Day: August 8, 2013

Hallowich children not part of Marcellus Shale gag order agreement

Read the full story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In another bizarre twist in a case that has attracted international attention, a Range Resources attorney now says that the lifetime gag order preventing the Hallowiches from saying anything ever about Marcellus Shale gas drilling or companies involved in its development, doesn’t apply to their two small children.

EPA Screens More Than 66,000 Contaminated Sites for Renewable Energy Potential

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated its RE-Powering Mapping and Screening Tool, which will now provide preliminary screening results for renewable energy potential at 66,000, up from 24,000, contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites across the country. The RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative, started by EPA in 2008, encourages development of renewable energy on potentially contaminated land, landfills and mine sites when it is aligned with the community’s vision for the site.

“We see responsible renewable energy development on contaminated lands and landfills as a win-win-win for the nation, local communities, and the environment,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “In President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the administration set a goal to double renewable electricity generation by 2020. By identifying the renewable energy potential of contaminated sites across the country, these screening results are a good step toward meeting national renewable energy goals in order to address climate change, while also cleaning up and revitalizing contaminated lands in our communities.”

Pulling from EPA databases of potentially and formerly contaminated lands, as well as partnering with state agencies from California, Hawaii, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, and Virginia, the RE-Powering Initiative expanded the universe of sites from 24,000 to more than 66,000 sites. Working in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), RE-Powering developed screening criteria for solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal potential at various levels of development. The sites are tracked by EPA and selected state agencies.

The updated screening provides insight into the significant potential for renewable energy generation on contaminated lands and landfills nationwide. For solar energy alone, EPA identified over 10,000 contaminated sites with the potential to install a 300-kilowatt solar array or greater. Based on mapped acreage, these sites could cumulatively host solar energy systems that capture greater than 30 times more solar energy than all renewable energy systems operating in the United States today.

The RE-Powering Initiative supports the transformation of liabilities into assets for surrounding communities. Since RE-Powering’s inception, more than 70 renewable energy projects have been installed on contaminated lands or landfills. These early projects represent just over 200 MW of installed capacity, which could power approximately 30,000 homes, and provide a foundation for future development as demonstrations of the latest technologies in both renewable energy and remediation design.

In 2013, RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative was recognized as one of the Top 25 Innovations in American Government by Harvard University. This award program is one of the nation’s most prestigious and highlights exemplary models of government innovation and efforts to address the nation’s most pressing public concerns.

Ford using rice hull-reinforced plastic in F-150s

Read the full story at Green Car Congress.

Ford is using plastic reinforced with rice hulls — a byproduct of rice grain — in an electrical harness in the 2014 F-150. The company will need at least 45,000 pounds of hulls in the first year.

Why Investing in Energy Efficient Buildings Make Fiscal Sense

Read the full story in Triple Pundit.

Carbon pollution, and its effects on climate change and public health, is receiving renewed interest following President Obama’s recently announced Climate Action Plan—and those in the building sector are paying particularly close attention. That’s because dramatically cutting energy waste in our built environment is essential to reaching goals for lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Political positions aside, years of research have proven that reducing the growing energy needs of buildings not only creates a cleaner environment but also gives a boost to the economy. To be sure, creating new energy efficient technologies and policies for buildings are important not just here at home, but abroad as well.

For example, urbanization trends over the past decade have increased the energy needs of developing countries 70 percent more than the International Energy Agency predicted back in 2002. With more than half of the world’s population now living in urban areas, energy efficiency in both current and future buildings must improve, or we risk further straining global resources and environmental quality. At the same time, investing in building energy efficiency can yield some highly compelling financial returns.

This was one of many findings of a recent report by the Rhodium Group and United Technologies, entitled Unlocking American Efficiency: The Economic and Commercial Power of Investing in Energy Efficient Buildings.

EPA slashes this year’s cellulosic targets

Read the full story at Greenwire.

U.S. EPA has backed down from an ambitious target for cellulosic biofuel production, releasing a final rule today that requires refiners to blend 6 million gallons into the nation’s supply of gasoline this year.

That 2013 requirement is far lower than EPA’s initial proposal of 11 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, or the equivalent of 14 million gallons of ethanol. The final rule — which sets the volume requirements under the renewable fuel standard — puts the target for cellulosic biofuel at the equivalent of 6 million gallons of ethanol.

Cactus “points” way for oil spill cleanup

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Inspired by prickly cacti, Chinese scientists have developed a new technique for removing oil from water, which could have applications in oil spill cleanup work.

An article published in Nature Communications describes the study by Jiang Lei and his co-workers at the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, whose creation of copper spike arrays have proved to be highly efficient in absorbing oil during experiments.

IUPUI Earns Funding For Fuel Cell Technology

Read the full story from Inside Indiana Business.

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI researchers have been awarded a nearly $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The funding will be used to develop and market bio-ethanol fuel cell technology.

Wisconsin DNR relaxes advisory on metal in drinking water

Read the full story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The state Department of Natural Resources is relaxing a health advisory level for molybdenum in drinking water, department officials said Wednesday.

The revised advice is expected to ease public fears of ill health effects and eliminate the need for expensive water treatment systems at hundreds of southeastern Wisconsin homes with private wells.

A new analysis reducing risk of illness from exposure to the metal in groundwater prompted the change, officials said.

An ongoing investigation of molybdenum groundwater contamination in portions of Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties has found unexpectedly high levels of the metal in water from private wells. Recent tests also have found excessive concentrations of the metal in some private wells in Kenosha County.

Voters think Republican climate dissenters ‘crazy’, bipartisan poll finds

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Republicans in Congress who reject the science behind climate change could soon be reduced to political fossils, with new polling on Wednesday suggesting three-quarters of young voters find such views “ignorant, out of touch or crazy”.

The bipartisan poll conducted for the League of Conservation Voters found solid 80% support among under-35 voters for Barack Obama’s climate change plan – and majority support even among those who oppose the president.

Neonicotinoids are the new DDT killing the natural world

Read the full story in The Guardian.

UK is collaborating in peddling the corporate line that neonicotinoid pesticides are safe to use – they are anything but.


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