Day: May 8, 2013

EPA Announces Selected Recipients to Receive $62.5 Million to Clean Up Contaminated Sites, Protect Health and the Environment, and Revitalize Communities Nationwide

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of 240 recipients recommended to receive $62.5 million in grants to protect people’s health and the environment in local communities. These new investments, funded by EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) grants, provide communities with funding necessary to assess, cleanup and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.

“Brownfields sites are community assets and a key component of the Obama Administration’s efforts to provide tools to sustainably revitalize communities and foster economic development,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Through these grant resources local communities can continue to assess, cleanup and redevelop properties to meet local needs for jobs, housing and recreation while protecting people’s health and the local environment.”

These Brownfields grants target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. Approximately $29.5 million are going to communities that have been impacted by auto plant closures. Other selected recipients include tribes and communities in 45 states across the country. Communities selected range in population from a few hundred, like City of St. Marks, Fla. to New York City, which is home to more than 8 million people. Specifically, 106 grants will support communities with populations greater than 100,000 and 134 grants will go to communities with fewer than 100,000 residents — with 29 of these will go to communities of less than 10,000 people. Nearly half of the grantees this year are new recipients.

The InterRoyal Mill in Connecticut and a former Electroplater property in New York are just two examples of former industrial sites receiving assessment funding. In Rhode Island, cleanup funding will go toward cleaning up an abandoned former service station and other contaminated properties at the Uniroyal rubber plant site. Other types of sites selected for cleanup include a closed middle school, salvage yard, hospital and manufacturing properties. Future anticipated uses include neighborhood redevelopment, commercial revitalization, an arts center, business park, wellness center/clinic, community health center, theater, and office space.

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. More than 20,000 properties have been assessed, and more than 850 properties have been cleaned up through EPA’s Brownfields program. EPA’s Brownfields investments have also leveraged more than $19 billion in overall cleanup and redevelopment funding from public and private sources. On average $17.79 is leveraged for every EPA Brownfields grant dollar spent. These investments resulted in approximately 87,000 jobs nationwide. When Brownfields are addressed, nearby property values can increase 2-3 percent. A 2011 pilot study indicated Brownfields site redevelopment increases location efficiency, which means that residents live closer to where they work and play reducing their commute times and greenhouse gas emissions. EPA’s preliminary research has also shown that redeveloping Brownfield sites results in an efficient reuse of existing infrastructure and decreasing instances of stormwater runoff. These projects can have a positive impact on community revitalization by leveraging jobs, producing clean energy, and providing recreation opportunities for surrounding neighborhoods.

More information on Brownfields grants by state: http://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/

More information on EPA’s Brownfields:

How Milwaukee Became a Center for Water Innovation

Read the full story in Governing.

The world needs water, and Milwaukee has it. More specifically, Milwaukee has water innovation. So the city is transforming itself from an old industrial center into a center for water research and technology.

How UPS makes the business case for sustainability projects

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

When UPS adds new alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicles to its fleet, it doesn’t simply choose just any alternative-fuel vehicle. The company only adopts new vehicles when they’re proven to be economically viable, have a reliable fueling infrastructure, are readily available, provide fuel savings and are safe.

The key to choosing new vehicles and potentially using them on a wider scale is data.

Becoming ‘a verb,’ Coca-Cola and lessons from Brainstorm Green

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

There was no shortage of celebrities at this year’s Fortune Brainstorm Green conference.

Harrison Ford started us off by talking about the work of Conservation International, Adam Gardner of Guster filled us in on Reverb, his new company designed to make concerts more sustainable, and will.i.am brought us to a close. I think will.i.am was there to talk about EKOCYCLE, but he wound up delivering one of the most important insights of the conference, in my view:

“Be a verb.”

Thankfully, he paused and then said, “If you don’t know what I mean, Google it.”

His point was that sustainability should be about action and that action should be synonymous with brands. Although he didn’t say it quite like this, what I took him to mean was if your sustainability efforts aren’t obvious in your company’s actions, and your company’s not known for them, they’re not very effective.

 

Goats to graze among runways at O’Hare

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

As airplane travelers descend into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, they will soon have more than just a skyline view to look forward to — a herd of goats will also be viewable from the window seat.

The city’s Department of Aviation is expected to announce Wednesday that it has awarded a contract to Central Commissary Holdings LLC — operator of Lincoln Park restaurant Butcher & The Burger — to bring about 25 goats onto airport property, helping the airport launch its pilot vegetation-management program.

New crowdfunding site for carbon offsets forges unique path

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Based on the belief that storytelling is the most effective way to capture hearts and minds, a new crowdfunding site for carbon offsets aims to use its platform to go beyond engaging concerned individuals.

CarbonStory wants to get companies on board to launch employee engagement programs — and perhaps even the customers of company brands — through offsetting projects of their choice within a gamification framework.

People Who Believe in Free Markets More Likely to Reject Climate Science

Read the full story at SustainableBusiness.com.

Why do a determined minority – often in positions of power – refuse to accept that climate change is happening despite the overwhelming scientific evidence?

A new study may provide a clue. Researchers at the University of Western Australia found that people who expressed faith in free-market ideology were also likely to reject scientific consensus that climate change is happening and that burning fossil fuels helps to cause it.

 

New guidance makes corporate value chain accounting easier

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

An effective corporate climate change strategy requires a detailed understanding of a company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Until recently, most companies have focused on measuring emissions from their own operations and electricity consumption, using the GHG Protocol’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 framework. But what about all of the emissions a company is responsible for outside of its own walls — from the goods it purchases to the disposal of the products it sells?

The GHG Protocol Scope 3 Standard, released in late 2011, is the only internationally accepted method for companies to account for these types of value chain emissions. Building on this standard, the GHG Protocol has released a new companion guide that makes it even easier for businesses to complete their Scope 3 inventories. The guidance is freely available for download via its website, but specific guidance for each category of scope 3 emissions will need to be downloaded separately.