Can Congress cut food waste? It depends on the success of this bill

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

For decades, the federal government has regulated how landfills operate, how air and water are protected and how dangerous sites are cleaned up. However, the federal government has yet to implement a national policy on how to handle food waste.

The lack of federal guidance on food waste has left the U.S. with a patchwork of food waste solutions, with some states, like New Jersey, pursuing ambitious food waste goals — while others seem to all but ignore the issue. Now with the introduction of the Food Recovery Act (H.R. 3444), a vision of what could become the first national food waste policy is taking shape. A similar measure was introduced in 2015, but did not make it out of committee.

Rep. Chellie Pingree introduced the legislation at the end of June, and it has been referred to half a dozen House committees. Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced the same legislation in the Senate a few days later. While some time may pass before either measure comes to a vote — especially since Congress is now in recess — even a trimmed-down version of the introduced measures would have wide-ranging implications for how the U.S. handles food waste. Featured here is a breakdown of some of the impacts of the legislation, if enacted into law.

Arkema Chemical Plant Explosion Shows Downsides to EPA Cuts

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) has a few probing questions for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt these days. And with the recent explosion at the Crosby, Tex. Arkema plant, it seems that list is getting much longer.

Last week, while Hurricane Harvey was pummeling the Texas coast, the Arkema chemical plant, which stores volatile substances like organic peroxides under refrigeration, lost power. Although the cause of the explosion is still being determined, there’s been some question as to whether the plant was up to date on its risk assessment protocol and whether it should have had a back up system in place to ensure the chemicals didn’t lose refrigeration.

Worse, is the fact that nearly a week later, authorities still do not have a complete list of the chemicals that are on site, or what the concoction of fumes was that police officers were inhaling when they arrived at the explosion. Fifteen officers were subsequently sent to the hospital for inhaling toxic fumes.

Carper, who has been fairly critical of Pruitt’s plan to downsize the EPA’s role in regulating industries like chemical manufacturing plants, had investigators quickly assess what backup procedures were in place when the power went down. Carper is one of the top Democrats of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which has direct oversight for the EPA.

Why Restaurants are Going Straw-less in Seattle by 2018

Read the full story in Waste360.

Around the world scientists, environmentalists and even manufacturers are looking at plastics and their impact on ocean life, the environment and the health of human life as well. While banning plastic disposable straws seems like a rather small step in a complex ecosystem, environmentalists and local government officials are finding it something that can be acted on in a simple way.

The city of Seattle passed a law nearly a decade ago requiring food service vendors to switch to compostable or recyclable wares when available for use. By July 1, 2018, disposable plastic straws and cutlery will be replaced in all Seattle food service venues with compostable or recyclable options.

Waste360 sat down with Sego Jackson, strategic advisor of waste prevention and product stewardship for the city of Seattle’s Public Utilities, to discuss how an ordinance passed eight years ago laid the foundation for replacing the plastic straws and cutlery in city restaurants.

EPA to host 10 hearings on water rule rewrite

Read the full story in The Hill.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning 10 public hearings to gather input on its effort to write a new version of an Obama-era water pollution rule.

The teleconference meetings will run throughout the fall, the EPA said in a Federal Register notice released Friday and due to be published Monday.

California cap-and-trade program gets a shot in the arm with strong permit auction results

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

A month after a bruising political battle to extend California’s cap-and-trade program, the state received a big vote of confidence in the policy’s future.