Corn with a cover of grass

Read the full story from the American Society of Agronomy.

The phrase “a double-edged sword” describes something that is beneficial in some ways but problematic in others. One example is removing maize stover (the husks, stems and leaves of corn plants) from fields. Maize stover is used to make cellulosic ethanol, a renewable biofuel. And renewable biofuels are beneficial to the environment. However, removing the stover can harm the environment because it can cause the soil to erode and lose nutrients.

Taking up this double-edged sword is Cynthia Bartel, a doctoral candidate at Iowa State University. She’s finding a way to lessen the harm and increase the benefits of removing maize stover.

Common Pesticide Damages Honey Bee’s Ability to Fly

Read the full story from the University of California San Diego.

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have demonstrated for the first time that a widely used pesticide can significantly impair the ability of otherwise healthy honey bees to fly, raising concerns about how pesticides affect their capacity to pollinate and the long-term effects on the health of honey bee colonies.

Here are some of the national monuments being reviewed under Trump’s order

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday calling for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review national monuments created by Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama. These monuments were set aside as public land under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives presidents the power to limit use of public land for historic, cultural, scientific or other reasons.

Business and Innovation in Food Waste

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Food that is thrown away winds up in landfills where it gives off methane, a greenhouse gas with a warming potential 23 times that of carbon dioxide. Food waste is a huge problem in the U.S. where 63 million tons of food are tossed every year at a cost of $218 billion. That wasted food uses 20 percent of America’s fresh water, fertilizer, cropland and landfill space.

The nonprofit organization ReFED released two new tools to help prove food waste reduction creates business opportunities and jobs, and to demonstrate the potential to simplify food date labeling.

ReFED’s Innovator Database focuses on startups founded around food waste innovation. It tracks over 400 commercial and nonprofit organizations that combat food waste while creating over 2,000 jobs, more than 200 of which have been founded in the last five years…

ReFED’s Policy Finder focuses on government and identifies opportunities to simplify state and federal food labeling regulations, which save consumers and businesses over $29 billion a year.

College Dorms May Contain High Levels of Toxins

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Parents have enough to worry about when sending their 18-year-old freshman off to college, but a new study shows some dormitories may contain high levels of toxic flame retardants.

The Silent Spring study, which looked at two U.S. college campuses in the northeast, showed that dust samples taken in dorms contain carcinogens, hormone disruptors and chemicals from dozens of flame retardants.

EPA’s Office of Water Seeking Feedback on Reducing Regulatory Burden

Received via e-mail. Please let the Office of Water know what you think about rolling back regulations that protect our water.

Consistent with Executive Order 13777, EPA is seeking public input on existing regulations that could be repealed, replaced or modified to make them less burdensome.

As a part of this effort, we will be accepting written public comments through May 15, 2017, at docket EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190. In addition, EPA’s Office of Water (OW) will host a public listening session to obtain additional feedback on water regulatory actions on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT. Please visit: www.epa.gov/aboutepa/office-water-feedback-reducing-regulatory-burden or see below for details.

Background

On February 24, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order (EO) 13777 on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda. The EO establishes the, “policy of the United States to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people”. Among other things, it requires each agency to create a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate existing regulations and to identify regulations that could be repealed, replaced or modified to make them less burdensome.
As part of implementing the EO, OW will be hosting a public listening session to solicit proposals for OW regulations that could be repealed, replaced, or modified to make them less burdensome. The focus of this listening session will be on water actions only.

Public Listening Session by Telephone and Web Conference
Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. EDT

The session will start with brief remarks from EPA and the remainder of the session will be dedicated to listening to public comments. There are several ways to join the session:

  • To join the teleconference: 150 telephone lines are set aside for people who want to speak for one to two minutes. These 150 telephone lines will be distributed randomly among those who pre-register. We expect our three hour conference will allow for about 70 to 80 persons to speak. You must pre-register in advance to be randomly selected for one of these telephone lines at: https://reducing_regulatory_burden_epa_officeofwater.eventbrite.com. Registration closes April 28, 2017 @ 12:00 pm EDT. If selected, registrants from this list will receive information about how to participate, along with a call in number. The audio of the session will be transcribed and will be submitted to the docket.
  • To join the web conference: http://epawebconferencing.acms.com/owregulatoryforums/. You may sign in 15 minutes before the web conference starts. The online meeting room can accommodate 1,000 participants. Slots will be allotted on a first come first serve basis. Participants in the web session will be able to listen to a broadcast of speakers from the teleconference line through their computers, and will be able to submit written comments. Transcripts of all written comments will be submitted to the docket. For questions about this process, please contact: owregulatoryreform@epa.gov
  • If you miss the meeting, or do not have the opportunity to speak on the call, please submit your input to the EPA-wide docket (docket number: EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190). OW will give equal consideration to input provided through any of the methods above.
  • For more information on upcoming public engagement opportunities offered by other EPA offices please visit: https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/regulatory-reform.

Submitting Comments and/or Proposals to the Docket

The docket will be open for submitting recommendations until May 15, 2017. For those wishing to submit recommendations online, visit Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190 at Regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov.
To allow us to more effectively evaluate your suggestions, the Agency is requesting comments include:

  • Supporting data or other information such as cost information;
  • Provide a Federal Register (FR) or Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) citation when referencing a specific regulation;
  • Provide specific suggestions regarding repeal, replacement, or modification.

The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (e.g., audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all the points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (e.g., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system).

For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit the Commenting on EPA Dockets web page for more information.

Air Force snubs Michigan law on tainted well fixes

Read the full story in the Detroit Free Press.

Oscoda area residents whose wells are affected by groundwater contamination from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base have been urged by state and local public health officials to seek an alternative water supply. And a new Michigan law that took effect in January would make the U.S. Air Force responsible for covering the cost of those alternative water supplies.

But Air Force officials will not comply with the new law, Public Act 545, said Paul Carroll, the Air Force’s environmental coordinator for Wurtsmith, at a public forum on the contamination issue in Oscoda on Tuesday.