Friday, May 01, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/1/15

National / International News

<> Statement by the Press Secretary on S. 535, "Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015" - On Thursday, April 30, 2015, the President signed the bill into law

<> Full House Adopts Prohibition For Incandescent Light Bulb Standards - By a roll call vote of 232 - 189, the full house adopted Amendment 192, to prohibit the use of funds to implement or enforce the standards established by tables contained in section 325(i)(1)(B) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act with respect to BPAR incandescent reflector lamps, BR incandescent reflector lamps, and ER incandescent reflector lamps. [link to roll call vote]

  • H.R.2028 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 – House Floor action with all amendments to date. [final passage is expected today]

<> House Science Subcommittee on Energy Hearing On Innovations in Battery Storage for Renewable Energy – Background, statements, testimony and webcast

<> U.S., Japan and Canada Miss Green Climate Fund Donation Deadline - The head of the UN's flagship Green bank has warned it cannot start work as planned because leading backers including the U.S., Canada and Australia have not delivered funds.

<> Texas Lawmakers Move to Stop Local Fracking Bans - Just as new scientific reports are reinforcing links between fracking and earthquakes, Texas legislators are moving to limit cities' control over oil and gas drilling in their communities.

<> While Most Wait for the Federal Government, California May Have Just Broken the Methane Puzzle Wide Open - While we wait for the Environmental Protection Agency to release draft federal methane rules this summer, the California Air Resources Board has just released a draft of the most comprehensive and forward thinking regulations to cut methane pollution from oil and gas yet.

<> Experts Call for Modernizing Outdated Federal Coal Leasing Program - At an event today at the National Press Club, policy experts from the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for American Progress, and law professor Mark Squillace called on the Obama administration to reform and modernize the federal coal leasing program.

<> US, Canada to jointly announce crude-by-rail regulations - US and Canadian officials on Friday will jointly announce new tank car safety standards for trains carrying crude oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids, the US Department of Transportation said Thursday.

<> The Science Does Not Support the Call to Remove Phthalates from Vinyl Flooring – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) says, "We urge retailers and their customers to closely examine the misleading claims, rather than allowing scare tactics to distort the facts about phthalates used in vinyl flooring."

<> Sierra Club releases nationwide baseball-themed Congressional scouting report - The Sierra Club released "Scouting the 114th Congress: Polluters Are Out Of Their League," a new report examining how this Congress has performed so far.

<> The Toxic Truth About A New Generation of Nonstick and Waterproof Chemicals - Ten years ago, DuPont was forced to phase out a key chemical in making Teflon, after revelations that for nearly 45 years the company covered up evidence of its health hazards, including cancer and birth defects -- a new EWG investigation finds that the chemicals pushed by DuPont and other companies to replace the Teflon chemical and similar perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs – already in wide use in food wrappers and outdoor clothing – may not be much – if at all – safer.

<> Groups, along with More Than 200,000 Individuals, Call for Ban on Dangerous Pesticide - EPA received a strong message from labor, community, and environmental health groups as well as more than 200,000 people, calling for a ban on the widely-used neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos that interferes with brain development in fetuses, infants and children.

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

<> Groups appeal water pollution permit for Waukegan coal plant on Lake Michigan - The Sierra Club, Environmental Law & Policy Center and other environmental organizations appealed Illinois EPA's water pollution permit for NRG's Waukegan coal plant, arguing it falls far short of implementing necessary protections for Lake Michigan.

<> Researchers: Cleaning plastic from the Great Lakes could cost nearly $500 million - Researchers have found a plastics litter problem in the Great Lakes that they say is just as bad as the mess in the ocean, and waterfront communities could spend $486 million per year if they want to clean it up.

<> Monitor Lake Michigan weather through new buoy off South Haven, MI shore - The buoy is one of a growing network of nearshore buoys from Ludington to Michigan City, Ind. to increase boating and swimming safety along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

<> Plummeting alewife population threatens salmon, Great Lakes - Lake Michigan's salmon population could be on the verge of a cataclysmic collapse because the largest bioengineering experiment in the history of the Great Lakes has run wildly out of control, biologists say.

<> COMMENTARY: A greedy look at Lake Michigan - If anyone wants to live, work or invest in a place with a reliable supply of fresh water, it's right here, in Chicago and on the Great Lakes. It's time we started cashing in on this bonanza.

Michigan News

<> Attorney General v. MPSC, Consumers Energy - 4/30/15. In the Michigan Court of Appeals, Case Nos. 317434 & 317456 (unpublished). The Attorney General et al., appeal a June 28, 2013 order issued by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approving an application by Consumers Energy Company (Consumers Energy) for a rate increase to continue funding, among other things, its advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) programm, and approving tariffs for customers who elect to opt-out of the AMI program.
     The Appeals Court rules, ". . .we affirm the stipulation and order for the rate increases in Docket No. 317464, but because of the numerous issues raised on appeal in Docket No. 317456 concerning tariffs for customers who elect to opt-out of the AMI program, we remand those issues to the PSC and direct the PSC to conduct a contested case hearing on the opt-out tariff. We direct the PSC to issue a detailed opinion with sufficient facts and conclusions of law that allows this Court to review the entire scope of the unusual opt-out tariff."

<> Snyder joins bus tour at bridge site to tout Proposal 1 - Gov. Rick Snyder and other leaders ramped up their efforts to sell a proposal tax increase on Tuesday's ballot to the public with more examples of dilapidated roads and bridges that they say probably won't get fixed without new funding.

<> Michigan Green Party Urges "No" Vote On Proposal 1 - While many environmental organizations are supporting Proposal 1, the Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) has taken a unanimous stand urging Michigan citizens to vote NO on Tuesday, May 5 and reject a Constitutional amendment which would raise state sales and use taxes from 6% to 7%.

<> Detroit River cleanup brightens gateway to Michigan - Cleaning up Detroit and its river could be a key in revitalizing and re-creating Michigan as a state, state officials say.

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).