Tuesday, May 05, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/5/15



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National / International News

<> Health Benefits of EPA Clean Power Plan Large but Hinge on Policy Choices - A new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change shows that states can gain large clean air and public health benefits from power plant carbon standards --  documenting how these added benefits depend entirely on critical policy choices that will be made by EPA in the final Clean Power Plan expected in July.

<> Supreme Court to rule on breaks for cutting peak-demand energy use - The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will review whether a federal agency (FERC) may require electric market operators to compensate customers who lower their consumption of electricity during peak demand hours.

<> USDA Announces $235 Million Available for Innovative New Conservation Partnerships - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an investment of up to $235 million to improve the nation's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability -- Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), the newest conservation tool of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Pre-proposals are due July 8, 2015.

<> Crude by rail accounts for more than half of East Coast refinery supply in February - (Tue, 05 May 2015) Monthly rail receipts of crude oil accounted for more than half (52%) of the crude oil supply to East Coast refineries in February.

<> Senate Budget conference report votes expected tonight - The motion to proceed was agreed by a vote of 53-44; now there be up to 10 hours for debate equally divided prior to a vote on adoption of the Budget conference report -- if all time is used, the vote would occur around 8:50pm; however may be able to yield back some time and vote earlier, in the 5-7pm range.

  • S.Con.Res.11 - An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016

<> Energy Department Awards Nearly $10 Million for Efficient Lighting Development - The Department of Energy  announced nine research and development projects that will help accelerate the development of high-quality light-emitting diode (LED) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) products that can significantly reduce overall U.S. energy consumption and save consumers money.

<> Alberta's Possible Pivot to the Left Alarms Canadian Oil Sector - Canada's oil-rich province of Alberta is on the cusp of electing a left-wing government that can make life harder for the energy industry with its plans to raise taxes, end support for key pipeline projects and seek a bigger cut of oil revenues -- polls suggest Tuesday's election is set to end the Conservative's 44-year reign in the province

<> Senate Hearing: Surface Transportation Reauthorization: The Importance of a Long Term Reauthorization - The third in a series of hearings on the reauthorization of highway safety programs under the Committee's jurisdiction, this hearing will focus on the importance of a long-term surface transportation reauthorization.

<> Alarming New Study Could Be First of Many Signs That Fracking Threatens Drinking Water - A new study found a chemical used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Pennsylvania drinking water is more evidence that this type of oil and gas drilling could continue to threaten our precious water supplies

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> State of Veracruz v. BP - 5/1/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Case No. 13-31070. In September 2010, three Mexican states (Veracruz, Tamaulipas, and Quintana Roo filed complaints in the Western District of Texas for damages incurred as a result of the BP oil spill. 
    The Eastern District of Louisiana as part of the Deepwater Horizon multidistrict litigation,  in September 2013 granted summary judgment to the defendants saying the Mexican states did not hold a sufficient "proprietary interest" in the allegedly damaged property. The Appeals Court affirmed the district court decision.

<> Appeals Court Reaffirms Decision that Upheld Program to Reduce Climate Pollution – 5/4/15. Texas v. EPA. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 10-1425, consolidated with many others.

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)

Great Lakes News

<> Lake Huron nuclear waste burial report expected this week - A Canadian environmental assessment of a proposal to bury nuclear waste deep underground near the shores of Lake Huron is expected this week amid fierce opposition to the idea from home and abroad.

<> Bigger bang for your buck: Restoring fish habitat by removing barriers - A new study published April 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes a powerful new model to help decision makers maximize the cost-effectiveness of barrier removal projects that also restore migratory fish habitat.

<> Who Owns the Great Lakes? - Join Stephen Henderson, Professor of Environmental Law from Wayne StateNoah Hall and author of "The Great Lakes Water Wars"  Peter Annin for a conversation on the fight for fresh water from the Great Lakes.

<> Imperiled butterfly leads way for conservation of climate sensitive species - State and federal agencies have put the blue bug at the forefront of adaptive management and conservation efforts across the Great Lakes.

Michigan News

<> MDEQ announces CAFO permit change to protect Michigan waters - MDEQ announced a change to its permits for large farms as part of the state's efforts to better protect Michigan waters from agricultural runoff -- the change with the reissuing of the general permit disallows large farms to "manifest," or transfer farm waste to other operations from January through March unless the recipient follows the winter spreading technical standard.

<> Merit Energy to Reduce Harmful Air Pollution from Leaking Equipment & Pay $885,000 civil penalty - Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from leaking equipment impact the environment and may cause serious health effects.  

  • U.S. v. Merit Energy Company, LLC - Plaintiff the United States of America ("United States"), on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), has filed a complaint regarding violations of the Clean Air Act against Merit Energy Company, LLC at its natural gas processing plant in Kalkaska, concurrently with the lodging of this Consent Decree

<> Natural Resources Commission to meet Thursday in Lansing - Link to more information about the Natural Resources Commission, including full agendas and meeting minutes

<> Otsego Main Street Earns Community Engagement Support - The Michigan Main Street Center (MMSC) at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) recently announced that Otsego Main Street will receive technical assistance led by national consultants to design a customized community development strategy.

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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