Wednesday, May 06, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/6/15



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National / International News

<> Global carbon dioxide concentrations surpass 400 parts per million - May 6, 2015. For the first time since we began tracking carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere, the monthly global average concentration of this greenhouse gas surpassed 400 parts per million in March 2015, according to NOAA's latest results -- "It was only a matter of time that we would average 400 parts per million globally."

  • April 2015 U.S. Climate Report - The April contiguous U.S. average temperature was 53.1°F, 2.1°F above the 20th century average and 17th warmest on record.

<> Senate EPW Hearing On Legal Implications of the Clean Power Plan – Statements, testimony & webcast

<> Senators Call Out FEMA on Adding Climate Change Requirements to Mitigation Grants - Republican Senators calling for answers regarding FEMA's recent decision to require states to address climate change in their mitigation strategies before the state would become eligible to receive disaster mitigation grants.

<> Building for the Future: A New Federal Guide to Infrastructure Planning and Design - On May 5, the White House  convened the nation's leading thinkers on infrastructure planning and design to highlight how projects like new roads and transit lines can be designed to foster economic opportunity and increase resilience to the impacts of climate change.

  • Federal Guide to Infrastructure Planning and Design - The guide incorporates programs and opportunities from eight federal agencies and lays out a new set of principles to inform the work of local and State governments, public and private utilities, planners and other stakeholders around the U.S.

<> Congress Approves First 10-Year Balanced Budget Since 2001 - The Senate GOP indicated that Congress this week approved its first 10-year balanced budget since 2001 --  they said the Conference Report between the U.S. House and Senate balances the budget within 10 years without raising taxes, strengthens our national defense, protects our most vulnerable citizens, improves economic growth and opportunity for hardworking families and stops the federal government's out of control spending.

  • White House Press Secretary Comments - "The Congressional Republican budget conference agreement that Senate Republicans passed this evening serves as a reminder of what Republicans in the House and Senate can agree on: underfunding investments that benefit middle-class families and contribute to economic growth; stripping away health insurance coverage from millions; making it harder for students to afford college; and funding national defense through a temporary budget gimmick – while shortchanging it altogether in later years. . . The President has made clear that he will not accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward, nor one that reverses sequestration for defense – whether explicitly or through backdoor gimmicks – without also reversing sequestration for non-defense."
  • Sanders Calls Republican Budget 'Absolute Disaster' - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee said the budget, "throws 27 million Americans off health insurance, slashes $5 trillion over the coming decade from programs that help working families, cuts taxes on the richest Americans and raises them on working families with kids." 
  • Conference Report to Accompany S. Con. Res. 11
  • GOP Summary
  • DEMS Summary
  • Congress' Republicans pass budget, but that's the easy part: Showdowns loom

<> Senate Committee Improves Bill to Streamline Federal Permitting and Environmental Reviews - The Senate Homeland Security and Government Agencies Committee today approved S. 280, a bill to streamline the federal permitting process for major energy and infrastructure projects and reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

<> EPA's Energy Star Battle of the Buildings Competition Saves $50 Million - More than 5,500 individual buildings across the U.S. that competed saved more than $50 million, cut their energy use by more than two billion kBtus, and prevented more than 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions—equal to the annual energy use of more than 37,000 homes.

<> EPA: Learning Triggers Key to Preventing Asthma Attacks - EPA: Learning Triggers Key to Preventing Asthma Attacks Baltimore, Memphis programs recognized as national models for asthma care during Asthma Awareness Month 

<> USGCRP Selects Scenarios for Next National Climate Assessment - USGCRP has selected a set of emissions scenarios and related climate projections to focus on for the next quadrennial report of the National Climate Assessment(NCA) that will provide a consistent basis to assess the potential future impacts of climate change on social and ecological systems, as well as how those impacts may interact with policy choices.

<> Grass-roots push in the Plains to block the Keystone pipeline's path - Ms. Spotted Eagle has emerged as a leader of an increasingly organized coalition of Native Americans, landowners and grass-roots groups seeking to block its construction in this state [South Dakota] and elsewhere.

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

<> Asian Carp Would Have Adequate Food to Survive in Lake Erie - If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Erie, there would be enough food available for these species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

<> Global Warming and the Great Lakes Already, Lake Superior has increased water temperatures and an earlier onset of summer stratification by about two weeks in just the past 30 years -- within another 30 years Lake Superior may be mostly ice-free in a typical winter [National Wildlife Federation].

<> Mapping & Visualizing Lake Level Changes for the U.S. Great Lakes - OSU Climate Change Webinar series May 19, 2015, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. ET. The focus of NOAA's Lake Level Viewer is to provide communities with lake level scenarios and assist with planning decisions, such as updating zoning restrictions, planning infrastructure, encouraging sustainability and restoring or conserving habitat.

<> Michigan, Ohio, Indiana join forces to fight cyanobacteria - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is teaming up with three states –  Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana –  and 40 groups to jointly tackle cyanobacteria, that scourge of Lake Erie that briefly shut down Toledo's water supply last summer.

Michigan News

<> Michigan voters reject Proposal 1 as Snyder concedes defeat, vows to 'start anew' - Voters statewide overwhelmingly rejected a ballot issue Tuesday that would have raised an estimated $1.2 billion in new annual road funding, according to unofficial results. 

<> MDEQ recognizes 28 organizations for recycling excellence - MDEQ and Governor's Recycling Council recognized 28 businesses, institutions, government agencies and nonprofits for excellence in recycling today at the Governor's Recycling Summit in Kalamazoo.

<> MDEQ awards 14 grants to support recycling - MDEQ announced $635,500 in Community Pollution Prevention grants to support 14 local and regional recycling projects across the state.

<> Help grow a conservation success story: volunteer to plant jack pine trees May 9 - Join the Department of Natural Resources, Huron Pines and many volunteers in northeast Michigan Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to help plant many acres of jack pine seedlings.

<> Gaining new understanding of Chinook salmon stocked in Lake Superior - A fin-clipping program is helping Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries managers evaluate the success of Chinook salmon stocking in Lake Superior.

<> Rescued canines trained to pinpoint sources of water contamination across the U.S. - Environmental Canine Services LLC (ECS), an environmental consulting company based in Maine and founded in Michigan in 2009, is the first in the world to use scent trained canines to provide a rapid means for detecting and source tracking human fecal contamination in stormwater, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans.

<> Map Michigan's past with new USGS online tool - The USGS just debuted a new online map viewer that gives the public easy access to the agency's collection of more than 178,000 historical topographic maps that cover the entire country, dated between 1886 and 2006.

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).