Tuesday, March 17, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 3/17/15


National / International News

<> House Hearing On EPA's Proposed 111(d) Rule for Existing Power Plants: Legal and Cost Issues - Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said today's hearing will focus on legal and cost issues relating to EPA's proposed carbon dioxide (CO2) rule for existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, referred to by the agency as the "Clean Power Plan." [background, webcast & testimony]

<> Leading Legal Scholars, Public Interest Lawyers Call Industry's Chemical Reform Bill 'Deeply Problematic' for Human Health - A group of top legal scholars, law professors and public interest lawyers with years of collective experience in public health law, including state and federal toxics policy, took issue with the industry-backed legislation filed last week by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and David Vitter (R-LA) to update the federal chemicals safety law.

<> New Funding Opportunity to Develop Larger Wind Turbine Blades - DOE announced $1.8 million in funding for the development of larger wind turbine blades that will help capture more power from wind resources and increase the efficiency of wind energy systems.

<> What's The True Cost of Gasoline? - When all the impacts are considered we are actually paying $6.25 for a gallon of regular or $7.72 for a gallon of diesel -- the question is: How is this figured, and who exactly is paying for it?

<> EPA Issues Report on Pennsylvania Animal Agriculture Programs - The assessment is one of six that the agency is conducting of state animal agriculture programs within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed -- EPA conducts periodic reviews of state programs as part of its oversight responsibilities under the Clean Water Act.

<> Winter's finally over: How did the NOAA Climate Outlook do? - Mike Halpert from the Climate Prediction Center grades the winter forecast. Temperature outlooks fared quite well, but precipitation forecasts were not that great. 

<> A Call to Change Recycling Standards as 3-D Printing Expands - Buying plastic filament for printing can be expensive, says Joshua Pearce, the lead researcher in the Open Sustainability Technology group at Michigan Technological University. Pearce and his students have whittled the cost of printing to ten cents per kilogram — down from $30 per kilogram -- by recycling plastic that had already been printed, using a recyclebot and plastic resin codes developed by the team.

<> Study Shows the Benefits of Pesticide-free Pollinator Habitat - (Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2015) Foraging bumblebees would prefer to dodge traffic rather than pesticides and other agricultural chemicals

<> Half a Million Americans Call on the EPA to Strengthen Smog Pollution Protections - During the EPA comment period on the smog standard which ends today, the Sierra Club and a coalition of clean air advocates - including groups like American Lung Association, the American Association of Pediatrics, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Moms Clean Air Force - organized thousands of Americans to submit comments

<> Lawsuit Launched to Protect Endangered Wildlife From New, Toxic Pesticide - EPA recognized that flupyradifurone could harm wildlife protected under the Endangered Species Act but failed to consult with expert wildlife agencies as required by the Act before approving it on January 14, 2015

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> Communities for a Better Environment v. U.S. EPA – 3/16/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 13-70167 (unpublished). Environmental groups challenged issues relating to Los Angeles air quality. The Panel denied the petition saying among other things, "EPA was neither arbitrary nor capricious in determining that the credits transferred to Sentinel were quantifiable and surplus."

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

<> Stabenow vows to fight for Great Lakes funding, pipeline review - Stabenow said she is not satisfied with ongoing efforts to bolster the public trust in a set of more than 60-year-old pipelines carrying petroleum under water in the Straits of Mackinac -- Citing advanced technology available to automatically stop the flow of oil through a pipeline in the event of a rupture or spill as one example, she said it's time to take precautionary action against such a threat to the Great Lakes.

<> Blue Water Area home to most sturgeon in Great Lakes - There are more lake sturgeon in the waters touching St. Clair County, MI than in any other spot in the Great Lakes -- and the population of the threatened species appears to be growing -- current estimate is in the 50,000-fish ballpark

<> Agenda for the Great Lakes Advisory Board teleconference March 19 - teleconference number is 877-744-6030; the participant code is 83810127

Michigan News

<> Gov. Creates New Department of Talent and Economic Development - Gov. Snyder said the launch of the Department, through Executive Order 2014-12, demonstrates that Michigan is taking the lead in closing the talent gap by preparing its people for the highly skilled, technical jobs of today and tomorrow

<> New State Revolving Fund Requirements for Fiscal Year 2016 - State Revolving Fund (SRF) projects coming in for fiscal year 2016 funding and beyond will need to comply with new federal statute requirements listed here

<> MDNR completes latest moose population survey - The results of its 2015 moose population survey in the western moose range of the Upper Peninsula indicates the 2015 population estimate is 323, compared to an estimate of 451 in 2013

<> Michigan Energy Office Student Internship Program Project Solicitation for Agribusiness - The program is designed to help agribusinesses implement innovative but commercially available energy efficient technologies that will help them reduce energy usage and costs while providing unique opportunities to students to gain real-world work experience.

<> DTE's costly strategy on Fermi 3 - Jeff Alson is an environmental engineer who has promoted sustainable transportation policies at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Ann Arbor since 1978. He is also a member of the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3 

<> MSU to provide funding for campus sustainability research - MSU's Office of Sustainability is now accepting applications for its Sustainability Fellows Program. The new program seeks to engage MSU faculty and graduate students in research opportunities that directly impact and advance sustainability on campus.

<> C&D Waste Recycling Training-March 19th 2015 in Lansing - Michigan Recycling Coalition is sponsoring this WasteCap training

<> Annual reports for seven Wetland Wonders - Michigan's Wetland Wonders are the seven premier Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas in the state: Fennville Farm Unit at the Allegan State Game Area (Allegan County), Fish Point State Wildlife Area (Tuscola County), St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island (St. Clair County), Muskegon County Wastewater Facility (Muskegon County), Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area (Bay County), Pointe Mouillee State Game Area (Monroe and Wayne counties) and Shiawassee River State Game Area (Saginaw County).

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).