Sep 29, 2011

Labor secretary coming to Milwaukee to tout Obama jobs plan

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will visit a construction site at the Jones Island sewage treatment plant Friday morning to discuss how President Obama's proposed American Jobs Act could help unemployed Wisconsin residents get back to work.

MMSD offers $100 rebates on Kohler high-efficiency toilets

Save $100 and up to 16,500 gallons of water a year when you buy a Kohler high-efficiency toilet.

Fish farm proposal surfaces near Story Hill neighborhood

A proposal to create an indoor fish farm, and greenhouses for raising organic vegetables, near the Story Hill neighborhood on Milwaukee's west side will be reviewed Monday by the Plan Commission.

You're Invited to UWM's Green Roof Ribbon Cutting

On October 18 celebrate the unveiling of UWM's latest green roofs.
Several green roof extensions were added to Sandburg Hall as well as a 50,000 sq ft green roof addition to Golda Meir Library. The Library has also received a new 30kW solar photovoltaic system! See for yourself how renewable energy, stormwater management, and energy conservation have all come together "on one roof".

Part of UWM Sustainability Day October 18, 2011 2-4pm

UW-Milwaukee Golda Meir Library,
4th Floor
2311 E. Hartford Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Presentations, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Green Roof Viewing and Tours
  • Speakers: 2:15-3pm
  • Green Roof Refreshments: 3pm-4pm
  • Viewing and Tours (by sign-up): 3:15 & 3:45
UWM Office of Sustainability

Sep 28, 2011

EHS News daily roundup

Top Headlines (New extension of this blog ;-)

“People always call it luck when you’ve acted more sensibly than they have.” - Anne Tyler


  1. EPA Scientists Receive Presidential Honor  - WASHINGTON –Today two Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists were named recipients of the 2010 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which recognizes excellent research and leadership in the sciences. The award is the highest honor bestowed by … Continue reading save water in and around your house

  2. 20 Simple ways to conserve water

  3. Major river basins have enough water to sustainably double food production in the coming decades

  4. Seven More Companies Dump Sustainable Forestry Initiative - AT&T, State Farm and Comcast are among seven Fortune 500 companies that have joined a growing corporate movement against the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, an eco-label that a non-profit alleges “greenwashes” environmentally damaging products. The trend began in March when seven … Continue reading

  5. Texas Sues EPA Over Power Plant Pollution Rules - Texas filed a petition for review of the EPA’s – the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule – in a federal appeals court, the Houston Chronicle reports, saying the state doesn’t have enough time to comply with the January 1 effective rule. … Continue reading

  6. U.S. to investigate protection for 374 water species Renewable energy sources

  7. Second giant ice island set to break off Greenland glacier - msnbc: Astonished scientist says he was ‘completely unprepared for the gob-smacking scale of the breakup, which rendered me speechless’ New photographs taken of a vast glacier in northern Greenland have revealed the astonishing rate of its breakup, with one scientist … Continue reading

  8. Nissan Leaf first adopters say car exceeds expectations

  9. Dell Backs Away from Carbon Neutrality, Focuses on Efficiency & E-Waste

  10. Chemistry Goes Green - The discovery that our lives are filled with so many potential sources of exposure to chemicals with so many subtle but significant impacts has prompted the need for a pollution prevention strategy that goes well beyond … Continue reading


Health & Safety

  1. Cantaloupe listeria outbreak: Death toll rises to 16
    Health officials say as many as 16 people have died from possible listeria illnesses traced to Colorado cantaloupes, the deadliest food outbreak in .

  2. Kansas Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due To Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination - Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., an Emporia, Kan. establishment, is recalling approximately 131,300 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

  3. Building a Stronger Regional Safety Net: Philanthropy’s Role - Building a Stronger Regional Safety Net: Philanthropy’s Role Source: Brookings Institution The growth of suburban poverty over the past two decades raises questions about the ability of nonprofit organizations to adapt to this relatively new geography of metropolitan poverty. These … Continue reading

  4. Scientists Discover Genetic Mutation that Causes Parkinson’s Disease - A large team of international researchers have identified a new genetic cause of inherited Parkinson’s disease that they say may be related to the inability of brain cells to handle biological stress.

