Wednesday, April 22, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/22/15


National / International News

<> FACT SHEET: Celebrating Earth Day with New Steps to Protect People, Places and Local Economies from Climate Change - Today, in celebration of Earth Day, President Obama will visit the Florida Everglades, where rising seas and other climate change impacts are endangering one of the nation's most iconic landscapes – and increasing risks to the State's $82 billion tourism economy -- in celebration of Earth Day, this week the Administration is announcing a number of new steps to recognize the value of special places, as well as actions to protect the people and places climate change puts at risk. . .

  • Earth Day 2015 - It's Earth Day -- and all day long, the White House we'll be keeping you updated with videos, photos, and opportunities to add your voice to the #ActOnClimate conversation.

<> Statement of Senator Barbara Boxer Hearing on the Nomination of Vanessa Allen Sutherland to be a Member and Chairman of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board

<> Global investor groups publish guidance on investing in solutions to address climate change - The four investor groups on climate change have today published a guide outlining a range of strategies and solutions investors can use to address climate change, including low carbon investment, managing and reducing carbon exposure in portfolios, and engagement, as investors around the world work to scale up their efforts to invest in clean energy and shift to lower carbon assets.

<> Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage Enters into Force - The Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear damage (CSC) became effective on April 15, 2015 -- apart from Japan, five other States have adhered to the Convention: Argentina, Morocco, Romania, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

<> Epa Concludes Flares At Refineries And Chemical Plants Release Four Times More Volatile Organic Compounds Than Reported - Lawsuit Prompts EPA to Revise Emissions Estimates for Flares Upward for volatile organic compounds – EPA also found that Fluid Catalytic Cracking Units at refineries emit more than 10 times more hydrogen cyanide per year, releasing more than 3,000 tons more of this powerful neurotoxin each year than previously reported, and more than one third the combined total of all hazardous air pollutants refineries reported to the Toxics Release Inventory in 2013. 

<> DOI, EPA, NOAA announce Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative to prepare natural resources for climate change - The Department of the Interior (DOI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recognized four collaborative landscape partnerships across the country – located in southwest Florida, Hawaii, Washington and the Great Lakes region – where Federal agencies will focus efforts with partners to conserve and restore important lands and waters and make them more resilient to a changing climate. 

  • In the Great Lakes region The Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative is leading the effort, which spans Lakes Huron and Erie Coastal wetlands in Saginaw Bay to the Maumee River.

<> U.S. Settles with ExxonMobil over Violations Stemming from 2013 Oil Spill in Mayflower, Arkansas - Under a consent decree lodged today in federal court, ExxonMobil will pay $3.19 million in federal civil penalties and take steps to address pipeline safety issues and oil spill response capability. In addition, ExxonMobil will pay $1 million in state civil penalties, $600,000 for a project to improve water quality at Lake Conway, and $280,000 to the Arkansas Attorney General's Office for the state's litigation costs.

<> Energy Department Invests Nearly $8 Million to Develop Next-Generation HVAC Systems for Buildings - DOE announced nearly $8 million to advance research and development of next-generation heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) technologies, supporting the Administration's goal of saving money by saving energy, and phasing down the use of chemicals that have a devastating effect on the global climate.

<> Investment of RGGI Proceeds Through 2013 = $2.9 Billion in Energy Bill Savings - The nine states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) released a report tracking cumulative investments made through 2013 using proceeds from RGGI's CO2 allowance auctions -- a return of more than $2.9 billion in lifetime energy bill savings to more than 3.7 million participating households and 17,800 businesses.

<> UK's renewable energy targets drive increases in U.S. wood pellet exports - (Wed, 22 Apr 2015) In 2014, almost three-quarters of all U.S. wood pellet exports were delivered to the United Kingdom (UK), mainly for the purpose of generating electricity -- Overall, U.S. wood pellet exports increased by nearly 40% between 2013 and 2014, from 3.2 million short tons in to 4.4 million short tons 

<> Causal factors for seismicity near Azle, Texas - Authors use hydraulic modelling and earthquake locations to show that a combination of brine production and wastewater injection near the fault generated subsurface pressures sufficient to induce earthquakes on near-critically stressed faults.

<> Study finds vinyl flooring sold by Lowe's and other retailers tested contained phthalates - 48% of all flooring samples tested at Lowe's contained phthalates -- Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, just announced they are requiring all of their suppliers to ban added phthalates in all vinyl flooring by the end of this year.

<> McDonald's Pledges to Eliminate Deforestation from Supply Chain - McDonald's Pledges to Eliminate Deforestation from Supply Chain WASHINGTON (April 21, 2015)—McDonald's, the world's largest fast-food chain, pledges to eliminate deforestation from its global supply chains, making it the first global fast food chain to do so.

<> Aldi eliminates hazardous chemicals from textile production - Hamburg, 31 March 2015 – Aldi, one of the top ten discounters worldwide, has today pledged to ban all hazardous chemicals from their textile and shoe production by 2020.

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

<> Great Lakes connects Midwest with Middle East in Chicago - When it comes to the policy, activism and distribution of water, each region has much to learn from the other -- the summit also launched the new Freshwater Lab for Water Policy and Diplomacy, a partnership between the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

Michigan News

<> MDEQ Alert On Arsenic in Drinking Water - MDEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance (ODWMA), in collaboration with Michigan's Local Health Departments (LHDs), recommends that residents with wells have their well water tested for arsenic at a drinking water laboratory.

<> Northern Michigan Green Infrastructure Conference June 4 - MDEQ & the Watershed Center host on June 4 at Great Wolf Lodge and Conference Center in Traverse City for the Northern Michigan regional Green Infrastructure Conference.

<> Spring birding tours set for early May at Michigan's Wetland Wonders - MDNR reminds wildlife watchers that spring birding tours – coming up Saturday, May 2 and 9 – are a fun way to celebrate the warmer weather and explore the state's Wetland Wonders.

<> MDEQ 2015 Air Permit to Install Application Workshop Series - Reminder for May 19 workshop at Constitution Hall, Lansing

<> 12 K-5 students to be honored as Earth Day poster contest winners - MDEQ Director Dan Wyant will honor 12 elementary school students for their winning 2015 Earth Day posters.

<> Michigan State Waterways Commission to meet May 1 in Detroit - Outdoor Adventure Center, 1801 Atwater St. in Detroit. The meeting will begin at 9:45 a.m.

<> DNR, Michigan Arbor Day Alliance kick off spring with annual state Arbor Day celebration in Lansing

<> Fish stocking creates numerous fishing opportunities throughout Michigan - Michigan anglers typically spend 28 million days on the water and generate $4.4 billion in economic activity which generates $623 million in local, state and federal tax revenue; and sportfishing in Michigan is estimated to support nearly 38,000 jobs.

<> Public is invited to Lake Superior Celebration of Energy, Sustainability Apr. 23 at Great Lakes Research Center - Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center will be the scene of a Lake Superior Celebration of Energy and Sustainability on Thursday, April 23.

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 (4/21/15)


SB 0283 of 2015 Natural resources; inland lakes; fish stocking levels for walleye in certain areas; establish. [COMMITTEE]