May 31, 2007
May 18, 2007
May 17, 2007
The environmental stewardship Web site can be found at http://www.epa.gov/stewardship.
As the leading environmental agency in the United States, EPA has an important role to play in promoting environmental stewardship-by individuals, communities, businesses and other organizations, and by our partners throughout government.
May 16, 2007
UIUC's LAS News - When a plume of contaminated groundwater from a manufacturing plant near Las Vegas seeped into the Colorado River, the contaminant "perchlorate" spread throughout the Southwest. The cleanup could take decades.
To aid with such catastrophic cleanups, LAS researchers from the University of Illinois have developed a new chemical catalyst that can help remove and destroy perchlorate in contaminated water. Read the full story
Politics - particularly the interests of big agricultural businesses - is starting to dictate the biofuel market. The US has imposed punitive import tariffs on Brazilian-made ethanol - one of the world's most efficient biofuels - and subsidises the export of its domestically made corn-based ethanol, which is one of the least efficient. This subsidy could lead to a trade war between the EU and the US.
The biggest drawback with biofuels is the deforestation that it directly and indirectly causes. How much deforestation takes place is hard to measure, but if new demand emerges - such as from biofuels - more land has to be found from somewhere.
May 15, 2007
Fisheries officials will ask the state Natural Resources Board to meet in a special session Thursday, May 17, to consider expanding key emergency rule requirements beyond Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, the Mississippi River and their tributaries. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. in Room 613 of the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison.
"When we originally went to the Natural Resources Board in April, they made it clear to us that if VHS was found outside Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and the Mississippi River, they wanted us to come back and they would consider extending the rules to new waters or statewide," Staggs says. "That's what we're doing now that initial tests indicate the disease has spread to the Lake Winnebago system."
J.M. Brennan Inc. vows to challenge the three Fed-OSHA citations and nearly $17,000 in fines it received in connection with the December propane explosion that killed three workers and injured 45 others at the Falk Corp. plant in Milwaukee. Small Business Times
Go to the Full Story...
"We have a great working relationship with Cal/OSHA and they've bent over backwards to work with us." Marcella McCormack, administrator of the Veterans Home of California at Yountville, about the facility's avoidance of nearly $40,000 in workplace safety penalties Go to the full story in the Napa Valley Register
Researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada found a cheap and easy to produce drug that kills almost all cancers. The drug is dichloroacetate, and since it is already used to treat metabolic disorders, we know it should be no problem to use it for other purposes.
Scientists tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body where it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but left healthy cells alone. Rats plump with tumors shrank when they were fed water supplemented with DCA.
With glycolysis turned off, the body produces less lactic acid, so the bad tissue around cancer cells doesn't break down and seed new tumors.
But what comes next? Compact fluorescent bulbs are the only real alternative right now, but "bulbs" that use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, are quickly emerging as a challenger.
Department of Energy, and widespread use of LED lighting could cut consumption in half. By 2027, LED lighting could cut annual energy use by the equivalent of 500 million barrels of oil, with the attendant reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas believed to be responsible for global warming.
"They're going to keep going down," Scianna said. "By the middle of next year, they'll be priced for consumers."
On the Net:
U.S. Department of Energy on LEDs: http://www.netl.doe.gov/ssl/
Recycling options for CFLs: http://www.lamprecycle.org
Far from being the salvation of an oil-hungry society, biofuels could actually trigger increases in food prices and deforestation, according to a report.
It doesn't suggest doing away with them altogether, but says that current targets for swapping petrol and diesel for fuel derived from crops are too ambitious.
The UK government, and the European Union have set their sights on using biofuels in 10 per cent of our cars by 2020. But the Co-op's report suggests that to produce this amount of fuel on a global scale would require as much as nine per cent of arable land being diverted to fuel crops.
Professor Dieter Helm, who sits of the government's Council for Science and Technology, told the BBC: "The sort of targets being set for biofuels will have quite radical effects on agriculture and therefore will have very substantial consequences for food prices and agriculture more generally."
He points out that rainforest is already being felled to make way for fuel crops.
"Think of the energy involved in felling those rainforests. Think about the damage to the climate being done by the loss of those trees. Think about the ploughing and the cultivation of fields. Think about the transport of those fuels, and you start to realize the carbon imprints are about much more than simply what happens to grow in a particular field at a particular point in time."
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is considering the switch from fuel oil to marine diesel to improve the environmental footprint of the shipping industry.
