Jan 31, 2010

Goodbye Environmental News by The Wall Street Journal.

Haase -
Keth Johnson brought clarity to the chaos and a voice of logic that could be heard through the drowning noise of greenwashing.

His posts and insight will be missed by many.

Great last post... goodbye with some thoughts.
Is America ready to "unleash rather than further stifle a genuine market for energy"?

The answer and solutions are three decades old, "it is not the journey that is different, it is the path we choose that makes it different." -Obama

"There is no greater investment in our future or economy than education and clean energy -
first being education on clean energy" - Haase

"It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible."
- David Brin

Oil, uranium, coal, water, Gold (in order of importance) - Maybe not in weight but in power of control.

And just think about it...
 "We have, I fear, confused power with greatness."
- Stewart L. Udall

And lastly-
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." - Martin Luther King Jr.

What have we done...decaying Biosphere 2

Is this how we treat our dreams of the future?
BLDGblog has published a series of photographs by Noah Sheldon that capture what remains of Biosphere 2, "a semi-derelict bio-architectural experiment in the Arizona desert." Looking at these images, it's hard to believe some 200 million dollars went into this thing. The site was sold to private developers in 2007. It is still open to visitors. More images on Sheldon's website. Official Biosphere 2 website is here.

They figured you out...

Scientists Develop Flexible Energy-Harvesting Rubber Sheets

Inhabitat - Scientists Develop Flexible Energy-Harvesting Rubber Sheets

sustainable design, green design, kinetic energy, renewable energy, alternative energy, piezoelectric ribbon, energy harvesting chip, piezoelectrics, rubber sheets

Piezoelectric energy is nothing new, but researchers at Princeton University have developed a new type of electricity-harvesting rubber sheet that has the potential to change the way we power electronic devices. The flexible rubber sheets are imbued with piezoelectric ribbons and are durable, versatile, and open up exciting new applications for harvesting kinetic energy.

Billion$ in the Low-Hanging Fruit of Energy Efficiency

Linked from the Big Gav
Energy efficiency investment...
    If you don't live in California, you might not have heard of Arthur Rosenfeld. But for the past four decades, he's been the main inspiration behind a host of energy efficiency and conservation regulations that have made California the greenest state in the nation. He's retiring from the California Energy Commission this week, and today the LA Times remembers his early battles :

        New homes and buildings were required to be better insulated and fitted with energy-wise lighting, heating and cooling systems. Appliances had to be designed to use less power. Utilities were forced to motivate their customers to use less electricity.

        ....Not surprisingly, those rules were attacked by business groups as bureaucratic job killers. Rosenfeld, who received his doctorate from the University of Chicago, was called unqualified by critics at Pacific Gas & Electric Co., one of California's largest utilities.

        Yet these mandates have yielded about $30 billion annually in energy savings for California consumers. They've eliminated air pollution that's the equivalent of taking 100 million cars off the roads. They have been copied by states and countries worldwide. California's gains are so closely linked to Rosenfeld that they've been dubbed the Rosenfeld Effect in energy efficiency circles, where the 83-year-old has taken on rock star status.

    Rosenfeld's ideas, far from being job killers, have been a boon for California. We have plenty of problems here in the Golden State right now, but better energy efficiency isn't one of them. In the end, Rosenfeld was right and his critics in the corporate world were wrong.

    This reminds me of a current kerfuffle over energy efficiency on a national scale. McKinsey, the consultancy firm, has pressed the cause of energy efficiency for some time, and in 2007 they released a report that contained this now-famous chart (this is the 2009 version):
HTML clipboard
    The point of the chart is simple: Some energy efficiency measures have a net cost and require fairly careful analysis to decide if they're worthwhile.
Those things are shown on the right side of the chart. But there are lots of efficiency measures that not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but produce net cost savings at the same time. These are the low-hanging fruit of climate change, otherwise known as "no-brainers." There are tremendous savings out there for the taking.

    But there's still opposition to this idea. A couple of weeks ago Ted Gayer of the Brookings Institution wrote that McKinsey's conclusion "violates the basic principles of economics. If firms (or consumers) could reduce emissions at negative cost, then they would do so. To say otherwise is to say that they are willingly or ignorantly passing up profits." But firms and consumers do pass up opportunities to save money. Maybe it's through ignorance, maybe through laziness, maybe because of financing limitations. But there's plainly friction in the real world that doesn't always show up in simple Econ 101 models. A few days ago Brad Plumer linked to a Wall Street Journal report about an energy efficiency consultant, EnerNOC, that audited Morgan Stanley's New York headquarters and immediately saved them a bundle of money...

Please read full by Kevin Drum of MotherJones

Jan 30, 2010

CBO Budget - Sixteen Tons / Trillion....

Cyber Crime: A Clear and Present Danger

The rise of the sophisticated cyber criminal has become one of the fastest growing security threats to organizations and to citizens.

 The CSO 2010 CyberSecurity Watch survey shows that cybercrime threats to organizations are increasing faster than they can combat them.
The issue – attackers are becoming smarter and using more sophisticated malware, viruses and techniques that have outpaced traditional security models and many current signature-based detection techniques. And, it looks like this gap is only going to widen as cyber criminals build more complex and innovative threats.

    Adding a layer of complexity to this issue, is the rise of social networking and online communications, online financial transactions, organized crime extending into cyber space, and the unfortunate motivation of economic hardships all over the world. Full Report  

What can you do?   

Watch that money goooo........

When you have a problem... making it go 'faster' has never been the better option historically.

...the new high speed rail proposal is a mistake, part of "a massive campaign to sustain the unsustainable."
One very plain and straightforward example at hand is the announcement last week of a plan to build a high speed rail network. To be blunt about it, this is perfectly f*****g stupid. It will require a whole new track network, because high speed trains can't run on the old rights of way with their less forgiving curve ratios and grades. We would be so much better off simply fixing up and reactivating the normal-speed track system that is sitting out there rusting in the rain -- and save our more grandiose visions for a later time. (Haase- this is 99.9% correct).
I don't like to be misunderstood. With the airlines in a business death spiral, and mass motoring doomed, we need a national passenger rail system desperately. But we already have one that used to be the envy of the world before we abandoned it. And we don't have either the time or the resources to build a new parallel network.

It is a very good point-fix what we have first. A lot more at Clusterf**k Nation 

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will today announce that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is awarding $8 billion to states across the country to develop America’s first nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), these dollars represent an historic investment in the country’s transportation infrastructure, which will help create jobs and transform travel in America. The announcement is one of a number of job initiatives the President will lay out in the coming weeks that follow up on the continued commitment to job creation he discussed in last night’s State of the Union Address.
Full read here Recovery Act High Speed Rail Awards (fails?)

Water Wars in SE Wisconsin - Cheap is over

Waukesha runs out of cheap water options
"Bottom line is we're looking at dollars to solve the problem in the magnitude of $160, $170, $180 million," Warren said. "This will be, by far, the largest capital project in the city of  Waukesha's history."

After studying 14 alternatives for more than seven years and narrowing the ideas down to the three-best options, the Lake Michigan option emerged as the cheapest, said Daniel Warren, president of the water utility commission.

"Big dollars, there's no question about it," Warren told the Waukesha Common Council on Thursday night. "There is no inexpensive solution to the issue. That's what these numbers are showing us, and we have to come to grips with that reality."

"We should not be buying water from any community on the Great Lakes that will have political demands," said Alderman Emanuele Vitale, "or conditions to the sale of water."

One of the reasons the city needs a new water source is because the supply does not meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for radium content. Alderman Paul Furrer said that, instead of searching for a new source, the city should pressure the EPA to change its standards.

The city already tried that route in the 1990s, said city Attorney Curt Meitz, when it sued the EPA over its radium standards and lost. The agency is not going to change its rules, he said. Read more at dailyreporter.com

Executive Order 13514 on Federal Sustainability

On January 29, 2010, President Barack Obama announced that the Federal Government will reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by 28 percent by 2020.  Reducing and reporting GHG pollution, as called for in Executive Order 13514 on Federal Sustainability, will ensure that the Federal Government leads by example in building the clean energy economy.  Actions taken under this Executive Order will spur clean energy investments that create new private-sector jobs, drive long-term savings, build local market capacity, and foster innovation and entrepreneurship in clean energy industries.
Examples of agency actions that are underway are available. You can also visit our Initiatives page for more information.

150MPH at 150MPG? - BioFuel Bullet Bike Concept

The Metalback motorcycle designed by Jordan Meadows is a concept that combines alternative fuels and recycled materials in a missle-shaped machine.

The concept is powered by a v4 engine running on bio diesel. This increases the range and MPG well above conventional gasoline bikes while running on a fuel which is more environmentally-friendly. Its frame and skin are crafted from recycled aluminum. This has the advantage of saving weight to enhance performance while reclaiming pre-used material. In the manufacturing process, the alloy is treated to patina and age naturally without expensive and harmful paint applications. The net effect is a raw natural surface which suits the classic cafe racer and recalls the romance and power of vintage WW2 fighter planes.

See more dream photos here

Jan 29, 2010

American wind power capacity grew 39% last year adding 9,900 megawatts of wind power capacity,

Another remarkable boom to note this morning: wind power. In spite of all the global drama in 2009, American wind power capacity grew 39% last year. The U.S. added 9,900 megawatts of wind power capacity, the American Wind Energy Association said in its annual report yesterday, the largest annual addition on record.

