, House Members, Business & Labor Groups Call for Approval of Keystone XL Pipeline - Soon to be Chair of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., joined a bipartisan group of Senators, labor leaders and experts to call on the administration to give final approval to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

<> A Farm Bill at long last - Phew! After a long, arduous two-and-a-half year process, we finally have a Farm Bill. The bill, approved recently in both the House and Senate, now goes to President Obama for near-certain approval. Unfortunately, as we reported last week after the House vote, the new law is a real mixed bag. On the plus side, support is up for local and regional food systems; farmers must conserve soil. . .

<> Texas Authority Over GHG Permitting Good News for U.S. Chemical Projects - The American Chemistry Council (ACC) statement in response to action by the U.S. EPA delegating authority over greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)

<> WH names Mike Boots as acting CEQ director - On Thursday the White House promoted Mike Boots, the Council on Environmental Quality's chief of staff, to serve as the council's acting director.

<> Wyden, Cantwell Request Analysis of How Oil Exports Would Affect U.S. Gas Prices- Senators send letter to Energy Information Administration seeking details on impact to consumers...

<> Sen. Murkowski Calls for National Approach to Addressing Forest Management- Roadless Rule Remains Serious Economic Impediment in Southeast Alaska...

<> Meehan Introduces CFATS Authorization Bill - Patrick Meehan (R-PA) introduced H.R. 4007, the"Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014." (H.R.4007)

<> Bill Prohibits EPA from Using Secret Science - Washington, D.C. – Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today introduced the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4012), a bill to prohibit the EPA from proposing regulations based upon science that is not transparent or not reproducible. The bill was introduced by Environment Subcommittee Chairman David Schweikert (R-Ariz.). . .

<> A REACH milestone: First authorisation application passes the European Chemicals Agency - By Alissa SassoAlissa Sasso is a Chemicals Policy Fellow at EDF. It's been a while since we've posted an update on ongoing activities under the European Union's Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).  The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has been quite busy in recent months. The first application for authorisation

<> Climate Data Online (CDO) - NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), located in Asheville, North Carolina, provides free access to NCDC's archive of historical weather and climate data in addition to station history information. These data include quality controlled daily, monthly, seasonal, and yearly measurements of temperature, precipitation, wind, and degree days as well as radar data and 30-year Climate Normals.

<> NRDC Sues EPA to Ban Two Toxic Pesticides in Pet Flea Collars- The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) today filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking EPA to respond to NRDC's petitions to ban two hazardous pesticides used in popular pet flea treatment products. Due to concerns that the products can harm children's brains and nervous systems

<> As Bees Decline, EPA Registers Another Toxic Insecticide - (Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2014) Flying in the face of recent science demonstrating that pollinator populations are declining, the U.S. EPA has made the decision to unconditionally register another pesticide that is known to be highly toxic to bees, coming almost one year after EPA registered sulfoxaflor, disregarding concerns from beekeepers. . .

<> Alaska unseasonably warm in January 2014- January 2014 was remarkably mild across nearly all of Alaska, resulting in this January ranking among the  "top ten" warmest on record for many Alaskan communities according to preliminary analyses.

<> Record levels of banned insecticide found in Illinois otters - The concentrations of dieldrin, an insecticide banned in 1978, are the greatest ever found in otters. Once used on cornfields, the chemical lingers in sediments and accumulates in fish and wildlife. Six Great Lakes states are among the nation's top 12 corn producers.

<> Water quality continues to improve after the ash basin release at the Dan River Steam Station - CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Test results from water samples analyzed by Duke Energy overnight and today demonstrate that water quality continues to improve downstream of the Dan River Steam Station. . .

  • Water Samples Show Disturbing Levels of Heavy Metals from Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill - [This is the third article in a three-part series. Read part one, read part two.] Today Waterkeeper Alliance and Yadkin Riverkeeper issued the results of water sampling from the Dan River in the wake of the third largest coal ash spill in U.S. history. A certified laboratory analysis of Waterkeeper's samples, completed today, reveals that the water immediately downstream of Duke Energy's
  • 82,000 Reasons Why Federal Coal Ash Regulations Are Needed - North Carolina spill comes just days after EPA sets deadline for first-ever federal safety standards The spill of 82,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River in North Carolina is the latest illustration of the need for federal coal ash regulations. The nation's third largest coal ash spill came just days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency settled a federal lawsuit brought by Earth. . .

<> Majority of Donations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Given by Just 64 Entities - More than half of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's contributions in 2012 came from just 64 donors, according to a new report released today by Public Citizen's U.S. Chamber Watch program.

