Week of February 5, 2007

 

National

Regional

Canada

General

Beyond the Great Lakes

2nd Amendment issues

Indiana

Michigan

 

       Weekly News Archives

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National

Mayors Seek $4 Billion Grant to Fight Global Warming

WASHINGTON, DC (ENS) - More than 260 of the nation’s mayors wrapped up the 75th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors January 26 with a call for a $4 billion Energy and Environmental Block Grant to help cities combat

global warming by increasing community energy efficiency. The block grant would provide funding directly to cities and urban counties for programs that improve community energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.


Bush Orders Federal Agencies to Slash Energy Consumption

WASHINGTON, DC (ENS) - President George W. Bush on January 24 issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to cut their energy consumption, shift federal fleets to alternative fuel and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and expand procurement programs for environmentally friendly products.

 

Under the order, agencies operating fleets of at least 20 motor vehicles must reduce their consumption of petroleum products by two percent a year through the end of fiscal 2015. Bush said federal agencies would start buying new plug-in hybrid vehicles "as soon as they hit the market."

 

The order requires agencies to reduce their overall energy use by three percent annually through 2015 and to cut water consumption two percent annually over the same period. Agencies must increase alternative fuel consumption at least 10 percent annually. The order mandates that agencies expand procurement programs focusing on environmentally friendly products, including bio-based products.

 

At least 50 % of current renewable energy purchases must

come from renewable sources that began generating power after January 1, 1999, the order states. Agencies must reduce the use of chemicals and toxic materials and purchase lower risk chemicals and toxic materials from a top priority list.

 

In addition, annually, 95 percent of electronic products purchased must meet Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool standards where applicable. The order requires agencies to enable Energy Star features on all computers and monitors; and reuse, donate, sell, or recycle 100 percent of electronic products using environmentally sound management practices.

 

Finally, by 2010 the federal government must increase to at least 2,500 the number of operations that implement environmental management systems, up from about 1,000 today.

 

The Executive Order consolidates and strengthens five other executive orders and two memorandums of understanding and establishes new and updated goals, practices, and reporting requirements for environmental, energy, and transportation performance and accountability.


Navy Sonar Exempted from Marine Mammal Protection Law

WASHINGTON, DC (ENS) - The Defense Department has exempted the U.S. Navy and its use of mid-frequency active sonar from the Marine Mammal Protection Act for two years, raising protests by environmental organizations that say the loud blasts of sound harm whales and dolphins.

 

The Navy’s position is that continued training with active sonar is "absolutely essential in protecting the lives of our sailors and defending the nation." Sonar is needed to detect increasingly quiet diesel-electric submarines that continue to proliferate throughout the world, the Navy said in a statement last week.

The exemption means that mid-frequency active sonar can be used on ranges off Hawaii, Southern California and the East Coast. The sonar also can be used during RIMPAC 2008, the world's largest naval war games that take place in waters around the Hawaiian Islands, including the new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument.

 

The Navy says the two year limited exemption enables the Navy to continue execution of that plan which is being undertaken in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service. Authority for the exemption was included by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2004.

 


Feds propose to remove wolves from Endangered Species Act Protection

The USFWS announced last week it would soon propose removing gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains from

the list of endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act (as well as finalize the wolf's delisting in the Midwest).


Regional

Great Lakes plan funding questioned

ASHLAND, Wis. (AP) — Federal officials, anglers and other conservation groups are hailing re-authorization of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act as proof of the high priority given to Great Lakes issues. But, while the act provides

funding for a wide range of projects and promotes collaboration in restoration efforts, questions remain as to how much funding the federal government will actually put forth.


2006 Lake Whitefish Sampling on the Detroit River

The Alpena Fishery Resources Office (Alpena FRO) of USFWS and USGS biologists recently released a report on their survey of Whitefish in the Detroit River.

 

During the sampling period several methods were used to collect information on the stock structure of this species, including gillnets, egg mats, and egg pumping equipment. Gillnetting produced no lake whitefish in 54 overnight sets, however several others species were collected. Gillnetting revealed eleven different species, including lake sturgeon and a steelhead (rainbow trout).