In its monthly Oil Market Report, the IEA said that studies had concluded that converting refineries to produce enough diesel for shipping demand would produce at least an extra 53 million tonnes a year of CO2, whereas emissions from ships if using diesel would only fall by 27 million tonnes.
President Bush Orders Agencies to Develop Regulations to Reduce Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Motor Vehicles
The order directs that the development of the regulations be done "in a manner consistent with sound science, analysis of benefits and costs, public safety, and economic growth." The Administration's goal is to finish developing the regulation by the end of 2008.
The 20-in-10 proposal calls for a 20% reduction in gasoline usage over the next 10 years, with 15% of the reduction to come from the use of renewable and alternative fuels, and 5% to come from mandated increases in fuel efficiency.
"Overall, exposure to mammary gland carcinogens is widespread," the researchers wrote in a special supplement to the journal Cancer. "These compounds are widely detected in human tissues and in environments, such as homes, where women spend time.". . .
The researchers named 216 chemicals that induce breast tumors in animals. Of those, people are highly exposed to 97, including industrial solvents, pesticides, dyes, gasoline and diesel exhaust compounds, cosmetics ingredients, hormones, pharmaceuticals, radiation and a chemical in chlorinated drinking water. .
Toxicologists say that other mammals, such as rats and mice, often develop the same tumors as humans do, and that animal tests are efficient means of testing the effects of chemicals. Environmental regulators, however, often want conclusive human data before taking action.. . .
Twenty-nine of the chemicals are produced in volumes exceeding 1 million pounds annually in the United States. Seventy-three are present in consumer products or are food contaminants - 1,4-dioxane in shampoos, for example, or acrylamide in French fries. Thirty-five are common air pollutants, 25 are in workplaces where at least 5,000 women are employed, and 10 are food additives, according to the reports.
Figures from the GCP, summarizing the latest findings from the United Nations, and building on estimates contained in the Stern Report, show deforestation accounts for up to 25 per cent of global emissions of heat-trapping gases, while transport and industry account for 14 per cent each; and aviation makes up only 3 per cent of the total.
"Tropical forests are the elephant in the living room of climate change," said Andrew Mitchell, the head of the GCP.
May 14, 2007
The mass adoption of solar powerthe Chinese have purchased 35 million solar water heaters, more than the rest of the world combinedis only part of the equation. China is also encouraging investment and research in wind farms, bioenergy, and fuel cell and hybrid vehicles, and aiming to improve energy efficiency by a sizeable 4 percent annually. "It's historic," says Kishan Khoday, head of the United Nations Development Program's energy and environment program in China. "It's going to take efforts on all angles of the issue to get it done."
If China fails, the implications for the rest of the world could be grave. Sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide from China already travel across the Pacific, causing acid rain in North America and Europe. Last year in Japan, two city governments issued formal warnings about pollution from the country's western neighbor.
Environmental conditions are already approaching apocalyptic in a country where coal provides 70 percent of the country's power. Chinese scientists have predicted that the Yangtze River will die by 2011, and with two-thirds of other rivers polluted, more than 340 million Chinese lack access to clean drinking water. An estimated 400,000 Chinese die of pollution every year. By the government's own estimates released in December 2006, climate change is occurring in China at alarming rates, with temperatures due to increase by 1.3 to 2.1 degrees Celsius by 2020. China is unveiling forward-thinking policies and pushing alternative energy because it has no other choice.
SEED Magazine's article Link
"SUNSHINE, our greatest source of potential power, is now largely wasted. It is highly probable, however, that a few years hence science will find a way to harness the mighty energy of the sun's radiation. Solar engines and solar heating apparatus will then make it economically practicable for us to use at least a small portion of our now-wasted sunshine to run our factories, light our streets, cook our food, and warm our houses. In the United States we use, each year, something like a half billion tons of coal, a half billion barrels of oil, and fifty billion horsepower hours of water power for heat, light, and power.
If it were possible to convert all this energy into powerwhich of course it isn'tit would produce seven trillion horsepower hours. If it were possible to convert completely into power all the solar energy that each year falls on the United States in the form of sunshine, it would amount to seven thousand trillion horsepower hours. Of course, some of the sunshine that comes to us through 93,000,000 miles of space is needed for the general heating of the earth and for the growing of plant life: but above those fundamental needs, solar radiation provides a potential supply of power many thousand times as great as the amount now supplied by other sources".
