Monday, March 30, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 3/30/15


National / International News

<> EPA Analysis of FracFocus 1 Data - EPA conducted an analysis to better understand the chemicals and water used to hydraulically fracture oil and gas production wells in the United States and how chemical and water use vary in different locations across the country.

<> UNFCCC Strategy Chief Explains Road to Paris - Halldor Thorgeirsson, Director for Strategy at the UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC), summed up the efforts of governments to reach a new, universal climate change agreement in Paris, in December, including the national climate plans which countries are putting forward as contributions to the final agreement.

<> National Ocean Policy Final Implementation Plan - To translate President Obama's National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes into on-the-ground actions to benefit the American people, the National Ocean Council released the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan.

<> Arctic Potential: Realizing the Promise of U.S. Arctic Oil and Gas Resources - Prudently developing U.S. Arctic oil and natural gas resources would enhance America's position as a global leader in energy production for the next 35 years or more, a new National Petroleum Council (NPC) study concludes

<> Governors challenge Sen. McConnell on EPA defiance - At least two governors -- California, and Vermont -- have punched back at Sen. Mitch McConnell for his recent letter to all 50 governors, calling on them to defy the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's forthcoming rules on climate pollution from power plants....

<> New Report Describes Options for Providing Affordable Flood Insurance Premiums - The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) within the Federal Emergency Management Agency faces dual challenges of maintaining affordable flood insurance premiums for property owners and ensuring that revenues from premiums and fees cover claims and program expenses over time according to a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council 

<> Celebrating Two Years of Building America's Clean Energy Manufacturing Future - Find out how DOE is helping to strengthen U.S. clean energy manufacturing competitiveness.

<> Issues Regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard from Congressional Budget Office - Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Economics Association

<> Fracking (lacking) in Illinois - In June 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 1715, the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act and the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Tax Act, into law. . . As of January 2015, the IDNR stated that zero companies had applied for a fracking permit.

<> The Future of Fracking and Lessons Learned - While over the past few years fracking has become a more predominant energy source in the U.S., the industry is beginning to wane -- interestingly, it is not the increased information about health and environmental concerns that are slowing down the fracking industry, but rather market forces – the decline in the price of crude oil.

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).

<> ENERGY, WATER - Final Rule/CORRECTION. DOI/Bureau of Land Management Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> University awards grants for study of lake levels - The University's Graham Sustainability Institute awarded seven grants, totaling $70,000, to American and Canadian researchers studying how Michigan residents are adjusting to the fluctuations.

<> Great Lakes ice compared to last year shows astonishing difference - Great Lakes ice has been decreasing quickly in the past few weeks -- The early cold last November caused ice to develop on the Great Lakes earlier than anytime in the last 40 years.

<> Call for Presentations and Field Trips at the 11th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference - WANTED: Individuals to lead dynamic, engaging and fun field trips and presentations at the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition's 11th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Chicago, Illinois, September 29 -October 1, 2015 -- Deadline for submissions: May 8, 2015

Michigan News

<> DRAFT Incremental Sampling Methodology and Applications Resource Material - MDEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division (RRD) announced the publication of the DRAFT Incremental Sampling Methodology and Applications document -- a technical resource document for MDEQ staff and contractors to describe incremental sampling approaches and uses. Comments requested by June 25, 2015.

<> Gerrymandering in Michigan, explained - How, when vote totals across the state are so closely split, did the election results lead to such overwhelming Republican majorities? -- many suggest that the way voting districts are drawn in the state is a major contributor to these results.

<> Engaging with…the State Budget – ". . .we should all care because Michigan's budget is perhaps the truest reflection of the priorities of our elected officials and (hopefully) us."

<> MSU 2015 Fate of the Earth Symposium - Tipping Points, Crises and Solutions; Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2, 2015; Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center; Michigan State University

<> Michigan's forests underused, experts say - Most of the state's harvested timber is sold as logs, but more jobs and dollars could be generated by turning those forests into products such as syrup, furniture and ethanol, according to the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Initiative.

<> Dykema expands, becomes largest Detroit-based firm with addition of Texas law firm - Dykema Gossett PLLC handily will be the largest Detroit-based law firm in May, after adding San Antonio-based Cox Smith Matthews Inc. in a deal that vastly grows its footprint in Texas and would increase both revenue and number of attorneys by nearly a third.

<> Dow Chemical strikes $5 billion chlorine deal With Olin - Jack Kaskey Bloomberg News - Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. agreed to sell almost all of its chlorine business, the world's largest, to Olin Corp. in a $5 billion deal as it pares less profitable products.

<> Senators Stabenow, Peters Urge Full Funding for Selfridge Air National Guard Base's A-10 Program - The Senators highlighted the importance of the A-10 fleet in military combat and requested a suitable alternative be found before a decision is made to retire the fighter jets.

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).