 

Four lake sturgeon ranging in size from 365mm to 872mm received passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags and cinch FLOY tags after capture from the Fighting Island Complex,

prior to release. The 365mm lake sturgeon is a young of the

year (YOY), which was the first YOY sturgeon captured in the Detroit River in 40 years of sampling by biologists. A large, 712mm, male steelhead was also captured at the north end of Fighting Island, another rare find in the Detroit River.

 

Lengths were recorded for all other species, with more extensive data collected from walleye and yellow perch. Additional data collected included, aging structures (otoliths and dorsal spines), sex data, and diet data of 33 walleye and 6 yellow perch. Aging structures will be analyzed this winter back at the lab.

 

This project is an ongoing look at the lake whitefish stocks that use the Detroit River for spawning. Sampling will continue in the fall of 2007.


Canada

Canada's Environment Commissioner Fired in Climate Flap

OTTAWA (ENS) - Canada's Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development was replaced on January 31, amidst allegations she was too critical of Canada's performance on climate change. As commissioner, Johanne Gelinas was part of the Office of the Auditor General, which reports to Parliament as a whole, not to the government.

 

Auditor General of Canada Sheila Fraser said Gelinas was "leaving the position to pursue other opportunities."  But in a statement, Gelinas, who is out of the country, wrote, "I was considering a future departure, but today's announcement from Sheila Fraser was premature and came as a complete surprise to me."

 

Media reports say Fraser was critical of a climate change audit report written by Gelinas and tabled September 28, 2006 in the House of Commons. But Fraser told the House of Commons Environment Committee that Gelinas' climate report had nothing to do with her dismissal. Fraser did not shed much light on what influenced her decision to fire Gelinas, citing privacy concerns and the possibility of future legal action on Gelinas' part.

 

In her controversial report, Gelinas wrote, "Climate change is upon us and no matter how you look at it, the stakes for Canada are high. With its resources and powers, the federal government can make a big difference. But our findings show that it has not been up to the task so far."

"It is increasingly clear that Canada will not meet its international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Gelinas wrote. "The federal government is not organized to manage its climate change initiatives effectively. Missing are mechanisms to coordinate activities across departments and to track spending and results for reporting to Canadians." The report also notes that "few federal efforts are underway to deal with the booming growth in the oil and gas sector."

 

Canada is a Party to the Kyoto Protocol and in November 2005, under the former Liberal Government, hosted the first meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Montreal in conjunction with the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention.  But when the Liberals were defeated in a January 2006 election, the incoming minority government of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper began re-evaluating Canada's commitments under the protocol to cut emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012.

 

Fraser appointed Assistant Auditor General Ron Thompson to the post "in the interim." The position of Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development was established in December 1995 by amendments to the Auditor General Act.

 

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once described the Kyoto global warming protocol as "a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations."


General

Deer crashes

Pennsylvania is the worst state in the country for deer-vehicle collisions, according to new statistics.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions each year in the United States. Those accidents cause about 150 deaths and $1.1 billion in property damage

annually.

 

Pennsylvania led the nation in the number of deer-vehicle collisions recorded between June 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006. The rest of the top 10 were, in order, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, Virginia, Minnesota, Texas, Indiana and South Carolina.


 

2nd Amendment issues

Bloomberg's Anti-Gun Mayors Coalition

Below is a list of Great Lakes states Mayors who have joined New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-gun coalition.

 

For the complete list, go to:  Bloomberg's Anti-Gun Mayors Coalition

http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Federal/Read.aspx?id=2533 

 

Illinois

Mayor Richard Daley

Chicago, IL

 

Mayor Lorraine H. Morton

Evanston, IL

 

Mayor Rita L. Mullins

Palatine, IL

 

Mayor Lawrence Morrissey

Rockford, IL

 

Mayor Richard H. Hyde

Waukegan, IL

 

 

Indiana

Mayor James Brainard

Carmel, IN

 

Mayor Graham Richard

Fort Wayne, IN

 

Mayor Stephen Luecke

South Bend, IN

 

Michigan:

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Detroit, MI

 

Minnesota:

Mayor Gary F. Van Eyll

Chaska, MN

 

