Solar coalition wants to put equity front and center in Xcel’s Minnesota rate case

Read the full story at Energy News Network.

The Just Solar Coalition, an alliance of solar developers, community organizers, environmental groups, faith leaders and others interested in expanding access to clean energy, is intervening in the utility’s rate case.

In a land of cold, the architecture is tested by heat

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Much of this country’s housing stock was built more than a century ago, and too much of it built poorly and unsustainably. And there are enormous inequities in British housing, creating social fissures that will be exacerbated this coming winter as people deal with soaring fuel prices. But an architectural tour of this country’s houses — from grand iconic structures, like the Elizabethan Hardwick Hall to more modest Victorian Terrace homes and modern tower blocks — suggests that the lessons learned over the centuries about how to deal with the harsh realities of weather may apply today. As one advocate for making older structures more sustainable says, “Buildings are vessels and we’ve forgotten how to sail these ships.”

Call to phase out ‘forever chemicals’ gains investor momentum

Read the full story from Reuters.

Investors managing $8 trillion in assets have written to the world’s biggest chemicals companies urging them to phase out the use of so-called forever chemicals that can accumulate in the environment and remain hazardous for generations.

Tackling PFAS with Superfund law risks shifting costs to public

Read the full story at Bloomberg Law.

The EPA’s plan to speed Superfund cleanups of two “forever chemicals” to make polluters rather than taxpayers foot the bill raises concerns that the law’s limited flexibility will shift the burden of costs back to communities, attorneys and groups representing public services say.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act can force companies that have dumped the chemicals on land or in water to pay to remediate the sites, said Amanda E. Aspatore, general counsel for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies representing publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities.

But CERCLA’s sweeping liability provisions, few exemptions, and opportunities for one potentially responsible party to sue others in an attempt to share cleanup costs means “companies who didn’t cause problems” can be impacted, Aspatore said.

EPA’s regulation “would put every [water] utility in the country at risk of liability” for the two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) substances discharged to the plant from upstream industries, landfills, and even toilets, she said.

DOE Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Hub

For the next five years, the BIL will fund up to 60 new DOE programs, including 16 demonstration and 32 deployment programs. It will also expand funding for 12 existing research, development, demonstration, and deployment programs.

NETL’s BIL Hub provides information on the law, including links to the Guidebook, DOE’s Clean Energy Corps, DOE’s Applicant Portal, and DOE’s Grid Resilience Program, as well as information on solicitations and funding opportunities.

2022 Compendium of Carbon Capture Technology

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) 2022 Compendium of Carbon
Capture Technology
is now available. The compendium is compiled biannually to provide a technical summary of carbon dioxide capture technology research and development sponsored by NETL’s Point Source Capture and Carbon Dioxide Removal programs. The current compendium presents 124 projects in a single document, all of which were active between Oct. 1, 2019, and Oct. 1, 2021.

Midwest cities have plenty of vacant lots. So why can’t urban farmers buy that land?

Read the full story from KCUR.

Urban farmers are trying to buy vacant lots for their farms to bring fresh, healthy food and green space to their neighborhoods, but they face challenges in acquiring that land.

EPA awards nearly $750,000 in funding to research PFAS exposure pathways

U.S. EPA has announced $748,180 in research grant funding to three institutions for research to improve our understanding of how people are exposed to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in several communities throughout the country.

“Recognizing that exposure to PFAS is a public health and environmental issue facing communities across the United States, and consistent with EPA’s Strategic Roadmap for PFAS, the EPA is investing in scientific research to increase understanding of PFAS exposures. The research announced today will answer critical questions regarding the contribution of PFAS exposures at home to PFAS found in the body and will produce science that can help inform and focus decisions to protect human health.”

Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development

PFAS are a large group of chemicals that are used in many consumer products and industrial and manufacturing applications and are commonly known as ‘forever chemicals’ since they take so long to break down. Due to their widespread use and environmental persistence, most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS. There is evidence that continued exposure above specific levels to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects. More data is needed to measure the nature and levels of PFAS in homes and food to understand pathways for human exposure and risk mitigation.

The research grants announced today will help us better understand the sources and pathways related to people’s exposures to PFAS chemicals.

The following institutions are receiving awards:

  • Silent Spring Institute, Newton, measure PFAS in air and dust in homes, and evaluate associations between potential residential sources and PFAS occurrence at home. This research will enhance understanding of the contribution of residential pathways to PFAS exposures and improve the interpretation of PFAS biomonitoring data.
  • Duke University, Durham, N.C., to determine how different sources of PFAS exposure, including PFAS in drinking water and in homes, contribute to levels measured in blood. This study will address key questions on the most relevant PFAS exposure pathways for the general U.S. population.
  • Emory University, Atlanta, develop a standardized, validated, scientific protocol to measure levels of a targeted set of PFAS in the home. Data collected from home samples will be compared to data collected from PFAS in blood to help identify residential sources of PFAS measured in people’s blood. 

Learn more

Is Net Zero Enough for the Materials Production Sector?

Download the document.

It is estimated that there is a 67% chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels if cumulative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions stay below 400 GtCO2, however current trajectories suggest that this budget will be depleted within the next 10 years if growth rates are maintained.

Emissions from the material production sector – resource extraction and processing of raw materials – currently comprise approximately 25% of global emissions and are therefore of significant importance.

Current production and consumption trajectories indicate global material use is predicted to double
from 2015 to 2060; hence, mitigating the GHG emissions from these sectors is likely to present a significant challenge.

The industries with the highest contribution to this sector are aluminium, concrete, steel and plastics.

The production of these four materials alone is currently responsible for 78% of GHG emissions from the material production sector.

Some of these industries have produced a net zero pathway to meet net zero by 2050, this report has reviewed each industry’s pathway and modelled whether these will reduce emissions quickly and deeply enough to meet climate targets.

The race to create the first sustainable cult sneaker

Read the full story at Glossy.

Rethinking performance wear with a sustainable lens is especially difficult. Products’ durability is prioritized, often forcing sustainability to fall by the wayside. But brands that are implementing sustainable practices at the design stage are proving the potential for sustainability in the category. Glossy spoke to the teams leading design at On Running, Allbirds and Athleta about how they’re designing performance clothing and shoes more sustainably. Leveraging innovative materials, and implementing design briefs and testing are among the effective strategies they listed.