Day: February 12, 2018

Trump budget seeks 23 percent cut at EPA, eliminating dozens of programs

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The White House is seeking to cut more than $2.5 billion from the annual budget of the Environmental Protection Agency — an overall reduction of more than 23 percent.

‘Permanent pollutant’: Salt to melt ice on streets posing growing risk to Minnesota’s lakes

Read the full story at Inforum.

Salt applied to streets and roads to melt snow and ice is becoming a growing environmental concern in some areas of the country, including Minnesota, where 50 lakes are listed as impaired because of their salt levels.

Street and highway maintenance supervisors are aware of the problems that can result from the salt their crews deposit on roads, and have adopted new methods in recent years that help to reduce salt runoff as well as their operating costs.

GWMS Keynote Preview: How to Finance the Transition to a Zero Waste Future

Read the full story at Waste360.

The biggest economic opportunity in the history of the planet is figuring out how to finance the transition to a zero waste future, according to Terry Tamminen, CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and co-founder of the Planet Pledge Fund.

First-class travel distinguishes Scott Pruitt’s EPA tenure

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

As he enters his second year in charge of the EPA, Pruitt is distinguishing himself from his predecessors in ways that go beyond policy differences. His travel practices — which tend to be secretive, costly and frequent — are integral to how he approaches his role.

EPA Las Vegas office to end operations in September 2018, per email

Read the full story in the Nevada Independent.

The Environmental Protection Agency told employees this week that it planned to close a Las Vegas lab at the end of September, two years before expected, according to an email sent to staff Tuesday. An agency lab director told employees that the EPA’s Office of Research and Development will cease operations Sept. 30 as part of the agency’s consolidation efforts.

Bill McDonough: We are here to make goods, not ‘bads’

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

In order to define a new vision of a regenerative economy, it’s necessary to understand why the current model is unsustainable.

Designer William McDonough, known as the “father of the circular economy” and co-creator of “Cradle to Cradle” design — which presents a vision for materials that benefit society with safe materials, water and energy and which eliminate waste — discussed the dark “secret of Wall Street.”

“It’s the creation of the perception of scarcity where none exists,” he said Tuesday at the GreenBiz 18 conference in Phoenix, Arizona. “It gets us to move, to feel like we’re missing out.”

Out of the $893 trillion in global financial markets, $75 trillion — just 8 percent of the total — can be attributed to goods and services reflected in the GDP, McDonough calculated.

In Trump’s First Year, the U.S. Lost Almost 10,000 Solar Jobs

Read the full story in The Atlantic.

The U.S. solar industry lost about 9,800 jobs in 2017, ending a seven-year streak of nonstop growth and reducing its size to about 250,000 people, according to a new census from the nonpartisan Solar Foundation released Wednesday.

Looking Beyond Honeybees

Read/listen to the full story from Science Friday.

There are two kinds of bees in this world. First, there are the domestic, managed bees that commercial beekeepers transport by the truckload to pollinate fruit trees, almonds, and other crops around the country. Most of the honey we eat comes from those domestic honeybees.

But wild pollinators, including wild bees, are also out busily collecting pollen and fertilizing flowers. Some are tiny. Some are solitary. And they seem to benefit from efforts to save domestic bees from pesticides and other health hazards linked to colony collapse disorder.

But are more domestic honeybees and bumblebees always good for wild ones?

According to Rachel Mallinger, a pollinator ecologist at the University of Florida, too many domestic bees seem to cause problems for their wild kin. She joins Ira to discuss.

The proposed federal budget: Friday the 13th Part 2

Read the full post from ACEEE.

The Trump administration’s proposed budget for energy efficiency is a bad sequel to the slash-and-burn budget it proposed last year. It would cut to pieces many effective energy efficiency programs. Like last year’s budget proposed, it would eliminate help for low-income families and seniors from the Weatherization Assistance Program, and help for states and emergency preparedness from the State Energy Program. It would cut overall new funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by more than 70%, and would end the effective Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Fortunately, it looks like the Congressional audience is not going to buy tickets to this movie.

If adopted, the budget would attack programs that accomplish the administration’s own goals: creating jobs, driving economic growth, and ending wasteful spending. It would end TIGER grants, which are model transportation infrastructure investments. And it would cut the Federal Energy Management Program, which helps save billions of taxpayer dollars.

One difference in the sequel is that it would not kill ENERGY STAR®; instead, it would fund the program entirely from fees. We’re glad they now see the value of helping consumers recognize efficient products and buildings. But relying on fees would still threaten the independence and the reliable funding that are essential to the great success of ENERGY STAR.

Today we are releasing a set of fact sheets that show the impact of some of the programs under attack. They estimate both what the programs are saving now, and what would be lost if the attacks succeed. The fact sheets also include a few stories about people who have benefitted from these programs.

Going green for little kids means dressing in the dark, turning off the iPad

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Each morning, 10-year-old Tuyet Le gets ready for her day with the lights off. By choice.

“Many people can turn on the lights and then they’re not helping the Earth,” said Tuyet, a student at William Tyler Page Elementary School in Silver Spring. “So it’s better to turn off more.”

Tuyet has been passionate about helping the Earth since — she pauses, mulling — she was 7 or 8 and joined her school’s green team as an environmental ambassador in classrooms and at home. Learning about the environment at school sparked her passion.

“I use less water when I’m brushing my teeth and then my lights are off when I’m changing, so I can save electricity,” she said. “At the end of the day, I always turn off my iPad before I go to bed,” and she’s sparing with shower water.

The state’s push for green schools was highlighted in a recent Chesapeake Bay Program report, which said that in 2015, more than 80 percent of the certified sustainable schools in the improving watershed were in Maryland.

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