Special Issue: Year 2007 Environmental News Look-Ahead Calendar

January 3, 2007

THE YEAR AHEAD

The year 2007 may see some very different kinds of events, after the Democrats won Congress from the Republicans in 2006. A split-party government is likely to bring more controversy, more conflict, and more news. Even though the war in Iraq may dominate headlines, confrontation, compromise, and news will also be happening on the environmental beat. For some of the environmental issues Congress is likely to focus on, look back to the TipSheet of December 20, 2006.

The Bush administration still controls the executive branch, however, and can do a great many things on its agenda without Congressional approval (or can try to at its peril). There will be plenty of news in some of those obscure executive decisions for reporters willing to chase them into the weeds and explain them in terms their readers can connect with. While many of these events can be expected, exact dates for many are not yet available.

Another good source of upcoming newsdates, especially for science-focused reporters, is the SEJ's Environmental Events Calendar, which includes information about major meetings.

JANUARY

Jan. 1: California implements NEW SMALL ENGINE EMISSION STANDARDS, which could have a ripple effect around the country; "EPA Grants California Waiver for Small-Engine Emissions Rules," San Jose Mercury News, Dec. 11, 2006, by Erica Werner.

Jan. 1: CALIFORNIA SAFE COSMETICS ACT became law October 7, 2005 (SB 484). It requires cosmetics manufacturers to reveal which products contain substances linked to cancer, reproductive harm, or developmental toxicity, and went into effect on January 1, 2007.Contact:Georgia Ravitz (attorney), 202-857-8939.

Jan. 4: US CONGRESS BEGINS SESSION. The tone of the new Congress, and prospects for many hot-button environmental issues, will likely become apparent within the first few weeks. See TipSheet of Dec. 20, 2006.

Jan. 5: National Audubon Society's 107th annual CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT ends. Home page. Release. Contact: Tony Iallonardo, 202-861-2242 x3042.

Jan. 11: Fish & Wildlife Service BALD EAGLE DELISTING: Comment deadline for FWS proposal to alter the regulatory definition of "disturb" under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act as follows: "The Service has proposed the following draft definition of the term "disturb" under BGEPA" a definition that is consistent with how resource managers and law enforcement personnel currently interpret the Act: "To agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to the degree that interferes with or interrupts normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering habits, causing injury, death, or nest abandonment." FWS bald eagle page; FAQ; FWS press, Chris Tollefson, 202-208-5634.

Jan. 11: Public comment period begins on potential listing of the POLAR BEAR AS A THREATENED SPECIES. A final decision is scheduled for December 2007. There could be significant climate change, pollution, and habitat management implications in the decision. US Fish & Wildlife Service press release.

Jan. 30: LAWSUIT OVER VEHICULAR CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS IN CALIFORNIA scheduled to begin. It involves the state of CA and auto manufacturers, and the results could significantly influence the climate change playing field. "Automakers Want Judge to Throw Out Calif. Global Warming Suit," Associated Press article in Contra Costa Times, Dec. 16, 2006, by Laura Kurtzman.

FEBRUARY

Feb. Date Unknown: Fish & Wildlife Service is expected to release updated counts of bald eagle nesting pairs, by state. FWS press: Valerie Fellows, 202-208-5634; bald eagle page.

Feb. Date Unknown: The first GRAINGER CHALLENGE PRIZES will be awarded by the National Academy of Engineering with funds from the Grainger Foundation. Awards of $1,000,000, $200,000, and $100,000 for first, second, and third place for the design and creation of a workable, sustainable, economical, point-of-use water treatment system for arsenic-contaminated groundwater in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and other developing countries.

Feb. Date Unknown (possibly Feb. 2): Begin phased release of the FOURTH ASSESSMENT REPORT ON CLIMATE CHANGE by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. February release will be the key report of the science working group; other reports to follow in early April, early May and mid-November. IPCC: Press release and About IPCC.

Feb. 5: Public comments due on NEW FEDERAL HEALTH-BASED LEAD AIR POLLUTION STANDARD; EPA press release on Draft Staff Paper. The new standard must be finalized by September 2008. "EPA May Drop Lead Air Pollution Limits," Associated Press article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 6, 2006, by John Heilprin.

Feb. 7: Public comments due on Dept. of Homeland Security's proposed program to IMPROVE SECURITY AT CHEMICAL FACILITIES. See notice in Dec. 28, 2006, Federal Register.

Feb. 15-19: AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE (AAAS) annual meeting, San Francisco.

Feb. 20: Deadline for comments to FCC's proposal for measures to reduce migratory bird collisions with communications towers (WT Docket No. 03-187; FCC 06-164). FCC Contacts: Louis Peraertz, 202-418-1879; or Jeffrey Steinberg, 202-418-0896.

