NDSU Awarded Grant for Collaborative Research on Green Technology

Read the press release.

From agricultural crops to composite building products, research underway by a team of scientists and engineers at North Dakota State University, Fargo, and the private sector could result in products to meet market demand for “green” composite building materials. The two-year $200,000 grant awarded by the North Dakota Renewable Energy Council will fund a portion of a project titled “Biobased Non-Isocyanate Urethane Hybrid Resins for Pultrusion Composites.” NDSU and Tecton Products, LLC, Fargo, N.D., are collaborating on the research.

Department of Defense issues purchasing regulations for minimizing use of hexavalent chromium

From the Toxics Use Reduction Institute:

The US Department of Defense is issuing a final rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to implement the requirements for minimizing the use of materials containing hexavalent chromium in items acquired by DoD. This rule codifies a DoD policy for addressing the serious human health and environmental risks related to the use of hexavalent chromium. The Federal Register notice for this rule is available.

Register Now for the 2011 U.S. EPA Community Involvement Training Conference

Registration is now open for the twelfth U.S. EPA Community Involvement Training Conference. This year’s theme is Community Involvement in the 21st Century: Embracing Diversity, Expanding Engagement, Utilizing Technology. Full details are available at http://www.epa.gov/ciconference/.

Date/location: July 19 – 21, 2011 in Arlington, Virginia at the new Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel.

Audience: This is a training conference intended for EPA staff as well as the Agency’s local, state, federal, and tribal partners.

Registration: Register by July 1, 2011 at http://www.epa.gov/ciconference/registration.htm. We encourage you to register early as sessions may fill up quickly.

New This Year: Join Us Online! If you cannot join us in person, you may register to attend the plenary and selected 90-minute conference sessions that will be broadcast live online. Visit http://www.epa.gov/ciconference, for more information on this new option as the details are finalized in the coming weeks.

Hotel Reservation: Reserve rooms at the conference/government rate of $157 per night plus tax (single/double) at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Make reservations online at: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/waspy-renaissance-arlington-capital-view-hotel/>. You may also call for reservations at 703-413-1300 or 888-236-2427 and say you are reserving under the U.S. EPA Community Involvement Training Conference room block. Book by Monday, June 27, 2011, to get the reduced rate.

Find Us on Facebook and Twitter: Join the conference online with our Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/US.EPA.CI.Training.Conference) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/CIConference) accounts.

Questions? Contact either of the following individuals if you have any questions or need more information:

Laura Knudsen, EPA Conference Chair
EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
Phone: 703-603-8861
Email: knudsen.laura@epa.gov

Catherine Sims
Community Involvement Conference Coordinator
Environmental Management Support
Phone: 301-589-5318; Fax: 301-589-8487
Email: ciconference@emsus.com

Aiming for a greener world

Read the full story in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader.

If PNC Field seems a little greener than usual, that’s because the home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees houses recycling enthusiast Chris Dickerson, who patrols the outfield for the team.

Dickerson, who joined the organization in March in a trade with Milwaukee, has been a green enthusiast nearly his whole life while growing up in Southern California.

He was so into the environment that he and former Major League pitcher Jack Cassel founded the Players for the Planet organization.

The organization, which began in 2008, promotes recycling and helps teach communities about the importance of going green.

IPCC report highlights policy’s role in advancing renewables

Read the full story in Ethanol Producer Magazine.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is preparing to release an exhaustive, 1,000-page report on May 31 that will highlight the significant global role renewables can play in providing sustainable energy and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next 40 years. Several of the key findings of the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation were released May 9 in a summary after being approved by IPCC member countries. The summary is meant to provide governments and other parties with relevant policy information related to the various aspects of six renewable energy sources — bioenergy, including energy crops, residues and second-generation biofuels, solar energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy and wind energy..

Donald Trump says he’s an environmentalist; others beg to differ

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Call them Trump’s stumps.

Last spring and summer, workers at Trump National Golf Club in Loudoun County chopped down more than 400 trees along the Potomac River so their golfers could have a better view of the water.

Eight months later, the fate of the mile-long stretch of shoreline — where migratory birds once nested and bald eagles perched to fish — remains a source of conflict among the Trump Organization, local officials and environmentalists, who are dickering over how to stabilize the riverbank and what to do with the hundreds of stumps left behind.

Climate study gets pulled after charges of plagiarism

Read the full story in USA Today.

Evidence of plagiarism and complaints about the peer-review process have led a statistics journal to retract a federally funded study that condemned scientific support for global warming.

The study, which appeared in 2008 in the journal Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, was headed by statistician Edward Wegman of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Its analysis was an outgrowth of a controversial congressional report that Wegman headed in 2006. The “Wegman Report” suggested climate scientists colluded in their studies and questioned whether global warming was real. The report has since become a touchstone among climate change naysayers.

Poster: Sustainability assessment in biochar systems: from production to soil application

This poster was entered in the 2011 IGERT Poster Competition. Here’s the abstract:

Biochar, the charcoal-like co-product of energy generation via biomass gasification, is increasingly promoted as an agronomically-beneficial soil amendment and carbon sequestration strategy. However, fundamental questions about its specific effects on soil and its broader lifecycle footprint remain. This poster highlights two studies designed to increase understanding of the possible benefits of biochar to sustainable energy and agriculture systems. The first consists of a lifecycle assessment study evaluating the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of gasificaiton systems operating at rice mills in rural Cambodia. Next, a greenhouse experiment examining the magnitude and mechanism of yield changes in winter wheat in response to multiple of biochar treatments across varying soil types is presented.

IGERT, which stands for Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, is the National Science Foundation’s flagship interdisciplinary training program. From the IGERT web site:

Collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries and requires teamwork provides students with the tools to become leaders in the science and engineering of the future. Diversity among the students contributes to their preparation to solve large and complex research problems of significant scientific and societal importance at the national and international level. IGERT students obtain the personal and professional skills to succeed in the careers of the 21st century. Since 1998, the IGERT program has made 260 awards to over 110 lead universities in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. IGERT has provided funding for nearly 5,000 graduate students.

EPA Announces Next Step on Air Toxics Standards for Boilers and Certain Incinerators

As previously announced, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking additional public feedback and gathering more information on the final standards for boilers and certain solid waste incinerators that were issued in February 2011. These additional opportunities for public input will ensure that any final standard will be informed by input and feedback from key stakeholders, including the public, industry, and public health communities.

Input through the public comment process already resulted in dramatic cuts in the cost of implementation, while maintaining maximum public health benefits, under the rule announced in February. As part of the reconsideration process, EPA will issue a stay postponing the effective date of the standards for major source boilers and commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators to allow the agency to continue to seek additional public comment before an updated rule is proposed. This process of careful consideration of public comments, and close attention to both costs and benefits, is consistent with the president’s directives with respect to regulation, as set out in executive order 13563, issued on January 18.

Following the April 2010 proposals, the agency received more than 4,800 comments from businesses and communities, including a significant amount of information that industry had not provided prior to the proposals. Based on this input, EPA made extensive revisions to the standards, and in December 2010 requested additional time for review to ensure the public’s input was fully addressed. The court only granted EPA 30 days, resulting in the February 2011 final rules. The agency is reconsidering the standards because the public did not have sufficient opportunity to comment on these changes, and, as a result, further public review and feedback is needed.

EPA will accept additional data and information on these standards until July 15, 2011.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion