Tuesday, May 12, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/12/15



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National / International News

<> BOEM Conditionally Approves Shell's Revised Chukchi Sea Exploration Plan - After a comprehensive review and consideration of comments received from the public, stakeholders, and Federal and state partner agencies and tribes, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) conditionally approved Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.'s revised multi-year Exploration Plan (EP) for the Chukchi Sea.

<> EPA Launches New Portal to Help Communities Improve Environmental Quality and Public Health - EPA is launching a new website to help local officials and community members find information for improving the environment, public health and quality of life -- developed with input from local, state and federal partners, the Community Resources website provides access to resources that span the range of local concerns – from environmental regulatory compliance to economic revitalization to public health and environmental justice.

<> New Mineral Science Shows Promise for Reducing Environmental Impacts from Mining - Mining companies, land managers, and regulators now have a wealth of tools to aid in reducing potential mining impacts even before the mine gets started -- USGS and various research partners released a special edition of papers specifically targeted at providing modern environmental effect research for modern mining techniques.

<>  Cantwell: Coal Royalty Rule Must Eliminate Loopholes and Better Account for Carbon Pollution - U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) urged the U.S. Department of the Interior to ensure a fair return to taxpayers now that the comment period has closed on a proposal to reform coal royalties

<> GAO Report: Adjusting Agencies' Information-Sharing Strategies Could Benefit Landscape-Scale Projects - GAO-15-398: Published: Apr 9, 2015. Publicly Released: May 11, 2015. Through landscape-scale projects, agencies can treat tens or hundreds of thousands of acres, in contrast to projects commonly of under 1,000 acres

<> FBI violated its own rules while spying on Keystone XL opponents - Documents reveal the FBI breached its own internal rules when it spied on campaigners against the Keystone XL pipeline, failing to get approval before it cultivated informants and opened files on individuals protesting against the construction of the pipeline in Texas -- FBI agents have been closely monitoring anti-Keystone activists

<> Two Years of Transformative Open Data for Public Good - Two years ago, President Obama signed an Executive Order (E.O.) to improve how our government shares information for the benefit of the American people -- open data allows businesses, software developers, and others to create consumer-friendly applications to help make better-informed decisions about health care, transportation, energy use, and more and fueling creation of new businesses and jobs.

<> DeFazio, Norton Push for Joint Committee Hearing on Revenue Options to Fund Long-Term Surface Transportation Bill - Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) pushed for a Joint Hearing of the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on revenue options to fund a long-term surface transportation bill.

<> From the Front Lines of Infrastructure Week - As the May 31st deadline for the current surface transportation authorization, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) fast approaches, Congress appears poised to make a move that has become all too familiar in the transportation world – just extend it.

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

<> Ohio asks neighboring states to help fight Lake Erie's algae - Ohio's governor and environmental chief are asking leaders in some neighboring states to look at taking new steps at fighting the toxic algae blooms that have turned Lake Erie green in recent summers -- they've recently started talks with officials from Indiana, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada

<> Walleye at risk in Lake Erie dredge dumping debate; consumption levels at brink of one-meal-per-month - The potential peril is at the heart of a dispute between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency -- the OEPA contends that dredging near the ArcelorMittal steel plant, and dumping the material into open water, could unearth cancer-causing PCBs that have lain dormant for decades on the river bottom, potentially poisoning walleye to an extent that strict, new consumption guidelines would be required.

<> Great Lakes Fishery Commission Annual Meeting - The 60th Annual Meeting of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission will take place June 10-11 in Grand Rapids, Mich., at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. 

Michigan News

<> Proposal 1 crash shows lawmakers out of touch - Well, as you undoubtedly know, Proposal 1, the complicated ballot proposal that was supposed to provide money to fix our roads (and for a lot of other things besides) got absolutely crushed May 5.

<> iNaturalist offers tool for citizen scientists to explore Pigeon River Country State Forest - iNaturalist, a tool that can help navigate the forest's natural features – providing an exact location to observe a bull elk or find white pine trees, for example – and then share observations.

<> DNR's Western Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council to meet May 18 in Calumet

<> DNR to collect muskellunge eggs from Detroit River this spring

<> Lansing city council says 'no' to mayor's plan for BWL inspector general – The city council decided to hire an outside firm to review BWL's management.

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 (5/12/15)


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