That the use of solar radiation for power is no vague dream of the far-distant future is shown by the fact that at present a solar power plant with a thermal efficiency of 4.32 per cent over one third of the efficiency of the best steam enginehas been built and is being operated.
Dr. Charles Greeley Abbot, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and the world's leading authority on solar radiation, says that before long we shall find a commercially practicable method of harnessing sunshine. "Financial success probably awaits the solver of the problems of collecting solar heat for power purposes," he says. "With our present outlook it seems to me likely that within another generation or two power demands will lead to the sun as the most available source of supply."
Equipment designed to stop the greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere. The technology will extract the methane from the water to supplement the energy produced by the dam turbines.
The scientists estimate that worldwide the technique could prevent emissions equivalent to more than the total annual burning of fossil fuels in the UK - and reduce the pressure to build new dams in sensitive areas such as the Amazon. The project follows a long-running controversy over how clean hydro-electric power really is.
Critics of the industry have claimed that in tropical areas of Brazil - which supplies more than 90% of its electricity from large dams - some reservoirs emit so much methane that their contribution to climate change is greater than an equivalent power station burning fossil fuels like coal or gas.
Take, for example, the pair of rats featured prominently in a photo accompanying the study. While in-utero exposure to 100 parts per billion of the estrogenic drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) makes for scrawny adult mice, exposure to just one part per billion causes grotesque obesity, one study found.
Who should be surprised that the major media reports forget to tell us that the dying bees are actually hyper-bred varieties that we coax into a larger than normal body size? It sounds just like the beef industry. .Click text to read full
May 12, 2007
May 10, 2007
"Name me one government leader who can articulate a plan for solving the energy crisis. The silence is deafening."
LEE Iacocca, "I've figured out nine points I call the 'Nine Cs of Leadership.' They're not fancy or complicated. Just clear, obvious qualities that every true leader should have."
We have all seen those graphic photos depicting the fate of marine mammals tangled in discarded fishing nets. And the sight of a soft drinks bottle floating by while we are canoeing in our local lake or river of choice is not a rarity. True that...
May 9, 2007
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is teaming with the southeast Wisconsin chapter of the Federation of Environmental Technologists Inc. to host Vapor Intrusion Consultant's Day, a daylong seminar on how to understand and assess the vapor-intrusion pathway, at Midway Brookfield.
May 8, 2007
OSHA Quote of day: "It's not some carcinogen where you get cancer 30 years from now or something. The people are dying right in front of you. You can't wait until you have all the evidence. You have to regulate it."
David Michaels, of George Washington University's department of environmental and occupational health, on Fed-OSHA's responsibility to regulate the artificial flavoring chemical diacetyl Go to the full story in the Washington Post
May 7, 2007
The increased use of those first two crops in processed foods is thought to play a large part in the increased rates of obesity among Americans. Those same two crops are also the most common and probably least efficient feedstocks for biofuels. One the reasons so much money is paid out in agricultural subsidies is that the big companies which benefit the most from them spend a good chunk of it lobbying and contributing back to the campaigns of the legislators that push the bill through congress. As a result, big corn and soy producers have an incentive to push corn ethanol and soy diesel production because they get more subsidies.
Ultimately the health and wealth of Americans would probably benefit more if more of that money was turned over to basic research into areas like algae diesel, cellulosic ethanol, and batteries and also to supporting smaller farmers growing fresh produce and products for local distribution.
[Source: New York Times Magazine - VIA autobloggreen]
Cold fusion, the ability to generate nuclear power at room temperatures, has proven to be a highly elusive feat. In fact, it is considered by many experts to be a mere pipe dream - a potentially unlimited source of clean energy that remains tantalizing, but so far unattainable.
Cold fusion has gotten the cold shoulder from serious nuclear physicists since 1989, when Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann were unable to substantiate their sensational claims that deuterium nuclei could be forced to fuse and release excess energy at room temperature. Spawar researchers apparently kept the faith, however, and continued to refine the procedure by experimenting with new fusionable materials. . . Read more & more
"People are paying a very high premium for the luxury of having a carry-along water bottle," Kuhn said. "I tell people that I can sell them 748 gallons of water for $1.40."
To put it another way, homeowners in Muskegon could spend $1.40 and fill 4,787 20-ounce containers with Muskegon tap water. Or they could buy one 20-ounce bottle of Aquafina, Dasani or Ice Mountain water for about $1.
