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Daily Environmental HotSheet

Friday, June 12, 2015


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National / International News

<> Governments Shift Gear To Deliver Paris Agreement - The road map to a new universal climate agreement will step into a higher gear over the next two months as the world works towards Paris in December -- negotiations in mid-July will begin shaping what will be the Paris agreement -- the so called ‘Paris Package’

<> U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Develop Environmental Impact Statement for Regional Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is inviting public input as it develops an environmental impact statement to evaluate the potential impacts of issuing incidental take permits for covered species under the draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan -- states within the plan area include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

<> GOP Leaders Oppose Federal Mandates on Methane Emissions - Senate Republicans on the EPW & ENR Committees sent a letter to President Obama opposing new federal mandates regulating methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector

<> Committee Passes Critical Bipartisan Energy Infrastructure and Forest Management Bills - The House Committee on Natural Resources approved six bills during a Full Committee markup on H.R. 387, H.R. 521, H.R. 1289, H.R. 1992, H.R. 2295, H.R. 2358, and H.R. 2647.

<> Oil exploration in the U.S. Arctic continues despite current price environment - (Fri, 12 Jun 2015) Alaska's crude oil production has declined from 1.8 MMb/d in 1991 to 0.5 MMb/d in 2014, and it is expected to continue declining through 2040. 

<> FEMA Launches New Data Visualization Tool - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) launched a new data visualization tool that enables users to see when and where disaster declarations have occurred across the country.

<> Sens. Whitehouse and Schatz Unveil Carbon Fee Proposal at American Enterprise Institute - Legislation Would Reduce CO2 Emissions by 40%, Lower Corporate Tax Rate, and Provide Annual $500 Benefit to Every American Worker

<> Access SEC company filings of water risk disclosures - Ceres has launched a new search tool to access water risk disclosures in company filings with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission -- the tool allows users to find disclosures in 4,500 U.S. companies' annual filings relating to water availability, scarcity, quality, pollution, regulation and innovation.

<> National Climate Change Adaptation Emerging Practices in Monitoring and Evaluation - The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released a major report on adaptation to climate change: “National Climate Change Adaptation: Emerging practices in monitoring and evaluation” .

<> New ACEEE report series charts the course for aligning utility business models and energy efficiency - Utilities have traditionally earned profits by simply selling more energy and building more power plants and infrastructure, which put their financial motivations squarely at odds with the goal of greater energy efficiency.

<> New Guidance for Vapor Intrusion Investigations and Response Actions - The quality of outdoor air frequently comes to mind as an important public health concern and rightly so. What sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, though, is the role indoor air quality plays in public health.

<> New online tool opens historic maps database to the public - The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is changing the way people access its trove of historic maps -- the new topoView app allows anyone to access and download topographic maps – nearly 180,000 of them – dating back to the 1880s.

  • TopoView - Accessing Historical Topographic Maps Has Never Been Easier

<> SEIA Unveils First 'SEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power' - The first Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power, available online, offers those interested in solar power a one-stop shop to better understand the basics of solar energy and ownership options, and includes key questions to ask solar installers before entering a transaction.

<> EPA Fracking Assessment: Combining Quality Research with Poor Communication - Clean Water Action asks. . . How can the news reporting on EPA’s Assessment be this misleading? -- At least part of the reason is EPA’s press release.

<> Groups Oppose Plan to Open Over a Million Acres of Federal Property in California to Drilling and Fracking - A lawsuit filed by environmental organizations seeks to block a federal plan to open up more than a million acres of public land and mineral rights in central California to drilling and fracking. 

U.S. Appeals Court Environmental Decisions

<> Alaska Wilderness League v. Sally Jewell (U.S. DOI) - 6/11/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 13-35866. The panel affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of federal defendants and Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. and Shell Offshore Inc. in an action brought by environmental groups alleging that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement acted unlawfully in approving two of Shell’s oil spill response plans for its oil leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas on Alaska’s Arctic coast.

<> Pesticide Action Network v. U.S. EPA - 6/10/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. In response to a petition for a writ of mandamus filed by the Pesticide Action Network North America and Natural Resource Defense Council, the panel directed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to file a status report with the Court no later than June 30, 2015 concerning EPA’s response to petitioners’ 2007 administrative petition requesting that EPA cancel registration for the pesticide chlorpyrifos and retained jurisdiction over the case.

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 - Final Action. U.S. EPA - State Implementation Plans: Response to Petition for Rulemaking; Restatement and Update of EPA's SSM Policy Applicable to SIPs; Findings of Substantial Inadequacy; and SIP Calls To Amend Provisions Applying to Excess Emissions During Periods of Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction

(click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Great Lakes News

<> Mayors Call on US and Canada to Protect Drinking Water - Mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (Cities Initiative) are calling on the Governors of Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, along with the Premier of Ontario to move forward to get major reductions in Nutrient loadings to Lake Erie -- the Mayors are calling for at least a 40% reduction in nutrient loadings from agriculture, cities, and industry.

Michigan News

<> MEDC Statement on House Passed Road Bills HB 4607 and HB 4608 - Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) said if enacted, the bills will mean a significant decline in our state’s economic development capabilities -- they will also damage our state’s ability to revitalize our community centers, from our largest cities to our smallest of villages.

<> Archived MDEQ webinars on a variety of topics - All MDEQ webinar recordings are posted on the MDEQ Webinars webpage including the most recent June 11th "The State of Recycling in Michigan"

<> Volunteers, MDNR grants help improve wildlife habitat - The application period currently is open for the Wildlife Habitat Grant program's third straight year -- appliations due by close of business July 10

<> Interviews: Both Sides of the Fracking Issue In Michigan - First, The Committee to Ban Fracking, based in Charlevoix, has begun a ballot campaign hoping to put a ban before voters in next years general election.

<> West Michigan Green Infrastructure Conference - August 5 at Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids for the  West Michigan regional Green Infrastructure Conference.

<> Michigan Radon Stakeholder Conference June 18 - The Michigan Radon Stakeholder Conference is designed to help Michigan radon professionals understand code compliance and to ensure all radon professionals are working from the same national industry standards for radon measurement and mitigation. 

<> Michigan spruce, fir trees hit hard by budworm caterpillar - Forestry officials are expecting another tough year for evergreen trees across Michigan -- the spruce budworm is expected to heavily impact white spruce and balsam fir trees across the Upper and northern Lower Peninsulas this year

<> Senators Stabenow, Peters Urge Funding to Keep Fisheries Healthy, Strengthen Great Lakes Economy - U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters today urged Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to fund mass marking programs in next year's budget -- mass marking is a tool used to collect data and measure the effectiveness of fish protection, habitat, and water quality 

<> The Michigan Renewable Energy Fair - Hosted by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA), this year's event is Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27 at the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason

<> DNR's Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council to meet June 18 in Newberry

<> Grand American Fish Rodeo Festival comes to Lansing Friday and Saturday - Families can learn about Michigan’s aquatic resources, fishing, food and fun!

<> Land Policy Institute helps lead urban development study - MSU's Land Policy Institute is helping conduct the Michigan Walkable Urban Places study to assist in planning future development blueprints for the state of Michigan.

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).