Day: January 12, 2017

Obama in scientific journal: ‘The trend toward clean energy is irreversible’

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

President Obama has long made a moral case for investing in clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, saying the United States and other countries must slash their emissions of greenhouse gases to stave off the worse effects of global warming.

But writing Monday in the journal Science, the president also makes an economic argument for a national policy that embraces renewable energy, rather than the renewed focus on fossil fuel production that his successor has promised.

EPA Gives $3.8M to Help 19 Communities Plan New Uses for Former Brownfield Sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected 19 communities for approximately $3.8 million in funding to assist with planning for cleanup and reuse of Brownfield sites as part of the Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (AWP) program. Each recipient will receive up to $200,000 to engage their community and conduct planning activities for brownfield site reuse.

The grants will help communities plan improvements such as housing, transportation options, recreation and open space, education and health facilities, social services, renewed infrastructure, increased commerce and employment opportunities.

“The Area-Wide Planning grant program is an innovation initiated by the Obama Administration to empower communities to transform economically and environmentally distressed areas, including communities impacted by manufacturing plant closures, into vibrant future destinations for business, jobs, housing and recreation,” said Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. “These grants provide the opportunity for communities to determine for themselves revitalization plans that best meet their vision and needs based on a rigorous analysis of market and infrastructure in a manner that benefits and does not displace long-term residents.”

Assistant Administrator Stanislaus announced the new AWP recipients for funding at a community event in Norfolk, Va.

EPA’S AWP program was modeled after New York State’s Brownfields Opportunity Area (BOA) Program, which was developed by communities – particularly lower income communities – to enable them to drive development that meets their needs without displacing them. Studies have shown that residential property values near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15 percent. Data also shows that brownfields clean ups can increase overall property values within a one-mile radius. Preliminary analysis involving 48 brownfields sites shows that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup.

This year’s selected recipients for funding are:

  • Eastern Maine Development Corporation, Bucksport, Maine
  • City of Providence, R.I.
  •  Isles, Inc., East Trenton, N.J.
  • City of Wilmington, Del.
  • Redevelopment Authority of the City of Harrisburg, Pa.
  • City of Norfolk, Va.
  • University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.
  • City of Middlesborough, Ky.
  • Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, Charleston and North Charleston, S.C.
  • Near East Area Renewal, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, River Rouge, Mich.
  • Lorain County, Lorain, Ohio
  • Port of New Orleans, New Orleans, La.
  • City of Burlington, Iowa
  • Resource Conservation and Development for Northeast Iowa, Inc., Postville, Iowa
  • City of Glenwood Springs, Colo.
  • City of Orem, Utah
  • Trust for Public Land, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • City of Grants Pass, Ore.

More information on the funding recipients: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

To apply for Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/apply-brownfields-grant-funding

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov/

The expanding role of sustainability leadership

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Late last year, I sent a short survey to my network of (mostly) sustainability executives across a range of small and large organizations covering multiple sectors. My objective was to understand how the corporate sustainability role is shifting to include a greater scope of responsibilities and influence.

We received over 60 responses from (mostly) heads of sustainability at Coca-Cola, Adobe, Autodesk, AMD, Campbell Soup, IDEO, Starwood, Owens Corning and Tiffany (to name a few). The responses were forthcoming and clear. Sustainability professionals are quietly and gradually expanding their scope and responsibility programmatically and strategically.

EPA Finalizes Reporting and Record Keeping Requirements on Nanoscale Materials

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring one-time reporting and recordkeeping requirements on nanoscale chemical substances in the marketplace. These substances are nano-sized versions of chemicals that are already in the marketplace.  EPA seeks to facilitate innovation while ensuring safety of the substances. EPA currently reviews new chemical substances manufactured or processed as nanomaterials prior to introduction into the marketplace to ensure that they are safe. For the first time, EPA is using TSCA to collect existing exposure and health and safety information on chemicals currently in the marketplace when manufactured or processed as nanoscale materials. The companies will notify EPA of certain information:

  • specific chemical identity;
  • production volume;
  • methods of manufacture;
  • processing, use, exposure, and release information; and,
  • available health and safety data.

Nanoscale materials have special properties related to their small size such as greater strength and lighter weight, however, they may take on different properties than their conventionally-sized counterpart. The information collection is not intended to conclude that nanoscale materials will cause harm to human health or the environment. Rather, EPA will use the information gathered to determine if any further action under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), including additional information collection, is needed. The reporting requirements are being issued under the authority of section 8(a) under TSCA. EPA proposed and took comment on this rule.

Persons who manufacture or process a reportable chemical substance during the three years prior to the final effective date of this rule must report to EPA within a year of the rule’s publication.

Making a Case for Water as a Key Component in the Smart City

Read the full story at FutureStructure.

Water has yet to take a place in the roster of smart city regulars, but there’s much that technology could do to improve water infrastructure.

Webinar: Beyond Doom and Gloom: Include Solutions to Climate Change

Wed, Mar 1, 2017 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM CST
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2860146782187308801

Are you or your students worried about climate change impacts and not sure how to help create significant improvements? Are you connecting your students to ways to be involved in solutions? This webinar focuses on expert curricular materials to engage students in current and future solutions that can be used in any course and in any discipline.

Warming Oceans Could Boost Dangerous Toxin In Your Shellfish Dinner

Read the full story from NPR.

West Coast crab fishermen just ended an 11-day strike over a price dispute. But a more ominous and long-term threat to their livelihood may be on the horizon. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found a link between warming ocean conditions and a dangerous neurotoxin that builds up in sea life: domoic acid.

Growing algae for food and biofuel could cut greenhouse emissions

Read the full story at EnvironmentalResearchWeb.

“Come round for dinner! I’ve got some lovely fresh algae.” Tempted? Perhaps not, but roll forward 50 years and micro-algae might well feature on the menu. Maybe not directly, but they could become a common base for cooking oils, and a major constituent of animal feeds. Cultivating algae for food and biofuel could make a serious dent in our greenhouse gas emissions, as well as helping to save freshwater resources and reduce deforestation.

How The Thousands Of Cities With Dangerous Lead Levels Can Fix The Problem

Read the full story in Fast Company.

The laws are on the books to make businesses fix the problem—we just need to enforce them.

On the eve of Trump, Obama’s Energy Dept. leaves behind a new ‘scientific integrity’ policy

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Speaking at the National Press Club Wednesday, outgoing Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a new “scientific integrity” policy for an agency recently wracked by concerns about how an administration led by President-elect Donald Trump will treat employees who worked on climate change and other sensitive energy-related issues.

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