Monday, March 03, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 3/3/14

<> EPA Sets Cleaner Fuel and Car Standards, Slashing Air Pollution and Providing Health Benefits to Thousands - Based on extensive input from the public and a broad range of stakeholders, including public health groups, auto manufacturers, refiners, and states, U.S. EPA today finalized the Tier 3 standards emission standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution and prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive.

<> EPA Moves to Protect Bristol Bay Fishery from Pebble Mine - U.S. EPA is initiating a process under the Clean Water Act to identify appropriate options to protect the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska from the potentially destructive impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine.

<> U.S. EPA's Reg DaRRT - The Regulatory Development and Retrospective Review Tracker (Reg DaRRT) focuses on priority rulemakings and retrospective reviews of existing regulations. Includes rulemakings that have not yet been proposed, those that are open for public comment, those for which EPA is working on a final rule, and those that have been recently finalized.

<> Stimulus Dollars Advance Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy In America's Cities - The nation's mayors this week released the results of a new survey pointing to city successes in using Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

<> CERCLA Contribution; The Confusion Continues - In the words of Justice Thomas in United States v. Atlantic Research Corp., the Circuit Courts have "frequently grappled" with the interplay between Sections 107(a) and 113 of CERCLA. These are the two provisions of the Statute that enable "covered persons", commonly referred to as potentially responsible parties or "PRPs", to recover response costs from other PRPs. In Atlantic Research, the Court. . .

<> First-Ever World Wildlife Day Spotlights Far-Reaching Impact of US$19 Billion Illicit Trade in Flora and Fauna - Economic, Social and Environmental Consequences Suffered as a Result of Wildlife Crime; The third of March was also the day of adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973.

<> New Report Shows Path Forward on Cutting Methane Emissions - Environmental Defense Fund recently commissioned a detailed economic analysis of opportunities to cut methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas industry.

<> Who Pays For Climate Regulation? - The heaviest burden for climate change regulation costs falls on people – especially lower income groups – and not corporations, according to new Stanford research.

<> Committee Approves Bill to Prevent, Mitigate Damage from Windstorms- a bipartisan bill (H.R. 1786) introduced by Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) to reauthorize and improve a multi-agency program that supports research to better understand and prepare for tornadoes, hurricanes and other windstorms.

<> Hundreds of Students Arrested in "XL Dissent" Action - President Obama may be facing the biggest international crisis of his leadership with the Russian invasion of Crimea, but he still faces domestic headaches at home. Yesterday, several hundred students from over 80 colleges across the United States were arrested outside the White House as they took part in "XL Dissent" – a major demonstration against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

<> Prospects for climate agreement boosted by survey of national laws - Sixty-six countries have legislation governing climate mitigation and adaptation plans, revealed a newly released United Nations-supported study that aims to boost progress towards a new universal agreement on climate. . . 

<> USDA Releases Updated "Food Environment Atlas" - Last week, the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) released an updated and expanded Food Environment Atlas, with 2012 data for many variables and 2013 data for farmers' markets.  New variables include SNAP policy variables, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), very low household food security, and 2012 State-level obesity rates. The Food Environment Atlas is an. .

<> Walmart Starts Promised Chemicals Policy - Walmart has informed dozens of product manufacturers throughout its supply chain that it is implementing its new chemicals policy that will phase out hazardous chemicals from its consumer products. Walmart announced the policy last year. The Policy on Sustainable Chemistry in Consumables provides a description of what it calls priority chemicals. Priority chemicals are substances with certain hazardous properties. . .

<> New Report Connects Climate Change & Food Insecurity - The report, "Food and Climate: Connecting the Dots, Choosing the Way Forward," outlines the climate requirements for successful food production, and examines two competing food production methods – industrial and organic. . .

<> Illinois Sustainable Technology Center studies energy potential of non-recycled plastics - Given our nation's need to improve energy security, a diverse energy supply is more important than ever. That diversity includes technologies that derive energy from waste, enabling us to harness the power of this underutilized resource. A new report released earlier this month revealed in greater detail the energy that can be derived from used plastics through a process called pyrolysis.