Autopsy reveals more on Asian carp found near Lake Michigan

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

The Asian carp captured this summer near the southern tip of Lake Michigan — triggering a big scare — apparently slipped past electric barriers.

Officials announced Friday that a necropsy of the 4-year-old fish showed that it originated in the Illinois/Middle Mississippi watershed, spending about a year in the Des Plaines River area.

It spent no more than a few months in the Little Calumet River before being captured on June 22, about nine miles from Lake Michigan.

But the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee said it still doesn’t know how the fish made it past the  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ underwater electric barriers.

California cap-and-trade program gets a shot in the arm with strong permit auction results

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

A month after a bruising political battle to extend California’s cap-and-trade program, the state received a big vote of confidence in the policy’s future.

From beer to bread and back again to solve ‘the world’s dumbest problem’

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Historians have long debated what came first, beer or bread. Both can be made relatively easily using grains, water and yeast, and they were some of the first accomplishments of agricultural societies.

Tens of thousands of years later, innovators are looking to these ancient staples to solve a modern dilemma: food waste. Brewing beer leaves behind excess grains, and bread doesn’t keep long. Rethinking how to make these and other grain-based foods is leading to some quirky and — according to our expert tasters — occasionally but not always delicious creations.

Orange is the new green: How orange peels revived a Costa Rican forest

Read the full story from Princeton University.

In the mid-1990s, 1,000 truckloads of orange peels and orange pulp were purposefully unloaded onto a barren pasture in a Costa Rican national park. Today, that area is covered in lush, vine-laden forest.

A team led by Princeton University researchers surveyed the land 16 years after the orange peels were deposited. They found a 176 percent increase in aboveground biomass — or the wood in the trees — within the 3-hectare area studied (7 acres). Their results are published in the journal Restoration Ecology.

This story, which involves a contentious lawsuit, showcases the unique power of agricultural waste to not only regenerate a forest but also to sequester a significant amount of carbon at no cost.

Local Energy Efficiency Self-Scoring Tool, Version 3.0

Download the document.

This updated version of the Local Energy Efficiency Self-Scoring Tool lets you score any community’s energy efficiency efforts using the metrics from ACEEE’s 2017 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The brief user guide shows you how to use the application to evaluate community-wide initiatives, government operations, and buildings, utility, and transportation policies. You can also compare your community’s scores against average city scores from the Scorecard and learn about successful energy practices from Arlington County, VA and Oakland, CA. By cataloging strengths and identifying areas for improvement, the Self-Scoring Tool can help you create an efficiency roadmap to reduce energy waste in your community.

Download the Self-Scoring Tool (zipped XLSX file)

Potato waste processing may be the road to enhanced food waste conversion

Read the full story from Penn State University.

With more than two dozen companies in Pennsylvania manufacturing potato chips, it is no wonder that researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have developed a novel approach to more efficiently convert potato waste into ethanol. This process may lead to reduced production costs for biofuel in the future and add extra value for chip makers.

Using potato mash made from the peelings and potato residuals from a Pennsylvania food-processor, researchers triggered simultaneous saccharification — the process of breaking down the complex carbohydrate starch into simple sugars — and fermentation — the process in which sugars are converted to ethanol by yeasts or other microorganisms in bioreactors.

Scott Pruitt Is Carrying Out His E.P.A. Agenda in Secret, Critics Say

Read the full story in the New York Times.

When career employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are summoned to a meeting with the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, at agency headquarters, they no longer can count on easy access to the floor where his office is, according to interviews with employees of the federal agency.

Doors to the floor are now frequently locked, and employees have to have an escort to gain entrance.

Some employees say they are also told to leave behind their cellphones when they meet with Mr. Pruitt, and are sometimes told not to take notes.

Mr. Pruitt, according to the employees, who requested anonymity out of fear of losing their jobs, often makes important phone calls from other offices rather than use the phone in his office, and he is accompanied, even at E.P.A. headquarters, by armed guards, the first head of the agency to ever request round-the-clock security.