It's funny… usually when we see a parabolic chart like that, we take our profits and bow out. Even though wind power is still a small part of American electricity -- about 2% of capacity --- we wonder if the stuff has come too far, too fast. The AWEA noted that much of last year's growth came courtesy of various stimulus packages… yet another red flag in our book.

Venus Flytrap for Nuclear Waste

Not every object is food to a Venus flytrap. Like the carnivorous plant, a new material developed at Northwestern University permanently traps only its desired prey, the radioactive ion cesium, and not other harmless ions like sodium.
The results are published online by the journal Nature Chemistry.
"Ideally we want to concentrate the radioactive material so it can be dealt with properly and the nonradioactive water thrown away," said Mercouri G. Kanatzidis, Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the paper's senior author. "A new class of materials that takes advantage of the flytrap mechanism could lead to a much-needed breakthrough in nuclear waste remediation."

Capturing only cesium from vast amounts of liquid nuclear waste is like looking for a needle in a haystack, Kanatzidis said. The waste has a much higher concentration of sodium compared to cesium, with ratios as great as 1,000-to-1. This difficult-to-achieve selectivity is why currently there is no good solution for cesium removal.

Please read full at ScienceDaily

Deadly Fish Virus Now Found in All Great Lakes

ScienceDaily  — A deadly fish virus that was first discovered in the Northeast in 2005 has been found for the first time in fish from Lake Superior, report Cornell researchers. That means that the virus has now been documented in all of the Great Lakes.

This walleye was infected with the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus. Cornell researchers report that fish from Lake Superior have been found to be infected with the virus, which means that it has now spread to all of the Great Lakes. (Credit: Image courtesy of Cornell University)

The viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), which causes fatal anemia and hemorrhaging in many fish species, poses no threat to humans, said Paul Bowser, professor of aquatic animal medicine at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Bowser and colleagues recently tested 874 fish from seven sites in Lake Superior in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle. Fish from Paradise and Skanee in Michigan and St. Louis Bay and Superior Bay in Wisconsin tested positive. Some of the results have been corroborated by other laboratories; others have tests still under way.

The virus, which has been identified in 28 freshwater fish species in the Great Lakes watershed, has reached epidemic proportions in the Great Lakes and threatens New York's sport-fishing industry, said Bowser, estimated to contribute some $1.4 billion annually to New York's economy.

"People come from all over the eastern United States to fish the Great Lakes," said Bowser, noting that the virus has also been found in a few inland waters as well, including lakes, streams and a family-owned earthen pond. "The economy of many of these areas ebbs and flows with the season and perceived value of outdoor recreational opportunities. The value of these opportunities is dependent on how successful we are at managing the health of wild fish. On a worldwide basis, VHSV is considered one of the most serious pathogens of fish, because it kills so many fish, is not treatable and infects a broad range of fish species."

Please read full at

City Condems House for Woman Using Solar Panels and Batteries Instead of Utility Power

Stevens, 47, was trying to make ends meet by powering her home with solar panels and batteries for several months before Avondale code enforcement officials visited her on Dec. 10.

*"We explained to her that the panels weren't enough to sustain a quality of life there," *said Pam Altounian, code enforcement manager for Avondale.

Stevens said she was not given adequate notice before officials gave her 24 hours to contact Arizona Public Service Co. to reconnect electricity or her home would be condemned.

Case documents cite a *complaint from a neighbor in October. The unidentified woman* complained about the property's appearance and said she believed there was no electricity powering the home.

If you can stomach it, read more atArizona Republic


NY Times -  A new ranking of the world's nations by environmental performance puts some of the globe's largest economies far down the list, with the United States sinking to 61st and China to 121st.

In the previous version of the Environmental Performance Index, compiled every two years by Yale and Columbia University researchers, the United States ranked 39th, and China 105th.

The top performer this year is Iceland, which gets virtually all of its power from renewable sources — hydropower and geothermal energy. It was joined in the top tier by a cluster of European countries known for their green efforts, including Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

"Countries that take seriously the environment as a policy challenge do improve, and those that don't deteriorate," said Daniel C. Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, who oversees the index project. "Both the U.S. and China are suffering because they're industrial and haven't been paying much attention to environmental policy."

The index, viewable online at epi.yale.edu, assigns each country a cumulative score based on its performance in areas that include environmental health, preservation of habitat and reductions in greenhouse gases, air pollution and waste.

Costa Rica and Colombia remained in the top ranks. Costa Rica has made important efforts to conserve its rain forest, and Colombia has led the way in shifting to fuel-efficient mass transit... read full at NY Times

Jan 28, 2010

Un-sustainable Gas & EU Economies - Why Russia Owns Them

The EU's decision to lend $2.5bn was not welcomed by Russia, who said that it was "unprofessional" to make deals like this without consulting the main supplier (80 % of Russian gas exports currently go through Ukraine). It has been estimated that the existing pipelines are already well into two-thirds of their projected life span. The planned life span for Ukrainian pipelines, most of which were built between 1950 and 1970, is 33 years (sounds like the current U.S. energy problem). (In 2004, 22% of the Ukrainian pipelines exceeded that and 66% were between 10 and 33 years old.) Logistically pipelines play a big role as not all countries in the EU have the capacity to use LNG facilities, and are still highly dependent on natural gas (see figure 1).

CountryDependence on Russian gas






Slovak Republic73%

Czech Republic 74%







Lithuania 100%
Figure 1 (Source www.energy.eu)

Read more at TheOilDrum

This also sheds light on Frances nuclear program and begs the question when will the regulatory, fuel and waste costs implode Frances 'free' energy program.

Jan 27, 2010

FAIL - "Hydrogen Powered Vehicles Are the Future"

4th In my series of 'future energy fail'
FAIL - "Hydrogen Cars Are the future"
Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir's motor car
In 1807 Isaac de Rivas made the first hydrogen gas powered vehicle with internal combustion power.

Electric wasn't even on board until
thirty years later.

No other technology has had as much time, resources and public funding as our Hydrogen Unicorn Dream...
our use of hydrogen powered vehicles an epic fail.

*Read more from About.com

China, setting the world’s oil prices .

FT has a post pointing to a Goldman Sachs report on the oil market, noting the drop in US demand has been entirely offset by a rise in Chinese demand - China, setting the world's oil prices .

They also point to a report from the IEA, pointing out that some Saudi Aramco grades are no longer available to European customers, "in favor of Asian markets and domestic power consumption".

From the BigGav

Off the grid pioneer giving free lecture and it's open to the public.

Ryker - off the grid pioneer

Lori Ryker, architecture professor and author of two books about Off The Grid living, will speak at Louisiana state University college of art & design, Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 103 of the Art & Design Building.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Ryker is researching the relationship between communities and the larger environment relative to design and building practices. Read more here

Things that kill you, hacked for clean energy

VIA -HackAday

Tobacco and E coli can wreak havoc on your body causing serious damage if not death. Some researchers from the University of California at Berkley have found a way to take these potentially dangerous organisms and make them do our bidding. By genetically engineering a virus they have shown that the two can be used to grow solar cells. Well, they grow some of the important bits that go into solar cells, reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

Once a tobacco plant is infected with the altered virus it begins producing artificial chromophores that turn sunlight into electricity. Fully grown plants are ground up, suspending the chromophores in a liquid which is sprayed onto glass panels to create the solar cells. -HackAday

Jan 26, 2010

Free DOE Webinar Designing High-Performance EnergyPlus™ Buildings

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Building Technologies Program is offering a Webinar on Tuesday, February 16, 2010, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. EST titled "Going With the Flow: Designing High-Performance Buildings with EnergyPlus." HTML clipboard

To facilitate energy-smart design of high-performance buildings, DOE gives builders and architects the tools to predict energy flows in commercial and residential buildings—before construction—with EnergyPlus™ software (Note: I love this stuff :-). EnergyPlus, DOE's fully integrated building, HVAC, and renewable energy simulation program, models building heating, cooling, lighting, ventilating, and other energy flows, as well as water.

OpenStudio, DOE's free plugin for the Google SketchUp 3D drawing program, makes it easy to create and edit the building geometry in EnergyPlus input files or launch EnergyPlus simulations and view the results in SketchUp.

This Webinar will focus on the importance of precise energy simulations in the drive for high-performance buildings, and will provide an overview of the features and capabilities of EnergyPlus software and the OpenStudio plugin.

Target Audience: Architects, engineers, builders.

Presenter: Dru Crawley, Ph.D., Commercial Buildings Team Lead, Building Technologies Program, U.S. Department of Energy.

This Webinar is free of charge, but you must register in advance Please see DOE full alert here

The war toll ... an un$ustainable annual average of $632 billion

'Long-Term Implications of the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Budget'
In CBO's estimation, carrying out the Department of Defense's (DoD's) 2009 plans for 2010 and beyond...would require defense resources averaging at least $573 billion annually (in 2010 dollars) from 2011 to 2028.

"The department's resource requirements to execute the same plans could be even greater."
...Including the unbudgeted costs increases the projection to an annual average of $632 billion through 2028, or 18 percent more than the regular funding requested for 2010. Some 35 percent of the total unbudgeted costs between 2013 and 2028 are associated with overseas contingency operations; in particular, the analysis includes the potential costs—about $20 billion per year—of deploying 30,000 troops to contingency operations from 2013 through 2028. The total costs of $670 billion at the endpoint in 2028 would approach the peak of the past three years (measured in 2010 dollars), which includes the height of operations in Iraq.

