Pipeline protests

Read the full story in the Illinois Times.

Farmers and landowners in Christian County have joined more than 100 residents of Sangamon, Morgan and 10 adjacent counties to formally challenge a proposed pipeline that would carry liquified carbon dioxide from the Midwest halfway across the state for permanent underground storage in central Illinois.

Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline was granted intervenor status this summer in the Navigator Heartland Greenway CO pipeline case pending in front of the Illinois Commerce Commission.

US firms exploiting Trump-era loophole over toxic ‘forever chemicals’

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Chemical companies are dodging a federal law designed to track how many PFAS “forever chemicals” their plants are discharging into the environment by exploiting a loophole created in the Trump administration’s final months, a new analysis of federal records has found.

Michigan CEO who hid PFAS pollution to be honored as ‘role model’

Read the full story at MLive.

Thanks to Wolverine Worldwide, there’s a 25 square-mile area of northern Kent County where the groundwater is poisonous to drink.

Wolverine, which polluted the area with PFAS chemicals while making shoes, knew and did nothing about the contamination until its toxic dumping was discovered five years ago.

Nonetheless, its board chairman and newly-retired CEO Blake Krueger will be honored with a business community award this month for being a role model to young people.

On Oct. 24 at Frederick Meijer Gardens, Krueger will be inducted as a laureate into the Junior Achievement West Michigan Business Hall of Fame by the Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes (JAMGL).

The chapter of the global JA nonprofit presents the award annually to prominent business leaders who “possess a record of outstanding business achievements in West Michigan, have earned the respect of the local community and who serve as a role model, particularly to local youth.”

People who drank from poisoned wells are flabbergasted.

New study identifies over 57,000 sites “presumptively contaminated” with PFAS

Read the full story at JD Supra. Also check out the coverage at Environmental Health News.

A new paper from Northeastern University’s PFAS Project Lab and researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) reaches the sobering conclusion that over 57,000 sites in the U.S. have “presumptive contamination” from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”).  Even more sobering is the authors’ assertion that that number is almost certainly a dramatic underestimation of the number of PFAS-contaminated sites, given limited data availability and the conservative mapping methodology employed.

Kickstart: A ‘genius’ for tracking plastic waste

Read the full story at Plastics News.

Jenna Jambeck, the University of Georgia professor of environmental engineering who helped create systems to track plastic pollution, has been named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 2022.

She is one of 25 people to receive the honor, often referred to as a “MacArthur Genius Grant.” Each fellow also receives an $800,000 “no-strings-attached” cash award.

Jambeck has been involved in tracking marine plastics for decades. Her team developed the Circularity Assessment Protocol as a “rigorous, cost-effective toolkit” to reveal how plastic “flows into a community, how it is consumed, and how it flows out, either through waste management or via leakages into the environment,” the foundation wrote.

EPA updates EJScreen

EPA has updated and added new capabilities to EJScreen, the Agency’s publicly available environmental justice screening and mapping tool. EJScreen 2.1 makes important improvements to better meet the needs of users, including the addition of new data on US territories, supplemental indexes, threshold maps, and refreshed demographic and environmental data. 

  • EJScreen now includes environmental, demographic, and index data for the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • In addition to the twelve existing environmental indicators and corresponding EJ indexes, EPA has created a set of “supplemental indexes” to highlight vulnerable populations that may be disproportionately impacted by pollution. These supplemental indexes use the same methodology and calculation as the EJ Indexes but incorporate a new five-factor supplemental demographic index. The five socioeconomic indicators considered are percent low-income, percent limited English-speaking, percent less than high school education, percent unemployed, and low life expectancy.
  • EPA has also included threshold maps. These threshold maps allow EJScreen users to look across all twelve indexes at once, providing a cumulative outlook on vulnerable populations facing higher pollution burdens. Threshold maps are available for both the EJ indexes and the supplemental indexes and are available for comparison at the national and state level, offering users the capability to take a broader view of the indexes to help highlight areas that may warrant additional consideration, analysis, or outreach.
  • This update also features the newest available 2016 – 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) data from the U.S. Census. Some of the environmental datasets have also been refreshed. This update includes several enhancements to components of the methodology and underlying calculation for the EJ indexes and supplemental indexes. These were based upon user and expert academic feedback and will enhance the tool’s ability and provide greater transparency into the inner workings of the tool.

EPA is holding multiple training sessions and office hours for users on EJScreen 2.1. The training session will provide an overview presentation on EJScreen, a discussion of the new features, a demonstration, and a Q&A session. The office hours will be a chance for the public to talk with EPA EJScreen experts about many topics including how to use and apply the tool and technical issues. These webinars will be accessible via Zoom and registration is not required. More information can be found on EPA’s website.

EPA encourages you to test out EJSCREEN 2.1 to see how it can serve your needs and provide feedback on how they can continue to improve it.

Nestlé shifts Kit Kat, Quality Street brands to recyclable packaging

Read the full story at ESG Today.

Global food and beverage company Nestlé announced today initiatives to shift two of its confectionary brands in the UK to more sustainable packaging, with Quality Street moving to recyclable paper packaging for its twist-wrapped sweets, and Kit Kat introducing wrappers made with 80% recycled plastic.

PATH closes $30m Series A funding round to fuel global expansion and eliminate plastic waste

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

PATH, a sustainable aluminum bottled water company, has closed $30m in Series A funding to continue its mission of eliminating single-use plastic bottles from going into landfills and oceans with its 100% refillable aluminum water bottles.

Taking the pain out of data sharing

Read the full story in Nature.

Despite agreeing to make raw data available, some authors fail to comply. The right strategies and platforms can ease the task.

No Time to Waste: Why the EU Needs to Adopt Ambitious Legally Binding Food Waste Reduction Targets

Download the document.

We urge the European Commission to set a legally binding target of a 50%, farm-to-fork reduction in food waste by 2030 and recommend that policymakers, organisations, and individuals join us in calling for these targets to be adopted. As reflected in this report, a 50% by 2030, farmto-fork target has widespread support from businesses, civil society organisations, and policymakers across the EU.
This report demonstrates why a 50% by 2030, farm-to-fork target is necessary and provides recommendations for the EU and Member States, including which policies and approaches will make achieving the 50% target feasible and how this should inform impact assessment modelling.