Jul 31, 2012

Fracking Dust Alert - Nearly 80% of NIOSH air samples showed exposure rates above federal recommendations.

A recent federal worker safety alert about dust from sand used in hydraulic fracturing caught few Wyoming oil and gas officials and companies by surprise, despite a lack of research into the danger by state agencies. Nearly 80% of all air samples taken by NIOSH showed exposure rates above federal recommendations. Nearly a third of all samples surpassed the recommended limits by 10 times or more.
Go to the Full Story at Casper Star-Tribune 

Accident Claims Second Worker at Wisconsin Paper Mill when 2 men came into contact with fly ash, a product of burning coal.

The second person injured in an incident at a Tomahawk, Wis., has died of his injuries. Reports say the two men came into contact with fly ash, a product of burning coal.
Go to the Full Story at WSAU (Wausau, Wisc.)

Corn prices hit record as crops shrivel - FOOD or Ethanol?

CNN - Corn prices surged to a new record high Monday, as the worst drought in more than 50 years continues to plague more than half the country. Almost 90% of the United States' corn crops are in drought ravaged areas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and nearly 40% are situated in the hardest hit spots.

Corn prices have soared more than 50% during the past six weeks as the crops continue to shrivel in relentless dry heat throughout the Midwest. They jumped another 3% Monday to a record high of $8.17 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

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Are Fast-Breeder Reactors A Nuclear Power Panacea? by Fred Pearce: Yale360

Plutonium is the nuclear nightmare...it is a million-year radioactive waste legacy that is already costing the world billions of dollars a year to contain.

And yet, some scientists say, we have the technology to burn plutonium in a new generation of “fast” reactors. That could dispose of the waste problem, reducing the threat of radiation and nuclear proliferation, and at the same time generate vast amounts of low-carbon energy. It sounds too good to be true. So are the techno-optimists right — or should the conventional environmental revulsion at all things nuclear still hold?

Fast-breeder technology is almost as old as nuclear power. But after almost two decades in the wilderness, it could be poised to take off. The U.S. corporation GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) is promoting a reactor design called the PRISM (for Power Reactor Innovative Small Modular) that its chief consulting engineer and fast-breeder guru, Eric Loewen, says is a safe and secure way to power the world using yesterday’s nuclear waste.

The company wants to try out the idea for the first time on the northwest coast of England, at the notorious nuclear dumping ground at Sellafield, which holds the world’s largest stock of civilian plutonium. At close to 120 tons, it stores more plutonium from reactors than the U.S. and Russia

Britain’s huge plutonium stockpile makes it a vast energy resource.

While most of the world’s civilian plutonium waste is still trapped inside highly radioactive spent fuel, much of that British plutonium is in the form of plutonium dioxide powder. It has been extracted from spent fuel with the intention of using it to power an earlier generation of fast reactors that were never built. This makes it much more vulnerable to theft and use in nuclear weapons than plutonium still held inside spent fuel, as most of the U.S. stockpile is.

The Royal Society, Britain’s equivalent of the National Academy of Sciences, reported last year that the plutonium powder, which is stored in drums, “poses a serious security risk” and “undermines the UK’s credibility in non-proliferation debates.”

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Why the military is trying to reduce its fossil fuel use

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.

Republicans have been going after the Navy’s biofuel program, the “Green Fleet,” as I covered here and here. As I’ve said, I have mixed feelings about military biofuels. Apart from the details of that program, though, I expect that this is the first sortie in what will become a broader conservative campaign against the military’s efforts to move beyond fossil fuels. So let’s have a reminder of just why the military is doing what it’s doing.

In 2008, the Defense Science Board Task Force on Department of Defense Energy Strategy released its findings in a seminal report called “More Fight — Less Fuel.” Here, from a slideshow summary [PDF] of the report, are the “two primary energy risks to DoD.”

  1. Unnecessarily high and growing operational fuel demand increases mission risk
  2. Critical missions at fixed installations are at unacceptable risk from extended power loss

So: too much liquid fuel needed in the field and too much reliance on unsteady power grids at the bases.

Let’s turn to recent news.