Mayor Herb W. Bergson

Duluth, MN

 

Mayor R.T. Rybak

Minneapolis, MN

 

Mayor Chris Coleman

St. Paul, MN

 

 

New York:

Mayor Gerald Jennings

Albany, NY

 

Mayor Byron Brown

Buffalo, NY

 

Mayor Ernest Davis

Mount Vernon, NY

 

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (Co-Chair)

New York, NY

 

Mayor Robert Duffy

Rochester, NY

 

Mayor Matthew Driscoll

Syracuse, NY

 

Mayor Philip Amicone

Yonkers, NY

 

Ohio:

Mayor Donald Plusquellic

Akron, OH

 

Mayor Frank Jackson

Cleveland, OH

 

Mayor Michael Coleman

Columbus, OH

 

Mayor Rhine McLin

Dayton, OH

 

Pennsylvania:

Mayor Ed Pawlowski

Allentown, PA

 

Mayor John Callahan

Bethlehem, PA

 

Mayor Joseph Sinnott

Erie, PA

 

Mayor Rick Gray

Lancaster, PA

 

Mayor John Street

Philadelphia, PA

 

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl

Pittsburgh, PA

 

Mayor Tom McMahon

Reading, PA

 

Mayor Mary B. Wolf

Williamsport, PA

 

Mayor John S. Brenner

York, PA

 

Wisconsin:

Mayor James Schmitt

Green Bay, WI

 

Mayor John M. Antaramian

Kenosha, WI

 

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

Madison, WI

 

Mayor Michael D. Meyers

Marshfield, WI

 

Mayor Tom Barrett

Milwaukee, WI

 

Mayor Gary Becker

Racine, WI

 

Mayor Theresa M. Estness

Wauwatosa, WI


 

Beyond the Great Lakes

NOAA Budget Asks $10 Million for Maine's Penobscot River

AUGUSTA, Maine (ENS) - The Bush administration on January 26 announced that it is requesting $10 million dollars from Congress to restore the once abundant sea-run fisheries of the Penobscot River in Maine, the second largest river in the Northeast. The announcement includes details of the FY2008 budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA.

 

The NOAA budget includes $38 million nationwide for protecting and restoring coastal and marine areas, including the Penobscot, "a project to eventually restore nearly 1,000 stream miles of habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon and

other fish species." Funding for the Penobscot River Restoration Project includes $8 million for dam acquisition and $2 million to NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation for technical assistance, pre-removal and post-removal studies, and engineering.

 

The not-for-profit Penobscot River Restoration Trust holds an option to purchase the dams for $25 million and is seeking more acquisition funds. Over $7.5 million has been raised from private sources. Maine’s Congressional Delegation helped secure more than $4.5 million dollars in federal funds to date. Further support has come from the state, from tribes, businesses, and local, state and national organizations.


Court Upholds Fish Monitor on Columbia, Snake Rivers

PORTLAND, Oregon (ENS) - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled January 24 that an attempt to close the independent Fish Passage Center by Bonneville Power Administration, (BPA), was illegal. The court ordered BPA, a federal agency under the Department of Energy, to continue funding and support for the Fish Passage Center for the foreseeable future.

 

The decision came in response to a petition filed by Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. It means that the independent experts of the Fish Passage Center will be able to keep analyzing fish runs and river operations for the Columbia and lower Snake Rivers.

 

Petitioners say the center’s work is vital to protecting and enhancing salmon, steelhead, bull trout and other fish moving through dams on these river systems.

 

BPA claimed language inserted into a congressional committee report by Senator Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican, barred the Fish Passage Center from receiving further

funding. BPA then attempted to transfer the Center’s functions to a private consultant.

 

The court held that BPA’s attempt to replace the Fish Passage Center violated the provisions of the Northwest Power Act. In March, this same court had stayed BPA’s actions on the very day that the Center was slated to cease operation but did not, until today, rule on the merits of the case.

 

BPA said in a statement Thursday, "We’re disappointed the Ninth Circuit Court didn’t accept BPA’s multi-faceted rationale for its decision to transfer functions critical to salmon and steelhead survival from the Fish Passage Center to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory." BPA is currently reviewing the court’s ruling and evaluating its options.

