Wednesday, April 08, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/8/15


National / International News

<> Remarks by the President After Roundtable on the Impacts of Climate Change on Public Health - Howard University Washington, D.C. 3:31 P.M. THE PRESIDENT:  I just had the opportunity to have a terrific conversation with our outstanding new Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, our EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, but also some incredible activists from different walks of life in the public health arena.

<> EPA Releases New Website Enabling the Public to Track Compliance Status of Public Water Systems U.S. EPA released the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) dashboard, a user-friendly website that presents data about violations and the compliance status of public water systems.

<> New Maps & Data section on offers easy-to-understand maps and entry-level information on climate data - Easy-to-understand climate maps, a visual catalog of popular climate products, and instructional pages that cover the fundamentals of measuring climate variables and processing and using climate data.

<> EPA, NASA, NOAA and USGS Creating Early Warning System to Detect Harmful Algal Blooms – U.S. EPA announced that it is developing an early warning indicator system using historical and current satellite data to detect algal blooms.

<> Sen. Murkowski Amendment Ensures Smart, Well-Balanced Public Lands Policy - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), issued a response to groups who have been misrepresenting the facts surrounding her amendment to the budget resolution, which was approved by the Senate  on March 26.

<> Smith Requests Advocacy Group's Communications with EPA Administrator - Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to the League of Conservation Voters requesting all communications they have had with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. 

<> Analysing the lifecycle of today's mobile phone - It is estimated that in 2014 over two billion mobile phones were sold worldwide -- 1 billion of which were smartphones -- an astonishing 150,000,000 are trashed each year globally.

<> USDA Awards Grants to Address Water Quality, Availablity in Agriculture Communities - WASHINGTON, April 7, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 21 grants totaling more than $10 million have been awarded to universities to support critical water problems in rural and agricultural watersheds across the United States.

<> Scientists probe methane mystery in Four Corners - A team of scientific investigators is now in the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest, an area where the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet at one point, aiming to uncover reasons for a mysterious methane hotspot detected from space by a European satellite. 

<> Bloomberg Philanthropies Reinvests in Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign - Building on a successful, state-driven strategy that has made it possible for the U.S. to be a world leader in aggressive emission reductions, the new round of funding builds on a previous commitment of $50 million, raising the foundation's overall investment in the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign to $80 million.

<> China's National Coal Cap Policy Could Save Nearly 50,000 Lives and $6.2 billion Every Year by 2020 - BEIJING (April 8, 2015) – China's proposed national policies to curb coal use will provide enormous air quality and health benefits to the public and coal industry workers, saving 49,000 lives and $6.2 billion in 2020, according to a new study released today by the China Coal Cap Project, a joint initiative of academic, governmental and non-profit researchers, with the support of the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) and World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).

<> Groups Challenge Major USDA Change to Organic Rule - (Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2015)  Organic stakeholders have filed a lawsuit in federal court, maintaining that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the federal rulemaking process when it changed established procedures for reviewing the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in producing organic food. 

<> Ohio TV Ad Criticizes Sen. Portman for Siding with Polluters - (April 7, 2015) – A new statewide television ad chastises Ohio Senator Rob Portman for leading the charge in Congress to let power plants keep fouling our air with pollution that contributes to "catastrophic climate change" and leads to childhood asthma attacks.

  • Portman Offers Amendment Returning Power to the States Regarding EPA Regulations - U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), a member of the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, offered an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution that would establish a reserve fund for legislation to give any state the option to opt-out of greenhouse gas regulations from U.S. EPA if the state determines the regulations would increase retail electricity prices, threaten electricity reliability, or have a negative impact on the state's economy.

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).

<> HAZARDOUS WASTE - Final Rule. U.S. EPA - Response to Vacaturs of the Comparable Fuels Rule and the Gasification Rule [Links to the vacaturs are below]

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Michigan News

<> Eagle Mine – Humboldt Mill surface water discharge permit renewed - MDEQ announced it has approved revisions to the surface water discharge permit for the Humboldt Mill near Marquette which they say will safeguard wetlands and the middle branch of the Escanaba River

<> Senator Stabenow Applauds Selection of Michigan State University for Grant to Address Water Quality - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) announcement that Michigan State University has been awarded a $900,000 grant to work with farmers to address critical water problems in rural communities and agriculture watersheds.

<>  Consumers Energy warns of looming electricity shortage in 2016 and beyond - Rolling blackouts and electricity shortages may become the new norm, as the state's two largest utilities will shutter coal plants under federal mandates and a partially deregulated market leaves them skittish of new energy investment, officials warned in a recent [last November] report.

<> DNR's Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council to meet April 16 in Newberry

<> Public Comment Period for the Draft 2015 Michigan Consolidated Plan - The purpose of the 2015 Consolidated Plan is to describe programs and activities that will be undertake in conjunction with HUD programs funded with Federal Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) dollars.

<> Green Labs Workshop in Grand Rapids, May 11, 2015 - The final workshop of the Michigan Green Labs Initiative and the launch of the West Michigan Green Labs Pilot, participants will learn how green lab programs promote green practices and environmentally-friendly, sustainable technology in laboratories that have been proven to reduce energy use by 30 to 50 percent.

<> Detroit leaders to unveil app for infrastructure complaints - The city of Detroit is launching a cellphone application that will make it easier for residents to file complaints about infrastructure.

<> API-Michigan Hires Katharine Hoeksema to join effort on growing energy priorities in state - LANSING, Mich., April 6, 2015 – The Associated Petroleum Industries of Michigan (API-Michigan) announced that Katharine Hoeksema has joined as legislative analyst.

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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