EPA halts Obama-era rule on methane pollution

Read the full story in The Hill.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has halted an Obama administration rule to cut down on pollution of methane, a greenhouse gas produced at oil and natural gas drilling wells.

Scoop: Trump is pulling U.S. out of Paris climate deal

Read the full story at Axios.

President Trump has made his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision. Details on how the withdrawal will be executed are being worked out by a small team including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. They’re deciding on whether to initiate a full, formal withdrawal — which could take 3 years — or exit the underlying United Nations climate change treaty, which would be faster but more extreme.

Great Lakes Echo series on how climate change is expected to affect the region

Great Lakes Echo is doing a series of stories on how climate change is expected to affect the Great Lakes region. The stories to date include:

  1. The state of the Great Lakes: What to expect from climate change
  2. Will the whole country descend upon Michigan in 2100?
  3. Uncertainty floods the future of Great Lakes’ water quality and quantity
  4. Climate change tinkers with animal relationships and which survive


Green Products to Face Shortfall in Key Ingredients: Report

Read the full story from the Daily Environment Report.

Companies are scrambling for green alternatives to the chemicals that prevent products from going bad, as consumers shift their tastes to more sustainable goods.

Preservatives help prevent microbial growth in products such as cosmetics, medicine, paints and cleaning supplies. But they can also contain hazardous chemicals that are being targeted by regulators. Safer choices are elusive, as is access to the toxicological information needed to develop alternatives, the Environmental Defense Fund said in a new report.

Luxury brands are slowly setting their sights on sustainable fragrances

Read the full story in Glossy.

Though efforts in sustainable fashion production continue to expand and evolve, the beauty industry has been slow to follow, particularly when it comes to fragrance.

As luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci increasingly add fragrances to their product portfolios, few have prioritized eco-friendly ingredients and certified processes for developing perfume formulas. However, Swiss jeweler Chopard announced earlier this week that it will launch a series of unisex fragrances made from sustainable ingredients, sharing the news with the help of Livia Firth, founder of the sustainability organization Eco-Age. It was a significant move, particularly as several independent perfume brands have long touted natural ingredients and recycled packaging, though few major fashion and beauty brands have followed suit.

Nor Any Drop to Drink?: Why the Great Lakes Face a Murky Future

Read the full piece in the New York Times Book Review.

And so it came as a revelation to me to read Dan Egan’s deeply researched and sharply written “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes.” Dipping into this book was like opening the secret diary of a mercurial and mysterious parent. I learned that the reason the lake had become so clear was that it had been invaded by a dastardly pair of bivalves — the zebra and quagga mussels — which had hitched a ride on a shipping barge from either the Black or Caspian Seas and then quietly but ceaselessly colonized the lake. They set about cleaning up the water with hyperactive single-mindedness, eventually sucking up 90 percent of the lake’s phytoplankton. The water is now three times clearer than it was in the 1980s. But “this is not the sign of a healthy lake,” Egan warns. “It’s the sign of a lake having the life sucked out of it.” Since the Great Lakes are essentially “one giant, slow-motion river,” the mussels have since spread to every one of the Great Lakes, proliferating “like cancer cells in a bloodstream.”

AMO Requests Information on Potential Focus Areas for Early-stage Research and Development of Processed Clean Water

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), on behalf of its Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) seeks feedback on technologies with the potential for early stage research and development (R&D) that if successfully advanced could impact the cost-effective and energy efficient availability of clean water. This request for information (RFI) targets R&D for processing technologies used to create clean water from a variety of sources such as surface water, ground water, brackish water, seawater, wastewater and produced water for a range of applications including municipal drinking water, agricultural uses, and industrial needs.

The goal of this RFI is to identify technology and knowledge gaps that if addressed would enable clean water production from (i) a variety of sources, (ii) through the least possible energy consumption and (iii) by optimizing the use of renewable and waste energy sources. These technology and knowledge gaps could be addressed through R&D and would further the administration’s priority to ensure clean air and clean water for the United States. Feedback will be solicited from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on issues related to opportunities for R&D with the potential to reduce the cost and energy and increase performance of approaches to clean water processing and production.

This RFI is not a funding opportunity announcement (FOA); therefore, EERE is not accepting applications at this time. EERE may issue a FOA in the future based on or related to the content and responses to this RFI; however, EERE may also elect not to issue a FOA. There is no guarantee that a FOA will be issued as a result of this RFI. Responding to this RFI does not provide any advantage or disadvantage to potential applicants if EERE chooses to issue a FOA regarding the subject matter. Final details, including any anticipated award size, quantity, and timing of EERE-funded support would be subject to congressional appropriations and direction.

View the official request and submission instructions HERE, which includes more information about the technical focus areas and response guidelines. Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to AMOCleanWater@ee.doe.gov no later than 5:00 pm (ET) on July 28, 2017.

The Advanced Manufacturing Office, within the Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, supports early stage applied research and development of new materials, information, and processes that improve American manufacturing’s energy efficiency, as well as platform technologies for manufacturing energy products. AMO created this request for information.

Prioritizing Water Reduction and Reclamation: Q&A with Ford’s Andy Hobbs

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

About 17 years ago, Ford Motor Company took a closer look at its water costs. The move was initially met with wonder, especially given that the automaker is headquartered in the Great Lakes region.

“When we build a car, we know the cost of every second for every employee,” says Andy Hobbs, director of the Environmental Quality Office at Ford Motor Company. “But we never really knew the cost of water. You’d get a water bill.”

So Ford began applying disciplined techniques to understanding the true cost of water. In those early days, they discovered substantial leaks underground and aboveground, Hobbs says. This led to a careful chronicle of water-related issues, which the automaker then tackled systematically starting with no-cost changes and progressing to ones that required investment. Since then, Ford has reduced water consumption by 10 billion gallons.

Hobbs will be talking about innovations in water reclamation at the 2017 Environmental Leader Conference in June. Recently we caught up with him to learn about Ford’s water goals and strategies for reaching them.

Companies paying closer attention to water usage, handling

Read the full story in Biztimes.

Businesses seeking to reduce their environmental impact are looking beyond energy efficiencies and alternative energy sources to water – mainly, how their organizations deal with water usage and the water collecting on their property.

Sustainable business at a crossroads, again

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

MIT SMR’s latest report, “Corporate Sustainability at a Crossroads,” shows that most businesses have yet to crack the sustainability code. And now, after our eight annual surveys of tens of thousands of managers and more than 150 thought-leader interviews, we know why: Sustainability success requires a long-term, strategic-level commitment combined with business model innovation that goes way beyond changing light bulbs or charitable giving. Many managers understandably recoil from this level of sustainability commitment.