  5. Empowering safety programs with real-time data visualization - An ongoing reality for safety managers and frontline personnel in almost any industry is the need to record safety incident data. When all incident data is inputted into a centralized database, a safety coordinator doesn’t have to wait for the … Continue reading

  6. EPA Releases Strategy to Protect People's Health and the Environment in Communities Overburdened by Pollution - the release of Plan EJ 2014, a three-year, comprehensive plan to advance environmental justice efforts in nine areas, including rulemaking, permitting, enforcement, and science. Plan EJ 2014 aims to … Continue reading

  7. Forum Publishes Sustainable Packaging Guidelines -  The Consumer Goods Forum, a global trade organization that includes both brands and retailers, has unveiled its Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability. The aim of the protocol, formulated with support from the packaging industry, … Continue reading

  8. Slaughter Introduces Bill to Streamline Pharmaceutical Disposal

  9. Lots of Green in Green Labels: FTC Watching Certifiers

  10. EPA Launches Green Products Portal for Pollution Prevention Week

  11. Vitamin A Supplement Programs Improve Child Survival

  12. Common painkillers can raise heart risk

  13. The big C: cancer treatment is increasingly unaffordable

  14. The Impact of Cutting Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments on the Living Standards of the Elderly



  1. Award Honors Matt Simmons

  2. Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing - The Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing” session at the 2011-2012 Conference Series on Urban Sustainability.

  3. Obama, High Speed Rail, and the State Of California - High speed rail is big business in other countries like China. America has been trying to get a high speed rail program in action for years with California being at the forefront of the planning. Now, it seems that lawsuits … Continue reading

  4. Low-Pressure Tanks Could Revolutionize Hydrogen Storage in Car

  5. Tidal projects make headway in Australia and New Zealand - Tidal Today has a look at the state of play for tidal power projects in Australasia – Tidal projects make headway in Australia and New Zealand. Overall, the investment climate for renewables, including tidal, is set to improve significantly and … Continue reading

  6. U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 Underway - and results from the first of 10 contests tallied. Purdue University tied a team from Parsons the New School for Design/Stevens Institute of Technology for first in the affordability … Continue reading photo world energy consumption 2035 eia graphic

  7. Loan Guarantees Finalized for Bio-Refinery, Geothermal, and Wind Projects - DOE has finalized three loan guarantees totaling $625 million in support of an Iowa bio-refinery, a Nevada geothermal power project, and New Hampshire’s largest wind farm.

  8. Defense Department Speeds Clean Energy Move: Report - The U.S. Department of Defense has been accelerating clean energy innovations to reduce risk to military personnel, boost energy security, and save money, according to a report from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

  9. ISO 50001: From Energy Project to Energy Plan - When it comes to energy, companies have three options: do nothing at all, undertake individual energy projects, or deploy an energy program that pushes lasting performance improvement. Any company that wants to survive, and ideally thrive, in the next five … Continue reading

  10. GE Energy Signs $3bn in Contracts - GE Energy has announced more than $3 billion in new customer agreements across its business, including waste-heat recovery, wind turbines, water treatment and a manufacturing efficiency contract with Anheuser-Busch InBev. GE signed a new partnership with global brewer AB InBev, … Continue reading

Sep 27, 2011

OSHA quote of the day

Daily Journal - "It's a pretty unbelievable statistic, but each year, nearly one out of every 10 construction workers on our state highway construction projects [is] injured on the job."

Sep 26, 2011

This week in EHS News

Here are the headlines of the week:





Health & Safety


Green Jobs

Continue reading at

Sep 24, 2011

Typical U.S. family got poorer during the past 10 years –

A typical U.S. family got poorer during the past 10 years in the first decade-long income decline in at least a half-century, new federal data show.

  • People wait in line during a job fair in August at Atlanta Technical College in Atlanta. The weak economy has driven median household income down, hitting poor people and minorities the hardest. The median income for black households fell 3.6% to $32,206 last year.

    By Bob Andres, AP

    People wait in line during a job fair in August at Atlanta Technical College in Atlanta. The weak economy has driven median household income down, hitting poor people and minorities the hardest. The median income for black households fell 3.6% to $32,206 last year.

By Bob Andres, AP

People wait in line during a job 

Median household income fell 2.3% to $49,445 last year and has dropped 7% since 2000 after adjusting for inflation, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. Income was the lowest since 1996.

