Thursday, April 30, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/30/15


National / International News

<> Senator McConnell Questions EPA Administrator on War On Coal - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pressed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy today during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing

<> EPW Republicans Block All Amendments to Strengthen Toxic Chemical Bill - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, issued a statement after the Republicans' "stunning action" to block all of the amendments offered to strengthen the new Vitter toxic chemical bill.

<> Inhofe Announces Bipartisan Press Conference on Waters of the United States Rule - U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and others held a press conference Thursday at 10:45 AM EDT to announce legislation authored by Sens. Barrasso (R-WY) and Donnelly (D-IN) regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's and the Corps of Engineers' attempt to expand the definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS).

<> House hearing to review the National Forest System and active forest management – House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry statements, testimony, webcast

<> Senate ENR Hearing on the Administration's Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) - Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing with statements, testimony and webcast

<> House Hearing on The Impact of EPA's Proposed Ozone Standards on Rural America - House Science Subcommittee on Environment hearing background, statement, testimony and webcast

<> Science Academies of G7 Nations Call for Action on Antibiotic Resistance, Tropical Diseases, and the Future of the Ocean - Today the national science academies of the G7 countries issued three statements to their respective governments for discussion during the G7 summit to be held in Germany this June.

<> Phasing in Aquifer Storage and Recovery in the Everglades Could Help Answer Remaining Questions - Although uncertainties about ecological impacts are too great to justify near-term, large-scale implementation of aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) in the Everglades, ASR could be phased in to answer several important scientific questions and provide some early restoration benefits, says a report from the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council.

<> Bioenergy Technologies Office Peer Review Papers Available - BETO hosted the 2015 Project Peer Review from March 23–27, 2015 in Alexandria, VA -- More than 380 attendees participated in reviewing 190 of BETO's projects, representing more than $400 million in funding.

<> Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces New Private Funds to Make Investments in Rural America - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the launch of two new private funds, known as Rural Business Investment Companies (RBICs), which make equity investments in rural businesses. . .


U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> EPA Environmental Appeals Board Re: FutureGen Industrial Alliance, Inc. - 4/28/15. Petitioners petitioned the Environmental Appeals Board to review four Class VI Underground InjectionControl permits that the U.S. EPA Region 5 issued to FutureGen Industrial Alliance, Inc. 
     In an Order denying review EAB rules that petitioners have identified no clear error of fact or law, abuse of discretion, or matter of policy warranting the Board's review under 40 C.F.R. § 124.19(a)(4). 

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

<> Lake Huron Restoration Regional Meetings - 4 meetings/locations join colleagues to discuss restoration progress in the U.S. Lake Huron basin and hear about plans to develop the Lake Huron Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LAMP) under the newly updated U.S-Canadian Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. 

<> Mirages captured over the Great Lakes - A rare phenomenon was captured by a Michigan photographer -- a mirage of the Chicago skyline upside down across Lake Michigan.

<> Great Lakes water levels: One lake to be almost 1 foot higher this summer - Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are expected to be 11 inches higher this July as compared to last July, while the other Great Lakes should be lower than last summer.

Michigan News

<> NRC Concludes Hearing On Fermi New Reactor, Combined Licensed To Be Issued - NRC concluded its mandatory hearing on DTE Electric Company's (DTE) application for a Combined License (COL) at the Fermi site adjacent to the company's existing reactor near Newport Michigan -- finding the staff's review adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings, clearing the way for the NRC's Office of New Reactors to issue the license.

<> Are you ready? Tuesday kick's off the Summit & Conference ! - May 5-7, Kalamazoo. The Governor's Recycling Summit & MRC Conference marks the end of the first year of Governor Snyder's two year push to double Michigan's recycling rate and there's no time to waste. Proposal 1 - Vote absentee! 

<> Gov. Rick Snyder: City of Flint ready to move forward as financial emergency resolved – The Governor indicated that the financial emergency in the city of Flint has been resolved and a Receivership Transition Advisory Board has been appointed to ensure a smooth transition to local control and continued financial stability for the city

<> Volunteers needed in May for stewardship in southeastern Michigan - MDNR recently announced the May schedule of volunteer stewardship workdays at state parks in southeastern Michigan -- link to workday details, maps and directions on the MDNR website

<> Michigan mayor backs off call for fracking moratorium - Some colleagues said term-limited Mayor George Heartwell couldn't get support for something they called a non-issue for the city.

<> Pro-Proposal 1 ad's claims go beyond facts, drawing a foul – "(Proposal 1) fixes Michigan's more than 1,000 dangerous bridges and repairs our roads, because a third of the fatal or serious accidents are due to poor roads" -- both claims are not entirely accurate.

<> Foul for misleading ads attacking Proposal 1 - "(Proposal 1) gives Michigan one of the highest sales taxes in the nation. Lansing politicians say the tax is for roads… but nearly forty percent goes to special interests." -- True but misleading; Should Proposal 1 pass, the sales tax would rise from 6 to 7 percent, joining five other states at that level, second-highest in the country.

<> Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail - Construction of Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is rolling! The planned completion date for the new stretch of the trail from Glen Arbor to Port Oneida is June 1st, weather permitting. 

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 (4/29/15)


HB 4441 of 2015 Environmental protection; other; water pollution, sewerage, solid waste, and recycling fees; extend sunset. [Passed, COMMITTEE]

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