 

BPA markets about 40 % of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest. The power is produced at 31 federal dams in the Northwest and one nuclear plant and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities. BPA operates a high-voltage transmission grid, comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.


Indiana

New Indiana rabbit/squirrel seasons become law on Feb. 7, 2007.

On Feb. 7, Indiana will have one simplified statewide squirrel season, running from Aug. 15 to Jan. 31. The squirrel season in northern Indiana has been stretched about a month -- until Jan. 31, in order to provide additional hunting opportunities.

 

New rule changes will also extend the Indiana rabbit season to Feb. 15, except at state fish & wildlife areas and reservoirs. Each year, the new rabbit season will run from the first Friday of November after Nov. 3, through Feb. 15 of the following year. Because of the timing of the new rules taking effect, rabbit

season will end this winter on Jan. 31, but will again be legal from Feb. 7 through Feb. 15.

 

Rabbit season at state fish and wildlife areas (with the exception of Goose Pond FWA) and reservoir properties, will still run from Oct. 1 to Jan. 31.  "Extending squirrel and rabbit seasons later into winter will give Hoosier hunters more hunting opportunities without hurting Indiana's general rabbit or squirrel populations," said DNR wildlife chief Wayne Bivans.

 

For more info go to: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/about/


Michigan

Steelhead symposium set for February 24

West Michigan Trout Unlimited is planning a Steelhead Symposium in the Grand Rapids area

The symposium will bring together a variety of people to talk about the issues facing the Michigan steelhead fishery. It is seen as an opportunity to discuss the biology, river habitat, regulations and economics of steelhead fishing.

 

The event will be open to the general public. Organizers anticipate having speakers and a moderated panel discussion including DNR biologists and local guides. 

Refreshments will be provided. Cost is free.

 

Muskegon River Steelhead Symposium

Saturday, February 24, 2007

1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Location: Rockford Sportsman Club

1115 Northland Dr. NE,

Rockford, MI  49341

 

Seating is limited. Please RSVP to wmtu@wmtu.org .


State to Host Conservation Summit Feb 7

Bringing Together Stakeholders to Discuss Funding, Legacy

Conservation leaders and stakeholders from around Michigan will gather in Lansing on Wednesday, Feb. 7, to discuss funding concerns for conservation and how to plan for the future. The first-ever statewide Conservation Summit is being hosted by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, and will feature a discussion on the state’s economy and the fiscal impact it has had on conservation and services delivered by the Michigan DNR, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture.

 

The summit, which has invited more than 200 conservation leaders and organizations from around the state, will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the Lansing Center, located at 333 E. Michigan in Lansing.

 

“This summit will bring together leaders to begin an important discussion on the future of conservation in Michigan,” said DNR Director Rebecca A. Humphries. “Working alongside our stakeholders, we will address how we can move forward to ensure the great natural resources and outdoor recreation legacy of Michigan is carried on to future generations.”

 

“We need a frank, serious discussion about long-term funding needs for the state agencies charged with conservation and protection of natural resources, and how we can communicate those needs to the public,” said NRC Chair Keith Charters. “This summit is a springboard to do just that.”

The summit will begin with opening remarks from Charters and will be moderated by Bill Rustem of Public Sector Consultants, Inc. Highlights include Tom Clay from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan presenting “Michigan’s Budget Crisis and Prospects for the Future, ” a presentation from the agency directors on conservation funding trends and implications for each agency, and Matt Hogan from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies discussing the national perspective on state fish and wildlife agency funding.

 

Featured in the afternoon are presentations from Rachel Kuntzsch, acting executive director of Heart of the Lakes, who will speak on a recent survey on conservation issues conducted in Michigan and Bob Garner, chair of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, will speak on Michigan’s conservation legacy.

 

Summit participants will break into small groups for discussions on specific topics, such as the value of conservation in Michigan, who benefits from it, what opportunities exist to invest long-term in conservation in Michigan and the future of conservation in Michigan. The summit will conclude at 4 p.m.

 

Due to limited seating in the meeting room, only invited participants will be able to be seated in the room. The media is welcome and encouraged to attend the summit in its entirety or portions.


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