Monday, May 18, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/18/15



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National / International News

<> Green Innovation Index, International Edition - A new report, by the organization Next 10, for the first time analyzes and ranks the economic and energy performance of the world's 50 largest greenhouse gas emitting nations -- charts country GDP, emissions, energy productivity, renewable energy generation, clean tech investments and other key metrics.

<> Shuster-Ryan Statement on Surface Transportation Extension - House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced legislation to authorize the highway and transit programs through the end of July -- the legislation is designed to allow transportation spending to continue through July, while Congress continues to work towards a next step to close the Trust Fund's shortfall. 

<> Government of Canada announces 2030 emissions target - Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced that Canada plans to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 -- Canada has now formally submitted its target, referred to as an intended "Nationally Determined Contribution," to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

<> Smith: EPA Skirts Transparency, Communicates with Outside Groups on Private Email - Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) sent letters to EPA, the Department of Energy (DOE) and a former EPA employee demanding documents related to the use of private email and text messages to avoid federal transparency requirements.

<> Senators Introduce Bills to Increase States' Share of Oil and Natural Gas Revenues - U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Tim Scott (R-SC), each introduced separate proposals to increase energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and increase revenue sharing with states that support offshore energy production activities.

<> Markey Introduces Legislation to Reform Coal Leasing on America's Public Lands - Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the Coal Oversight and Leasing (COAL) Reform Act (S.1340) to modernize the program to protect taxpayers and end noncompetitive leasing practices and other weaknesses in the leasing program.

<> Bicameral Leaders Call on EPA to Include Small Business Input in Clean Power Plan Rulemaking - Members of the House and Senate today sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calling on EPA to include input from small business representatives as the agency develops a model federal plan under the proposed Clean Power Plan.

<> Subcommittee Gets an Update on the Nation's Nuclear Waste Policy - The Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), received an update on the nation's nuclear waste management policy, hearing from a panel of diverse witnesses who underscored the urgent need to deal with this pressing problem.

<> Business & Climate Summit 2015 - Bringing together over 1000 leading businesses, investors & policymakers in Paris, May 20-21, 200 days before the UNFCCC COP21 meeting

  • Climate Week In Paris - Climate Week Paris, convened by The Climate Group around the Business & Climate Summit, starts today and features over 25 high level events, reflecting the continued momentum and support that the UN Climate Summit and Climate Week NYC built last year.

<> International Treaty Bans Pentachlorophenal, U.S. Continues Use on Utility Poles and Railroad Ties - Delegates from more than 90 countries took the unprecedented step of voting last week for a global ban on pentachlorophenol (penta) – a proven toxic pesticide and contaminant found in wildlife and human biomonitoring studies worldwide -- the historic vote came at the combined meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions

<> Joint Statement on Climate Change between India and China - China and India are fully engaged in their domestic preparations for their respective intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) in the context of the 2015 agreement and will communicate their INDCs as early as possible and well before the Paris Conference.

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> National Association of Home v. EPA – 5/15/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 13-5290. Home Builders challenged a preliminary, internal determination, made by U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers in 2008, that two stretches of the Santa Cruz River in southern Arizona are traditional navigable waters -- i.e.  "waters of the United States."
     The Appeals Court denied the Home Builders challenge and ruled, "We hold that Home Builders' case for standing, although since supplemented with new declarations from members adding factual detail to their assertions of injury, is materially unchanged and thus precluded by Home Builders I."

<> Turlock Irrigation District v. FERC - 5/15/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 13-1250 & 1253 Turlock contends that the Project does not fall within FERC's licensing jurisdiction. Conversely the Tuolumne River Trust and other conservation groups said FERC erred by not finding that it had licensing jurisdiction for four reasons instead of three determined by FERC.
     The Appeals Court  concludes that FERC's jurisdictional determinations were supported by substantial evidence and deny the Districts' petition for review. We dismiss the Trust's petition as it raises no justiciable case or controversy.

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

<> Genetics Provide New Hope for Endangered Freshwater Mussels - A recent U.S. Geological Survey led study examined six species of freshwater mussels in four Great Lakes Tributaries in southwestern Ontario.  

Michigan News

<> MDEQ Environmental Calendar for May 18, 2015

<> Consumers Energy Closing Second-Most Coal Plants in Nation; Shows Need for Michigan-first Energy Plan - Consumers Energy's plans to retire its seven oldest coal-fired generating plants by April 2016 – 32 percent of its fleet – mean that only one other energy provider in the country is retiring a larger percentage of its coal plants.

<> Isle Royale study could soon be gone with the wolves - With only three resident wolves on the island, down from nine wolves the previous season, the longest, continuous predator-prey study (57-years) could be coming to an end — or perhaps moving in a new direction.

<> Pre-planning meeting with the State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water Revolving Fund experts - Does your community have drinking water or wastewater infrastructure needs? Are you wondering how to finance all those improvements? Contact MDEQ to arrange a FREE pre-planning meeting

<> Drug-tainted oil, sold as food-grade, caused Michigan turkey farm disaster - Federal authorities say an Ohio-based recycling company continued selling tainted soy oil weeks after an earlier shipment of the product cost a West Michigan farm more than $1 million, killing 47,000 turkeys and ruining 500 tons of feed.

<> Michigan Sierra Club Chapter Update: May 17, 2015 - Say NO to Pipeline Secrecy; Shut Down Line 5; Air Quality in W. Michigan; and more

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).