Read full at CBO's Directors Blog

UN Life Cycle & Resource Management

UNEP's work to promote life cycle thinking is spearheaded by the UNEP/ SETAC Life Cycle Initiative.

 Life Cycle Thinking is essential to sustainable consumption and production. It is about going beyond the traditional focus on production sites and manufacturing processes so that the environmental, social, and economic impact of a product over its entire life cycle, including the consumption and end of use phase, is taken into account. 

Extended Producer Responsibility means that the producers take responsibility for their products from cradle to grave and therefore, should develop products that have improved performance throughout all stages of the product life cycle as shown above. At each stage of the life cycle, opportunities for improved performance exist. Three key stages are outlined below:

  1. A product life cycle, can begin with extracting raw materials from natural resources in the ground and generating energy. UNEP's International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management focuses particularly on the role of resources throughout the life cycle.

  2. Materials and energy are then part of production, packaging, distribution processes, which are the main activities of the industrial and commercial sectors of our economies.

  3. Goods and the related services are then used and maintained by consumers. When goods become obsolete (such as when they break, have no use, or simply become unwanted) consumers then make decisions about the end of life of the things they buy, which could be reused, recycled, or thrown away for final disposal.
Read more here at UN

Wind transmission grid weakens west of Wisconsin

"Without transmission," he said, "there is no product to sell." Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin.

While Wisconsin wind is easy to capture and transmit, that is not the case in the wind-rich areas in the Dakotas, western Minnesota and Iowa.

"There are huge resources of wind west of Wisconsin," said Charlie Higley, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin.

Transmitting those resources to Wisconsin and throughout the region is a challenge, he said, as the electric grid is not as expanded in those areas.

..."But we don't have the kind of (wind) resource we see in the west," Callisto said. "Transmission build out will be an issue as Wisconsin and the rest of the country look at the Midwestern resource."

As the demand for renewable energy increases, reaching beyond the state's borders will be a necessity.

Yet transmitting wind energy is not the main factor in deciding to improve or expand transmission lines, said Anne Spaltholz, spokeswoman for American Transmission Co. LLC, Waukesha.

"Unless they improve reliability or have economic benefits, there probably aren't very many transmission projects being justified simply based on moving renewable energy," she said.

Read full at DailyReporter

Grama & Grampa - Lets call the "war on drugs' FAIL

Illicit Drug Use among Older Adults - Like it isn't bad enough they've blown there health and insurance costs out the door on obesity and 60/70's addictions to 'recreational and prescription drugs' older adults are still 'keepin on' by killing themselves slowly and painfully.

+ An estimated 4.3 million adults aged 50 or older,  had used an illicit drug in the past year, based on data from 2006 to 2008

+ Marijuana use was more common than nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs for adults aged 50 to 54 and those aged 55 to 59, but among those aged 65 or older, nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs was more common than marijuana use

+ Marijuana use was more common than nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs among males aged 50 or older, but among females, the rates of marijuana use and nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs were similar.

How do they thinks their off spring will follow? (hint - monkey see)

Source Link Shirl Kennedy DocUticker

41% of US children – more than 29 million – live in low-income families.

Source: More than 13 million American children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level... There are 2.5 million more children living in poverty today than in 2000.

Not only are these numbers troubling, the official poverty measure tells only part of the story. Research consistently shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice the federal poverty level to make ends meet. Children living in families with incomes below this level – for 2009, $44,100 for a family of four – are referred to as low income. Forty-one percent of the nation's children – more than 29 million in 2008 – live in low-income families

2010  Will only bring more...

Link source Shirl Kennedy of DocUticker

Venezuela's recoverable heavy oil reserves are big...

US Geological Survey - An estimated 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil are in Venezuela's Orinoco Oil Belt.

This is the largest accumulation ever assessed by the USGS. The estimated petroleum resources in the Orinoco Oil Belt range from 380 to 652 billion barrels of oil (at a 95 and 5 percent chance of occurrence, respectively). The Orinoco Oil Belt is located in the East Venezuela Basin Province.

The USGS conducted this assessment as part of a program directed at estimating the technically recoverable oil and gas resources of priority petroleum basins worldwide. To learn more about this assessment, read the fact sheet, "An Estimate of Recoverable Heavy Oil Resources of the Orinoco Oil Belt, Venezuela" and visit the USGS Energy Resources Program web site.

