Wednesday, April 01, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/1/15


National / International News

<> Secretary Foxx Sends Six-Year Transportation Bill to Congress - Secretary Foxx sent to Congress a long-term transportation bill -- the Grow America Act of 2015 -- that provides funding growth and certainty so that state and local governments can get back in the business of building things again -- a six-year, $478 billion transportation reauthorization bill that invests in modernizing America's infrastructure.

<> Over 61,000 U.S. Bridges Need Structural Repair, New Analysis - An analysis conducted by American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) of the recently-released 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) National Bridge Inventory database finds good news and bad news when it comes to the most heavily traveled U.S. bridges -- The good news is that there are over 2,000 fewer structurally deficient structures than there were in 2013; the bad news is that it means more than 61,000 structurally deficient bridges are still in need of significant repair.  

<> What They're Saying: Environmental Advocates Point to the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a Historic Opportunity to Protect Our Oceans, Forests, and Wildlife - The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) offers a substantial opportunity to advance American interests and values, including a once-in-a-generation chance to protect our oceans, wildlife, and the environment.

<> USDA to Provide $332 Million to Protect and Restore Agricultural Working Lands, Grasslands and Wetlands - Financial and technical assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) -- USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will accept ACEP applications to help productive farm and ranch lands remain in agriculture and to protect the nation's critical wetlands and grasslands, home to diverse wildlife and plant species -- applications for the current funding round must be submitted on or before May 15, 2015.

<> New Interactive Map Shows Big Potential for America's Wind Energy Future - New map shows projected growth of the wind industry over the next 35 years.

<> Energy Department Releases Updates to EnergyPlus and OpenStudio - The Energy Department has released updates to its twin building energy modeling software products—EnergyPlus and OpenStudio.

<> Updated geologic maps provide greater detail for Marcellus formation - Recent updates to EIA's maps and geologic information for the Marcellus shale play help to characterize the formation's structure, thickness, and extent.

<> DC Microgrids Scoping Study--Estimate of Technical and Economic Benefits - The study provides a preliminary examination of the benefits and drawbacks of potential DC microgrid applications relative to their AC counterparts, using several metrics for comparison, and offers recommendations for potential future research and deployment activities.

<> Industry-backed Best Practices Guides Aim to Lower Financing Costs for Solar Energy Systems - The Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) working group has released new best practices guidelines for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, with the goal of increasing investor confidence in the long-term viability of PV systems.

<> What if it happened here? - The historical record of rainfall and projections of future rainfall from climate models both paint a picture of heavier and more frequent extreme storms for Wisconsin in the future. . . Building on this storm transposition simulation, communities can now use NOAA NEXRAD rainfall data from any recent rainfall event to demonstrate what would happen if the event occurred in their location.

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

<> Request for Applications: Support of the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program - U.S. EPA issued a Request for Applications soliciting applications from states, tribes, local governments, universities, nonprofit organizations, and other eligible organizations for approximately $6.5 million for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative cooperative agreement to complete chemical analysis in support of the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program

<> Cruise on the Great Lakes, not the high seas - With major lines dominating traditional cruise destinations, smaller players are left to find and exploit the industry's underserved niches. The Great Lakes region is arguably the most promising of these little-sailed places.

Michigan News

<> MDEQ announces new recycling specialists - MDEQ recently hired four new recycling specialists to help Michigan reach Gov. Rick Snyder's goal of doubling residential recycling rates -- Brian Burke, Elizabeth Garver, Emily Freeman and Katie Venechuck are based around the state to provide on-the-ground assistance

<> MDEQ awards water quality monitoring grants - MDEQ awarded nearly $300,000 in grants to universities, local governments and nonprofit organizations to monitor the quality of Michigan's waters

<> Kalamazoo River may be redirected at Otsego Township dam - A dam failure would allow the contaminated sediment behind it to be washed downstream -- the plan is still to ultimately remove the dam, by first creating a temporary structure that will be needed before sediment removal can begin.

<> MDEQ Michigan Environmental Network News - March 31, 2015, newsletter of the Office of Environmental Assistance (OEA) environmental partner programs.

<> Urban Public Policy Resolution Conference - "Renewal and Reconciliation in Urban Contexts," Wayne State UniversityMay 11-12, 2015, presented by the Wayne State University Dispute Resolution Consortium

<> Watch how Proposal 1 would impact your roads and your wallet - Michigan voters will be asked May 5 if they approve a sales tax increase and changes in how gas is taxes to provide more funding for roads. Here are 7 changes that would go in effect if Prop 1 is approved.

<> U.P. featured in new phone application - The U.P. is being featured on a new mobile app that breaks the mold of traditional photo applications -- 'Wilderbliss,' allows you to share the exact locations of seemingly hidden or unreachable destinations

<> TTHM contaminant notices, water quality updates ready for mailing to Flint customers - Mailbox alert for Flint water customers: A notice of the city's continuing violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act is headed your way.

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).