Shipments of hazardous waste from the Ohio train wreck coming to Indiana have been put on pause, according to the state.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to pause shipping any further waste to an Indiana landfill until further testing can confirm there are no harmful levels of dioxins in the soil.
This news comes after at least three shipments of contaminated soil from the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio have already been delivered to the landfill outside Roachdale, Ind. — which sits about 40 miles west of Indianapolis. The hazardous waste storage facility in Putnam County is operated by Heritage Environmental Services.
Holcomb and other state officials — including U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, Attorney General Todd Rokita and Congressman Jim Baird — have expressed concerns and raised oppositions to the waste coming to Indiana. Those worries have been echoed by area residents, who have said they are uneasy about the waste coming to their community.
Although ‘many thought approving a new solvent would be impossible’, the European Parliament and Council have added plant-based solvent methyloxolane to the list of permitted processing aids for the manufacture of food ingredients.
The flow of digital information through fiber-optic cables lining the sea floor could be compromised by climate change.
That’s according to new research published in the journal Earth-Science Reviews by scientists from the United Kingdom’s National Oceanography Centre and the University of Central Florida. They found that ocean and nearshore disturbances caused by extreme weather events have exposed “hot spots” along the transglobal cable network, increasing the risk of internet outages.
Damage from such outages could be enormous for governments, the private sector and nonprofit organizations whose operations rely on the safe and secure flow of digital information.
Call2Recycle, the consumer battery stewardship and collection program that is headquartered in Atlanta, has released its battery collection data for 2022, revealing that nearly 8 million pounds of batteries were collected for recycling in the U.S., which is 2 percent less than in 2021. However, the total figure includes more than 3 million pounds of lithium-ion batteries, which Call2Recycle says is the highest number of these batteries collected in its history.
Basic economics teaches us that a higher price for water would encourage conservation. Up until now, however, concerns about harming low-income households have limited discussions about raising water prices to reduce demand.
We know that it’s hard to pay more for essential goods such as food, energy and water, especially for lower-income households. Rather than raising everyone’s water prices, we propose a customized approach that lets individual consumers decide whether to pay higher prices.
Who is most able and willing to conserve?
One of the most common challenges involved in making markets work well is what economists call asymmetric information – when one party has more access to relevant information than the other party. Think about buying or selling a car before online tools like Carfax were available. Owners and dealers knew more about what each car was really worth, so they had greater bargaining power than buyers.
The West has millions of water users with a broad range of incomes who consume water at widely varying levels. These consumers, including urban households, businesses and farmers, know more than water agencies do about how readily they can conserve water.
Water agencies could elicit this private information by making a “take it or leave it” offer to water consumers. Some of California’s electric utilities have already experimented with this opt-in approach to encourage energy conservation.
Target the big users
Every western water district has access to customer-level big data on monthly and even daily water consumption. Agencies could use this information to identify the top 10% of water consumers in their territories, based on volume used – like the household in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles that used 11.8 million gallons of water in 2014.
Water agencies could randomly select customers among the largest water users in their service areas to participate in a small pilot study. Each invitee would receive an opt-in contract offering to pay them an annual fee for enrolling for three years in a water conservation program. In return, the price the consumer paid for each gallon of water would triple. This approach would give the consumer a guaranteed payment for participating and a clear incentive to use less water.
Data scientists would collect information on who accepted the offer and could survey invitees to learn how they decided whether or not to participate. Combining these two data sets would make it possible to test hypotheses about which factors determined willingness to accept the opt-in offer.
Using customer-level water consumption data over time, water agencies could track usage and compare customers who participated in the price increase program with others who turned down the offer. This would make it possible to estimate the water conservation benefits of introducing customized water prices.
Conducting a pilot study using a randomly chosen sample of high-usage customers is a low-stakes strategy. If it fails to promote water conservation at a low cost, then a valuable lesson has been learned. If it succeeds, the same opt-in offer could be made to more high-usage customers.
Today, most water agencies don’t know how responsive individual customers would be to higher prices. By conducting the type of pilot study that we have described, agencies could answer that question without raising prices for vulnerable households. If such initiatives succeeded, they could be replicated in other drought-prone areas of the West. Since farms consume the largest share of water in western states, it is especially important to learn more about farmers’ willingness to conserve.
Water is essential for life, but westerners have different abilities and willingness to conserve it. We recommend a strategy that rewards those who are most able to reduce their usage without punishing those who are least able.
Highly variable precipitation is causing headaches for farmers across the Midwest, as they contend with the effects of climate change. To bolster crop yields, more farmers in Indiana and elsewhere are turning to irrigation to offset hot, dry periods. This practice, however, may undermine a natural drought-tolerance strategy that is less costly and doesn’t draw upon limited freshwater resources: soil microbes that help plants survive drought.
IU researchers are leading a unique collaboration between social scientists and biologists to study farmer decision making and the presence of soil microbes that help plants tolerate drought. The work is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
A coalition of environmental organizations on Monday announced a lawsuit against the Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM), arguing the bureau’s sales of leases in the Gulf of Mexico were unlawful.
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs argued BOEM’s plans to lease more than 70 million acres of Gulf waters for fossil fuel development are based on a “deeply flawed” environmental review. The Biden administration had previously canceled the lease sales due to contradictory court rulings, but following a provision negotiated by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in the Inflation Reduction Act requiring the sales, they are set for March 28.
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