Tuesday, April 28, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/28/15

National / International News

<> SAB Review of the EPA's Draft Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis - The Science Advisory Board (SAB) reviewed EPA's the draft report titled Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis ("EJTG").

<> GAO Report on DOE Loan Programs: Current Estimated Net Costs Include $2.2 Billion in Credit Subsidy, Plus Administrative Expenses - GAO-15-438, April 27, 2015. The Loan Guarantee Program (LGP) and the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan programS support certain renewable or innovative energy technologies --  the loan portfolio and the portfolio's current status and more

<> USDA Awards $3.8 Million in Grants for Nanotechnology Research - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced more than $3.8 million in funding to support grants focused on using nanotechnology to find solutions to societal challenges such as food security, nutrition, food safety, and environmental protection.

<> The Arctic Council's Iqaluit Meeting: Nine Things You Need to Know A short summary of highlights from the April 24 Arctic Council ministerial gathering in Iqaluit

<> New "Cool Roof Time Machine" Will Accelerate Cool Roof Deployment - "By reducing product rating time to three days from three years, our new ASTM standard practice will speed the introduction of high-performance cool roofs not only in the United States, but around the world."

<> Energy Department Announces $10.5 Million for Next-Generation Marine Energy Systems – The funding to support the design and operation of innovative marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) systems through survivability and reliability-related testing of these systems.

<> NRC Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement for Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant License Renewal - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its final supplemental environmental impact statement for the proposed renewal of the operating license for the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant located in Oak Harbor, about 23 miles east of Toledo, which concludes there are no environmental impacts that would preclude renewing the plant's license.

<> Secretary Vilsack Announces Rural Schools Payments - April 27, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that $285 million will go to 41 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico this year in support of local schools and roads as part of the Congressional two-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.

<> EPA Administrator to Give Keynote Address at Columbia University's Global Energy Summit in NYC - The event will be live-streamed at 1:15 PM EDT with link available and she will discuss the President Obama's Climate Action Plan

<> How Israeli Desalination Technology Is Helping Solve California's Devastating Drought - With the Pacific Ocean abutting their shores, water desalination may be the much-needed solution for Californians; but desalination has its disadvantages, the chief ones being the high costs and the potential environmental damage -- a $1 billion desalination project is already underway in San Diego County – which will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> Allen v. The Boeing Co. - 4/27/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 15-35162. Plaintiffs sued Boeing and Landau Associates in State court alleging that for over forty years they released toxins into the groundwater around its facility in Auburn, Washington and failed in their investigation and remediation.
     In a dispute over whether State or Federal Court was appropriate the Appeals Court ruled in part, "We hold that Plaintiffs' action does not come within the local single event exception to CAFA, and that, therefore, the district court has federal jurisdiction under CAFA." [Class Action Fairness Act]

<> California Dump Truck Owners Association V. Mary Nichols - 4/27/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 13-15175. At issue is whether the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approval of the regulation as part of California's state implementation plan (SIP) divested the district court of subject matter jurisdiction under the Clean Air Act.
     The Appeals Court ruled that because the court of appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over such challenges pursuant to § 307(b)(1), the district court lacked jurisdiction. Appellees' petition for rehearing and petition for rehearing en banc are denied.

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

<> Regional groups urge EPA to declare Western Lake Erie Watershed impaired - A coalition of 30 environmental, farm, grass-roots and other organizations from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, requested U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to initiate urgent protective actions for Lake Erie, including declaring the western basin an impaired watershed.

<> Western Lake Erie Basin: CAFO Manure Input for 2014 - Total CAFO Animals (all species) in Western Lake Erie Watersheds = 10,780,450; Total CAFO Annual Manure (liquids and solids) in Western Lake Erie Watersheds = 4,940,084,855 lbs

<> Asian carp identification key - Ontario is working to keep aquatic invaders like Asian carps out of the Great Lakes. It is now illegal in Ontario to possess live bighead, silver, grass, or black carp as well as other invasive fish species. 

Michigan News

<> Snyder to decide on presidential run in next few months - Gov. Rick Snyder said Monday he plans to decide whether to run for president "in the next couple of months or so."

<> MDEQ awards grants to 13 local governments to host river cleanups - MDEQ and Great Lakes Commission announced nearly $25,000 in grants ($500 to $5,000) to fund river, stream and creek cleanup events for volunteers around the state.

<> New executive order moves to improve Michigan's energy future - "The cheapest energy is the energy not used, and each homeowner lowering their own usage lowers the cost for everyone"

<> New Renewable Operating Permit (ROP) actions for comment - Public Notice, Staff Reports, Draft ROPs, ROP Renewal Applications -- comment deadline May 20, 2015

<> Energy policy debate is missing the point, advocates say - Three energy-related policies have been proposed by Republicans. Another is proposed by Democrats. But their focus remains firmly on savings for consumers and how to increase energy production.

<> All Trails Day Unites Trail Enthusiasts - Snowmobilers, ORV Riders, Hikers, Bicyclists, Equestrians, and Water Trail enthusiasts will gather at the Michigan State Capitol on today to work on trail issues with each other and with their state lawmakers.

<> State officials unconcerned about failing water-policy grade - The Alliance for Water Efficiency's most recent scorecard gave Michigan a mere three points out of the possible 40 for water efficiency and policy -- compare that to places such as fellow Great Lakes state Wisconsin with 15.5, Rhode Island's 20, or California's 29.

<> Today's property lines are based on the 200-year-old "Michigan meridian" - This month marks the 200th birthday of something that helped make Michigan the state we know today -- the bicentennial of the Michigan meridian -- the north-south line was the reference point for the Michigan Survey.

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).