Read more by TPR

Jan 23, 2010

EPA Increases Transparency on Chemical Risk Information

EPA Increases Transparency on Chemical Risk Information: Action part of continued comprehensive reform of toxic substance laws
As part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson's commitment to strengthen and reform chemical management, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a new policy to increase the public's access to information on chemicals. Starting today, EPA has announced its intention to reject a certain type of confidentiality claim, known as Confidential Business Information (CBI), on the identity of chemicals. The chemicals that will be affected by this action are those that are submitted to EPA with studies that show a substantial risk to people's health and the environment and have been previously disclosed on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Inventory. This action represents another step to use the agency's authority under the existing TSCA to the fullest extent possible, recognizing EPA's strong belief that the 1976 law is both outdated and in need of reform.
…Under TSCA, companies may claim a range of sensitive, proprietary information as CBI. Under Section 8(e) of TSCA, companies that manufacture, process, or distribute chemicals are required to immediately provide notice to EPA if they learn that a chemical presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment. The Section 8(e) reports are made available on EPA's Web site. However, until today, companies would routinely claim confidentiality for the actual identity of the chemical covered by the Section 8(e) submission, so the public posting of the information would not include the name of the chemical. The new policy announced today ends this practice for chemicals on the public portion of the TSCA Inventory. This new policy will increase the amount of information available by granting the public access to the chemical identification information submitted, along with other health and safety data under Section 8(e).  Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(e) Notices

Linked from Shirl Kennedy DocUticker

Jan 22, 2010

2010 Energy and Environmental Battle Starts In Wisconsin

NYTimes - Wis. Opens Decade's First New Climate Efforts

Under the plan, 25 percent of Wisconsin's energy must come from renewable sources by 2025.
The bill creates new renewable fuel standards, lifts Wisconsin's ban on nuclear power plants and calls for new vehicle emission standards to match California's. ..The package would relax the state's moratorium on new nuclear plants if developers can come up with a plan to dispose of radioactive waste, set up tailpipe standards similar to California's (which are more stringent than the federal government's) and mandate the use of gas with lower carbon content if a Midwest Governors Association advisory group recommends standards.

Other provisions include limits on engine idling, greenhouse gas assessments for transportation projects and more energy efficient buildings.

Lawmakers based the bill on recommendations from Doyle's Global Warming Task Force.
But the state's business community is divided over the bill. Several large employers are on board, but the state's largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce has blasted it, saying it could cost billions of dollars and eliminate jobs.

Two of the Legislature's attorneys walked the state Senate and Assembly clean energy committees through the bill's nuances during a hearing Wednesday. The session was meant as an informational briefing, but Republicans used it to send a message.

Rep. Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem, complained that the attorneys didn't offer a cost estimate on the bill. He pointed to a report from the conservative Wisconsin Policy Research Institute that found the bill could cost $16 billion over the next 15 years -- a figure environmentalists and Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle have branded inaccurate.

"The numbers being tossed around ... are substantial," Huebsch said.

"There's also the cost of doing nothing," replied Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona

Read more by TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press

Does it go to far? or is it the first real step?

Jan 21, 2010

Don't Fear the 2010s

... list is hardly exhaustive, of course. For instance, it is unimaginable that we'll go 10 full years without a White House Conference on the Coarsening of Culture, that some form of deadly yet cuddly mammal will be identified as near extinction even as its population is increasing, that we will suddenly recognize that our core common culture is threatened by the failure to teach "The Brady Bunch" in the K-12 curriculum, and that viruses are either multiplying or disappearing altogether at an alarming rate. 

The important thing is that such outsize and overblown fears distract us from what really matters. Which may not be such a bad thing, especially if we suffer another decade like this last one.
Embrace the decade's new distractions and overblown fears. Nick Gillespie on what will be the Y2K, bird flu and corrupting rock lyrics of the 2010s. WSJ-Few decades have been as resolutely and relentlessly dismal as this past one, which is thankfully all over but the shouting (a note to calendaric purists who insist that the decade really runs from 2001 to 2010: You're part of the problem). Contested elections, international terrorism, more bubbles blown (and burst!) than on a Lawrence Welk special. Did we really survive the Y2K bug, avian flu and the unstoppable proliferation of saggy pants for this?

There was plenty serious that went wrong with "the Aughts" (one more indicator of a desultory decade: the period has produced no commonly shared nickname). It was one of the worst decades ever for stocks, the U.S. mired itself in two seemingly endless and intractable wars, total federal spending increased by more than 100% in real dollars, unemployment hit double digits and for the second time in 10 years, the government is poised to massively intervene in health care (and not just Medicare this time). Most troubling for long-term economic growth, and hence living standards, it is no longer clear where the public sector ends and the private sector begins. It's hard to escape the sinking feeling that the government-controlled General Motors may well be prototyping America's answer to the Lada.

Article hits some peaks:
China Is Both Making and Eating Our Lunch
Peak Oil Refuses to Rise to the Occasion
Everything That Can Be Invented Has Been Invented
Mission Accomplished: The War on Boys
We Need to Reinflate the Higher-Education Bubble

and ...who exactly is going to pay for Baby Boomers' entitlements. 

