Thursday, April 16, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/16/15


National / International News

<> EPA Seeks Public Comments on Draft EJ 2020 Action Agenda Framework - U.S. EPA is asking for public comment on the draft EJ 2020 Action Agenda (EJ 2020) framework, the EPA's next overarching strategic plan for environmental justice -- comments through June 15, 2015

<> Full Committee Hearing - The President's UN Climate Pledge: Scientifically Justified or a New Tax on Americans? – Background, statements, testimony and webcast

<> Oversight Hearing on "Examining the Future Impacts of President Obama's Offshore Energy Plan" Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, background, testimony and webcast

<> Senators Markey, Boxer and Sanders Call for Increased Safety at Nuclear Plants - Senators Edward Markey (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT reintroduced three bills aimed at improving the safety and security of decommissioning reactors and the storage of spent nuclear fuel at nuclear plants across the nation.

<> At UN-backed conference, Ban calls for more investment to achieve sustainable energy – At The Future of Energy Summit 2015,  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on business leaders to expand investment in low-carbon growth and opportunities to advance sustainable energy for all and tackle climate change.

<> Oil spill recovery leaders united in Gulf of Mexico restoration - Five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, recovery leaders - the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - state their continued commitment to Gulf of Mexico recovery.

<> United States, Canada, and Mexico Submit North American HFC Phase Down Amendment to the Montreal Protocol - The United States, Canada, and Mexico submitted an amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are highly potent greenhouse gases being used as replacements for substances being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.

<> What Would It Take for the EPA to Test Every Major Chemical for Safety? - If the market froze today and makers of consumer goods stuck to their present formulations, the agency would need to review 320 chemicals each year for 25 years to sanction the safety of the 8,000 chemicals now in production of 25,000 pounds and more -- (more realistically, 435 reviews annually to cover new & imported chemicals) -- Right now, the EPA completes about three reviews of chemicals per year.  

<> GAO-15-358, Small Business Research Programs: Challenges Remain in Meeting Spending and Reporting Requirements, April 15, 2015 - Federal agencies have awarded more than 156,000 contracts and grants, totaling nearly $40 billion through the SBIR and STTR programs to small businesses to develop and commercialize innovative technologies.

<> NRC Approves Final Rule on Packaging and Transporting Radioactive Materials - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on April 14 approved a final rule updating its own regulations to be compatible with the IAEA's 2009 transportation standards and the U.S. Department of Transportation's regulations -- to be published shortly in the Federal Register

<> World Wildlife Fund Launches Website on Wildlife and Climate Change - The website includes a trait-based climate vulnerability assessment tool for species, as well as vulnerability assessments and recommended adaptation strategies for WWF priority species.

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).

<> TOXICS - Final Rule. U.S. EPA - Lead-Based Paint Programs; Extension of Renovator Certifications

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> Lake Erie woes subject of county-commissioned report - Two legal experts were commissioned by Lucas County commissioners to develop the report, which gives recommendations for tackling the phosphorus load that contributes to the summer algal blooms in the lake.

  • Lucas Co. considers new water authority - Chesapeake Bay is design model; Moving Forward: Legal Solutions to Lake Erie's Harmful Algal Blooms
  • Legal Institue of the Great Lakes, University of Toledo College of Law - Website: Reducing harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lake Erie: Legal Tools and Best Practices 

Michigan News

<> Grand Rapids identifies potential $1.5M funding source for Grand River dam removal - A $1.5 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation could be part of the funding mix for removal of Grand River dams and restoration of rapids through downtown.

<> Seven recipients will share $1.25 million from DNR's Aquatic Habitat Grant Program - A total of 18 applications seeking $3.4 million were received and evaluated.

<> MDEQ Reminds To Celebrate National Water Week by conserving water - Celebrate Michigan's greatest resource by committing to water conservation in your household.

<> Michigan's St. Clair County will show off Island Loop National Water Trail - The National Water Trails Forum is June 24, 25 and 26 in Ann Arbor in recognition of the new water trail. The water trail professionals are making a field trip to Port Huron.

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).


Daily Activity (4/15/15)


SB 0265 of 2015 Natural resources; shorelands; beach and shore safety programs; allow local units of government to establish. [COMMITTEE]


HB 4448 of 2015 Natural resources; inland lakes; inland lakes and streams application fees; modify. [Committee]

HB 4449 of 2015 Environmental protection; air pollution; air emission fees; modify. [Committee]