Biochar may boost carbon storage, but benefits to germination and growth appear scant

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

Biochar may not be the miracle soil additive that many farmers and researchers hoped it to be, according to a new University of Illinois study. Biochar may boost the agricultural yield of some soils – especially poor quality ones – but there is no consensus on its effectiveness. Researchers tested different soils’ responses to multiple biochar types and were unable to verify their ability to increase plant growth. However, the study did show biochar’s ability to affect soil greenhouse gas emissions.

The new findings are published in the journal Chemosphere.

How will EPA show deaths from soot?

Read the full story in E&E News.

How many people might die from air pollution? The answer should become clear today when EPA releases its revamped rule affecting carbon dioxide emissions at power plants.

How the agency accounts for deaths associated with fine particulate matter has been an open-ended question since EPA acknowledged last year that its proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era climate rule, could result in 1,400 additional premature mortalities a year.

EPA air chief Bill Wehrum has said the final version being made public this morning will include changes to the methodology that EPA has used for decades to tally the impact of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5. But it’s unclear how the agency will recalculate health risks from soot that include asthma and heart disease.

Parley for the Oceans, DSNY Foundation to Turn Plastic Waste into Bags

Read the full story at Waste360.

The collaboration removes plastic pollution along New York City’s waterways and launches a #RIPplasticbag campaign to support the statewide plastic bag ban.

Air pollution implicated in up to 4,000 Minnesota deaths a year

Read the full story in the Minneapolis StarTribune.

Air pollution contributes to as many as 10% of all deaths in Minnesota every year, while sending an additional 1,300 people to the hospital with heart and lung problems.

And the threat isn’t confined to major cities. Airborne contaminants harm residents in every part of the state, especially the elderly, the poor, children with asthma, the uninsured and people with pre-existing medical conditions, according to a joint analysis released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

Report: Wisconsin energy efficiency program generates millions in savings

Read the full story in the Wisconsin State Journal.

New Glarus is one of more than 6,000 Wisconsin businesses and nearly 130,000 households that participated last year in Focus on Energy, the state’s utility-funded energy efficiency program.

According to an evaluation released Tuesday, the $100 million program delivered $3.66 in direct economic benefits for every dollar spent — including some $90 million in avoided annual electricity costs — and prevented more than 28.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from being pumped into the atmosphere.

recent analysis by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories found Focus on Energy is one of the nation’s most cost-effective efficiency programs.

This Chicago suburb says rooftop solar is too ugly. Some homeowners disagree

Read the full story in Midwest Energy News.

The village of Kildeer northwest of Chicago promotes itself as a place of spacious lawns, leafy streets, and “picturesque ponds and lakes.” The median home value exceeds half a million dollars. Fences and aluminum siding are not allowed. And, as some residents have recently found out, nor are rooftop solar panels.

The village’s volunteer architectural committee has told several residents seeking needed approvals for rooftop solar that panels are not an approved roofing material.

Upcycling: A Big Food problem with a startup solution?

Read the full story at Food Dive.

Food waste is worth $46.7 billion and is expected to grow 5% during the next decade, providing companies with a lucrative way to make money and cater to consumers who value sustainability.

Why the EPA’s decision on E&P waste is very good for the industry

Read the full story at WasteDive.

Managing byproducts from oil and gas drilling has become a lucrative business for waste and recycling companies. Rich Thompson lays out why that’s expected to continue unabated for the near future.

What is a post-CSR water stewardship strategy?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Today, water stewardship is primarily risk-focused and not tied to business strategy (business growth, brand value, etc.) Stewardship also manifests itself in collective action and conservation programs via corporate partnerships with NGOs. These tactics in themselves create value and positive impact, however, they are not enough to compel significant corporate investment of resources. Corporate resources are typically committed to those initiatives that build brand value, drive revenue and reduce operating costs. Stewardship can reduce costs through improved social license to operate and improved business continuity but many plans today leave out potential value creation from innovation, new products and services and brand value (brands with purpose).

Four U.S. states scoring under-the-radar clean energy wins

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

In the United States, the falling cost of renewable energy means the economic case for investing in renewables is stronger than before. Across the country, from South Carolina to Nevada, states are taking new measures to harness wind and solar power. Since January, more than 10 state legislatures have enacted policies that encourage new renewable energy development.

State action promoting a friendly market for renewables — whether through eliminating unnecessary price barriers or setting statewide clean energy goals — can make all the difference for adding more renewable energy on the grid. While a few states such as California, Hawaii and Massachusetts have internationally recognized ambitious policies, many more are taking significant, new steps at closing the policy gap that limits clean energy development. And this is happening in states beyond the established forerunners. Here are just a few states making gains.