Poverty rose, too. The share of people living in poverty hit 15.1%, the highest level since 1993, and 2.6 million more people moved into poverty, the most since Census began keeping track in 1959.

Read full at

Sep 21, 2011

H.R. 795, Small-Scale Hydropower Enhancement Act of 2011

Honeywell Gearless Home Wind Turbine Launches Again - Much higher price?

After many years of waiting... better late than never ;-)
The turbine spins at 0.5 mph and generates energy at two mph of wind. Honeywell Wind Turbine is rated at 1,500 watts in 31 mph winds, according to WindTronics materials. In terms of noise, an important factor tied to location, the turbine has “negligible” vibration and makes about 35 db of noise at 10 feet. 

The WT6500 Wind Turbine can be used in either the residential or commercial context, subject to local zoning and permits if required. To help people learn whether small wind like this makes sense, WindTronics developed a tool to estimate local wind speeds, utility prices, and rebate programs, which is available online at

2011 PopSci -A Personal Turbine Makes Your Rooftop Into a Wind Farm
...Wind Farm Honeywell WT6500 Wind Turbine by WindTronics, $10,000 (est.; includes installation) the wheel is six feet in diameter, whisper-quiet, and can pr Depending on an area’s clean-energy incentives, the turbine can pay for itself in only a couple of years, though most owners will make back their investment in five to 10.oduce up to 1,500 kilowatt-hours of power per year—enough to replace about 15 percent of an average household’s energy bill.
2010 The much-anticipated
Honeywell Wind Turbine from WindTronics officially launches today, one day prior to Earth Day.  This is a small wind 1,500 watt turbine that we’ve mentioned extensively – here’s a video of one spinning.  The launch is supported by a global network of distributors, partners, and retailers ready to sell the unique turbine from a starting price of $5,795, plus installation. I say this is a starting price because it depends on the connector.  The Honeywell Wind Turbine can be connected to the grid (Power One Aurora Grid Tie Inverter option), a building (SmartBox option), or a battery (Direct DC option) JetSonGreen

Honeywell Gearless turbine news from 2009 Small wind turbine works at low wind speeds - cnet

Sep 19, 2011

2011 State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) in Erie, Pennsylvania, October 26 & 27, 2011.

State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) is the key science broker for information on the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Conference Highlights include:

  • Most up-to-date information on the status of the Great Lakes using an improved, updated and representative indicator suite
  • New presentation format that better illustrates the linkages between the condition of the ecosystem and how human activities are related
  • Keynote presentation by Dr. Robert Glennon, author of Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It
  • Special presentation by Dr. Bryan Pijanowski, Associate Professor at Purdue University and land use change expert
  • Recognition of Great Lakes successes at the SOLEC Banquet on the evening of
    Day 1
  • Presentations on current conditions in each Great Lake, the connecting channels and the St. Lawrence River highlighting a unique land-use
  • IMAX viewing of Mysteries of the Great Lakes and evening pre-SOLEC reception at Tom Ridge Environmental Center

Conference Agenda
The theme for SOLEC 2011 is “Linking Land to the Lakes” which will expand the nearshore focus of the 2008 conference and highlight land-based issues as they relate to water quality in the Great Lakes.

A special presentation by Purdue University’s Bryan Pijanowski on day 1 of SOLEC will focus on Bryan’s work related to a decision-support system which is designed to provide stakeholders across the Great Lakes basin with a better understanding of how human activities impact the environment.

Plenary presentations during the first day of SOLEC will focus on the condition of the Great Lakes based on indicator assessments of the following categories: Water Quality, Aquatic-Dependent Life, and Landscapes and Natural Processes.  These presentations will incorporate management and human interest questions and answers.  This new format allows decision-makers to better understand the linkages of how human activities are related to conditions in the ecosystem.

Dr. Robert Glennon, author of “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It” will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. He will present his views on the water... Read on and register here

Siemens Exits Nuclear Business

Sep 18, 2011

Poverty rate hits 18-year high as median income falls

The median income fell last year, and the poverty rate rose to the highest level since 1993. Shaded areas represent recessions.

The number of Americans who have fallen into poverty rose to 15.1 percent in 2010, the highest level in nearly two decades, the  Census Bureau said Tuesday in a report.