First, a couple weeks ago, “a bomb planted by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan destroyed 22 NATO fuel tankers carrying supplies to coalition forces.” Luckily the bomb went off fairly early in the morning, so there weren’t many casualties to add to the more than 3,000 Americans killed protecting fuel convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is all it took: “the device was attached under one of the trucks, which were parked close together.”

As I wrote in Outside last year:

THE TACTICAL NEED to reduce reliance on fossil fuels is not new to the Pentagon. In 2003, at the outset of the second Iraq war, General James Mattis commanded the 1st Marine Division during the initial drive to Baghdad. He found himself repeatedly outrunning his own fuel resupply lines, forcing him to slow down to remain fully powered. In a post-combat report that has since become a touchstone for military analysts, he called on the Department of Defense to “unleash us from the tether of fuel.”

Mattis’s plea served to highlight the extraordinary costs of fuel to the military in Afghanistan and Iraq—in dollars and lives. By some estimates, fully 70 percent of the convoys crisscrossing the theater of war are involved in “liquid logistics,” the delivery of fuel and water. In Afghanistan, fuel reaches the front lines via tankers and planes that cross the ocean, trucks from Tajikistan or Russia, and (sometimes) helicopters from forward bases. By the time it gets there, the fully burdened cost can reach anywhere from $30 to an astounding $400 per gallon. Then there are the casualties: one for every 24 fuel convoys, according to a 2009 report by the Army Environmental Policy Institute.

Reducing fuel use in the field is about saving lives, pure and simple.

Second, recent research has shown that power outages are becoming more common in the U.S. In 2008, “there were 2,169 power outages in the U.S. affecting 25 million people. In 2011, there were more than 3,000 outages affecting 41.8 million people.” Absent enormous investments in the grid, this trend is expected to continue as power lines get older and weather gets weirder. Meanwhile, there are 64 bases in the U.S. that operate drones by remote control. A power outage at a base during a drone mission would be … awkward.

And it’s not just U.S. bases that need to learn how to generate their own power and handle their own (micro)grids. The U.S. is building drone bases all over the world, often in places with even worse grids than ours. A blackout just yesterday in India left 300 million people in the dark. Autonomous power generation will become more and more mission critical.

Please continue reading at:

CCOHS Podcasts Address Psychosocial Connection to Workplace Safety, Job Safety Analysis via @CCOHS

Each month, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) posts Health and Safety To Go! podcasts. In this month's 16-minute podcast, Dr. Keven Kelloway explains what positive psychology is and how it relates to workplace stress. Listen to the podcast now.

CCOHS also has posted an encore presentation of its nearly 4-minute podcast on the basics of conducting a job safety analysis. Listen to the podcast now.

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350 Million People in India Lose Power Due to Scorching Summer Weather - via@inhabitat

India suffered one of its worst blackouts in a decade this Monday morning when high demand for electricity cut off power to seven northern states and over 360 million people.  India’s electricity demand during the hot, dry summer has greatly increased this year, especially in urban areas.  Without a good monsoon and due to unusually arid weather, the nation’s electricity grid has been under a lot of strain.

Read the rest of 350 Million People in India Lose Power Due to Scorching Summer Weather

The Simple Living Amish Are the Fastest Growing Community In the US

armish, ohio state university, sustainable community, simple living, farming, farmers, population growth, sustainable living, recycling, horse drawn

The Amish are best known for their simple living, their plain dress and their reluctance to adopt many of the technological luxuries we take for granted. In many regards, they are among the greenest and most sustainable communities in the US given their farming methods, their recycling of resources, their reliance on horse power and a prohibition on automobiles. However, a new report from Ohio State University on the Amish population in the US has found that a new Amish community is founded, on average, about every 3 1/2 weeks. This would suggest that the Amish are the most rapidly growing community (and religion) in the US!

Read the rest of The Simple Living Amish Are the Fastest Growing Community In the US

Jul 30, 2012

EU Introduces New Biocides Framework via @3ecompany

Companies will have until September 1, 2013, the day the European Union’s updated biocides legislation applies, to prepare for the provisions it introduces. Effective from July 17, 2012, differences between Regulation 528/2012/EU and the previous framework under Directive 98/8/EC include streamlined requirements for approving active substances and authorizing products, including at Union level for certain biocidal products; new provisions aimed at reducing animal testing by making data sharing compulsory; and the introduction of the new European Commission nanomaterials definition. According to the EC, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), whose staff dedicated to biocides-related activities will eventually number 100 with an annual budget of EUR 25 million, “will provide a strong scientific and technical back-up to the Commission and the member states under this new regulation.” Regulation 528/2012/EU repeals and replaces Directive 98/8/EC on 1 September 2013.

