Day: June 24, 2019

Oregon Republicans Are On The Lam Over A Climate Bill

Read the full story from NPR.

Senate Republicans in Oregon have refused to come to the Capitol, denying the legislature the quorum needed to vote on a cap-and-trade bill. The state police has been sent to retrieve them.

Wisconsin grapples with ‘green’ waste plants that spread hazardous PFAS

Read the full story in the LaCrosse Tribune.

Wisconsin wastewater plants were built to keep pollutants out of the environment, but state regulators have come to realize the facilities may be spreading hazardous industrial chemicals in ways that increase health risks.

White House Council on Environmental Quality issues new draft guidance on consideration of greenhouse gases in NEPA reviews

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued new draft Guidance on the Consideration of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Reviews. This guidance is intended to replace the 2016 final guidance that was revoked by the Trump administration two years ago.

The new draft guidance acknowledges that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are an environmental impact and that both direct and indirect GHG emissions should be quantified where it is practicable to do so using existing data and quantification tools. It also acknowledges that agencies should account for the effects of climate change on baseline environmental considerations where that analysis would not be overly speculative. Finally, the guidance states that NEPA does not require agencies to disclose the monetized social costs of GHG impacts as a general matter, but acknowledges that there are circumstances where agencies may account for GHG impacts in their cost-benefit analyses.

The guidance does not set forth any new restrictions or requirements for NEPA analyses of GHG emissions. There are some provisions which appear aimed at limiting the scope of the required analysis for GHG emissions and climate change impacts, such as a statement that “[m]onetization or quantification of some aspects of an agency’s analysis does not require that all effects, including potential effects of GHG emissions, be monetized or quantified.” But these provisions are merely an interpretation of NEPA requirements and they do not affect the underlying statutory and regulatory requirements or the case law interpretation those requirements.

Congress advances push for ‘national recycling strategy’

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

The House of Representatives unanimously passed an amendment to H.R. 3055 — an appropriations bill for multiple departments and agencies — on Thursday, furthering calls for a national recycling strategy.

Medical Society Consortium and Other Health Organizations Declare Climate Change is a Health Emergency

Today the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health and more than 70 other health organizations launched The Call to Action on Climate, Health, and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda to protect the health and safety of all people in the U.S. Physicians, nurses, and public health professionals are standing together to call climate change what it is: a health emergency.

Download the full policy agenda.

Pritzker signs law aimed at reducing cancer-causing ethylene oxide pollution

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday clamped down on ethylene oxide pollution throughout Illinois, targeting a once-obscure industry responsible for some of the highest cancer risks in the nation.

Bipartisan legislation signed into law by Pritzker requires Medline Industries in north suburban Waukegan, Sterigenics in west suburban Willowbrook and other sterilization facilities to prevent leaks of ethylene oxide into surrounding neighborhoods. The companies also must dramatically reduce legally allowable pollution emitted through smokestacks.

California Legislators Urge Caution, but Greenlight a Plan That Could Lead to the Widespread Use of Forestry Offsets

Read the full story at ProPublica.

Influenced by a ProPublica investigation, they emphasized the need for “vigorous and proactive monitoring,” noting concerns long voiced by scientists about the integrity of carbon credits.

Opinion | France’s Ban on Food Waste Three Years Later

Read the full story in FoodTank.

France became the first country to pass a national regulation specifically against food waste in 2016. That effort earned a lot of attention—resulting in a top ranking in the 2017 Food Sustainability Index—and prompted conversation in the United States: can we, or should we, implement a similar policy here?

Forgotten Landscapes: Bringing Back the Rich Grasslands of the Southeast

Read the full story at e360.

Native prairie and savanna once covered vast areas of the U.S. Southeast from Maryland to Texas, but agriculture and sprawl have left only small patches remaining. Now, a new initiative, driven by scientists and local communities, is pushing to restore these imperiled grassland habitats.

Aggressive, non-native wetland plants squelch species richness more than dominant natives do

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

Dominant, non-native plants reduce wetland biodiversity and abundance more than native plants do, researchers report in the journal Ecology Letters. Even native plants that dominate wetland landscapes play better with others, the team found.

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