Monday, May 04, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/4/15



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National / International News

<> DOT Announces Final Rule to Strengthen Safe Transportation of Flammable Liquids by Rail - U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced a final rule for the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail. The final rule, developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in coordination with Canada, focuses on safety improvements that are designed to prevent accidents, mitigate consequences in the event of an accident, and support emergency response.

<> Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Navigable Waters in the United States - Bipartisan bill (S.1140)will direct EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to issue a revised WOTUS rule that protects traditional navigable water from water pollution, while also protecting farmers, ranchers and private landowners.

<> FY 2016 House-Senate Budget Conference Agreement - GOP says, "A Congressional Budget that balances within 10 years, does not raise taxes, strengthens our nation's defense, protects our most vulnerable citizens, improves economic growth and opportunity for hardworking families and stops the federal government's out of control spending." [Links to: Legislative Text - Conference Report - Summary Tables - Statement from Chairmen Price and Enzi]

<> House Oversight Committee hearing On "EPA Mismanagement" - The hearing examines cases of employee misconduct and the manner in which they were handled by Environmental Protection Agency senior management -- background, testimony and webcast

<> Natural gas, renewables projected to provide larger shares of electricity generation - Continuing a recent trend toward lower levels of carbon-intensive generation, natural gas and renewable generation are expected to meet almost all of the increases in electricity consumption -- average annual rate of 0.8% from 2013 to 2040 -- 13% renewable in 2013, projected to increase to 18% by 2040; natural gas share 27% in 2013 to 31% in 2040

<> Western towns hard-hit by climate change unite, target coal for funds - Ten Western mountain towns feeling the effects of climate change are launching a campaign that targets the coal industry, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars a year from companies to help communities adapt.

<> Climate drives 'new era' in Arctic Ocean - Changes in the Arctic Ocean are so profound that the region is entering what amounts to "a new era", according to Norwegian scientists.

<> Current carbon pledges won't stop dangerous global warming, says Lord Stern - Commitments already made by world governments to cut carbon emissions aren't enough to keep global warming below the crucial 2C target – but a strong deal is still possible in Paris, says economist.

<> RFS Policy Instability Has Chilled Advanced and Cellulosic Biofuel Investments - In a new white paper, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) finds that $13.7 billion worth of investment for advanced and cellulosic biofuels has been chilled by EPA's delays in setting Renewable Fuel Standard rules.

<> Groups Urge Michelle Obama to Publicly Commit to Pollinator Health - (Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2015) Beekeepers, farmworkers, environmental and consumer groups last week sent a letter, signed by over 200,000 Americans, urging Michelle Obama to publicly commit to ensuring the the White House gardens and grounds are free of dangerous neonicotinoid pesticides

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> DE Department of Natural Res. v. EPA – 5/1/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 13-1093. The State of Delaware, industry and environmental organizations, and an industry intervenor challenge a final rule of the Environmental Protection Agency governing the use of Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines ("backup generators" or "emergency engines").
     The Appeals Court ruled, ". . .we hold that EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it modified the National Emissions Standards and the Performance Standards to allow backup generators to operate without emissions controls for up to 100 hours per year as part of an emergency demand-response program."

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)

Michigan News

<> Magnitude 4.2 earthquake hits Michigan - The U.S. Geological Survey  confirmed that a 4.2 magnitude earthquake affected the state of Michigan 5 miles south of Galesburg (just east of Kalamazoo) at 12:23 p.m.

<> MDEQ Environmental Calendar for May 4, 2015

<> It's not too late to master the basics of Proposal 1. Here's a 5-minute version - Proposal 1, the May ballot question, seeks to raise money to fix it and thou thousands of others pocking Michigan roads.

<> Conservationists work together to improve wildlife habitat across northern Michigan - Groups gathered in areas of Gladwin, Clare, Crawford and Benzie counties and put in some sweat equity to improve wildlife habitat on public land.

<> New Renewable Operating Permit (ROP) actions - MDEQ has provided notice and a comment deadline of June 3 for several new ROP actions -- Consumers Energy Tetford, Republic Services, DTE, BASH

<> Michigan Sierra Club Chapter Update - May 2, 2015 - In this Issue: Sierra Club Supports Proposal 1. . .

<> Yes, fixing the roads is an urgent need, but no, Proposal 1 isn't the way to do it – Commentary: Patrick L. Anderson is Principal & CEO of Anderson Economic Group LLC, a consulting firm headquartered in East Lansing. . .

<> Weekly Recycling News MRC - May 1, 2015 - Michigan Recycling Coalition's Weekly Newsletter

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).