Please click here to view an EC Q&A document and to access a link to the regulation. See more By Scott Stephens at http://3ecompany.com/blog/?p=89

US- Senate Environment Committee Approves TSCA Reform Bill. @3ecompany

On July 25, 2012, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the amended version of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 bill (S. 847) to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by increasing reporting obligations of chemical manufacturers and processors and giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more authority to remove harmful substances off the market.  The legislation could be the first major overhaul of federal chemical law since 1976.  Notable amendments to the bill include: requiring manufacturers to develop and submit safety data for each chemical produced without duplicate testing and by relying on existing information; prioritizing chemicals based on risk for EPA to focus its resources on evaluating those most likely to cause harm; requiring burden of proof on chemical manufacturers to demonstrate the safety of chemicals produced; restricting uses of chemicals without proof of safety; restricting eligibility of CBI protection; encouraging innovation and development of safe chemical alternatives and expediting the review process.  The Committee vote was split along party lines, with every Republican member voting against it.  The bill could go to the Senate floor for a vote. See more.

By James Lee http://twitter.com/3ecompany

GREAT! Job Opportunity for Manager of #Environment, #Health, & #Safety at Chicago Tribune Media Group!

The Chicago Tribune Media Group currently has a EHS Manager role open at their downtown Chicago facilities.
Here's a link to the job description: https://chicago-tribune.icims.com/jobs/22136/job

If you know someone, please feel free to pass this message along.

Job Description for Environmental, Health and Safety Manager
Chicago Tribune Media Group, the premier media and business services company in Chicagoland, is seeking qualified candidates to serve as our new Environment, Health, & Safety Manager (EHS).  In this role, you'll be responsible for directing, managing, and coordinating the activities and operations of the EHS Management at Chicago Tribune's Manufacturing & Distribution facilities (Freedom Center and Freedom Center North).

In addition, you'll be responsible for the development, implementation and administration of various programs involving environmental compliance, general liability and the comprehensive safety and health programs, policies and procedures as well as collaborate with Risk Management on workers’ compensation.  Also, you will be involved with the long term planning and contribute to the overall LEAN strategy by building a successful and sustainable health and safety program which combine associate behavioral programs with LEAN manufacturing.
Perks: Full health benefits, 401K, vacation, and discounts to area retailers, entertainment. Plus, enjoy working with a group of people who really love what they do.


  • Establish and maintain policies, practices and procedures that ensure compliance with all applicable federal, state and local environmental regulations.
  • Implement and support programs that promote a safe and healthy work environment.
  • Develop, implement, and track the progress of, programs for the control and reduction of environmental liability, personal injury, and property damage.
  • Ensure compliance with applicable health and safety regulations affecting operations.
  • Develop and support existing safety initiatives, including in-plant safety committees.
  • Recommend, develop and implement environmental, health and safety policies, programs and procedures to eliminate the occurrence of environmental incidents, minimize personal injuries, property damage, and vehicular/general liability claims.
  • Conduct periodic audits to identify potential environmental and workplace hazards, programs deficiencies and liabilities.
  • Present control and corrective action recommendations to company management.
  • Analyze, design, develop and conduct appropriate training programs to assist management with environmental, health and safety responsibilities.
  • Assist in conducting the investigation of serious accidents and near-miss incidents.
  • Review and analyze accident data to identify trends or areas requiring additional focus.
  • Serve as a technical resource to the company in complex areas of EHS compliance, risk management, hazardous materials/waste, industrial hygiene, industrial safety, and/or ergonomics.
  • Maintain monthly OSHA and environmental reports.
  • Report to Corporate Risk Management and Finance as to the status/future direction/occurrences for each file in litigation and preparing summaries on current litigation cases.
  • Keep abreast of industry developments and maintain professional designations through membership in professional associations (RIMS, ASSE, LEPC), by reviewing trade publications and through attendance at trade conventions, seminars, workshops and meetings as necessary. Use LEAN manufacturing methodology and LEAN tools (Kaizen events, process mapping, root cause analysis, benchmarking, and root cause analysis) to drive workplace safety improvement.
  • Promote the strong connection between LEAN initiatives and safety programs.

