Friday, April 24, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/24/15


National / International News

<> EPA Responds To House Science Committee Subpoena For McCarthy Records The subpoena seeks "billing records for any and all ... mobile electronic devices issued by the government to Administrator McCarthy;" "records revealing any telephone numbers to which texts were sent, or from which texts were received;" "communications regarding the official use of text messaging;" and "text messages that have been retained by the EPA as Agency records. "

<> House Committee Examines Science of Hydraulic Fracturing, Allegations of Water Contamination - The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing to examine the science behind claims that hydraulic fracturing causes groundwater contamination and other environmental concerns.

<> Energy Efficiency Improvement Act Goes To President - U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced that their Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 has passed the House and is now headed to the President for signature -- This bill, which passed the Senate in March, contains key energy efficiency provisions that will strengthen the economy and reduce pollution.

<> Visitor Spending at National Parks Boosts Economy by $30 Billion Annually - Record numbers of visitors to national parks in 2014 translated into $29.7 billion in economic activity that supported nearly 277,000 jobs across the country

<> EIA report highlights top 100 U.S. oil and natural gas fields - (Fri, 24 Apr 2015) The top 100 oil fields in the United States accounted for 20.6 billion barrels of crude oil and lease condensate proved reserves, or 56% of the U.S. total in  2013. 

<> Forest Mismanagement Causing Increasingly Catastrophic Wildfires, Devastating Impacts on Environment - The Subcommittee on Federal Lands held an oversight hearing on the devastating impacts of wildfire and the need to significantly increase forest management efforts on the National Forest System. 

<> One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City - Mayor de Blasio Released OneNYC Plan which establishes bold goals and specific targets for a strong, sustainable, resilient, and equitable city – 800,000 people out of poverty by 2025, Zero Waste, eliminating long-term displacement after future shock events, and much more. . .

<> Deepwater Horizon Trustees Announce Agreement in Principle for Next 10 Early Restoration Projects - The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) today announced another milestone in Gulf of Mexico early restoration.

<> Applications for START Clean Energy Project Development Technical Assistance Due May 1 - Eligible applicants include Indian Tribes, Alaska Native regional corporations, and formally organized tribal energy resource development organizations -- Up to five projects will be selected to accelerate clean energy project development

<> Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Senior White House Advisor Brian Deese Announce Partnerships with Farmers and Ranchers to Address Climate Change - EAST LANSING, Mich. April 23, 2015 — In a speech today at Michigan State University, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack laid out a comprehensive approach to partner with agricultural producers to address the threat of climate change. 

<> Ocean Assets Valued at $24 Trillion, but Dwindling Fast - A new report from World Wildlife Fund highlights the economic value of Earth's marine environments

<> Energy Dept. Withholds MOX Report; Summary Reveals Major Cost Estimate Increases - A one-page summary of the report findings estimates the life-cycle cost of the MOX (Mixed Oxide Nuclear Fuel) program in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars at a minimum of $47.5 billion.

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

<> U.S. Reps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent Harmful Algal Blooms in Great Lakes - Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), David Joyce (R-OH)  and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R.1923, to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to appoint a coordinator to address the issue of harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes,  which affected over a half million Ohioans last year.

<> Lake Michigan reaches highest level since 1998 - Lake Michigan's water level has officially rebounded from its historic low of 576 feet, recorded in January 2013 -- the average water level across the Michigan and Huron basin reached just over 579 feet in March 2015 -- the highest recorded water level for lakes Michigan and Huron was 582.3 feet in 1986.

Michigan News

<> Democratic lawmakers announce bold energy legislation - Democratic legislators announced the Powering Michigan's Future legislative package to build upon the success of Michigan's thriving clean energy sector which is creating jobs, reining in costs and protecting the health of Michigan kids, families and seniors -- the bills will increase Michigan's use of renewable energy while reducing energy waste.

<> Dem Reps Introduce Pipeline Safety Legislation Representatives Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor),Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline) and Tom Cochran (D-Mason) introduced a package of bills today to call for more state oversight for oil and gas pipelines throughout Michigan.

<> MPSC Approves Settlement Agreement Authorizing Wisconsin Public Service Corporation to Raise Electric Rates

<> MPSC Directs Wisconsin Electric Power Company to Cease Billing Verso Paper Corp. for Standby Energy in 2012 - MPSC said that WEPCo's tariff "unequivocally provides that standby energy is zero during a company approved, prescheduled maintenance period."

<> MPSC Approves Settlement Agreement Transferring Control of Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation from Integrys Energy Group, Inc. to Wisconsin Electric Corporation

<> MPSC Approves Special Contracts between Wisconsin Electric Power Company and Tilden Mining Company, L.C. and Empire Iron Mining Partnership

<> Annual Testing in Bovine TB Area Finds Infected Herd - Testing recently confirmed a medium size dairy herd as bovine TB positive in Alpena County.

<> West Michigan trout stream compromised - MDEQ is investigating tree clearing done along the Coldwater River in Barry County

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 (4/23/15)


SB 0295 of 2015 Energy; alternative sources; renewable portfolio standard; increase, and provide for phase-in. [COMMITTEE]

SB 0296 of 2015 Energy; alternative sources; energy optimization standards; increase. [COMMITTEE]

SB 0297 of 2015 Energy; alternative sources; renewable portfolio standard; eliminate surcharge. [COMMITTEE]


HB 4509 of 2015 Natural resources; wildlife; ivory, ivory product, rhinoceros horn, or rhinoceros horn product; prohibit importation, sale, purchase, barter, or possession with intent to sell. Creates new act. [Committee] 

HB 4511 of 2015 Natural resources; gas and oil; pipelines; provide the department of environmental quality with regulatory oversight. [Committee]

HB 4512 of 2015 Natural resources; gas and oil; requirement for siting, construction, and operation of pipelines; regulate. [Committee]

HB 4513 of 2015 Natural resources; gas and oil; operation of natural gas pipelines; require compliance with natural resources and environmental protection act. [Committee]

HB 4514 of 2015 Environmental protection; other; good-faith effort to employ or contract with Michigan residents for oil and gas pipeline cleanups; require. [Committee]

HB 4518 of 2015 Energy; alternative sources; renewable portfolio standard; increase, and provide for phase-in. [Committee]

HB 4519 of 2015 Energy; alternative sources; renewable portfolio standard; eliminate surcharge. [Committee]