The report, which showed the poverty rate rose for a third straight year as the economy struggles with a stumbling recovery and persistent high joblessness, said the number of poor Americans in 2010 was the largest in the 52 years that it has been publishing poverty estimates... read on at MSNBC

Sep 17, 2011

The Importance of "Organic" (Good video to show the kids)

U.S. Unable to Account for 36,000 Pounds of Its Own Uranium and Plutonium

Under special nuclear cooperation agreements, the United States sent 38,580 pounds of enriched uranium and plutonium to more than two-dozen foreign agencies and is unable to account for 36,000 pounds of the material.

The Government Accountability Office report says these 27 cooperation agreements, set up to facilitate cross border research, have no accountability and the U.S. has no way to enforce control.

Because there is no reporting process in place, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been visiting nuclear storage sites overseas when permitted, but has not regularly visited countries with the greatest risk of proliferation. Read full at Business Insider

U.S. Taxpayers Could Be On Hook For Europe Bailout

The U.S. is coming to Europe’s financial rescue.
So far, America’s role is fairly limited. But if the crisis continues to grow and the U.S. takes on a wider role, U.S. consumers and taxpayers could feel a bigger impact. The biggest exposure could come from America’s status as the single largest source of money for the International Monetary Fund.
The latest round of American financial assistance came Thursday with a promise by the Federal Reserve to swap as many dollars for euros as European bankers need. In the short run, those transactions won’t have much impact because the central banks are simply swapping currencies of equal value. If the move helps avert a wider crisis, it could help spare the global economy from another recession.

But over the long term, consumers could feel the impact of central bankers flooding the financial system with cash, according to John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics.

“This is a lender of last resort function,” he told CNBC. “With the dollar injections that the Fed has done, it’s like giving a patient medicine with really bad side effects.” Ryding said the bad side effect in the U.S. has been inflation, which has picked up to 3.8 percent year over year.

Fed policymakers meet next week to decide whether the flagging U.S. economy needs another round of easy-money measures that could include buying more Treasury bonds to push more cash into the financial system.

Read on at MSNBC

Big drop in children under five dying,

BBC - The number of children under five who die each year has plummeted from 12 million in 1990, to 7.6 million last year, the UN says.

The reasons for the change include better access to health care and immunisation, says a report by Unicef and the World Health Organization.

Baby teeth... problem solved

Sep 10, 2011

Exposing Big Green environmentalists' best-kept secret

WashingtonExaminer:  They say there's no such thing as a free lunch. Unfortunately, that notion is news to environmentalist groups who, for years, have been dipping into a bottomless, untraceable money pit to push their political agendas in court and grind the work of land management and other federal agencies to a halt. It may come as a surprise that you and I, as American taxpayers, are funding the endless money hole these groups are using to pay their army of lawyers in court -- win, lose or draw. The enabling of special interest groups' endless cycle of taxpayer-funded litigation was never the original intent of Congress. In 1980, Congress passed a little-known law called the Equal Access to Justice Act, which allowed people to be reimbursed by the federal government, via the taxpayer, for the costs of fighting the federal government in court. Read on here

The Alarming Cost Of Climate Change Hysteria

The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO)  can't figure out what benefits taxpayers are getting from the many billions of dollars spent each year on policies that are purportedly aimed at addressing climate change. May 20 report noted that while annual federal funding for such activities has been increasing substantially, there is a lack of shared understanding of strategic priorities among the various responsible agency officials. This assessment agrees with the conclusions of a 2008 Congressional Research Service analysis which found no "overarching policy goal for climate change that guides the programs funded or the priorities among programs." According to the GAO, annual federal climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010, amounting to $106.7 billion over that period. The money was spent in four general categories: technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, science to understand climate changes, international assistance for developing countries, and wildlife adaptation to respond to actual or expected changes. Technology spending, the largest category, grew from $2.56 billion to $5.5 billion over this period, increasingly advancing over others in total share. Data compiled by Joanne Nova at the Science and Policy Institute indicates that the U.S. Government spent more than $32.5 billion on climate studies between 1989 and 2009. This doesn't count about $79 billion more spent for climate change technology research, foreign aid and tax breaks for "green energy." - Read full at YahooNews
GOA report here

