Friday, March 27, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 3/27/15


National / International News

<> McConnell Statement on Senate Passage of FY 2016 Balanced Budget - "By passing a balanced budget that emphasizes growth, common sense and the needs of the middle class, Republicans have shown that the Senate is under new management and delivering on the change and responsible government the American people expect."

<> Administration's Plan to Combat and Prevent Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria - The Administration is releasing the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (NAP).

<> Sens. Lankford & Heitkamp Launch #CutRedTape Initiative to Gather Stories About Impacts of Federal Regulations - Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) launched a new bipartisan #CutRedTape Initiative, a new way for American families and businesses to communicate with the Senate about how federal regulations impact them.

<> Republican Senators Submit Comments on CEQ's Draft Climate Guidance - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee and other GOP Senators submitted comments on draft guidance from the CEQ on considering climate change under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

<> DOE & Financing the Growing American Auto Industry - With more than $16 billion in remaining Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan authority, the Department of Energy is making a $259 million loan to aluminum manufacturer Alcoa, Inc. to support manufacturing of high-strength aluminum sheet at the company's Alcoa, Tennessee facility -- the first new loan since 2011.

<> Energy Efficiency Improvement Act passes by voice vote - The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act was passed by voice vote, with the two senators the only two on the floor after 4 a.m. Friday.

<> Bill to Thwart GMO Labeling Effort is Back - Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) has reintroduced his bill that would block federal and state efforts to require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

<> Ethanol and Agriculture Groups Challenge Anti-Biofuels Effort - Ethanol and agriculture industry groups came together today to advocate for continued funding of U.S. blender pump initiatives and U.S. export promotion efforts in a letter to the House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Programs Committee on Appropriations.

<> Beijing to Shut All Major Coal Power Plants to Cut Pollution - Beijing, where pollution averaged more than twice China's national standard last year, will close the last of its four major coal-fired power plants next year.

<> Without the Cochin pipeline, western Canadian propane seeks new outlets - (Fri, 27 Mar 2015) In April 2014, after 35 years of shipping propane from western Canada to the upper Midwest, the Cochin pipeline was removed from propane service, and in July repurposed to ship light petroleum liquids north from Illinois to western Canada.

<> Kentucky's Proposed Tar Sands Mining Puts People, Water, Wildlife at Risk - The Center for Biological Diversity called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits for a tar sands mining project in Logan County, KY, that would include strip-mining wetlands and streams in pursuit of these particularly dirty and dangerous fossil fuels.

<> Green Climate Fund Board approves first seven entities for Fund's resources - The Green Climate Fund Board approved the first seven entities that will be allowed to channel the Fund's resources into developing countries.

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

<> Bill to cut Lake Erie toxic algae goes to Ohio governor - New rules for farmers aimed at reducing the toxic algae in Lake Erie won unanimous approval from the Legislature on Wednesday and were headed to the governor for his expected signature.

  • Ohio Senate Bill 1 – passed unanimously in House & Senate on March 25, 2015
  • EDITORIAL: A cleaner Lake Erie - As lawmakers in both houses negotiated a compromise, Governor Kasich reportedly conveyed hard truths to Statehouse lobbyists and their House helpers about what he wanted to see in the bill before he would sign it.

<> EPA Awards $17 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grants to Reduce Runoff that Contributes to Algal Blooms - U.S. EPA announced the award of 14 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants totaling over $17 million to fund projects that will improve Great Lakes water quality by preventing phosphorus runoff and soil erosion that contribute to algal blooms and by reducing suspended sediments in Great Lakes tributaries.

Michigan News

<> Bear Lake restoration work commences in Muskegon Lake Area of Concern - The Great Lakes Commission has received new funding to support ecological restoration efforts in Muskegon Lake by removing sediments that contain harmful levels of phosphorus, restoring natural water flow and creating wetlands in Bear Creek, a tributary to Muskegon Lake in west Michigan.

<> Spring workshops offer current research and information on status of lakes Erie, Huron and St. Clair fisheries - Free workshops open to anglers, charter captains, resource professionals and other community members.

<> Partnership gives wintering U.P. deer new outlook - MDNR and Plum Creek Timber Company are working together to manage more than 16,500 acres of industrial forest land for winter deer habitat.

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).