Tuesday, May 19, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/19/15



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National / International News

<> Announcing New Steps to Promote Pollinator Health - Today, under the leadership of the U.S. EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Presidential interagency Task Force is releasing its Strategy and its accompanying science-based Pollinator Research Action Plan outlining needs and priority actions to better understand pollinator losses and improve pollinator health.

<> Sen. Whitehouse Delivers 100th Weekly Climate Speech - For the last three years, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has delivered a weekly "Time to Wake Up" speech on the Senate floor about the urgent need to act on climate change -- last evening, Whitehouse delivered the 100th installment in his "Time to Wake Up" series – "April 18, 2012, was not the first time I spoke on the Senate floor on the dangers of carbon pollution. But it was the first in the weekly series that brings me here today. . ."

<> Critics Hear E.P.A.'s Voice in 'Public Comments' - In a campaign that tests the limits of federal lobbying law, the agency orchestrated a drive to counter political opposition from Republicans and enlist public support in concert with liberal environmental groups and a grass-roots organization aligned with President Obama.

<> Committee Releases Energy Diplomacy Draft - The Energy and Power Subcommittee today released a discussion draft entitled "Title III: Energy Diplomacy," to be included in the committee's Architecture of Abundance energy legislation.

<> 2015 State of Corporate Adaptation Survey - In partnership with Four Twenty Seven and with support from Business for Social Responsibility, Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN) released the 2015 Corporate Adaptation Report -- insights into whether and how enterprises are preparing for the physical impacts of climate change.

<> Rep. Cramer Bill Would Allow Opt-Out From House Lead Paint Regs - The bipartisan bill was introduced by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), with eight co-sponsors, would reinstate the opt-out provision to allow home owners without small children or pregnant women residing in the home to decide whether to require LRRP compliance, allow remodelers to correct paperwork errors without facing full penalties and provide an exemption for emergency renovations.

<>  EIA launches redesigned International Energy Portal - (Tue, 19 May 2015) On May 18, EIA launched a beta version of a redesigned International Energy Portal designed to help users access international energy data and to provide new and expanded tools and capabilities to examine trends in global energy markets.

<>  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Propose Actions to Build on Successes of Endangered Species Act - The actions will engage the states, promote the use of the best available science and transparency in the scientific process, incentivize voluntary conservation efforts, and focus resources in ways that will generate even more successes under the ESA.

<> April 2015 Global Climate Report - The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for April was fourth warmest on record for the month.

<> Oil Groups Ask Court to Temporarily Block U.S. Fracking Rules - The Independent Petroleum Association Of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance filed a motion on Friday for a preliminary injunction to prevent the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management from enforcing the regulations, arguing the standards will cause their members irreparable harm.

<> USDA to Expand Investment in Water Conservation, Resilience across Drought-Stricken States - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest approximately $21 million in additional Farm Bill dollars to help farmers and ranchers apply science-based solutions to mitigate the short and long term effects of drought.

<> Atmospheric Release of BPA May Reach Nearby Waterways - Researchers from the University of Missouri and the U.S. Geological Survey have assessed Missouri water quality near industrial sites permitted to release Bisphenol-A (BPA) into the air and now believe that atmospheric releases may create a concern for contamination of local surface water leading to human and wildlife exposure.

<> Riverkeeper sues DOT over critically flawed crude-by-rail standards - Riverkeeper is challenging new U.S. Department of Transportation crude-by-rail standards in federal court, saying that they fail to protect the public and the environment from proven threats.

<> Western Governors Urge Congress to Pass Committee's Coal Ash Bill - The Western Governors' Association last week wrote to House and Senate leaders urging both chambers to take up and pass legislation to improve EPA's rule for coal ash management and disposal. 

<> STUDY: Will Switch From Diesel Trucks to Natural Gas Reduce Greenhouse Impact? - Shifting from diesel fuel to natural gas to power the nation's heavy duty commercial trucking sector would achieve widely promised climate benefits only if widespread emissions of heat-trapping methane across the natural gas value chain are reduced, according to a new study coauthored by researchers from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> Town of Barnstable v. O'Connor - 5/18/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, Case No. 14-1597. In the ongoing series of lawsuits regarding a proposed off-shore wind power generation facility in Nantucket Sound, Plaintiffs, the Town of Barnstable and Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, et al sought an injunction against Massachusetts, et al regarding the Cape Wind facility
     The district court granted defendants' motions to dismiss after determining that the Eleventh Amendment precluded the assertion of federal court jurisdiction. The Appeals Court  said, ". . .we disagree that the Eleventh Amendment bars the assertion of federal court jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims, and we remand for resolution of the case's status and the possible need to resolve a litany of other issues concerning the viability of the complaint."

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).

<> Nothing We're Tracking Today (click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Michigan News

<> Gov. Rick Snyder: Michigan Agency for Energy will prepare state to meet energy challenges - Gov. Rick Snyder launched the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE), to be headed by Valerie Brader, which he said will serve as a single entity dedicated to getting all of state government departments and commissions the information and context they need to support Michigan's energy priorities.

<> Michigan Energy Office CHP in Michigan Request for Proposals - The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) through the Michigan Energy Office (MEO) is offering a grant to Michigan entities for the development and deployment of a comprehensive plan to accelerate the adoption of combined heat & power and waste heat to power (collectively, CHP) in Michigan -- deadline July 2, 2015.

<> Opinion: A roads solution for Michigan – ". . .solution is suggested by looking at the way Proposal A – Michigan's current school funding system – was adopted back in 1994. . ."

  • Get the facts: Understanding the House GOP roads plan - Michigan House Republicans believe roads should be a top priority at the state Capitol; and while it's very easy to just say that roads should be a priority, we know that Michigan residents expect more from their elected officials. 

<> Metro-Detroit Business and Institution Sustainability Summit - Monday, June 15, engage Metro-Detroit business and institution leaders around the importance of addressing climate change and specifically develop innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint, reduce their energy cost, and get stakeholder feedback on the DCAC Business and Institution Framework, developed from leaders throughout Metropolitan Detroit – Registration Form

<> State grants focus on recreation, accessibility to township beaches - Accessibility will be the theme of some upcoming beach projects in Arcadia and Onekama Townships as the state authorized more than $560,000 in grant funding for the two communities.

<> EDITORIAL: Shine more light on pipelines, not less - Recent actions in Michigan involving oil pipelines ought to have citizens worried about whether their elected officials and bureaucrats are looking after their interests properly.

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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