Sep 9, 2011

Fukushima and Chernobyl Side-by-Side

"It's now been six months since an earthquake and tsunami sparked a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. New data from the Japanese government is now allowing a closer comparison of the fallout from the disaster with the Chernobyl. In terms of Cs-137, the contaminant of greatest concern, Fukushima appears to be about a fifth as bad as Chernobyl. Nature News has a Google Earth mash-up that lets you see the two accidents together. Nature also reports that chaos and bureaucracy are slowing efforts to research the crisis." - SlashDot

Pair claim they can make ammonia to fuel cars for just 20 cents per liter

( -- SilverEagles Energy say they have developed a way to make ammonia that is cheap enough so that it could be used as fuel for cars. If their claims turn out to be true, many consumers might consider switching over because ammonia, when burned in an engine, emits nothing but nitrogen and water vapor out the tailpipe. And if that’s not enough incentive, they claim they can make the ammonia for just 20 cents a liter (approximately 75 cents a gallon).

Haase - Haven't we been over the whole energy conversion loss effect guys???
However there is some valid science behind ammonia as a fuel and has been for over 3 decades... none have beat the energy loss or safety concerns.

A region of almost 6 million people lost power and 1.4 million will be without power; electricity until Friday

Sep 8, 2011 EPR: The Road from Shared Stewardship to Full Producer Responsibility (FREE Webinar)

Duncan Bury will speak on Tuesday, September 13th at 12:00PM EDT.  His talk entitled "Canadian Approaches to EPR: The Road from Shared Stewardship to Full Producer Responsibility" is organized by the Industrial Environmental Management (IEM) Program of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

The talk is the sixth of a special 2011/2012 IEM Speaker Series sponsored by Nestle Waters North America. In its 21st year, the IEM Lecture Series brings speakers from companies and organizations to the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies to discuss the relationship between business and the environment. This year’s lecture series, Producers, Packaging and Public Policy, explores the topic of extended producer responsibility (EPR) and packaging.  Nestle Waters, an industry leader in exploring EPR issues, is the primary sponsor of this special lecture series.  The goal of the lecture series is to explore the advantages and disadvantages of the application of EPR to packaging waste and municipal solid waste more generally in the U.S. For more information on our lecture series, visit

Webinar Registration

Latest Edition of Ethical Corporation magazine - Free

September MagReceive a free copy of the digital edition of the September Ethical Corporation magazine.

Click here to get your complimentary copy of the magazine
The magazine contains:

  • A 10-page briefing on the PR industry
  • A feature article that outlines the business case for being a responsible and sustainable company – featuring company examples
  • An analysis piece that reviews tax and the key ethical issues surrounding it
  • A 10-page briefing on the big CR issues in Turkey, analysing the main domestic challenges to business

MSNBC's own poll results Ron Paul won at 78%???

Sep 7, 2011

The End of Energy Policy

We may as well say it out loud: Not only is fiscal and monetary policy running into limits in the advanced industrial (or OECD) countries, so that growth and jobs increasingly seem a question of luck; energy policy also is running into a brick wall.

Everywhere in the rich countries of Europe, North America, and Asia, budgetary shortfalls, a reluctance to do anything that would further jeopardize growth, and the fallout from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe have trumped energy and climate objectives.

OPEC, contrary to some expectations, now accounts for almost as large a fraction of world oil reserves as it did in 1973. Though it had little success in 2008–09 in slowing a precipitous drop in oil prices, this hardly matters in the larger scheme of things. With demand sure to keep growing sharply from the fastest-growing developing countries, and with the age of easy oil over, the basic trend will be for prices to remain high. For OPEC's biggest customers, "energy independence" is as distant a goal as it was a generation ago.

Though Europe has managed to cut its total oil consumption for several years in a row, its North Sea reserves are running low and its dependence on imports from Russia as well as the Middle East is growing. What is more, as Germany and Italy have adopted plans to limit or end reliance on nuclear energy, natural gas imports from Russia are sure to rise too—imports that are even more vulnerable than oil to interruption and manipulation.

Less reliance on atomic power also means much more generation of electricity from coal, in both Germany and Japan, and with that, higher-than-hoped-for greenhouse gas emissions. Since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, Germany and the United Kingdom have been the most aggressive and successful of the world's major world economies in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. But that leadership now is threatened not only by greater dependence on fossil fuels but also by limits to how far and fast they can go with wind, the only real alternative to coal, gas, and nuclear for utility-scale power generation.

