Monday, April 20, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/20/15


National / International News

<> President's Weekly Address: Climate Change Can No Longer Be Ignored - In this week's address, the President spoke about his commitment to combatting the threat of climate change and to keeping ourselves and future generations safe.

<> Kerry to visit Arctic amid concern over ice melt - Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the Arctic Circle this week for key ministerial talks on climate change amid global concerns about rising seas and accelerating ice melt.

<> U.S. To Host Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate - Secretary of State John Kerry will open the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate at the U.S. Department of State on April 19-20 -- the forum is hosted by U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and chaired by Deputy National Security Advisor Caroline Atkinson.

<> Hatch, Wyden and Ryan Introduce Trade Promotion Authority Legislation - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI.) introduced bipartisan, bicameral Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that establishes concrete rules for international trade negotiations to help the United States deliver strong, high-standard trade agreements that will boost American exports and create new economic opportunities and better jobs for American workers, manufacturers, farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs.

<> U.S., China top dumping of electronic waste; little recycled - The United States and China contributed most to record mountains of electronic waste (any device with an electric cord or battery) such as cellphones, hair dryers and fridges in 2014 and less than a sixth ended up recycled worldwide, according to a  U.N. study -- overall, 41.8 million tonnes of "e-waste".

<> New Report Demonstrates Water Use in the United States Declined in All Sectors between 2005 and 2010 - Total water use in the United States declined markedly in the five-year period ending in 2010, according to data released from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) [See below for Michigan details]. 

<> Energy Star Partner of the Year Award ceremony - Today, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will give remarks at the Energy Star Partner of the Year Award ceremony to recognize 128 Energy Star partners in 33 states-- including Fortune 500 companies, schools, hospitals, retailers, manufacturers, home builders, and buildings— for their outstanding contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency.

<> USDA Reminds Farmers to Certify Conservation Compliance by June 1 Deadline - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers that the 2014 Farm Bill requires producers to file a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) with their local USDA service center by June 1, 2015, in order to become or remain eligible for crop insurance premium support.

<> DOT Agencies Take Coordinated Actions to Increase the Safe Transportation of Energy Products - The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced with its agencies, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a package of targeted actions that will address some of the issues identified in recent train accidents involving crude oil and ethanol shipped by rail. [All documents are available]

<> Farm Bureau Endorses Bill to Sink Controversial WOTUS Rule - The American Farm Bureau Federation asked Congress to pass legislation ordering the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the controversial "Waters of the United States" proposal.

  • Committee Votes for Withdrawal of Flawed Waters Regulation Rule - The bipartisan Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732) stops a rule proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to significantly broaden the federal government's power to regulate waters and adjacent lands.
  • H.R. 1732: Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015

<> UCS Says NERC Study Is Misleading on the Clean Power Plan - The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) says the North American Reliability Corporation (NERC) is distorting reality with false premise and assumptions regarding the Administration's Clean Power Plan.

<> March and first quarter 2015 were warmest in 136 years for globe - The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for March 2015 was the highest for the month since record keeping began in 1880 & year-to-date (January–March) globally averaged temperature was also record high.

<>  World Bank Group increases spending on fossil fuels - New analysis released by Oil Change International shows that, despite repeated calls for urgent action on climate change, the World Bank Group increased funding for fossil fuels in its last fiscal year -- this increase comes during the first full fiscal year following the World Bank's announced commitment to limit coal financing due to climate concerns.

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife - 4/17/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Case No. 12-1508 & 12-1509. Environmental groups assert that the Service violated the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act  when it  conveyed strip of land for the construction of a parkway. 
     The district court affirmed the Service's actions and the Appeals Court affirmed its decision.

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).

<> WATER QUALITY - Proposed Rule. U.S. EPA - Clean Water Act Methods Update Rule for the Analysis of Effluent; Comment Extension

<> OIL & GAS, ARCTIC Outer Continental Shelf - Proposed Rule. BOEM and BSEE - Comment Extension.  Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf-Requirements for Exploratory Drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> Shipping Great Lakes water? That's California dreaming - Amid rising water supply crises, could the parched American Southwest ever get its hands on the world's most abundant and valuable liquid fresh water supply — our Great Lakes?

<> Ohio wants to bring two fish species back to Lake Erie - Ohio wants to reintroduce two fish to Lake Erie whose native populations have been gone for decades -- sturgeon, a species endangered in Ohio, and sauger, a popular game fish

Michigan News

<> MDEQ Environmental Calendar for April 20, 2015

<> Only 3 wolves left on Michigan's Isle Royale - Only three wolves now remain on Michigan's Isle Royale, down from nine wolves last year, Michigan Technological University scientists reported Friday.

<> Feds eye Michigan for possible drought, but forecasters skeptical - The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center highlighted much of lower Michigan and the far western portion of the Upper Peninsula in an area where drought development is likely now through the end of July.

<> Mystery follows birds' migration path back to Michigan - There are many reasons to care about migratory birds and their habitat, says a Michigan Tech researcher    

<> Michigan ranked ninth for total water use in 2010, at 10.8 billion gallons per day - Michigan residents use about 79 gallons per person per day, below the national average of 88 gallons -- Monroe County had the highest residential water use, at 93 gallons per person per day in 2010; the tri-county area, residential consumption rates were 85 in Wayne, 80 in Macomb and 74 in Oakland

<> M-1 Rail construction begins today at Campus Martius - Crain's Detroit Business - Starting today, crews will begin installing a curved track around Campus Martius in downtown Detroit as part of the $140 million M-1 Rail project.

<> Michigan's U.S. Senators have doubts about trade deal legislation - Neither of Michigan's U.S. Senators likes a deal that would give President Obama the authority to negotiate a major trade deal with Pacific nations.There are congressional hearings on the legislation this week.

<> Michigan fire season builds during Wildfire Prevention Week - MDNR is using the state's annual observance of Wildfire Prevention Week, April 19-25, to remind the public about the dangers of wildfires.

<> Congressman Kildee says he'd try to change federal laws to forgive Flint's water debts U.S. EPA says it cannot forgive loans the city of Flint took out 15 years ago to improve its water system -- the agency responded this week in a letter to U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI)

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).

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