Feb. Date Unknown (late Feb./early March): Public comment period ends on EPA's proposal for a REVISION IN AIR TOXICS STANDARDS,allowing emitters to qualify as an "area source" instead of a "point source"; EPA press release, Dec. 21, 2006.

MARCH

March Date Unknown (March-April): Anticipated release of EPA's ANNUAL TOXICS RELEASE INVENTORY DATA; EPA; Right-to-Know Network.

APRIL

April Date Unknown: American Rivers will announce MOST ENDANGERED RIVERS 2007. Press: Garrett Russo, 202-423-9494.

April 26: Canada. All pesticide incidents whose effects relate to the health or environmental risks or the value of a pesticide must be reported to Health Canada. The public will be encouraged to report incidents directly to manufacturers, who will be required by law to report them to the PMRA. A toll-free number and address will be provided on all product labels to facilitate reporting. Health Canada Media, Pest Mgmt. Regulatory Agency, incident reporting. PMRA media room, 613-736-3500. More info: Medical News Today, Dec. 31, 2006.

MAY

May: BEACH CONTAMINATION REPORTS begin to be of more interest as beach season begins. EPA typically doesn't release its most recent contamination data until August, but your state water quality agency will likely have it earlier. For information on previous reports, seeTipSheet of June 8, 2005.

May 30: EPA is scheduled to release its final rule for a NEW OZONE STANDARD, which is scheduled for final adoption by Feb. 20, 2008: EPA ozone standards page, and TipSheet of Sept. 13, 2006. One resource for keeping up with these potentially changing dates, and half a dozen other air pollution topics covered in this TipSheet, is Clean Air Watch's Frank O'Donnell, 202-302-2065.

May-June: As local fishing increases, anglers should be informed of any local FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORIES. State agencies typically determine these, and EPA collects the information. See TipSheets of Feb. 1, 2006, and Sept. 28, 2005.

May-June Date Unknown: US SUPREME COURT DECISION LIKELY in Massachusetts v. EPA, case on regulation of greenhouse emissions under the Clean Air Act. See Nov. 8, 2006, Tipsheet.

JUNE

June: Implementation begins on Europe's NEW CHEMICAL REGULATION PROGRAM, CALLED REACH, which will have significant ripple effects on the US, Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere. "Europe Passes Tough Chemical Law," Los Angeles Times, Dec. 14, 2006, by Marla Cone.

June: States must file with EPA their plans to meet the health-based 8-hour ozone standard. State designations for 8-hour ground-level ozone.EPA press: John Millett, 202-564-7842.

June 1: Atlantic hurricane season begins. Forecast from Colorado State University.

June 1: Trains, boats, farm equipment, and off-road engines must switch to low-sulfur diesel fuel.

June 30: California Air Resources Board (CARB) must publish a list of early action measures and ensure that entities get appropriate credit for their early voluntary reductions under CA's new Climate Action Registry. This registry is creating accounting and certification systems so CA businesses can quantify emissions and have a value placed on their emission reductions. Other states are participating in the program. CA Climate Action Registry. Press: Diane Wittenberg, 213-891-1444; or Joel Levin, 213-891-6927.

JULY

July 1: Annual CONSUMER CONFIDENCE REPORTS due from local drinking water utilities.

AUGUST

Aug. 8: Deadline in the 2005 Energy Bill for DOE, BLM, and USFS to prepare an ENERGY CORRIDOR PROGRAMMATIC ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (PEIS) for issues associated with designation of energy corridors on federal lands in 11 Western states. West-wide Energy Corridor Programmatic EIS Information Center. DOE press: Rachael Beitler, 202-586-4940. BLM press: Heather Feeney, 202-452-5031.California Energy Commission. TipSheet of Nov. 9, 2005.

SEPTEMBER

Sept. Date Unknown: DOE due to FINALIZE EFFICIENCY STANDARDS for residential furnaces and boilers, and also central air conditioners and heat pumps: DOE 2006 Schedule Setting.

Sept. 1: Beginning today, all cars and light trucks sold in the US must bear new window stickers reflecting the new way fuel economy is calculated in part due to extensive criticism of previous methods. EPA press: John Millett, 202-564-4355. DOE press: Tom Welch, 202-586-5806.

Sept. 5-9: SEJ ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Palo Alto, CA, hosted by Stanford University. Info and registration.

Sept. 30: Deadline for NEW FARM BILL to be adopted. For more information, see TipSheet of Dec. 30, 2006.

OCTOBER

October Date Unknown: Annual VEHICLE MILEAGE REPORT to be released by EPA.

NOVEMBER

Nov. Date Unknown: Annual GREENHOUSE GAS REPORT from the Dept. of Energy's Energy Information Administration to be released.

Nov. 30: Atlantic hurricane season ends. p {line-height: 1.5}