Category: State government

Waste not? Some states are sending less food to landfills

Read the full story at Stateline.

At least eight states, all in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic except California, have laws requiring some reprocessing of food waste, to keep it out of landfills and cut down on greenhouse gases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NC takes steps on carbon cap, multi-state pollution effort

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

A state regulatory panel agreed Tuesday to develop rules for North Carolina to meet proposed overall reductions of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and to join a multi-state effort to accomplish it.

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.

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: Introducing EPA’s Benchmarking & Building Performance Standards Policy Toolkit

March 17, 2021, 11am-noon
Register here.

Are you a state or local decision maker interested in exploring policies to reduce the energy and carbon footprints of your existing buildings? Join this webinar to learn about EPA’s new Benchmarking & Building Performance Standards Policy Toolkit. This Toolkit aims to inform and support state and local governments who are exploring adopting policies focused on reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from existing commercial and multifamily buildings in their communities. The Toolkit offers an overview of building energy benchmarking and transparency; an overview of building performance standards; opportunities for cross-jurisdictional coordination including between state and local governments; and strategies for ensuring solutions are in place that provide access to utility data. EPA experts will walk through the Toolkit, provide an overview of key considerations for policy design, and describe opportunities for EPA technical assistance and further resources, including information on using EPA’S ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® tool as a backbone of program implementation.

EPA Speakers

  • Carolyn Snyder, Division Director, Climate Protection Partnerships Division
  • Cassandra Kubes, State and Local Energy and Environment Program
  • Caterina Hatcher, ENERGY STAR State & Local Government and Higher Education Team
  • Brendan Hall, ENERGY STAR State & Local Government and Higher Education Team

Arizona showdown: Lawmakers face regulators in fight over zero-emissions mandate

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

Conservatives say regulator’s proposed zero-carbon mandate oversteps its constitutional authority while defenders say the legal debate is an excuse to impede the state’s climate fight.

Pokey-picker-upper tool gives maintenance crews a pick-me-up

By Kim Larson / Arizona Department of Transportation Communications

What’s a “pokey picker upper,” you ask? This uniquely named idea implemented by Timothy Mitchell, highway operations supervisor for the Quartzsite Maintenance Unit, has allowed his team to spend less time transporting equipment to the shop and is creating savings in repair costs. 

“When we were doing regular spot litter removal, the number of flat tires we were getting was so high, we needed to come up with a way to reduce that waste,” Mitchell said.

That push for a countermeasure became the idea of the pokey picker upper. 

Because so many pieces of metal were causing the damage, a magnet seemed the best way to tackle the problem. The real quandary, however, was how to find a way to use the magnet to grab the metal before it could puncture any tires. Mitchell brainstormed an idea and quickly welded together a prototype. A 3-foot bar was affixed to the front of the truck and the magnetic bar hung from that, hovering just above the ground. That’s what you see in the photo at the top of the post. He also made it interchangeable so it is easily moved to either the passenger or driver side of the vehicle, depending on where it is needed. 

Crews began using the new tool in August. The maintenance unit discovered it worked well and since then their welder has improved upon the prototype. The upgraded version will be reproduced for other vehicles across the agency doing similar duties with potential for tire damage.

They are still compiling data for the number of hours and costs related to the flat tires. But Mitchell said before they were trekking to the shop two to four times a week for repairs, and now it’s only once or twice a month, which is a substantial improvement. 

And what about the very scientific name? Mitchell said “It kind of just came to me.”

Spoken like a true inventor!

This device is an example of how ADOT employees are committed to solving problems and eliminating wasteful processes by using Governor Doug Ducey’s Arizona Management System

Minnesota governor accelerates state’s carbon-free power target 10 years, to 2040

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, D, on Thursday proposed a series of policies that would bring the state to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, a decade earlier than the goal he proposed in 2019.

His proposed policy goals follow a report from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued earlier this month, finding the state is not on track to meet its previous goals of reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2025, and 80% by 2050. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions have declined 8% since 2005, according to the agency’s latest data, which measures emissions through 2018.

Minnesota’s largest investor-owned utilities (IOUs) — Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power — are pursuing 100% carbon-free energy by 2050 targets, and said their plans are more realistic.

NJ meets first goal in reducing carbon emissions, but still has ‘incredible hill to climb’

Read the full story at NJ Spotlight News.

New Jersey has achieved its first milestone in reducing global warming pollution, but attaining a target of curbing 80% of carbon emissions by 2050 will be much more difficult, according to a top state official.

The state hit its 2020 goal of reducing emissions from power plants by 20%, but that was helped by the transition of coal plants being replaced by cleaner natural gas units.

New York approves $854M transmission line, outlines path to reach storage, renewables goals

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) on Thursday approved a 93-mile, $854 million transmission project that includes a new line planned to run from Oneida County to Albany County. The 345-kV transmission line will help the state meet renewable energy goals set by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

LS Power Grid New York and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) will jointly develop the transmission line, the Marcy to New Scotland Upgrade Project, which also includes new and upgraded substations and the replacement of older transmission towers.

Staff of the New York Department of Public Service on Tuesday published a long-awaited power grid study, outlining work needed for the state to meet CLCPA goals. The Marcy to New Scotland project was among those the study assumed would be completed.

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