Day: September 13, 2006

Saying No to Nano?

Given that nanotechnology is probably here to stay, the U.S. Congress, the scientific community, and various environmental groups are now calling for more in-depth risk research, stricter regulations, and greater corporate responsibility, writes Angela Neville, JD, REM, in the September issue of Environmental Protection.

Chemicals Produced From Ethanol Feedstocks Could Give Boirefineries Economic Boost

Read the full article in Environmental Protection magazine.

Biorefineries developed to produce ethanol from cellulose sources such as trees and fast-growing plants could get a tasty economic boost from the sale of “high-value” chemicals — such as vanillin flavoring — that could be generated from the same feedstock. Revenue from these “side stream” chemicals could help make ethanol produced by biorefineries cost competitive with traditional fossil fuels, researchers announced on Sept. 10.

At the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, a researcher from the Georgia Institute of Technology described green chemical processes that could produce chemicals worth up to $25 per pound from the same feedstock used to produce ethanol.

EPA Proposes Industry-Backed Changes To New Source Review

Read the full article in Environmental Protection magazine.

On Sept. 8, the Bush administration proposed changes to a clean air program that officials said should encourage investments in refining capacity, improve industries’ efficiency and reduce demand for natural gas — as well as lower energy costs to households and consumers. However, environmental groups said that the proposed revisions are part of the overall effort by the Bush administration to weaken the New Source Review (NSR) program.

Benefits of Smart Growth Shown in 40 Communities Throughout U.S.

From cities to suburbs to small towns to rural communities, environmentally sensitive development is improving quality of life, according to the new publication This Is Smart Growth, released today by EPA, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and 30 other organizations. All 32 organizations are partners in the Smart Growth Network, a highly diverse alliance that works to encourage development practices that improve the environment, the economy, public health, and the community.

Featuring 40 localities around the country, This Is Smart Growth illustrates how communities can use smart growth techniques that improve the quality of development. It shows how communities have made tax dollars go farther by reducing the cost of services and infrastructure and offering people more transportation choices. It also shows how communities have protected natural lands, farms and ranches; created safe, convenient neighborhoods with homes people can afford; and boosted public health by reducing pollution and increasing opportunities for walking, biking, and other forms of physical activity.

The publication was released today at the ICMA annual meeting in San Antonio. Its endorsement by the Smart Growth Network reflects support by organizations representing housing, environmental, community design and development, public health, transportation, local government, and other interests.

This is Smart Growth was funded through a cooperative agreement between EPA and ICMA. Free copies are available from the EPA National Service Center for Environmental Publications at 800-490-9198 or via e-mail at ncepimal@one.net. Ask for publication number 231-K-06-002.

For a list of the 40 communities, go to:  http://www.smartgrowth.org/pdf/ThisIsSmartGrowth_Communities.pdf

For an electronic copy of the report, go to the Smart Growth Network web site: http://www.smartgrowth.org

For more information about EPA’s smart growth program, go to: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth

Effluent tipping scales on fish gender

Read the full story in the Denver Post. Thanks to Phil Kaplan for the pointer.

Wastewater pouring from sewage-treatment plants in Boulder and Denver is bending the gender of fish living downstream, a new study has found.

Some of these strangely sexed sucker fish have male and female organs, and others have sexual deformities, according to a study by University of Colorado researchers.

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