Friday, May 29, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/29/15


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National / International News

<> Remarks by the President at the Annual Hurricane Season Outlook and Preparedness Briefing – "The best climate scientists in the world are telling us that extreme weather events like hurricanes are likely to become more powerful -- Climate change didn't cause Hurricane Sandy, but it might have made it stronger."

<> EPA Proposes Increases in Renewable Fuel Levels - Today the EPA announced proposed volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, and 2016, and also proposed volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2017

<> Moving Forward our Regulatory Partnerships with Canada - U.S. Federal Departments and Agencies together with Canadian Ministries have been working to develop new frameworks for cooperation since the release of the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Forward Plan last August. 

<> Barnes & Thornburg LLP Alert On WOTUS - Barnes & Thornburg LLP issued an Environmental Law Alert indicating, "Although EPA claims that the rule actually narrows the scope of EPA and Army Corp jurisdiction, critics have asserted that the new rule broadens the agencies authority to regulate waters that should be exempted."

<> Energy Department Authorizes Alaska LNG Project, LLC to Export Liquefied Natural Gas - Subject to environmental review and final regulatory approval, Alaska LNG, in the Nikiski Area of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska is authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.55 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas for a period of 30 years.

<> EPA Takes Strong Steps to Better Protect Bees from Pesticides - To further support President Obama's Federal Pollinator Strategy, the U.S. EPA is proposing additional restrictions on the use of acutely toxic pesticides during times when bees are most likely to be present.

<> Ford Offers Electric Vehicle Technology Patents to Competitors Ford Motor Company is offering competitors access to its electrified vehicle technology patents – a move to help accelerate industry-wide research and development of electrified vehicles.

<> USDA to Invest Up to $100 Million to Boost Infrastructure for Renewable Fuel Use, Seeking to Double Number of Higher Blend Renewable Fuel Pumps - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest up to $100 million in a Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership to support the infrastructure needed to make more renewable fuel options available to American consumers

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> Sierra Club v. Bureau of Land Management - 5/28/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 13-1583. The panel affirmed the district court's judgment upholding the decision of the United States Bureau of Land Management to grant a right-of-way over federal land for a wind energy project developed on private land by intervenor North Sky River Energy, LLC.

<> Pebble LP v. U.S. EPA - 5/28/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 14-35845, Unpublished opinion. Plaintiffs-appellants Pebble Limited Partnership and Alaska Peninsula Corporation appeal from the district court's order dismissing their complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). The Appeals Court affirmed the decision of the district court.

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).

<> TOXICS - Proposed Rule. U.S. EPA - Proposal To Mitigate Exposure to Bees From Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products; Notice of Availability

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> Webinar: Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes - The International Joint Commission (IJC) invites you to join a public webinar and teleconference at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) on Thursday, June 4, 2015 regarding a consultants' draft report on the Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes.

  • IJC Ten Year Review "Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes" - 10 years in defending the lakes from diversions, bulk exports and large-scale withdrawals -- comments on the draft report until June 30, 2015.

Michigan News

<> MI Brownfields 2015 Grant Award Fact Sheets - [begin PDF page 95] Alger County, Detroit, Downriver Community Conference, Genesee County Land Bank Authority, Jackson County, Lansing, & Muskegon Brownfield Redevelopment Authority

<> Obama water rule earns praise, sparks concern - Michigan environmentalists praised President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday that he would move to extend pollution rules to smaller rivers and wetlands, even as some Republican members of the state's congressional delegation denounced it as executive overreach.

  • Michigan Farm Bureau statement: EPA 'Waters of the U.S.' rule - The new rule is bad news for farm families in Michigan, allowing the EPA to regulate far beyond its authority as prescribed by Congress and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

<> In re Application of Consumers Energy Company for Rate Increase - 5/27/15. In the Michigan Court of Appeals, Case Nos. 314361 & 316868. Two appeals were consolidated. See In re Application of Consumers Energy for Reconciliation of Costs, unpublished order of the Court of Appeals, entered May 21, 2014 (Docket Nos. 314361, 316868). The Appeals Court concluded that the MPSC properly disallowed TES Filer's request for recovery of additional funds for NOx and SO2 allowances. However, it concluded that the MPSC erred in adjusting the $1,000,000 monthly cap on the fuel and variable operation and maintenance costs payable to the biomass merchant plants (BMPs).

<> Recycling market development: creating a supply chain for Michigan businesses - Access more information from MDEQ about the recycling supply chain and how your business can help Michigan become a recycling leader

<> Opportunity to share ideas on state forest planning for Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Mackinac and Otsego counties - MDNR will host open houses June 24 in Gaylord and June 25 in Indian River to talk about proposed forest management plans for 2017 in the Gaylord management unit

<> Opportunity to share ideas on state forest planning for Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties - MDNR will host an open house June 23 in Baraga, Michigan, to talk about proposed forest management plans for 2017 in the Baraga management unit

<> St. Clair County starts annual beach tests for E. coli with new, quicker method - Beaches will be tested using an old method that produces results in about 18 hours; and the same beaches also will be tested  using a method called quantitative polymerase chain reaction that promises results in less than four hours

<> SDEV is holding our Annual Tire Sweep Challenge June 23-25, 2015! -   The post SDEV is holding our Annual Tire Sweep Challenge June 23-25, 2015! appeared first on Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision.

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).