Monday, March 23, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 3/23/15


National / International News

<> Interior Department Releases Final Rule to Support Safe, Responsible Hydraulic Fracturing Activities on Public and Tribal Lands – 3/20/15. Following a robust and transparent public process that included more than 1.5 million public comments, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell released final standards which she said will support safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands -- commonsense standards will improve safety and help protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and public disclosure of chemicals.

<> Noted Harvard Experts debate the constitutionality of the president's climate change plan - Noted constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe '66 says EPA's Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional; while  Jody Freeman '91, Archibald Cox Professor of Law and director of the Environmental Law Program, and Richard Lazarus '79, Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law, take an opposing view saying -- "Like most proposed rules, the Administration's climate rule is far from perfect, but sweeping assertions of unconstitutionality are baseless."

<> Sens. Feinstein, Leahy Introduce Bill to Ensure Consumers are Informed about BPA - Sens. Feinstein, Leahy Introduce Bill to Ensure Consumers are Informed about BPA - Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the BPA in Food Packaging Right to Know Act to ensure consumers know whether the chemical Bisphenol-A is used in food packaging.

<> Case Update: Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency - 03/18/15 – In the U.S. Supreme Court. Reply of petitioners Michigan, et al. filed and more. Oral argument scheduled for Mar 25, 2015 -- Linked with: Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA & National Mining Association v. EPA

<> Glyphosate Classified Carcinogenic by International Cancer Agency, Group Calls on U.S. to End Herbicide's Use and Advance Alternatives - A national public health and environmental group, Beyond Pesticides, is calling on the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to stop the use of the country's most popular herbicide, glyphosate -- produced and sold as Roundup by Monsanto

<> Reps. Introduce "Frack Pack" Bills to address the hydraulic fracturing - U.S. Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-PA-17), Diana DeGette (D-CO-01), Jared Polis (D-CO-02), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) said by closing loopholes, the "Frack Pack" bills (H.Rs.1460, 1482 & 1515 would hold the energy industry to the same standards that apply to everyone.

<> Governor Brown, Legislative Leaders Announce $1 Billion Emergency Drought Package - Mobilizing state resources to face another year of extreme dry conditions, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today joined Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and Republican Leaders Senator Bob Huff and Assembly member Kristin Olsen to announce legislation to help local communities cope with the ongoing, devastating drought.

<> Statement From the Trustee Council on the BP Five Year Report - In a news statement BP claims that the "…Gulf environment (is) returning to pre-spill conditions" although the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (NRDA Trustees) are still assessing the injury resulting from the largest offshore oil spill in our nation's history -- It is inappropriate as well as premature for BP to reach conclusions about impacts from the spill before the completion of the assessment.

<> Climate change: China official warns of 'huge impact' - Climate change could have a "huge impact" on China, reducing crop yields and harming the environment, the country's top weather scientist has warned, in a rare official admission.

<> Inhofe Calls to Question White House Hire from the Environmental Defense Fund - Sen. Inhofe said, "It appears highly inappropriate to have Ms. Ceronsky serve in any capacity interacting with EPA or otherwise involved in the development of these rules, considering her prior legal representation and advocacy on behalf of EDF before EPA on these very same matters."

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> Consolidation Coal Company v. Georgia Power Company - 3/20/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, Case No. 13-1603 & 13-1664. Consolidated Coal Company and PCS Phosphate Company, Inc. filed a CERCA complaint against Georgia Power, to recover cost contending that, as supplier of some of the PCB transformers, it should be liable for a contribution to those costs. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Georgia Power and the Appeals Court affirmed the judgment 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).

<> AIR QUALITY - Proposed Rule. U.S. EPA - Fine Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards: State Implementation Plan Requirements

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> Agency to fund input on lakeside nuke waste facility - The Joint Review Panel, which held hearings on a proposed deep geologic repository in 2013 and 2014, will submit its environmental assessment by May 6 -- the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is offering funding to aboriginal groups and participants who would like a say in the conditions placed on the nuclear waste repository should it be approved.

<> Has the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Made a Difference? - Through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), our region has seen an investment of over $1.6 billion in projects designed to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

<> Mott Foundation: Lessons from 35 Years of Supporting Community Foundations - The Great Lakes Protection Fund, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Joyce Foundation have long histories of supporting community foundations.

<> Industrial Water Stewardship – Creating a Positive Impact in the Great Lakes Region - How does an industrial facility know it is being responsible in its use of water?

Michigan News

<> Snyder hits the road to push for passage of Proposal 1 - With just seven weeks left before Election Day, Gov. Rick Snyder last week began making the rounds to stump for a contentious ballot proposal that would generate $1.2 billion for Michigan's crumbling roads by increasing the state sales tax.

<> MDEQ Environmental Calendar for March 23, 2015

<> EPA will fund Krispin Drain project on Harsens Island - A project to restore the habitat and provide recreational opportunities on Harsens Island, MI 

<> Mercury collection program continues in Michigan this year - U.S. Ecology and The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Mercury Collection Project have announced residents and businesses of Michigan recycled 665 pounds of mercury in 2014

<> Wind Energy and a 'no regrets' Energy Policy Vital to Michigan's Energy Security, says Michigan Eco-Tourism Leader – An interview with Jim MacInnes, president and CEO of Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa who has served as an energy policy advisor for Governors Granholm and Snyder and is nationally involved in energy conservation and renewable energy.

<> Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) Issues Manifesto - Line 6B is in the ground, the community in southwest Michigan is still reeling from the effects of the spill in 2010, and an increased volume of tar sands is flowing through southern Michigan with the intention of exporting it from terminals on the east coast.

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).



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