Day: December 17, 2019

Farmers must be part of climate change solution, not stigmatized as problem, Rep. Pingree argues

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

Agriculture accounts for approximately a quarter of annual greenhouse gas emissions, but rather than scapegoat farmers for climate change Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine wants stakeholders across the supply chain, along with legislators and consumers, to work with them to better care for the environment.

Michigan’s PFAS cleanup costs are mounting. Taxpayers may get stuck with the tab.

Read the full story from Bridge Magazine.

In west Michigan, experts say the total cost of handling the PFAS crisis will be tens of millions of dollars. Read more about the residents, who are in the middle of Michigan’s most widespread chemical contamination in decades.

Illinois Pollution Control Board proposes amendments impacting transporters of special waste and empty portable devices or containers

From the Illinois Office of Regulatory Flexibility.

The POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD proposed amendments to the Part titled Special Waste Hauling (35 IAC 809; 43 Ill Reg 13361) that permit use of an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency prescribed manifest form by haulers of non-hazardous special waste as an alternative to the more burdensome and costly USEPA Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest (which is still required for hazardous special waste shipments).

Bottom Line:  The proposed amendments are intended to allow Illinois transporters of State-regulated non-hazardous special waste to obtain and use functionally identical manifests to track such waste while avoiding the significant costs and burdens associated with utilization of Unites States Environmental Protection Agency’s e-Manifest system.

The Board will accept written public comments on this proposal for a period of at least 45 days after the date of publication in the Illinois Register. Public comments must be filed with the Clerk of the Board. Public comments should reference Docket R19-18 and be addressed to: Clerk’s Office. Illinois Pollution Control Board JRTC 100 W. Randolph St., Suite 11-500 Chicago IL 60601.  Public comments may also be filed electronically through the Clerk’s Office On-Line (COOL) on the Board’s website at pcb.illinois.gov. Interested persons may request copies of the Board’s opinion and order in R19-18 by calling the Clerk’s office at 312/814-3620 or may download copies from the Board’s Web site at pcb.illinois.gov.

You may also click here to submit comments to the Department of Commerce Office of Regulatory Flexibility. This rule is open for public comment until January 6, 2020. 

Rainwater in parts of US contain high levels of PFAS chemical, says study

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Levels high enough to potentially impact human health and trigger regulatory action, which only targets two of 4,700 variants

Connecticut Releases PFAS Action Plan

Read the full story in the National Law Review.

Connecticut has published an action plan on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that includes several recommendations related to food packaging. The PFAS Action Plan was developed by the Connecticut Interagency PFAS Task Force, which Governor Ned Lamont established on July 8, 2019.  Governor Lamont charged the PFAS Task Force to develop an action plan to minimize health risks for Connecticut residents’ resulting from PFAS exposure, to minimize future releases of PFAS to the environment, and to address historic releases of PFAS to the environment.

State sets standard on PFAS

Read the full story in the MV Times.

On Friday the state [of Massachusetts] filed draft regulations setting a standard for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for the sum of six PFAS compounds, something Martha’s Vineyard Airport officials knew was coming because of the airport’s ongoing testing and treatment for the emerging contaminant. 

A press release issued Friday by the state Executive Office for Energy and Environmental Affairs also indicated $24 million has been set aside in a supplemental budget for water infrastructure, including PFAS testing and remediation.

Climate Resilience: A Strategic Investment Approach for High-Priority Projects Could Help Target Federal Resources

Download the document.

What GAO Found

The federal government has invested in individual projects that may enhance climate resilience, but it does not have a strategic approach to guide its investments in high-priority climate resilience projects. In GAO’s March 2019 update to its list of federal programs at high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or most in need of transformation, GAO reported that one area of government-wide action needed to reduce federal fiscal exposure is in the federal government’s role as the leader of a strategic plan that coordinates federal efforts and informs state, local, and private-sector action. For this 2019 update, GAO assessed the federal government’s progress since 2017 related to climate change strategic planning against five criteria and found that the federal government had not met any of the criteria for removal from the high-risk list. Further, as of August 2019, no action had been taken to implement 14 of GAO’s 17 recommendations to improve federal climate change strategic planning. Additionally, no federal agency, interagency collaborative effort, or other organizational arrangement has been established to implement a strategic approach to climate resilience investment that includes periodically identifying and prioritizing projects. Such an approach could supplement individual agency climate resilience efforts and help target federal resources toward high-priority projects.

Based on its review of prior GAO work, relevant reports, and stakeholder interviews, GAO found six key steps that provide an opportunity for the federal government to strategically identify and prioritize climate resilience projects for investment. These are (1) defining the strategic goals of the climate resilience investment effort and how the effort will be carried out, (2) identifying and assessing high-risk areas for targeted resilience investment, (3) identifying potential project ideas, (4) prioritizing projects, (5) implementing high-priority projects, and (6) monitoring projects and climate risks.

GAO also identified two options—each with strengths and limitations—for focusing federal funding on high-priority climate resilience projects. The options are (1) coordinating funding provided through multiple existing programs with varied purposes and (2) creating a new federal funding source specifically for investment in climate resilience. In addition, GAO identified opportunities to increase the impact of federal funding options on climate resilience, including ensuring adequate and consistent funding and encouraging nonfederal investment in climate resilience.

Why GAO Did This Study

Since 2005, federal funding for disaster assistance has totaled at least $450 billion, including a 2019 supplemental appropriation of $19.1 billion for recent disasters. In 2018 alone, 14 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events occurred across the United States, with total costs of at least $91 billion, including the loss of public and private property, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Disaster costs likely will increase as certain extreme weather events become more frequent and intense due to climate change, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a global change research coordinating body that spans 13 federal agencies. In 2013, GAO included “Limiting the Federal Government’s Fiscal Exposure by Better Managing Climate Change Risks” on its high-risk list. The cost of recent weather disasters has illustrated the need to plan for climate change risks and invest in climate resilience, which can reduce the need for far more costly steps in the decades to come.

This statement summarizes GAO’s findings from its October 2019 report on climate resilience and federal investment (GAO-20-127). Specifically, it focuses on (1) the extent to which the federal government has a strategic approach for investing in climate resilience projects; (2) key steps that provide an opportunity to strategically prioritize projects for investment; and (3) the strengths and limitations of options for focusing federal funding on these projects.

To perform this work, GAO reviewed about 50 relevant reports and interviewed 35 stakeholders with expertise in climate resilience and related fields, including federal officials, researchers, and consultants. GAO also identified domestic and international examples of governments that invest in climate resilience and related projects.

What GAO Recommends

Congress should consider establishing a federal organizational arrangement to periodically identify and prioritize climate resilience projects for federal investment. Such an arrangement could be designed using the six key steps for prioritizing climate resilience investments and the opportunities to increase the climate resilience impact of federal funding options that GAO identified in its October 2019 report.

Getting Greener: Cost-Effective Options for Achieving New York State’s Greenhouse Gas Goals

Download the document.

As a low-emitting state that has already achieved substantial reductions in GHG emissions, getting significantly greener without significantly impacting already-high energy costs will be challenging. This paper examines how New York can achieve significant GHG reductions cost-effectively.

DHL: Rethinking Packaging

Read the full story at Supply Chain Digital.

The logistics giant DHL has released a new Trend Report that provides an in-depth look into the future of packaging. Supply Chain Digital takes a closer look.

Extreme weather patterns are raising the risk of a global food crisis, and climate change will make this worse

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Extreme weather patterns associated with heat waves and droughts are raising the risks of simultaneous harvest failures of vital crops worldwide such as wheat, maize and soybeans, two studies published Monday found. This is pushing the world closer to the edge of potential food price spikes, associated social unrest and food shortages.

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