...and that more expensive offshore wind could run into a consumer backlash. ...the costs of British offshore wind could come to almost US $10 000 per citizen and be, on an installed megawatt basis, 10 to 12 times the cost of new natural gas generation.

Read more from IEEE

JOB! Emergency Response Project Manager

 The qualifications for the Project Management position available to interview as soon as possible.
  • -40 hour OSHA Certification
  • -CDL Class A
  • -2+ years in a management position leading emergency response groups (anything hazmat related; oil, gas, vapors, etc…)
  • -Paying $20-$25 per hour
  • -Full time %30-%40 travel.
If you meet these qualifications please contact Douglas Mouradian of Aerotek E&E Staffing for more information
Tel: 414-607-2006   email: dmouradi(at)

Sep 6, 2011

Wold Water Monitoring Day Sept 18!

MADISON - World Water Monitoring Day is Sept. 18, 2011, and will potentially be marked by hundreds of Wisconsin schoolchildren and citizens testing water quality on their favorite Wisconsin lakes and streams.

Wisconsin boasts some of the nation's most abundant water resources -- 15,081 inland lakes, 44,000 miles of streams and rivers, part of two Great Lakes and 260 miles of the mighty Mississippi River, 5.3 million acres of wetlands, and enough groundwater to cover the state to a depth of 100 feet!

And its citizens lead the way in helping state natural resource managers keep track of this watery wealth, including: Wold Water Monitoring Day

  • More than 1,000 volunteers monitor lakes across Wisconsin for through the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network.
  • More than 300 citizens test local streams, including 60 teachers who engage their students, through the Wisconsin Action Volunteers program.
  • More than 171 educators in 2010 received hands-on lessons about aquatic resources from DNR educators certified to present the Project Wet curriculum; these educators in turn estimated they'd reach 36,600 students with the lessons.

"Wisconsin's lucky to have so many citizens helping keep track of what's going on in our waters," says Ken Johnson, who leads water programs for the Department of Natural Resources. "World Water Monitoring Day shines a spotlight on the importance of monitoring and the people who do it."

Through WAV and Clean Lakes Monitoring Network, DNR and UWEX supply citizens with the training and equipment to conduct the monitoring. Volunteers feed their information into databases.

The water quality information volunteers collect is used in many ways, says Kris Stepenuck, who coordinates the Water Action Volunteers program for DNR and UWEX. Uses range from feeding into Wisconsin's required report to Congress on the condition of its waters, to helping determine whether a particular lake or river needs to be considered for inclusion on the state's "impaired" waters list, to inclusion in various state and national studies assessing water quality.

More water education news, including free posters - A series of water monitoring lesson plans developed for World Water Monitoring Day [] by that organization and Project WET staff are now available online.

DNR releases study on silica emissions

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released a study describing what is currently known about the sources, emissions and health effects from exposure to crystalline and amorphous forms of silica.

Studies generally do not indicate the existence of any wide-spread significant concern about airborne crystalline silica exposures to individuals not living near an identified source. Many states address silica by using control of particulate matter as a surrogate for reducing silica emissions.

"Silica emissions in Wisconsin have been controlled to a great extent through existing state particulate matter regulations for 40 years,” said Bill Bauman, acting DNR air bureau director. “The DNR is confident that consistent implementation and compliance with existing particulate matter regulations will reduce silica emissions.”

While silica emissions are commonly associated with mining, emissions can be generated from a variety of sources including agriculture, wind blown soil and various commercial products. Despite this fact, the DNR is actively engaged with the mining community to provide more specific guidance regarding compliance with existing air regulations. Truck traffic associated with the sand industry, a common issue of concern for many local residents, is predominantly local zoning issues.

The study was sent to the Natural Resources Board and the department has planned a briefing for the October board meeting.
The full Silica Study (pdf; 676kb) report, including an executive summary, is available on the air management pages of the DNR website.

Funding Opportunity for Economic Impact of Bicycling

The Bikes Belong Foundation requests proposals for research that examines the economic impact of additional or improved bicycling facilities or bike-related events, and for special opportunities and innovative or unique research efforts considered on a case-by-case basis.  Grant range $5K to $10K.
For more info, go to:

Funding Opportunity - Advancement of Clean Energy in India

The U.S. Agency for International Development in India announces its intent to request proposals for a new energy and climate change program titled Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE-D).  The contract will assist in deploying clean energy technologies, systems and solutions and will accelerate India’s transition to a high performing, low emissions and energy secure economy by primarily working on three key components improved end use energy efficiency, increased supply of renewable energy and adoption and accelerated deployment of cleaner fossil technologies and management systems. 

