Wednesday, April 29, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 4/29/15

National / International News

<> American Lung Association's 2015 'State of the Air' Report - More than four in 10 Americans - nearly 138.5 million people - live in counties where ozone or particle pollution levels make the air unhealthy to breathe, according to the American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2015" report

<> Universal LNG Solutions Inc. Unveils First Clean, Efficient Long-Distance Big Rigs - Universal LNG Solutions Inc. rolled out the first four trucks in a fleet of 95 of the most advanced liquefied natural gas (LNG) big rigs in the nation at the campus of Sancus Energy, an LNG technology leader -- the first in the country with the capability to haul 80,000 pounds of goods for more than 700 miles per fill-up, an unprecedented achievement that will change the face of long-distance trucking.

<> Vatican official calls for moral awakening on global warming - Increasing use of fossil fuels is disrupting Earth on an "almost unfathomable scale", a top Vatican official has said, warning that a "full conversion" of hearts and minds is needed if global warming is to be conquered.

<> Court Declares Vermont's Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Law Constitutional - Center for Food Safety (CFS) hailed the just-issued federal court decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont affirming the constitutionality of Vermont's genetically engineered food labeling law, Act 120.

<> Farm Bureau to FAA: Farmers and Ranchers Will Soar with Agricultural Drones - The American Farm Bureau Federation told the Federal Aviation Administration that high-tech cameras and other airborne sensors give us important tools with which to reduce erosion and keep agricultural runoff to the absolute minimum -- important not just for farmers but for anyone else who cares deeply about the environment.

<> EPA To Decide On Public Reporting Of Oil And Gas Toxic Chemicals By October 30 - The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has entered a stay in a lawsuit that environmental organizations filed against U.S. EPA over the agency's failure to require the oil and gas industry to report its toxic emissions to the federal Toxics Release Inventory database -- EPA confirmed that it would respond to the groups' petition by October 30, 2015,

<> Extreme Rainfall Analyses Can Point to Right Size for Culverts - Across the contiguous United States, and especially in the Northeast, the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events has increased significantly over the last century.

<> 88 Groups Say Rep. Whitfield's Pro-Polluter Bill Undermines Health and Climate Action - Eighty-eight leading conservation, Latino, health, scientific and environmental organizations today urged lawmakers to reject a bill to delay federal climate action authored by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), saying it would give polluters free rein to keep dumping unlimited amounts of dangerous carbon pollution into our air.

  • EPA's Pending Power Plant Rule Threatens the American Dream - Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) have introduced the Ratepayer Protection Act.
  • H.R. 2042 - To allow for judicial review of any final rule addressing carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating units before requiring compliance with such rule, and to allow States to protect households and businesses

<> "Prevented Planting" Crop Insurance Plows Up Wetlands, Wastes Billions - In the report, EWG analyzed payments under the "prevented planting" coverage option of the heavily subsidized federal crop insurance program and says, "Big payouts are going out every year to the same counties because farmers are trying to plant in seasonal wetlands that are usually too wet to plant in the spring. . ."

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

<> Tom Melius Appointed New Commissioner of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission - The President has appointed Midwest Regional Director, Tom Melius, as the Federal Commissioner of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission -- the position has remained vacant since 2010.

Michigan News

<> EPA to share several cleanup plans for Kalamazoo River Superfund Project - EPA, working with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, is planning to share cleanup plans in the coming months for several areas or "operable units" of the Kalamazoo River.

<> Ozone levels grow worse in West Michigan, improve in Detroit - West Michigan's ozone level was ranked as the 18th most polluted region in the country, according to State of the Air 2015.

<> Michigan House OKs budget that cuts Detroit aid - The Michigan House on Tuesday passed a $37.8 billion general government spending plan that slashes state revenue sharing for Detroit by $4.1 million — four months after Michigan's largest city emerged from bankruptcy -- a 59-51, the Republican-controlled House approved the omnibus budget, which includes about $8.1 billion in state general fund spending

<> What's next for Michigan's energy transformation? - Michigan may have already harvested its low-hanging fruit on renewable energy; opportunities exist to greatly expand cleaner energy sources statewide, but they will come with more challenges.

<> State-licensed commercial fishing up more than 5 percent in value from previous year - MDNR recently released data from its 2014 state-licensed commercial fishing season indicating that combined, the state-licensed commercial fishery caught nearly 3,414,000 pounds of fish with an estimated wholesale dockside value of more than $5.8 million prior to processing, marketing and retail sales.

<> MDEQ Celebrates Air Quality Awareness Week - Each day is dedicated to a different air quality topic and steps you can take to minimize your impact.

<> Watershed Center & NMEAC Appeal Boardman Lake Variance - The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay and the Northern Michigan Environmental Council (NMEAC) today filed a claim of appeal in Grand Traverse County Circuit Court of the March 10, 2015 decision by the City of Traverse City Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) for a variance to the Boardman Lake building setback.

<> Grand Rapids Town Hall on Energy Policy - Join Michigan LCV and West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) for a Town Hall next Monday (May 4) from 6:30 to 8 PM in Grand Rapids.

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 (4/28/15)


SB 0301 of 2015 Environmental protection; recycling; consumer electronic waste; expand to include cellular telephones and tablet computers. [COMMITTEE]


SB 0217 of 2015 Property tax; classification; reference to qualified forest in qualified agriculture definition; remove. [Committee]

HB 4441 of 2015 Environmental protection; other; water pollution, sewerage, solid waste, and recycling fees; extend sunset. [3rd Read]

HB 4448 of 2015 Natural resources; inland lakes; inland lakes and streams application fees; modify. [3rd Read]


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