Sorry... Collapse Of Financial System Will Come In August, Maybe September.

Disappointed by the lack of aggressive action by the U.S. Federal Reserve at the meeting of its powerful rate-setting committee last week, and assuming a wait-and-see posture on results from this week's European summit, pessimistic market-watchers are turning once again to guessing when the clock atop the euro zone time-bomb will finally run to 0.

The consensus? The world economy has entered a final countdown with three months left, and investors should pencil in a collapse in either August or September.

Citing a theory he has been espousing since 2010 that predicts "a future lack of policy flexibility from the monetary and fiscal side," Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank, wrote a note Tuesday that gloated "it feels like Europe has proved us right."

"The U.S. has the ability to disprove the universal nature of our theory," Reid wrote, but "if this U.S. cycle is of completely average length as seen using the last 158 years of history (33 cycles), then the next recession should start by the end of August."

Please read on at: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/357971/20120629/economy-collapse-prediction-august-september.htm

Chronic 2000-04 drought, worst in 800 years, may be the 'new normal'

The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, but those conditions will become the "new normal" for most of the coming century, scientists conclude in a new report. Such climatic extremes, they say, have increased as a result of global warming.

Three more Washington County wells tainted with gasoline - Jackson, Wisconsin

JSOnline - A growing number of residential wells found to be polluted with gasoline from a July 17 pipeline break and dramatic increases in levels of benzene in the wells prompted state environmental officials Sunday to broaden the search for contaminated groundwater in the town.

As of Sunday afternoon, three more private wells in the Town of Jackson were found to be contaminated with gasoline, bringing the total to seven, said Scott Ferguson, spills coordinator with the state Department of Natural Resources in Milwaukee.

The three latest wells were added to the list this weekend after tests of water samples found that they contained levels of benzene exceeding the federal safe drinking water standard of 5 parts per billion, Ferguson said.

The break in the pipeline occurred in the 1800 block of Western Ave., generally midway between Maple Road and county Highway G.

The pipe is owned by West Shore Pipe Line Co. of Arlington Heights, Ill.

Two of the three latest wells are west of the pipeline break in the 1900 block of Western Ave.

A third is northwest, in the 1800 block of Mill Road.

On Sunday, the DNR pushed its search for polluted wells even farther afield, generally to the southwest, west and northwest of the break. A total of 70 residential wells have been tested at least once, and the investigation now extends north of Mill Road and south of Spring Valley Road, Ferguson said.

Contractors for West Shore started installing water treatment systems at each of the seven polluted wells Saturday, and the work continued Sunday, he said.

In addition, West Shore is providing the seven families with bottled water.

By Monday, a total of 11 private wells are to be equipped with water treatment systems capable of removing gasoline, Ferguson said.

Please continue reading at:

Wisconsin's Sand Boom Brings Jobs, Prosperity

Leader-Telegram -- "A new industry continues to rise — quite literally — from the ground in west-central Wisconsin. Officials from 12 regional counties reported the area now has a total of 52 silica sand mines that are either operating or approved (see map above).

That's up 136 percent from 22 just a year ago and shows just how fast the sand storm is sweeping across west-central Wisconsin, which is home to plentiful deposits of a variety of sand prized in the rapidly growing energy extraction practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." While some experts have been predicting a slowdown in the industry's dramatic rise from virtually nonexistent four years ago, county planners who deal with permits for the mines haven't noticed such a change.

"It's still a boom," said Kevin Lien, 

Please continue reading at:

US Solar Subsidies Versus Fossil Fuel Subsidies - PESWiki

(Image Source: Facebook / Earth Warrior; June 2012)

Text Synopsis 
What if solar got the same subsidies as fossil fuels? - US solar subsidies: $1 billion, compared to $72 billion subsidies for fossil fuels over 5 years. If the US gave the same subsidies to solar that it does to fossil fuels, solar would be cheaper than grid power in 100% of the country, rather than 14%. Germany has 6x more solar than US, even though the US gets 3.9x more sun.