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 2/6/14

<> 2014 Farm Bill Drill Down: The Bill by the Numbers- With the 2014 Farm Bill about to become law, NSAC is doing a seven-part series here on our blog that delves into the details of the bill for sustainable food and farming systems.  This first post summarizes the big picture funding decisions reflected in the final bill.  Coming posts will look at specific issues within the farm bill in more detail.  A post from last week provided a broad

<> Secretary Vilsack Announces Regional Hubs to Help Agriculture, Forestry Mitigate the Impacts of a Changing Climate - Feb. 5, 2014 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the creation of the first ever Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change at seven locations around the country. Seven major hubs and 3 Sub-Hubs including one in Houghton, MI

<> Sarbanes Announces Broad Coalition of Support for Government By the People Act- An unprecedented coalition of reformers rallied behind legislation to end big money politics and empower everyday Americans to take back their government. Introduced by U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the bipartisan Government By the People Act (H.R. 20) has been endorsed by over 35 national organizations advocating for the environment, education, labor, civil rights, clean government and more.

<> Smith: EPA Should Allow States Flexibility to Regulate - The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a hearing to focus on the scientific justification and cumulative impacts of regulations, policies and practices promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their effects on state sovereignty. The hearing specifically focused on Texas as a case study. Chairman Lamar Smith. . .

<> Senate EPW Hearing On West Virginia Drinking Water Crisis - "Examination of the Safety and Security of Drinking Water Supplies Following the Central West Virginia Drinking Water Crisis"

<> Vitter: EPA Takes First Step Toward Evaluating Full Economic Impacts In Future Regulations - EPA announcement to proceed with a review and examination of whole-economy modeling and its ability to capture more complete regulatory impacts of air regulations across the economy.

<> Rep. Waxman and the Safe Climate Caucus to Launch New Initiative -

Rep. Henry A. Waxman and members of the Safe Climate Caucus will announce Thursday their new initiative to take action to respond to the threat of climate change.  They will discuss the climate change and environmental issues facing Congress and the country in the coming year. Rep. Waxman formed the Safe Climate Caucus in February 2013 to bring attention to the urgent need. Link to video statement

<> In Austin, Energy Secretary Moniz Announces New ARPA-E Solar Projects - In Austin, Energy Secretary Moniz Announces New ARPA-E Solar Projects $30 Million "FOCUS" Program Supports 12 Projects that Develop Cost-Effective Solar Energy. . .

<> NRDC Experts: EPA Carbon Pollution Limits for New Power Plants Workable, Popular and Would Address Climate Change - (February 6, 2014) – The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed limits on carbon pollution from future power plants are realistic, would deliver real results and have attracted broad support nationwide, experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council will say today in a public hearing.

<> W.R. Grace Pays Over $63 Million Toward Cleanup and Restoration of Hazardous Waste Sites in Communities Across the Country (HQ) -

WASHINGTON – Today, Columbia, Md.-based W.R. Grace & Co. under its bankruptcy plan of reorganization, paid over $63 million to the U.S. government to resolve claims for environmental cleanups at approximately 39 sites in 21 states, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. Includes N-Forcer Site - Dearborn, Mich.

<> EPA to Hold Public Hearing on Carbon Pollution Standards for New Power Plants (HQ) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public hearing on Thursday, February 6, 2014 on the proposed carbon pollution standards for new. . . 

<> Senior Obama Administration Officials to Join Governor Brown, Mayor Garcetti, Other Leaders in L.A. for Climate Task Force Meeting (HQ) - On Thursday, February 13, senior Obama Administration officials, including White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs David Agnew, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. . . for the second meeting of President Obama's Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

<> KXL "Contractor Controversy" About to "Get Heated" - When the State Department's long-awaited Final Environmental Impact Statement into the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline was published last week, the report argued that KXL would not significantly add to global warming. It therefore supposedly passed the test that Obama outlined in a speech last summer when he said he would only approve the pipeline if it. . .

<> IMF chief Lagarde warns of "merciless" climate change - Speaking in London, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde says UN emissions deal and fossil fuel subsidies cut are now global priorities. . .

<> EPA Launches WaterSense H2Otel Challenge to Encourage Water Savings- U.S. EPA launched the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge to encourage hotels to assess water use, learn about the best management practices for reducing water in hotels, and track their results.

<> Current drought reduces hydro generation forecast for California -

(Thu, 06 Feb 2014) Forecasts for the water supply at nearly every major water gauge in the states of California and Nevada were less than half of average seasonal norms as of February 5. The water supply situation has not materially improved since the governor of California declared a state of emergency on January 17. The driest December on record has resulted in nearly 60% of.