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December 9, 2009

Judge Rejected Objections from Florida on Water Quality

TALLAHASSEE | The federal government will attempt to set Florida’s water pollution standards – the first time it’ll try that for any state – under an agreement approved Monday.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle rejected objections from state and local government agencies as well as agriculture and business interests.
They had argued the agreement would result in hastily drawn, unscientific rules and that complying with them would be too costly as taxpayers and businesses cope with the recession.
In approving the consent decree between five environmental groups and the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Hinkle noted that it allows for delays in the rule-making process to make sure regulations are proper.
He said other objections are premature and must wait until after the proposed regulations have been drafted.

December 9, 2009

Expedition Measuring Plastic Debris in Atlantic

SEA to conduct expedition dedicated to measuring plastic marine debris in the North Atlantic Ocean

“This trip will explore an area southeast of Bermuda that, it is hypothesized, is an extension of the high plastic pollution region defined by more than 200 previous SEA voyages in the Western North Atlantic. Observations from those trips indicate the area has large concentrations of plastic debris comparable to the region of the Eastern North Pacific Ocean dubbed the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

December 9, 2009

Sea level rise could cost port cities $28 trillion

London, England (CNN) — A possible rise in sea levels by 0.5 meters by 2050 could put at risk more than $28 trillion worth of assets in the world’s largest coastal cities, according to a report compiled for the insurance industry.

The value of infrastructure exposed in so-called “port mega-cities,” urban conurbations with more than 10 million people, is just $3 trillion at present.

The rise in potential losses would be a result of expected greater urbanization and increased exposure of this greater population to catastrophic surge events occurring once every 100 years caused by rising sea levels and higher temperatures.

The report, released on Monday by WWF and financial services Allianz, concludes that the world’s diverse regions and ecosystems are close to temperature thresholds — or “tipping points.” To read more go to CNN.

December 9, 2009

Comments Wanted: DEP Regulation of Plastic Bags

In 2008, the Florida Legislature modified the Resource Recovery and Management (Chapter 403.7033 F.S.) to prevent local governments from enacting any rule, ordinance or regulation that would prohibit or restrict the use of plastic bags.  The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is holding public hearings on the topic and will submit a report with conclusions and recommendations
regarding the regulation of plastic bags to the Florida Legislature, no later than February 1, 2010.

Comments concerning the regulation of retail plastic bags can be made at:

December 9, 2009

Good Blog on Climate Science

Check out Co-founder of Weather blog on climate science and lobbying:

December 9, 2009

Revisions of Principles and Guidelines for ACOE Projects

The White House Council on Environmental Quality released a draft revision of the Principles and Guidelines for planning federal water projects – a process that the Corps Reform Network worked to initiate in the WRDA 2007, and has since followed closely – many of us signed onto comments to CEQ in June 2008, and again in July 2009 (see comments here

The draft guidelines will now go to the National Academy of Sciences for review (a provision we also worked to get into WRDA 2007) and this opens up a 90-day public comment period.  We thank our Members – all of you – so much for helping to bring us to this turning point in water resources planning.  This draft revision, while it is a step in the right direction, still does not prevent the Corps and other agencies from choosing projects that damage the environment, and needs to go further to ensure that federal water-related projects protect and restore our water resources.

Please find below a press release that American Rivers and National Wildlife Federation sent around this morning, and attached are the draft guidelines and more info from CEQ can be found here

December 9, 2009

Marine Spatial Planning in US Waters: Assessment

Marine Spatial Planning in US Waters: An Assessment and Analysis of Existing Legal Mechanisms, Anticipated Barriers, and Future Opportunities

Marine spatial planning (MSP) can be an effective tool for implementing ecosystem-based management to protect, maintain, and restore ocean ecosystem health; to reduce user conflicts; and to foster sustainable development. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of Rhode Island have undertaken MSP processes. MSP has reduced conflicts and improved planning in the North Sea. Now, President Obama’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force is poised to present a proposed framework for MSP at the federal level. In this context, Ocean Conservancy commissioned the attached report by the Environmental Law Institute reviewing the U.S. legal framework for ocean management and assessing the most relevant federal statutes to determine how they could encourage or hinder MSP.
The report is attached and available to download at

December 2, 2009

NOAA Strategic Plan

Comments welcome here

Comments accepted until December 9th.

December 2, 2009

NOAA’s Multipurpose Marine Cadastre

“This data viewer provides the baseline information needed for marine spatial planning efforts, particularly those that involve finding the best location for renewable energy projects. The Multipurpose Marine Cadastre (MMC) is also a helpful tool in the permit review process. Users pick the ocean geography of their choosing and quickly see the applicable jurisdictional boundaries, restricted areas, laws, critical habitat locations, and other important features. With the MMC, potential conflicts can be identified and avoided early in the planning process.” – excerpt from this National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web page.

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