Monday, April 27, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/27/15

National / International News

<> Weekly Address: Fighting for Trade Deals that Put American Workers First - In this week's address, the President laid out why new, high-standards trade agreements are important for our economy, our businesses, our workers, and our values.

  • Expanding Trade to Create More American Jobs - Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) makes the case for bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will help secure new trade agreements. . .

<> Week in Review: A Conversation About Our Environment - From an Earth Day trip to a 1.5-million-acre wetland ecosystem to a trade deal that protects endangered species, this was a week of conversation about how we can protect our environment.

<> EPW Democrats Urge Chairman Inhofe to Withdraw Controversial "Secret Science" Bill from Tuesday's Markup - The EPW Democrats express concern that a legislative hearing has not yet been held on the controversial legislation, which "would dramatically change what data and scientific research the Environmental Protection Agency could use in fulfilling its mission to protect public health and welfare."

<> Get the Facts on Coal-Based Electricity - [From the Clean Coal Asso.] Many of the devices, machines, cars, buildings and communities around are fueled by coal, which provides 39 percent of America's electricity --, a site aimed at educating Americans about our nation's most abundant and affordable fuel source.

<> Key Insights from a Solutions Forum on Carbon Pricing and Clean Power - The first C2ES Solutions Forum — held on April 15, 2015 — brought together legal and economic experts, state environmental directors, and business leaders to explore the potential use of market mechanisms to reduce damaging carbon emissions efficiently and cost-effectively.

<> Can the World Run on Renewable Energy? - Renewable energy is still a very small part of the mix both in the U.S. and globally.

<> Focus on environmental protection a welcome change in direction for Arctic Council: WWF-Canada - As the United States takes the helm of the Arctic Council, WWF-Canada has high hopes for a renewed agenda that is reported to include concrete actions on climate change and protection of the fragile Arctic environment.

<> Walmart Cuts 17.4M Metric Tons of GHGs from Global Supply Chain - Walmart is on track to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015.

<> High Mountains Warming Faster Than Expected - High elevation environments around the world may be warming much faster than previously thought, according to members of an international research team including Raymond Bradley, director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> Delta Construction Company v. EPA – 4/24/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 11-1428, consolidated with 11-1441, 12-1427 & 13-1076. Petitioners attack the standards on procedural grounds, and an overlapping group challenges EPA's truck standards. The Appeals Court rules that the petitions for review are dismissed.

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

<> How an upstream ditch limits downstream algae - Standard ditches drain phosphorus, nitrogen and excess dirt into rivers and streams, contaminating the water and hurting its inhabitants -- the two-stage system prevents them from entering the watershed.

<> Science shines light on algal bloom problems - Scientists are gaining new insights into what causes harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and what should be done to deal with them, a Bowling Green State University scientist said at the BGSU Firelands campus in Huron, Ohio.

<> Micro-plastics in high concentrations found in Lake Erie - Researchers at 5 Gyres Institute have conducted an extensive research of The Great Lakes and they have found presence of plastic in high concentrations with the highest concentrations of micro-plastics observed in Lake Erie.

Michigan News

<> Top 5 environmental issues facing Michigan - The following, in no particular order, could be the most important environmental issues facing Michigan in the next decade. . .

<> Schuette, Creagh Announce $25 Million Civil Settlement, Two Criminal No Contest Pleas by Chesapeake Energy Corp. to Resolve Racketeering, Bid-Rigging Allegations - The settlement resolves allegations the company conspired with Calgary-based Encana Oil & Gas to avoid bidding wars against each other in Michigan public auctions for oil and gas leases that caused lease prices to plummet in October 2010 and also addresses complaints that Chesapeake defrauded hundreds of private citizens by fraudulently cancelling their oil and gas leases in 2010.

<> Which Michigan lawmakers replied -- and those who didn't -- to survey on roads tax - The Associated Press emailed all 148 members of Michigan's  Legislature asking them to answer three questions about the May 5 ballot measure that would increase the state's sales tax to trigger more money for roads

<> DNR will plant 2 million pines to help rare songbird - This time of year, the DNR plants some 2 million pine trees in Northern Michigan in an effort to save what it calls the rarest song bird in North America -- there are some 4,000 Kirtland's warblers in existence. . .

<> An Invisible Resource – Recycling Waste Heat - Industrial chimney stacks typically disgorge a large volume of waste heat that can now be captured, recycled and put to use in a wide variety of creative ways -- the new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing now makes it possible.

<> Michigan Corn Growers Urge Swift Passage of Trade Promotion Authority - MCGA applauded the Senate Finance Committee for advancing the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) out of committee and urged Congress to act swiftly to pass the final bill.

<> Bodman moves into top 5 on Crain's largest law firms list - Crain's Detroit Business - Over the 30 years since Crain's Detroit Business began tracking the largest law firms in Southeast Michigan, four firms consistently have been among the top five as ranked by the number of local lawyers -- Bodman LLP now ranks behind Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, Dickinson Wright PLLC, Dykema Gossett PLLC and Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC. 

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).