Friday, April 10, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/10/15


National / International News

<> Upton, Shimkus, and Pallone Support Bipartisan Effort to Improve Chemical Safety - Building on work begun last Congress to reform chemical management, bipartisan House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders unveiled a discussion draft of the TSCA Modernization Act. The Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), will hold a legislative hearing on the draft legislation Tuesday.

<> EPA's Update to its Policy on Supplemental Environmental Projects - Barnes & Thornburg LLP has issued an Environmental Law Alert on U.S. EPA's SEP Policy Update which consolidate all existing EPA guidance on the use of SEPs and provides pragmatic guidance on several detailed policy points.

<> New Tools and Approaches Are Reshaping Environmental Compliance - The latest Next Generation Compliance strategies and solutions -- a blog post from Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles who heads EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance

<> Energy Department to Fund R&D to Advance Low-Impact Hydropower Technologies - $7 million funding opportunity for the research and development of innovative technologies for low-impact hydropower systems -- funding to advance hydropower drivetrains, which transfer rotational energy from turbines to generators, and structural foundations that will minimize environmental impacts and reduce the lifetime costs associated with operating and maintaining new hydropower projects.

<> U.S. Department of Energy Awards $200 Million for Next- Generation Supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory - A $200 million investment to deliver a next-generation supercomputer, known as Aurora which will advance low-carbon energy technologies and our fundamental understanding of the universe, while maintaining United States' global leadership in high performance computing -- one step closer to exascale computing (a billion billion calculations per second)

<> Winter Severity and Frost Depth in a Warming Climate - Scientists calculate and evaluate a new version of NOAA's air-freezing index that can be used to estimate maximum soil frost depth.

<> 100 Mayors adopt Seoul Declaration for sustainable cities - 100 mayors from around the world were onstage at International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) World Congress 2015 to adopt the Seoul Declaration -- a collaborative document that sets out a path to urban sustainability.

<> Lowe's Agrees to Phase Out Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoid Insecticides - April 9, 2015 (Washington, DC)—After months of pressure from the public, Lowe's Home Improvement has announced it will begin taking steps to protect bees and similarly affected pollinators from toxic insecticides. . .

<> America's Increasing Reliance on Natural Gas: Benefits and Risks of a Methane Economy - A methane economy – in which natural gas provides the leading share of primary energy consumption – is now a possible scenario for U.S. energy development according to a report released by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI)

<> API: Offshore oil & gas operations are safer than ever - In a press conference call Jack Gerard, API President and CEO said, "In the five years since the tragic events at the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, America's oil and natural gas industry and our regulators have kept our commitment to make offshore operations safer than ever before."

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

<> EDITORIAL: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative needs full funding - More work remains to be done; from cleaning up the nutrient runoff blamed for harmful algae growth to defending the lakes against invasive species such as Asian carp.

<> COMMENTARY: Effort to restore the Great Lakes paying off - Congress has now provided almost $2 billion for restoration activities through the GLRI. This impressive investment reflects the fact that Great Lakes restoration is a bipartisan priority for our region's congressional delegation.

<> Five Historic Lighthouses to Receive Nearly $120,000 in MI State Preservation Grants - Charlevoix South Pier Lighthouse, Crisp Point Lighthouse, Mission Point Lighthouse, Sand Point Lighthouse and South Haven Pier Light to undergo preservation and rehabilitation projects.

Michigan News

<> Recycling Market Development: Creating a Supply Chain for Michigan Manufacturers - An article from MDEQ indicates that every day, Michiganders throw valuable commodities like paper, metal and plastic in the garbage for a one-way trip to a landfill -- in fact, Michiganders dispose more than $435 million dollars of recyclable paper, metal, glass and plastic every year.

<> Huron County Commissioners pass wind energy moratorium - The Huron County Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 for a zoning ordinance amendment that halts any new wind energy development for 90 days or until the ordinance is updated with changes recommended by the Wind Energy Zoning Committee.

<> Seven communities awarded state grants to create or maintain water fluoridation programs - Grants were awarded by the Michigan Department of Community Health's Oral Health Program. This is the sixth year grants have been awarded, with funds coming from a donation from the Delta Dental Foundation.

<> Michigan congressman fights Canadian nuclear waste project near Lake Huron - As big decisions approach for Canadian authorities reviewing a proposal from Ontario Power Generation to build an underground nuclear waste facility less than a mile from Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario, environmental activists in the U.S. and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.), are preparing to renew efforts to oppose the project.

<> Transportation advocates in Grand Rapids rally for long term federal funding bill - Officials in Grand Rapids joined a nationwide effort today to rally support for long term federal funding for transportation infrastructure.Current funding for things like new busses expires at the end of May.

<> Sierra Student Coalition Moves Michigan State University Beyond Coal - Students from the Sierra Student Coalition Beyond Coal campaign worked for five years collecting petitions, holding marches, and meeting with the Administration to protect public health and the climate and move the campus off of coal

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).