Read more here
May 3, 2007
Not so, says David Freeman, the former TVA chairman largely credited with putting the brakes on the utility's nuclear construction in the 1980s. "We had to shut them down, even though they were under construction, because they cost too much," he recalls. "We didn't shut those plants down on account of their being unsafe. That should have been a reason, but it was the economics."
Some 20 years later, as TVA still carries most of the debt from its first nuclear program, the nation's largest public utility is poised to incur further debt to launch a second wave of nuclear construction...
But even the most ambitious initiatives won't fulfill TVA's future generation needs, Kilgore says. Its five working nuclear reactors operate near capacity, its hydroelectric potential is finite, and according to TVA, the high ratio of cost to output doesn't justify large-scale use of ultra-green solar and wind power. Clean-burning natural gas is currently triple the cost of coal, and Kilgore says clean coal gasification technology still needs to be refined. With 57% of its current generation from fossil fuel plants, TVA has spent $4.6 billion just to stay in line with the EPA's tightening air pollution controls requirements and almost certainly faces more restrictive legislation in the future. While retrofit technology will stretch the lifetime of some coal-burning units by decades, Kilgore says, about 10 of TVA's 59 coal units are candidates for decommissioning within the next 10 to 20 years. Already, TVA meets peak demand with $1 billion annually in purchased power, which in 2006 translated roughly to 1.26 million homes worth of power. (Kilgore says that cost necessitated its two most recent rate hikes.)
Assuming other generation sources remain constant, TVA could increase its percentage of nuclear generation from 29% to 41% of its energy portfolio within a decade. TVA's stated goal is to have the largest nuclear generation capacity of any utility in the United States.
Industry advocates point to heavily nuclear France and Japan as evidence that nuclear technologies can operate reliably and safely on a large scale. Currently, TVA's nuclear generation is highly reliable, operating at about 90% capacity. Twenty years ago, Pulsipher says, 60% was considered optimal.
"TVA will almost single-handedly have revived the nuclear industry in America if this works. If it doesn't, and we have another Three Mile Island, then the nuclear industry is dead in America for generations. So there is a tremendous amount at stake in Browns Ferry, and apparently soon at Watts Bar."
Freeman questions the wisdom of investing in "a second nuclear era that has no legs to it... The only thing new is the history we forgot."
May 2, 2007
Haase Comments... While I don't agree with any one point to this article, I did find the comments on the topic entertaining ;-)
Quote from article "Few things are less environmentally friendly than kids."
Please don't blame your kids or parents... you are responsible for your actions and the actions of your children.
May 14-15, 2007
Online Registration closes May 7th
Presented by Hospitals for a Healthy Environment
H2E Environmental Excellence Awards
H2E's Environmental Excellence Awards celebrate healthcare's environmental leaders, who are engaging in pioneering environmental initiatives and helping build momentum for environmentally responsible healthcare. One hundred and twenty eight organizations will receive a total of 146 awards across five categories for their outstanding work! This year also marks the inauguration of H2E's new "hall of fame"the Environmental Leadership Circle. More details here.
Pharmaceutical Waste Management Workshop
Effectively managing pharmaceuticals in your facility means reducing waste and improving compliance while providing a safer environment for patients, staff, and the community. Learn about the newest best practice developments and how to make positive changes at your facility by attending the Pharmaceutical Waste Management Workshop. More details here.
Keynote Speaker Pete Myers
The Environmental Excellence Summit's keynote speaker, author Pete Myers, will discuss the emerging science on low-level chemical exposures, hormone disruption, and efforts to reduce the effects of synthetic chemical contamination. Myers' compelling analysis of what is at stake if we fail to address low level chemical exposures underlines the need to minimize the use of toxic materials in health care delivery. More on Pete Myers here.
Trash Flower Contest!
Win an eco-gift basket by developing the wackiest (or loveliest!) flower arrangement you can out of your facility's trash. This annual event brings out the artist in all of usand tells a story about the many ways to employ materials after use! More on the contest here.
Online registration closes May 7.
Texas Refinery Will Pay $2.9 Million to Resolve Air Violations - Company Will Take Significant Steps to Reduce Harmful Emissions
FOX - Tells Stories??? ;-)
STEVEN MILLOY, FINANCIAL POST, CANADA - How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent light bulb? About US $4.28 for the bulb and labor -- unless you break the bulb. Then you, like Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, could be looking at a cost of about US $2,004.28, which doesn't include the costs of frayed nerves and risks to health. . . read more here