Read more at Wall Street Journal 

Jan 19, 2010

Due this month 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets within

Eexcerpts from Press Release)    Executive Order requires Federal agencies to set a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target within 90 days (of October 5, 2009) ; increase energy efficiency; reduce fleet petroleum consumption; conserve water; reduce waste; support sustainable communities; and leverage Federal purchasing power to promote environmentally-responsible products and technologies.

"As the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. economy, the Federal government can and should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce waste, and use environmentally-responsible products and technologies," said President Obama. "This Executive Order builds on the momentum of the Recovery Act to help create a clean energy economy and demonstrates the Federal government's commitment, over and above what is already being done, to reducing emissions and saving money."

The Federal government occupies nearly 500,000 buildings, operates more than 600,000 vehicles, employs more than 1.8 million civilians, and purchases more than $500 billion per year in goods and services. The Executive Order builds on and expands the energy reduction and environmental requirements of Executive Order 13423 by making reductions of greenhouse gas emissions a priority of the Federal government, and by requiring agencies to develop sustainability plans focused on cost-effective projects and programs.

...The Executive Order also requires agencies to meet a number of energy, water, and waste reduction targets, including:

    * 30% reduction in vehicle fleet petroleum use by 2020;
    * 26% improvement in water efficiency by 2020;
    * 50% recycling and waste diversion by 2015;
    * 95% of all applicable contracts will meet sustainability requirements;
    * Implementation of the 2030 net-zero-energy building requirement;
    * Implementation of the stormwater provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, section 438; and
    * Development of guidance for sustainable Federal building locations in alignment with the Livability Principles put forward by the Department of Housing and Urban   Development, the Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Implementation of the Executive Order will focus on integrating achievement of sustainability goals with agency mission and strategic planning to optimize performance and minimize implementation costs. Each agency will develop and carry out an integrated Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that prioritizes the agency's actions toward the goals of the Executive Order based on lifecycle return on investments. Implementation will be managed through the previously-established Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, working in close partnership with OMB, CEQ and the agencies. Please read full press release at whitehouse.gov

OSHA Updates - public meetings, major fine, YouTube respirator videos, Hexavalent Chromium and cold-related protection help

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OSHA will host an "OSHA Listens" public meeting Feb. 10 in Washington, D.C., to solicit comments and suggestions enhancing OSHA efforts to protect the safety and health of workers... For more information news release.QuickTakes

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 OSHA proposes more than $1.4 million in penalties in connection with fatal explosion that killed a 45-year-old worker when an altered piece of equipment ignited flammable vapors inside a tank he was cleaning.  Read the news release for more information.


OSHA announces informal public hearings to align the agency's hazard communication standard with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.  Read the Federal Register notice for details.


New OSHA YouTube videos provide proper respirator fit and use guidance The "Respirator Safety" video shows healthcare workers how to correctly put on and take off respirators, such as N95s. The "Difference between Respirators and Surgical Masks" video can be viewed by visiting the Department of Labor's YouTube site.

The new OSHA Hexavalent Chromium booklet and OSHA's publications Web pag explains OSHA's hexavalent chromium standards so that workers and employers know the best ways to prevent illness and death caused by exposure in the workplace.


OSHA 'QuickTips' for workers on preventing cold-related injuries and illnesses reminds workers and employers, whose work is concentrated outside, to take the necessary precautions to prevent cold-related injuries and illnesses. OSHA's "Cold Stress Pocket Card" (English/Spanish) helps with Electronic copies can be downloaded from the agency's publications page


Visit OSHA's QuickTakes page to view previous issues.

Free Arch Flash Webinar NFPA 70E (USA) & CSA Z462 (Canada)

Oberon Arc Flash protection Webinar - Hundreds of workers die every year from on-the-job electrical injuries. The Electrical Safety Standards require employers to implement an electrical safety program to protect these workers. Failure to implement NFPA 70E or Canada's CSA Z462 can result in huge costs to an employer from litigation, medical, rehabilitation and retraining costs resulting from an accident as well as the cost of penalties. HTML clipboard

What we be covered:

  • The major principles of these Electrical Safety Standards to achieve workplace safety
  • When you need an Electrical Safety Program
  • Why you need to comply with these Standards and Who needs to comply

This 1-hour presentation will walk you through the standard, simplifying the jargon into simple elements.

Register here and Use this Promotional Code
to Join for FREE

Thanks for the invite Randell ;-)

Some gave their all and some gave everything to protect our freedom...

Jason Diz, AFP - Calling 2009 a "painful year," the US Army announced that it faced a record number of suicides among Army personnel, with 160 active-duty soldiers taking their own lives, with the level suddenly rising to epidemic levels in recent years. HTML clipboard

But despite the expectation that endless combat deployments would be playing a role in the deaths, officials say that about 1/3 of the soldiers who took their lives this year hadn't yet been sent on any combat missions.

While we may not all understand or agree on the actions of armies or war, we can all appreciated and respect the countless individuals who sacrifice their lives for our freedom. PLEASE do what you can to support (y)our vets - A open heart and ear helps.

To all the vets I know or may be reading this who helped insure I could write this today... thanks ;-)

Prioritizing life on earth... are we winning?

When are we going to get the arithmetic right, and distinguish what threatens us mightily from what threatens us barely at all?

Bob Ellis, ABC - Fewer deaths occurred in Hiroshima in August 1945 than in Port-au-Prince Haiti last week and more people will die there soon than in Rwanda in 1994. Yet the modern global world was unprepared for it, so busy were they with terrorism, which has killed fewer people in the last thirty years than quarrelsome Americans with handguns in the last eight months.

Thirty per cent of earth's carbon asphyxiation comes each year from bushfires yet billions will be spent on installing electronic peekaboo machines in airports instead...Why are we spending so much of our money on them, and so little on bushfire prevention or flood rescue?

Why are so many people dying because we find a young stranger's jockstrap more interesting than the end of life on earth?

When will we get our priorities right, and learn how useless the free market is in dealing with tsunamis, earthquakes, Aboriginal health, African AIDS, Middle Eastern pogroms, Chinese tyranny and the sort of shameful poverty that breeds terrorists everywhere and sends them walking in explosive underpants out of universities into airline waiting rooms?

When will we understand that twenty dollars a week is better spent on tax-funded air ambulances and Elvises and hot rocks and wind power and stem cells and solar cars than on oil magnates who are killing the planet as we speak?

Are some people making money, perhaps, out of emphasizing the unimportant and spinning the planet's fate into invisibility?

While you've been reading this three Haitians have died under heaped-up stone unrescued and an AIG executive has earned two hundred dollars for helping wreck the world economy, and he'll earn three thousand more in the next hour while twenty more Haitians die

Read more by Bob Ellis, ABC (warning a little cynical)

McNeil Consumer Healthcare Announces Voluntary Recall

In consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), McNeil Consumer Healthcare (Johnson & Johnson) is voluntarily recalling certain lots of OTC products in the Americas, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Fiji. The company is initiating this recall following an investigation of consumer reports of associated with temporary and non-serious gastrointestinal events. These include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. This precautionary action is voluntary and has been taken in consultation with the FDA.  Affected brands include Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, Rolaids, Simply Sleep, and St. Joseph.
View a complete list of products and lot numbers at FDA linked here.

More recent recalls
Please see more confirmed product recalls here

The real threat of Cell Phones is not cancer... it's missing the clowns

While millions are spent on research, litigation and regulations on the 'chance' cellphone use 'may' cause caner... millions of people are injured annually and die everyday from the pure inattentiveness caused by cellphone use. We all see it, we all know it, yet most of us do and allow our loved ones to.

From Live Science & Switched Cell-Phone Users Can't Spot a Clown on a Unicycle

Clown on a Unicycle Goes Unnoticed by Cell Phone UsersUsing a cell phone while walking is so distracting that people are likely to miss a clown riding a unicycle.

Spotting a clown an experiment run by Western Washington University this past fall. There was a student who knew how to ride a unicycle and a professor who had a clown suit. They dressed a student up as a clown and had him ride his unicycle around a popular campus square. Then they asked people, 'Did you see the Unicycling Clown?' 71% of the people walking in pairs said that they had. 51% of the people walking alone said that they had. But only 25% of the people talking on a cellphone said that they saw the unicycling clown. On the other hand, when asked 'Did you see anything unusual?' only about one person in three mentioned a unicycling clown."

"If [cell-phone use] disrupts something as simple as walking, which I'm assuming most of these people have been doing a long time and are pretty proficient at generally, we know it's going to be a really difficult task driving," Hyman said.

Electronic distraction
Past research has suggested cell-phone use while driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. But participants typically had specified conversations while operating a driving simulator in a lab setting, where other non-realistic factors might affect results.

Haase - Do we really need one more study to tell us we need to minimize use?

More Global Warming Claims Melting Away...

Timesonline - http://lighthousepatriotjournal.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/proof-of-global-warming.jpgIn yet another stinging rebuke to the United Nations IPCC committee, claims made in a phone interview with an Indian scientist that made up a conclusion about Himalayan glacial melt out of whole cloth, with no data, or even study, showed up in the IPCC report as a principal prediction of the dangers of Climate Change.  HTML clipboard

The interviewee admitted this week that he had no specialty in glaciation, had no evidence to support his claim (that a Himalayan glacier would melt entirely by 2035), had not done any research on the subject, and had merely stated a hypothetical in a phone interview that somehow found its way into the IPCC report.

In fact, Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC Chairman, has previously characterized criticism of this baseless speculation as "voodoo science". 

It is a shame that scientists in search of grant money can so thoroughly corrupt science. 
Politics and science are rotten bedfellows.
- OpenChoke