Please continue reading at:

Is Corn Getting Too Expensive For Ethanol Producers?

As yields and corn production declines, concerns arise about the point at which ethanol plants will be forced to curtail production because of the price of corn reaching unprofitable levels.  The shutdown price is a function of the price of corn as well as the price that ethanol is being sold.  Currently, the price of ethanol is rising faster than the price of corn, and the shutdown price may be nearly $1 higher than are current corn prices.

Please read full and follow at:

Jul 29, 2012

China stimulus unsustainable ? Wait til 2015-2020 via @nextbigfuture

NBF - So we may see in 2015-2020 if China's new round of economic stimulus proves unsustainable. China is building out all of its high speed rail and having massive local stimulus and infrastructure construction.

The Chinese economy will have a lot of stimulus for the next three years. 

Some think that China could not stimulate to boost GDP. This claim will be tested in the second half this year through 2013 and 2014. 

There will also be some interesting comparisons between the hundreds of billions of spending in Europe on Greece compared to what happens with Changsha.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged on Thursday to do whatever was necessary to protect the euro zone from collapse, sending a strong signal that inflated Spanish and Italian borrowing costs were in his sights.

Read more

Cost Benefit Analysis Studies of High Speed Rail via@nextbigfuture

Hong Kong spent USD$8.60 billion to build the high-speed rail (HSR) line linking with mainland China. (10 pages) They calculate a net present value (NPV) of up to USD$2,068.49 million for the calculated benefits. Conventional railway also has a positive NPV (about USD$177.60 million) due to its balance performance in all kinds of aspects. Roadway transport is the only alternative that has a negative NPV (-USD$15885.60 million). This is mainly due to its longest travel time which causes a large negative impact on the benefit of travel time savings.

All big projects have studies that support the financials of the projects. The assumptions supporting China's cost benefit analysis look more realistic than the studies for California's high speed rail.

Read more

Deficits, Debt and GDP for the USA, China...U.S. running $1.3 trillion per year or about 9% of GDP.

US Government deficits have been running at about $1.3 trillion per year or about 9% of GDP.

China has a federal deficit of 1.5 to 2.4% of GDP. However, China is ramping up spending at the provincial and city level. China is increasing spending on high speed rail and other infrastructure.

The White House projection is for a deficit of $1.2 trillion in 2012. The 2013 deficit forecast was increased from $901 billion to $991 billion. The White House is calling for $195 billion in economic stimulus.

The US is still likely to run $1 trillion per year deficits.

Read more

Our current infrastructure will break under this heat...was not created for this temperature range in mind

It's easy to forget that every piece of our current infrastructure--roads, rails, runways, bridges, industrial plants, housing--was built with a certain temperature range in mind. Our agricultural system and much of our electrical generating system (including dams, nuclear power stations and conventional thermal electric plants which burn coal and natural gas) were created not only with a certain temperature range in mind, but also a certain range of rainfall. Rainfall, whether it is excessive or absent, can become a problem if it creates 1) floods that damage and sweep away buildings and crops or 2) if there isn't enough water to quench crops and supply industrial and utility operating needs.

This summer has shown just what can happen when those built-in tolerances for heat, moisture (or lack of it) and wind are exceeded. The New York Times did an excellent short piece providing examples of some of those effects:

  1. A jet stuck on the tarmac as its wheels sank into asphalt softened by 100-degree heat.
  • A subway train derailed by a kink in the track due to excessive heat.
  • A power plant that had to be shut down due to lack of cooling water when the water level dropped below the intake pipe.
  • "derecho", a severe weather pattern of thunderstorms and very high straight-line winds, that deprived 4.3 million people of power in the eastern part of the United States, some for eight days.
  • Drainage culverts destroyed by excessive rains.
  • Past attempts to forecast the possible costs of climate change have been largely inadequate. They failed because of unanticipated effects on and complex interconnections among various parts of critical infrastructure.

    Please continue reading at:

    Small nuclear reactors are too little too late : via @Stltoday

    Ameren Missouri recently announced a proposal for a small, modular nuclear reactor. What's the problem? Well, let's begin with the folly of picking an industry that is a loser from every vantage point. