Biden administration launches industrial decarbonization initiative, targets $9.5B for clean hydrogen

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

Using funds from last year’s infrastructure law, the Biden administration on Tuesday launched initiatives aimed at cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the industrial sector, which accounts for nearly a quarter of all U.S. GHG emissions.

As part of the effort, the Energy Department is preparing to disburse $9.5 billion for three “clean” hydrogen programs, with $8 billion slated to go towards creating at least four regional hubs where hydrogen would be made.

The administration is creating a “Buy Clean” task force to steer part of the federal government’s $650 billion in annual spending towards materials like steel, aluminum and concrete that are made using low-carbon processes.

An Illinois bill aims to counteract a decades-long trend: The decline of the Black farmer

Read the full story from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

The USDA has a history of discriminating against Black farmers like Medley, according to government reports, and their number has dwindled over the past century as they’ve lost their land. 

But a bill in the Illinois General Assembly — which mirrors efforts in Congress and other states — seeks to redress racial disparities in farming in the state. The Black Farmer Restoration Program Act aims to support producers by, in part, granting Black producers farmland.

U.S. EPA launches P2 EJ Facility Mapping Tool

U.S. EPA recently launched the P2 EJ Facility Mapping Tool to help prospective P2 grant applicants, grantees, and interested stakeholders geographically target facilities in or adjacent to underserved communities within the framework of the P2 program’s five industrial sector-based National Emphasis Areas (NEAs). The tool allows users to identify industrial facilities that may be contributing to pollution levels in a selected area, including communities with environmental justice (EJ) concerns.

Biden administration promises to buy ‘clean’ industrial materials

Read the full story in the New York Times.

The Biden administration on Tuesday will set out a strategy for buying “clean,” lower-emissions steel, cement, aluminum and other industrial materials for federal agencies and projects, part of its effort to reduce carbon emissions from industrial manufacturing.

Experts say changing attitudes key to reducing soil runoff

Read the full story at the Kankakee Daily Journal.

Illinois has, for decades, laid out a nutrient reduction strategy aimed at reducing the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrients that run off into its waterways.

The nutrient loss reduction effort is outlined in the regular Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Implementation Biennial Report, which showed this year that Illinois is far from living up to its goals, especially when it comes to runoff from agricultural fields.

As a short-term goal, the state aimed to reduce nitrates and nitrogen by 15 percent and phosphorus by 25 percent by 2025, but the latest update showed that nutrient loss increased by 13 percent and phosphorus losses increased by 35 percent, compared with a baseline period from 1980 to 1996.

Experts say a mixture of state policy shortfalls and the challenging nature of adopting new farming practices are contributing factors to Illinois’ inability to meet nutrient reduction goals.

Soybeans well suited to try regenerative farming practices

Read the full story at AgInfo.

The easiest path towards more regenerative farming practices may lie in soybeans. While farmers are being encouraged to reduce tillage and incorporate cover crops, not all systems are going to respond equally. Dawn Equipment CEO Joe Bassett says that farmers who want to try these practices can get more reliable results by focusing on soybeans first.

Nationwide study will examine the effects of regenerative agriculture

Read the full story at Minnesota Public Radio.

As he embarks on a massive data collection project, Ecdysis Foundation Director Jonathan Lundgren is confident farmers are very interested in learning more about regenerative agriculture and are willing to help collect the necessary data.

“We did one Facebook post on it, and so far, we’ve gotten 350 farmers,” he said. “The interest is there. This movement is very real right now, and the farmers are demonstrating that by their interest in gathering primary data on their farming operations.”

The South Dakota-based nonprofit research organization has been studying regenerative agriculture for several years and finding that regenerative principles increase biodiversity and profits.

Scaling up that research to 1,000 farms across the country is a big challenge, but Lundgren said a large database is needed to answer questions about whether the systemic, sustainable changes in farming work and can be profitable if implemented broadly.

We use 6.8 billion face masks a day. Researchers want to turn them into roads

Read the full story from Fast Company.

The disposable masks you see every day have to go somewhere. Many, if not most, end up in a landfill. Researchers have developed a new material that turns all those masks into roads.

According to a new study in the journal Science of the Total Environment, researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a new material that integrates shredded single-use face masks with recycled concrete aggregate (RCA), a substance made of waste materials from demolished buildings, such as concrete chunks, that are crushed up and repurposed. The new material not only gives new life to some of the 6.8 billion face masks the researchers estimate are used globally each day; it could actually make roads stronger, according to the study.

WWF releases chemical recycling principles

Read the full story at Packaging Europe.

As part of its No Plastic in Nature initiative, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has produced a position paper that emphasises reduction and reuse while also setting out its principles for evaluating whether it is possible to establish a credible and effective chemical recycling system.

For low-income Pittsburgh, clean air remains an elusive goal

Read the full story at e360.

Once known as the “City of Smoke,” Pittsburgh has come a long way since the days when filthy air turned downtown streets dark at mid-day. But in struggling communities near the remaining steel plants, high levels of air pollution — and the resulting health hazards — persist.