Friday, February 21, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 2/21/14

<> Global Forest Watch: Dynamic New Platform to Protect Forests Worldwide- World Resources Institute (WRI), Google, and a group of more than 40 partners launched Global Forest Watch (GFW), a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system that empowers people everywhere to better manage forests.

<> A Discussion on Climate Change: Evidence and Causes - February 27th, 2014, 10:00-11:30 EST. Register to view webcast by The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society re: a new publication produced jointly by the two institutions.

<> EPA Proposes New Safety Measures to Protect Farm Workers from Pesticide Exposure (HQ) – U.S. EPA announced proposed revisions to the Worker Protection Standard in order to protect the nation's two million farm workers and their families from pesticide exposure.

<> Flurry of Coal Power Plant Shutdowns Expected by 2016 - Because of new standards, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that 90 percent of the power plants expected to shut down by 2020 will actually be shut down by 2016.

<> Natural Gas Prices Hit 5-Year High of $6/MMBtu - Natural gas prices are up more than 45% this year and have now hit their highest point since 2009, based on record demand and falling supply. "Americans are getting hit in the wallets by huge price spikes and supply shortages, but it will only get worse if we send more natural gas overseas to our global competitors. It's bad enough now, but this is an eerie foreshadowing of the crisis to. . .

<> Powering California with 50% Renewable Energy by 2030: New Analysis Shows It Can Be Done - The study was led by a private consulting firm — Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3) — and commissioned by the state's five largest electric utilities.

<> Rep. Waxman and Sen. Whitehouse Criticize Republican Leaders for Climate Change Response- a letter to Sen. John McCain and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich responding to their criticisms of Secretary of State John Kerry's recent speech in Indonesia on the dangers of climate change. 

<> Utilities Industry Members Applaud Sen. Murkowski's Electric Reliability White Paper - WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) last week warned attendees at the annual winter meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) that the reliability of the nation's electric grid could suffer unless federal policymakers pay greater attention to the impacts of a range of new factors and forces, including changes in the. . .

<> GAO Report: Plutonium Disposition Program - DOE Needs to Analyze the Root Causes of Cost Increases and Develop Better Cost Estimates, GAO-14-231

  • Nuclear Waste: Auditors find continuing mismanagement at nuclear fuel plant - The Energy Department has repeatedly and substantially underestimated the costs of building a South Carolina plant meant to turn surplus plutonium from nuclear weapons into fuel for power plants, federal auditors declared in a new report on Feb. 20. The Government Accountability Office said the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration moreover has never completed "root. . .

<> GAO Report On Oil and Gas - Interior Has Begun to Address Hiring and Retention Challenges but Needs to Do More, GAO-14-205. Challenges hiring and retaining staff with key skills needed to manage and oversee oil and gas operations on federal leases.

<> Federal Court Strikes Down Bush-Era Stream-Dumping Rule - Pro-mountaintop removal measure and threat to clean water gets the axe. A federal court struck down a controversial George W. Bush administration rule that opened up Appalachia's streams and waterways to toxic dumping from destructive mountaintop removal mining operations.

<> 100+ Scientists Urge Obama to Wait on New Science before Permitting the Use of Seismic Airguns in the Atlantic Ocean - days before the Department of the Interior is expected to release its final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)

<> New GMO Studies Demonstrate 'Substantial Non-Equivalence' - Studies document substantial differences of GM maize and GM soybean from their conventional non-GM counterparts, exposing a permissive regulatory regime that has failed miserably in protecting public health and biodiversity.