Friday, May 22, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/22/15



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National / International News

<> What They're Saying: Military Leaders Respond to the President's Call to Battle Climate Change - President Obama's strong stance on climate change prompted many leaders in the military, Congress, and climate change research to respond in kind.

<> Remarks at the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council Reception - Secretary of State, John Kerry, the new Chairman of the Arctic Council said, ". . .I begin by being very clear that every nation that cares about the future of the Arctic has to be a leader in taking and urging others to move forward with bold initiatives and immediate, ambitious steps to curb the impact of greenhouse gases. . ."

<> DOE Resources Help Measure Building Energy Benchmarking Policy & Program Effectiveness - The Department of Energy has released two resources to help stakeholders analyze the energy, non-energy, and market transformation impacts of building energy benchmarking policies and programs.

<> Stabenow, Peters Call for Permanent Administrator to Lead Pipeline Safety Agency - U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters (MI) joined eight of their Senate colleagues to send a letter urging the White House to nominate a permanent administrator to lead the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which plays a vital role in protecting communities from spills and accidents while ensuring the safe flow of energy products. 

<> Senator Stabenow Introduces Bill to Expand Advanced Vehicle Technology - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced legislation to expand an advanced vehicle manufacturing loan program that helps automobile and parts manufacturers to retool their plants to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. 

<> Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences (2015) - The National Academy of Sciences report addresses the strategic investments necessary at NSF to ensure a robust ocean scientific enterprise over the next decade. 

<> Pennsylvania study finds contaminants in drilling wastewater - Two chemicals never before considered oil and gas industry contaminants, ammonium and iodide, were found in alarming levels in drilling wastewater discharged into Pennsylvania's waterways, according to a recent study.

<> USDA Reminds Farmers to Certify Conservation Compliance by June 1 Deadline - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers to file a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) with their local USDA Service Center by June 1, 2015.

<> Cuomo Administration Blocks Massive Tar Sands Oil Facility Expansion in Albany - In the face of a court challenge from a broad coalition of environmental and community groups and massive community opposition, the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) halted Global Companies' proposed expansion of its massive Albany oil train facility to handle tar sands oil.

<> CA Governor Brown Declares State of Emergency in Santa Barbara County to Assist Oil Spill Response - Governor Brown Jr. issued an emergency proclamation for Santa Barbara County due to the effects of an oil spill near Refugio State Beach.

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> USA v. State of Ohio - 5/21/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Case No. 13-4362. The United States appeals from the district court's denial of its motion for summary judgment and grant of the State of Ohio's and Buckingham Coal Company's motions for summary judgment in this action challenging Ohio's right to lease Buckingham the right to mine coal lying beneath land acquired for a flood control project. 
     The Appeals Court reverses the district court motion saying, "we conclude that Ohio lacked the authority to enter into the instant leases. We reverse the district court's grant of summary judgment to Ohio and Buckingham and its denial of the United States' motion for summary judgment, and remand for entry of judgment consistent with this opinion.

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

<> Changing water levels on the Great Lakes - Their levels change all the time, and have been down significantly for the past 16 years, but the last few years, they've changed a lot, faster than anyone would've expected.

Michigan News

<> Lakefront residents on Lake St. Clair continue to deal with stinky muck - Testing conducted in 2011 revealed that the accumulation along shorelines contained human waste, via sewage overflows and bird droppings; communities often dump partially treated sewage into lake tributaries due to overflows during major storms.

<> Dan Fette v. Peters Construction Co. - 5/21/15. In the Michigan Court of Appeals, Appealed from the Berrien County Circuit Court, Case No. 320803. In this contract dispute, plaintiffs, Daniel Fette and the Berrien County Board of Public Works, appeal as of right from the trial court's order confirming an arbitrator's award of approximately $45,300 in favor of defendant.     Defendant, Peters Construction Co., cross-appeals from that same order. The Appeals Court affirmed.

     Defendant and plaintiffs entered into a contract for a construction project, which included installing a water main underneath railroad tracks. During the project, defendant encountered some "unforeseen subsurface conditions" that, according to it, were not anticipated in the agreement and required extra expense in completing the job. Defendant tried to get plaintiffs to agree to pay this extra amount, but plaintiffs declined. Citing the arbitration clause in the contract, defendant filed a claim for arbitration.

<> 2015 Greenup Call for Abstracts - The seventh Michigan "GreenUp" Conference will be held November 3-4, 2015 University of Michigan, North Campus Research Complex, Ann Arbor. Submit an oral presentation abstract - Deadline July 1. Sponsorships also available.

<> Michigan Wildlife Council selects Güd Marketing for multiyear campaign - After a lengthy request-for-proposals review and evaluation process, the Council has selected Güd (pronounced "good") Marketing (formerly Pace & Partners) of Lansing, to lead a multi-year promotional campaign focused on increasing public awareness about the importance of Michigan's hunting, fishing and trapping traditions to wildlife and habitat management statewide.

<> Anglers encouraged to monitor bait to spot juvenile Asian carp - MDNR is taking many steps to prevent adult Asian carp (bighead and silver) from entering the Great Lakes, but many people don't realize that juvenile Asian carp pose a threat to the state's waters, too.

<> MDOT releases second part of report on community and economic benefits of bicycling - MDOT released the second phase of a new report, "Community and Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Michigan" funded by federal and state planning and research funds, it is the second phase of a larger report describing the economic benefits that bicycling events bring to the economy.

<> Group faults effort to spare birdlife from wind turbines - Federal guidelines from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urge wind energy developers to locate turbines with special care in places such as the "Thumb" region of Michigan's mitten-shaped Lower Peninsula — or avoid them altogether, to prevent fatal collisions between birds and the towers' whirring blades.

<> Report shows Michigan commercial fishing harvest down, gross dockside value up - This increase in the value of the fishery is thanks to the increase in wholesale price of one of the Great Lakes' most prolific inhabitants: whitefish.

<> MEC joins clean air crusaders at Mama Summit - MEC rallied at the Capitol this week with dozens of concerned parents to educate legislators about the negative health impacts coal plants have on children.

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 (5/21/15)


SB 0348 of 2015 Environmental protection; landfills; mining, including reclamation activities, in landfills; prohibit. [COMMITTEE]

HB 4449 of 2015 Environmental protection; air pollution; air emission fees; modify. [Passed, Transmitted]


HB 4093 of 2015 Appropriations; zero budget; department of environmental quality; provide for fiscal year 2015-2016. Creates appropriation act. [House & SENATE conferees named]


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