For more info  go to:

Sep 4, 2011

Smart Power Grid Could Wreak Havoc On Itself

"Smart power grid monitoring that lets you pick the exact cheapest time to run the dishwasher or recharge your electric car may put too much power (so to speak) in the hands of the consumer, according to a new study by MIT. Researchers say that users receiving minute-by-minute pricing information might cycle off-peak power use more rapidly than utilities can spool up their power plants. In other words, it's OK if you're the only person charging your Chevy Volt at 2am in the morning, but if a whole town does it exactly the same time... there will be issues." - Slashdot

Department of Energy 'Billion-Ton' Study Highlighting Opportunities for Growth in Bioenergy Resour

The U.S. Department of Energy today released a report – 2011 U.S. Billion-Ton Update: Biomass Supply for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry – detailing U.S. biomass feedstock potential nationwide. The report examines the nation's capacity to produce a billion dry tons of biomass resources annually for energy uses without impacting other vital U.S. farm and forest products, such as food, feed, and fiber crops. The study provides industry, policymakers, and the agricultural community with county-level data and includes analyses of current U.S. feedstock capacity and the potential for growth in crops and agricultural products for clean energy applications. The biomass resources identified in the report could be used to produce clean, renewable biofuels, biopower, or bioproducts. [The baseline scenario in the newly released report shows that biomass resources could be increased from a current 473 million dry tons annually to nearly 1.1 billion dry tons by 2030, under a conservative set of assumptions about future increases in crop yield.] For example, with continued developments in biorefinery capacity and technology, the feedstock resources identified could produce about 85 billion gallons of biofuels – enough to replace approximately 30% of the nation's current petroleum consumption.  Full story at EERE

The E-Cat loses steam... another snake oil free energy device?

The "Energy Catalyser" (E-Cat) is a device that has been reported by two Italian scientists to be able to solve the world's energy problems by means of a nuclear fusion reaction. Unfortunately, there are serious doubts about these claims. In the figure above (from a paper by Peter Ekstrom ) you see one of the problems with the E-Cat: the trickle of the steam produced by the device in operation is way too small to indicate that it actually produces energy.

Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi have recently claimed the development of a device (the "energy catalyser" or "E-Cat") able to produce useful energy from low temperature nuclear fusion reactions. If it were to work as reported, the E-Cat would be a true revolution not only in science, but also in everyday life. We would have a simple device able to produce plenty of low-cost energy without generating significant pollution and we could say good-bye to the energy crisis and to global warming as well. In a previous post of mine on "The Oil Drum," I examined the E-Cat, leaving open the possibility that it was a real fusion device. Here, I re-examine the question on the basis of new data. It looks now very unlikely that the E-Cat can work as claimed. - Read on at TOD

Labor Day FAIL - DOJ Advises Gibson Guitar to Export Jobs to Madagascar

(EHS News) After Gibson's Environmental Violations... it seems that the Department of Justice wasn’t satisfied with merely raiding the law abiding factories of Gibson Guitar with armed agents, shutting down their operation costing them millions, and leaving the American company in the dark as to how to proceed without going out of business. Now, according to CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, agents of the United States government are bluntly informing them that they’d be better off shipping their manufacturing labor overseas. Read full at RedState

Will Solar Solve the World’s Triple Unsustainability Crisis?

We are living in an era of global “triple unsustainability” — economic, social and environmental. The indisputable evidence is on the front pages every morning: the never-ending aftershocks from the financial crisis of 2007-2009, events like this year’s North African rebellions and the now undeniable, acute effects of global warming.

Taken together, it represents a new reality that simply can’t be wished away — a reality of unsolved problems crying out for new and fundamental solutions, not the same old Band-Aids that only mask the wound... in order to survive on this planet, humanity has three huge problems to solve: get rid of fossil fuels, stop the demographic expansion and introduce a revolutionary technology that can save the economy.

Is there a common denominator? Fortunately, yes. And in that commonality exist solutions already in our grasp.
Read on here