Tuesday, May 26, 2015

[WIMS] Environmental HotSheet 5/26/15



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National / International News

<> Statement by the President on Senate Passage of Trade Promotion Authority and Trade Adjustment Assistance – 5/22/15. Today's bipartisan Senate vote is an important step toward ensuring the United States can negotiate and enforce strong, high-standards trade agreements. 

<> Inhofe, Boxer Statement on Senate Passage of Two-Month Highway Extension – ". . . it's time we end this costly uncertainty with the Highway Trust Fund. The only solution to fixing this problem is to enact a consensus-based, bipartisan, six-year surface transportation bill that will provide states and local communities the funding and the certainty they need to plan and construct multi-year projects to modernize our infrastructure. . ."

<> Proposed Clean Power Plan rule cuts power sector CO2 emissions to lowest level since 1980s - U.S. Energy Information Administration's, Analysis of the Impacts of the Clean Power Plan, shows power sector CO2 emissions falling to about 1,500 million metric tons per year by 2025, a level not seen since the early 1980s, in the Base Policy case.

<> Obama Set to Strengthen Federal Role in Clean Water Regulation - New York Times - The Obama administration is expected in the coming days to announce a major clean water regulation that would restore the federal government's authority to limit pollution in the nation's rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands.

<> Secretary Jewell Announces $50 Million to Help Conserve Water in Drought-Stricken West - Interior's Bureau of Reclamation will invest nearly $50 million to improve water efficiency and conservation in California and 11 other western states.

<> Deepwater Horizon Trustees Invite Public Comment On Draft Phase IV Early Restoration Plan - The Deepwater Horizon oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees are asking the public to review and comment on its new Draft Phase IV Early Restoration Plan.

<> EPA's Dirty Little Secret: Its Regulation Prevents Effective Oil-Spill Cleanup - The use of genetically engineered microorganisms to clean up oil spills was once highly anticipated, but unscientific, burdensome regulation has prevented them from becoming commercialized.

<> Energy Efficiency, Climate Change, and Leadership: Key Topics of the Second Ministerial Meeting of the ECPA - The region's high-ranking authorities on energy and climate will meet on May 25 and 26 to discuss the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) plan of action -- chief among the topics that the OAS member states will address in their discussions are energy efficiency, climate change, and charting a new course for the ECPA.

<> 120 CEOs Managing $12 Trillion Urge Finance Ministers to Support a Long-Term Emissions Reduction Goal in Global Climate Deal - Ahead of Wednesday's meeting of G7 Finance Ministers in Dresden, Germany, 120 investor CEOs from around the world managing funds worth more than $12 trillion have written an open letter to finance ministers urging them to support the inclusion of a long-term emissions reduction goal in the international climate agreement due to be sealed in Paris in December.

<> Study Shows Neonicotinoid Pesticide Has Devastating Effect on Termites Due to Eusocial Behavior, Similar to Bees - (Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2015) A study led by Purdue University Entomology Professor Michael Scharf, Ph.D. finds that small doses of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide, can halt the normal functioning of termite behavior, leaving colonies vulnerable to disease and eventual death.

<> Earthjustice Applauds Action by 18 U.S. Senators to Oppose Arctic Drilling - The efforts to oppose arctic drilling were spearheaded by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> National Association of Home v. United States Fish & Wildlife – 5/26/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 14-5121. Four associations challenge consent decrees that require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine, in accordance with a settlement-defined schedule for action, whether 251 species should be listed as endangered or threatened. The Appeals Court rules, "Because the associations lack standing to raise their challenge, we affirm the district court's dismissal."

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).

<> WATER - Notice. Army, Corps of Engineers Annual Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development: Proposals by Non-Federal Interests for Feasibility Studies and for Modifications to an Authorized Water Resources Development Project, or Feasibility Study for Inclusion in the Annual Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development

<> AIR QUALITY, MICHIGAN - Notice. Department of Justice - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Air Act. MDEQ v. AK Steel Corporation, Civil Action No. 15-11804. Re: emission of particulate matter from certain sources at defendant's iron and steel mill in Dearborn, Wayne County, Michigan

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> Researchers sample Lake Superior's waters to study lake's rapid changes - This week scientists from the University of Minnesota Duluth are trying to figure out why the lake is warming, why surface ice cover is declining and why biological diversity is decreasing to the point where there's less food for fish.

<> The Great Lakes usual suspects - Scientists estimate the Great Lakes have been invaded by over 180 species. Aquatic invasive species cost the region hundreds of millions of dollars each year -- here's a look at the top five "usual suspects" doing the most damage. . .

<> Controlling a purple menace - In order to destroy purple loosestrife on their lakes, volunteers first have to tend it -- coaxing rootstock to grow to a point where its predators (Galerucella beetles) can attack.

<> Official: Laws a start, but more needed to stop algae - Farmers are working with Ohio State University to study how phosphorus from the fertilizer they spread on their fields is leaving the soil and getting into streams and rivers that empty into Lake Erie.

Michigan News

<> Environmental group asks EPA to review Eagle Mine permits - Grassroots environmental group Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) recently petitioned the U.S. EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), appealing MDEQ's reissuance of a Groundwater Discharge Permit (GWDP) for the Eagle Mine.

<> This aging oil pipeline is in Great Lakes' 'worst possible place' for a spill - Environmental activists say Michigan's tourism slogan -- "Pure Michigan" -- may no longer be accurate unless the state takes stronger action to prevent a 62-year-old oil pipeline from rupturing in a sensitive waterway.

<> Heat and Warmth Fund gets $1 million to help people pay water bills - A New York investment banking company has donated $1 million to The Heat and Warmth Fund designed to help low-income Detroit residents pay their water bills and avoid shutoffs.

<> Detroit Regional Chamber's annual policy conference on Mackinac Island - Held Tuesday, May 26 through Friday, May 29, the Conference will spur a comprehensive dialogue focused on the three pillars of talent, urban revitalization and cohesion.

<> Parts of upper Great Lakes could suit cougars - Habitat is suitable for cougars to recolonize the Upper Great Lakes region, according to a study out of Michigan Technological University.

<> Aquinas College to Host a Conversation About the Debate on Climate Change - While the scientific community has come to an agreement on climate change, the political debate remains polarized. On May 27, Aquinas College will be hosting University of Michigan's Dr. Andrew Hoffman as he examines the cultural debate from a sociological, psychological and political science stand point.

<> CARD Celebrates No Oil Find In Shelby Township - The members of Citizens Against Residential Drilling (CARD) are celebrating the news just received from West Bay Exploration that they have failed to find the oil they were hoping to find in Shelby Township at the Nino Homes Well 1-6.

<> New paddling guide available for Detroit River - A new user guide makes it easier than ever for outdoor enthusiasts to plan paddling trips along the Detroit Heritage River Water Trail -- detailed descriptions of each launch site, updated information on existing locations, safety suggestions, and resources for local paddling groups

<> Angler input sought on Upper Peninsula rivers for brook trout research - MDNR announced that select rivers across the Upper Peninsula again will be part of an angler survey effort during the 2015 inland trout season.

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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