Thursday, May 28, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/28/15


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National / International News

<> Statement by the President on the Clean Water Rule ". . .court decisions have led to uncertainty and a need for clarification. . . This rule will provide the clarity and certainty businesses and industry need about which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, and it will ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters can be held accountable.

  • Barack Obama's water war [Politico article by Jenny Hopkinson] Industries like agriculture, oil and home-building are lining up to attack a rule aimed at protecting wetlands and waterways.

<> Business & Industry React to EPA's Final WOTUS Rule

  • U.S. Chamber Statement on EPA's Final Clean Water Rule - EPA's proposed rule would significantly broaden federal regulatory jurisdiction over private activities on land and in waterways, wetlands and drainage ditches, and fundamentally change the scope and extent of long-standing state delegated Clean Water Act programs -- the Chamber is reviewing the substance of the final rule and evaluating the best options available to prevent this flawed rule from negatively affecting our nation's economy
  • American Sustainable Business Council Praises EPA's Clean Water Rule - The Clean Water Rule will give the business community more confidence that streams and rivers will be protected -- this is good for the economy and vital for businesses that rely on clean water for their success.
  • National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Reacts to WOTUS - From ditches, to ponds, to creeks, this regulation will expand the Administration's regulatory reach even further into the operations of manufacturers, farmers and small businesses.

<> American Farm Bureau Federation Reacts To EPA's Final WOTUS Rule Based on EPA's aggressive advocacy campaign in support of its original proposed rule – and the agency's numerous misstatements about the content and impact of that proposal – we find little comfort in the agency's assurances that our concerns have been addressed in any meaningful way.

  • EPA Fact Sheet On WOTUS & Agriculture - Among other items, EPA says WOTUS does not protect any types of waters that have not historically been covered by the Clean Water Act; nor does it add any new requirements for agriculture, or interfere with or change private property right

<> Environmental Groups React to EPA's Final WOTUS Rule

  • Center for Biological Diversity - The "Clean Water Rule" issued by the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reduces the agencies' jurisdiction over waters that have been covered under the Clean Water Act since the 1970s -- it fails to protect streams and rivers that have historically been protected under the Clean Water Act, exempting industrial-scale livestock facilities, and allowing streams and rivers to be impounded or filled with toxic coal ash and other waste.
  • Earthjustice - The Clean Water Rule restores clear protection to 60% of the nation's stream miles and millions of acres of wetlands that were historically protected by the Clean Water Act, but have lacked guaranteed safeguards for nearly a decade.
  • Natural Resources Defense Council - Drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans will regain strong safeguards against pollution -- these long-overdue protections also will ensure cleaner wetlands, headwaters, brooks and streams that we use for swimming, fishing and other recreational activities.
  • Sierra Club More American waterways will be free from pollution and more of the drinking water American families rely on will be free from contamination -- No longer will the Supreme Court's confusing decisions on the issue allow dirty fossil fuel companies to threaten people's health by dumping toxins into our lakes, rivers, and streams.

<> EPA Announces $54.3 Million to Assess and Clean Up Contaminated Sites, Revitalize Communities, Leverage Jobs and Promote Economic Redevelopment Nationwide - EPA announced today the selection of 243 new grant investments totaling $54.3 million to 147 communities across the U.S to provide communities with funding necessary to assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment -- recipients will each receive approximately $200,000 - $600,000 in funding toward EPA cooperative agreements.

<> Can U.S. Meet Its Climate Goals? New Study Says 'Yes' - Without relying on nonexistent technologies or new federal laws, the US could meet or even exceed its climate targets at little or no cost to the economy, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based climate research organization.

<> EPA revises its regulatory agenda, a flurry of activity expected in the next few months - Last week, the EPA-specific listing on the website of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs was updated with timelines on the EPA's regulatory efforts.

<> OIG Report: EPA's Key Management Challenges 2015 – 5/28/15. Office of Inspector General is providing the issues it considers as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) major management challenges for fiscal year 2015.

<> Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas Western Hemisphere Clean Energy Initiative - At the Second Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Ministerial, hosted May 25-26, 2015 in Merida, Mexico, Energy Ministers of Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Panama and the United States announced the creation of a new Western Hemisphere Clean Energy Initiative.

<> Year-in-Review: 2014 Energy Infrastructure Events and Expansions Now Available (May 2015) - The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability has released the report which provides a summary of significant energy disruptions and infrastructure changes that occurred in the United States throughout 2014.

<> Beyond the Data: NOAA's new climate monitoring blog - A blog by the nation's official climate record keepers to keep the records of the nation's and the world's climate system.

<> Investor Network on Climate Risk: Year in Review 2014-2015 - The 2014-2015 INCR Year in Review highlights the key activities, events and initiatives that INCR members and Ceres have undertaken from June 2014 through early 2015. 

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

<> Clean Water Rule 'A Major Victory for People, Great Lakes, Economy' - The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is heralding a new clean water rule as a major step forward in protecting drinking water and restoring the health of the Great Lakes.

<> MDNR fisheries research vessels are out on the water to expand knowledge of Great Lakes - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) announced that all four of its fisheries research vessels are back on the water, beginning their annual surveys of Great Lakes fish populations.

<> Identifying the best rivers in the Great Lakes region for Asian carp eggs - Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey are using a model nicknamed FluEgg to predict which rivers in the Great Lakes region are the most suitable for Asian carp to reproduce.

Michigan News

<> Disruption at Michigan Policy Conference Calls Attention to Aging Mackinac Pipeline - A group of concerned individuals from across the state of Michigan have just converged at the start of the Detroit Chamber 2015 Michigan Policy Conference to draw attention to the aging crude oil pipeline known as "Line 5″.

<> New Analysis of MDEQ Budget Conference Report - Overall full time equivalent personnel dow 5.2% (66.5 employees) & gross funding down 6.2% ($32,282,500)

  • HB 4093 of 2015 - Appropriations; zero budget; department of environmental quality; provide for fiscal year 2015-2016. Creates appropriation act.

<> MDEQ awards 10 water quality grants - MDEQ announced grants totaling almost $3.1 million to improve water quality in Michigan lakes and streams -- helping to restore impaired waters and protect high-quality waters by reducing nonpoint sources of sediment, nutrients and other contaminants.

<> Wildlife habitat grants available through MDNR - MDNR accepting 2015 Round 2 Wildlife Habitat Grant Program applications June 1 through July 10, giving priority to projects featuring habitat enhancement for game species.

<> Proposed fishing regulations for Saginaw Bay, associated waters - MDNR will host a public meeting Thursday, June 4, in Bay City, Michigan, to discuss two fishing regulation proposals for Saginaw Bay and associated waters.

<> Statement from Clean Water Action on EPA Clean Water Rule - The Clean Water Rule is the culmination of more than 12 years of advocacy by Clean Water Action, its members, and its allies

<> May 2015 White Lake PAC E-Newsletter - Goodbye from the White Lake Public Advisory Council! -- the last official e-newsletter from the White Lake Public Advisory Council (PAC) -- Strategic Plan and New White Lake Organization

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 (5/27/15)


HB 4093 of 2015 Appropriations; zero budget; department of environmental quality; provide for fiscal year 2015-2016. Creates appropriation act. [Conference Report Received]

HB 4657 of 2015 Education; facilities; certain activities to determine and eliminate environmental hazards; require before building a school or acquiring a site for a school. [Committee\