Day: August 22, 2011

Fracking Oversight Raises Staffing Questions

Read the full post at NTY Green.

A panel charged with advising New York officials on regulating a controversial form of natural gas extraction known as hydrofracking will first examine whether the state government has enough staff members to properly monitor and enforce new drilling regulations.

The panel of business, environmental and government representatives met for the first time on Thursday, with 15 of its 17 members gathering in Albany or taking part via videoconference. The goal was to lay out the groundwork and a timeline for making recommendations in several areas. Those include ensuring that the state has adequate resources to monitor drilling in the natural gas field known as the Marcellus Shale and minimizing any adverse impact on upstate communities where thousands of new wells are expected to be drilled.

Are Green Jobs Programs a Bust? Not So Fast

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Having just gotten back from a quick tour of Michigan and Ohio, and seen some of the early returns from our growing clean economy, I find this recent NY Times piece frustrating. In it, the author uses a few local data points without context and a limited reading of a recent study to claim that “green jobs” are a mirage. On closer review, it’s a local piece from a San Francisco paper, picked up by the Times. But it will likely get further coverage from national outlets and thrown around as evidence that somehow we’re not seeing the green jobs that have been promised by advocates and industry in the past few years. This could not be further from the truth.

As Water Week Kicks Off, Corporate Leaders Share Their Successes

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Over the coming decades, the bulk of the world’s predicted population growth is going to take place in urban areas that will serve as hotbeds for economic activity and innovation. Some estimate that just the world’s city-dwelling population of 2050 will equal the entire global population of today.

Such rapid growth will of course strain natural resources and infrastructure, making it vital that the world’s governments and companies make investments now that will pay dividends later.

This is the context that will serve as the backdrop of World Water Week, the annual event kicked off yesterday by the Stockholm International Water Institute. Experts from the civil, government and business sectors will meet to discuss the complexities surrounding water, including scarcity, sanitation, economics and ecosystems, among others. Expect a slew of studies and announcements to surface this week from the event, including an interesting story I’ll bring to you on Wednesday about the research conducted by a major beverage company of the watersheds surrounding some of its facilities. Stay tuned.

Is the Battle Against Plastic Bags Gaining Any Ground?

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

It’s a given that getting consumers to change habits is an uphill battle, and there is perhaps no better example than the global effort to ban single-use plastic shopping bags.

Despite a number of communities and countries passing bans, recent headlines are making us wonder whether the battle against the bags is getting tougher to fight because of circumstance or by design.

Articles in Rolling Stone and the San Francisco Chronicle call out the American Chemistry Council for opposing plastic bag bans. And the article in The Chronicle this week, by the independent investigative reporting group California Watch, even says the council went so far as to get positive language about plastic bags inserted in textbooks and teachers guides by lobbying state schools.

“Green Builds Business” is Restoring Jobs, the Economy, and the Environment

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

America is searching for a path that will restore jobs, the economy and our environment. The Green Builds Business program created by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation with funding from Walmart is doing just that.

It’s Time to Close the Tax Loophole that Subsidizes Wasted Energy

Read the full post at GreenerBuildings.

Pretend you are a small business owner. You happen to own the building where your business is housed, which has helped you weather the recession. Things seem to be getting better, and you have the opportunity to make some investments in your company that could really pay off in the long run.

You’d like to figure out how to cut your operating expenses, especially utilities, which have gone up and up and up over the last 10 years. You know your building is pretty old and leaky, and that much of that energy you buy is wasted. You’ve heard the President talk about efficiency retrofits and think that might be a smart investment that will cut your energy bills and pay for itself.

But there is a problem. If you invest in your own building energy efficiency, you will have to pay federal taxes on the value of the investment. If you were to keep wasting energy, all that wasted money would be completely deductible from your taxes.

That’s right; in effect our tax code unintentionally subsidizes wasted energy. Despite the economic benefits (not to mention the domestic job creation and the environmental benefits), investments to create energy-efficient, better buildings do not receive the same treatment under the tax code as wasted energy.

LEED Lawsuit Gets Dismissed, but Energy Efficiency Fight Goes On

Read the full post at GreenerBuildings.

This Last week, Judge Sands dismissed Henry Gifford’s suit against the USGBC. A copy of the Order is available here [PDF].

In a major win for the USGBC, Judge Sands dismissed Gifford et al.’s Federal claims with prejudice, which means they cannot be brought again, Because the Federal claims were dismissed, the Judge also dismissed Gifford, et al’s state claims for lack of jurisdiction.

GE Achieves Rare LEED-Platinum Rating for New Data Center

Read the full story at GreenerComputing.

General Electric lifted the curtain on a $48-million project to make the data center serving its global appliances and lighting business leaner, greener and more capable of growth.

Learning from American Petroleum Institute’s Fake Twitter Campaign

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

Social media has become a popular engagement tool for both companies and organizations. So far the examples we had of social media usage were divided between good (Keen is a great example as my colleague, Paul Smith pointed out here two weeks ago) and the bad (remember the disastrous response of Nestle to Greenpeace campaignon its Facebook page?). Now we also have the ugly.

An investigation by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) concluded that the office of a former Nebraska Senator working for the American Petroleum Institute (API) appears to have set up about 25 fake Twitter accounts to promote the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

This attempt might shock you unless you’re familiar with the campaign tactics of API. Apparently this is not the first time they have launched an astroturf campaign. In 2009, a leaked memo from API’s President exposed plans to launch a nationwide astroturf campaign, including a series of “Energy Citizens” rallies in about 20 states against the climate legislation which was debated then (oh, the good old days) in the Senate.

Two years later API finds itself dealing with another battle – this time it is on the Keystone XL pipeline, a $13 billion project that would extend over 1,500 miles from Alberta to Texas. If constructed, the pipeline will carry tar sands oil, which is considered one of the world’s dirtiest fuels. Along its route from Alberta to Texas, this pipeline could, according to environmental organizations, devastate ecosystems, pollute water sources, and would jeopardize public health. TransCanada needs US State Department approval to move forward and the final decision on the project is expected before the end of the year.

Doctors Join Fight Against Livestock Antibiotics

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

It’s been said that what you don’t know can’t hurt you, but I have a feeling, just a hunch, that the fellow who coined that phrase, is probably not around anymore.

Today’s post is about a subject that not a lot of people want to talk about, which is part of a bigger question that people don’t even want to think about; that being, where does our food come from?

The answer to the larger question, in the largest measure, is factory farms. There are many exceptions of course, but even when those are all combined, they only constitute a small portion of today’s dietary pie

Not only do we not want to know what goes on in factory farms, but the people who own and operate those farms don’t want us to know either. In fact, in Florida, it is now illegal to film the operation of a factory farm. I don’t think this is because the cows and chickens are camera shy. More likely, if people could see how their food is actually being produced, they would likely try very hard to obtain their food another way. Which brings us to today’s story.

A number of doctors are beginning to express concerns about the growing incidence of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria in humans. Much of this proliferation is believed to be the result of the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock as a preventative measure in response to unsanitary conditions and overcrowding. According to the Worldwatch Institute’s 2006 State of the world report, 74 percent of the world’s poultry, 43 percent of beef, and 68 percent of eggs are now produced this way.

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