Friday, May 15, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/15/15



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National / International News

<> U.S. power sector CO2 emissions expected to increase through 2040 - (Fri, 15 May 2015) Although U.S. carbon dioxide emissions associated with electricity generation have fallen from the 2005 level, they are projected to increase in the coming decades, based on analysis in EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015) that reflects current laws and regulations, and therefore does not include proposed rules such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan.

<> Senate Reverses Course and Advances TPP Fast Track Bill - The U.S. Senate advanced the Fast Track bill today in a rushed vote following a slew of concessions made to swing Democrats who had voted to block it earlier this week

<> How will the world react to Pope Francis's encyclical on climate change? - The subject in question is climate change, as the Holy Father gears up to release a much-anticipated Papal encyclical – a letter to Catholics everywhere – that will consider care for creation, sustainable development and the impact that climate change is having on the world's poorest people.

<> API Sues U.S. Over Oil-Train Rules The American Petroleum Institute said it filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Transportation challenging a federal timeline for oil-train safety.

<> OIG Report On EPA's Oversight of State Pesticide Inspections - The EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) says EPA oversight needs improvement to better ensure safeguards for workers, public and environment are enforced

<> Duke Energy Subsidiaries Plead Guilty and Sentenced for Clean Water Act Crimes/The companies will pay a fine and conduct community service and wetlands mitigation - Three subsidiaries of North Carolina-based Duke Energy Corporation, the largest utility in the United States, pleaded guilty today to nine criminal violations of the Clean Water Act at several of its North Carolina facilities and agreed to pay a $68 million criminal fine and spend $34 million on environmental projects and land conservation to benefit rivers and wetlands in North Carolina and Virginia.

<> Facilitating the Development of Offshore Wind Energy in the United States - The Energy Department's Wind Program is seeking feedback from the wind industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders regarding the key challenges currently facing offshore wind energy and the Wind Program's implementation of the Energy Department's National Offshore Wind Strategy report released in 2011.

<> API Ad Campaign To Stop New Ozone Regulations - The American Petroleum Institute (API) will launch a major new television, radio, print, and online advertising campaignFriday to urge the Obama administration to keep the current ozone standards rather than implementing new ones -- "A new standard in the range of 65 to 70 parts per billion could be the costliest regulation ever imposed on the American public."

<> Why the 97 per cent consensus on climate change still gets challenged - Active misinformation campaigns by those seeking to oppose or delay climate policy has created a persistent "consensus gap" -- one of the most persistent among them is Professor Richard Tol, an econometrician who teaches at the University of Sussex

<> The Arguments That Convinced a Libertarian to Support Aggressive Action on Climate - Jerry Taylor, a longtime veteran of the libertarian think tank Cato Institute who recently founded his own libertarian organization, the Niskanen Center -- about five or six years ago, he says, he was convinced by a series of discussions, mainly with other right-leaning thinkers, that he was wrong on climate policy -- his position "fundamentally switched."

<> Democrats, Sportsmen Organizations Hold Major Roundtable on the Future of Public Lands Conservation, Fate of Land and Water Fund - As part of Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva's (D-AZ) ongoing efforts to diversify the environmental movement and establish new conservation alliances, Democratic House Natural Resources Committee lawmakers and members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus held a major roundtable on May 13, with national hunting, fishing, wildlife and conservation organizations to discuss potential collaboration on public lands issues, habitat protection, wildlife conservation and access to public lands and waterways.

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> Resource Investments v. U.S. - 5/12/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Case No. Resource Investments, Inc. and Land Recovery, Inc. (collectively, "Resource Investments") appeal the Court of Federal Claims' ("Claims Court") dismissal of their Fifth Amendment takings claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1500. The Appeals Court affirmed the Federal Claims' decision -- "the Claims Court correctly dismissed Resource Investments' complaint as barred by § 1500."

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).

<> REMEDIATION, SUPERFUND, MICHIGAN - Proposed Rule. U.S. EPA - National Priorities List: Deletion of the Burrows Sanitation Superfund Site, Hartford Township, Van Buren County, MI

<> REMEDIATION, SUPERFUND, MICHIGAN - Direct Final Rule. U.S. EPA - National Priorities List: Deletion of the Burrows Sanitation Superfund Site, Hartford Township, Van Buren County, MI

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> Canada and U.S. Draft Reports for Candidate Chemicals for Public Review - The 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement requires the United States and Canada to identify Chemicals of Mutual Concern (CMCs) that the two countries agree are potentially harmful to the environment or human health as a result of their presence in the waters of the Great Lakes.

<> GLSLCI Annual Meeting - The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative's 2015 Annual Conference will be held June 17-19, 2015, in Sarnia, Ont. -- Bridging Innovation and Change has been chosen as the overarching theme.

Michigan News

<> 'Pure Michigan' campaign could disappear under House Republican road plan - House Speaker Kevin Cotter announced a plan to pump up to $1 billion into roads, but it takes money away from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which runs the Pure Michigan campaign -- MEDC President and CEO Steve Arwood, said the Pure Michigan campaign was at stake.

<> Detroit water shutoffs set for next week, as payment plans fail - Some 18,000 Detroit households could have their water shut off next week,  less than a year after the city started a program that was supposed to avoid this exact situation -- Detroit residents owe the city $47 million in late water bills, according to a water department report from March.

<> MPSC Conditionally Approves Consumers Energy's Request to Amend Its Renewable Energy Plan by Adding Community Solar Program - If adopted by the utility, it would be the first community solar program offered by a regulated electric utility in Michigan -- participants have the opportunity to purchase subscriptions in 0.5 kilowatt blocks and receive a bill credit for 25 years based on the amount of electricity generated by the solar installation.

<> MPSC Authorizes Indiana Michigan Power Company to Reconcile Its 2013 Energy Optimization Revenues and Expenses - Beginning with June, residential customers using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month will see an decrease of 5 cents on their monthly bills.

<> MPSC Directs DTE Michigan Gathering Holding Company to Supply Additional Information on Two Natural Gas Pipelines - 90 days to supply additional information related to its already-submitted environmental assessments on two natural gas pipeline projects -- the Garfield 36 pipeline (Case No. U-17195) and the Beaver Creek 11 Pipeline (Case No. U-17196) in Kalkaska and Crawford counties, respectively.

<> Warren, Michigan Resolutions On Air Quality & Coal This week the city council in Warren, third most populous city in Michigan, unanimously passed two resolutions to significantly improve the community's air quality and reduce dependence on coal for electricity.

<> DNR: Bald eagle found fatally shot in Washtenaw County - The bird was found in a rural area on April 3 in Salem Township, northeast of Ann Arbor.

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).


Daily Activity (5/14/15)


HB 4604 of 2015 Natural resources; soil and erosion; soil erosion and sedimentation permit process; provide exemption for certain agricultural practices. [Committee]

HB 4093 of 2015 Appropriations; zero budget; department of environmental quality; provide for fiscal year 2015-2016. Creates appropriation act. [Laid Over 1 day]


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