Category: Government

Webinar: Becoming ESPC-Ready

Jun 15, 2021 2-3 pm CDT
Register here.

Join this webinar to better understand the basics of Energy Savings Performance Contracting, or ESPC. This foundational training covers how state and local governments can facilitate energy efficiency investments through ESPC, and how facility managers can use ESPC to enhance their facility’s energy performance. Whether you are a stakeholder from a state or local government, university, K-12 school, or hospital, this webinar can help you become ESPC-ready.

This webinar is based on the Foundations of ESPC training offered by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the Energy Services Coalition as part of the DOE-NASEO Return-to-Work Initiative.

EPA managers intruded on Dicamba decision making

Read the full story at Successful Farming.

The Trump administration announced a new five-year EPA approval of Dicamba with additional safeguards a week before the 2020 presidential election.

Yvette T. Collazo steps down as director of EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics

Read the full story in the National Law Review.

Effective May 21, 2021, Yvette T. Collazo has resigned as the Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT). Collazo began as OPPT Director in March 2020.

Citizen science is helping tackle stinky cities

Read the full story at Next City.

Marta has lived with a bad smell lingering in her hometown in central Spain, Villanueva del Pardillo, for a long time. Fed up, in 2017 she and her neighbors decided to pursue the issue. “The smell is disgusting,” Marta says, pointing a finger at a local yeast factory.

Originally, she thought of recording the “bad smell days” on a spreadsheet. When this didn’t work out, after some research she found Odour Collect, a crowdsourced map that allows users to enter a geolocalized timestamp of bad smells in their neighborhood.

Massachusetts rolls out new tool to support ‘climate smart’ construction

Read the full story from WBUR.

Hoping to better prepare for the climate and environmental hazards of the future, the Baker administration launched a tool Wednesday to help cities and towns assess the climate change risk of planned projects and get recommendations to make the designs more resilient.

The Resilient MA Action Team Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool aims to get municipal leaders thinking about how climate change over the coming decades might affect developments that are still in the planning stages and for the state to share mitigation recommendations.

EPA eyes reversal of Trump revocation of California vehicle emissions waiver

Read the full story at The Hill.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reconsidering the Trump administration’s decision to not allow California to set its own vehicle tailpipe emissions standards, the first step in reversing the major climate rollback.  

The EPA on Monday posted a notice seeking public input on whether it was appropriate under certain laws to withdraw a waiver that allowed the state to set its own standards. 

EPA Delayed Risk Communication and Issued Instructions Hindering Region 5’s Ability to Address Ethylene Oxide Emissions

Download the document and read the Chicago Tribune story.

Industry-connected political appointees in the Trump administration blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from investigating ethylene oxide polluters and prevented career staff from warning thousands of Americans who live near sources of the cancer-causing gas, according to a scathing new report from the agency’s inspector general.

Chicago Tribune, Apr 16, 2021

Concerns About the Process Used for the SAFE Vehicles Rule Demonstrate the Need for a Policy on EPA’s Role in Joint Rulemakings

Download the document.

Although the EPA and NHTSA jointly issued the SAFE Vehicles Rule, the agencies’ technical personnel did not collaborate during final rule development, undercutting the joint character of the rulemaking. Furthermore, the EPA did not follow its established process for developing regulatory actions, did not complete major Action Development Process milestones, or did not document who decided to skip these milestones and why. In addition, NHTSA performed all major technical assessments for the rule, while the role of EPA technical personnel was limited to providing advisory input to NHTSA for some aspects of the analysis. The EPA did not conduct a separate analysis related to executive orders on the impacts of modified standards on vulnerable populations.

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decided that the SAFE Vehicles Rule would be based solely on NHTSA modeling and analysis and that NHTSA would draft the majority of the preamble text. One senior EPA official cited NHTSA’s statutory deadline for establishing its standards as the impetus for its lead role in developing the rulemaking. This approach bypassed aspects of the EPA’s normal rulemaking process. It also diverged from the more collaborative precedent set by the agencies’ prior joint rulemakings, as well as circumvented Office of Air and Radiation technical personnel feedback prior to the final rule being circulated for interagency review. Furthermore, technical personnel were confused about the proper contents of the docket, and congressional and tribal stakeholders raised transparency concerns after the final rule was published. While joint rulemaking is infrequent, the process should be improved by clearly defining the EPA’s responsibilities when working with a partner agency.

States Are Growing Fewer Trees. Forest Owners Say That’s a Problem.

Read the full story at Stateline.

Seedlings are hard to come by. Large, commercial nurseries typically grow large tree orders on contract, supplying industrial timber companies that plan operations years in advance. State-run nurseries provide a more diverse array of species to landowners, allowing smaller orders on short notice. Many of the family foresters hit by the Oregon fires have struggled to obtain seedlings from the private sector.

The seedling problem is not unique to Oregon. Eight states have closed their nurseries, most in the past two decades, according to a survey by the National Association of State Foresters. Twenty-nine states still operate nursery programs, though many have closed some of their facilities.

The declining state production has hurt small landowners, who own the largest share of the nation’s forests. Private sector nurseries often lack many of the tree species offered by states, and they rarely accept small orders. In many cases, nursery closures have led to cutbacks in state research and breeding programs that produce trees more capable of withstanding the effects of climate change.

Webinar: Advances in Understanding PFAS Ecological Risks

Apr 8, 2021, 11am CDT
Register here.

This SERDP and ESTCP webinar focuses on DoD-funded research to improve understanding of the ecological risks of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Specifically, investigators will discuss the pathways and rates of PFAS uptake, bioaccumulation, and biomagnification within freshwater food webs, and a tiered approach for assessing PFAS risk to threatened and endangered species.

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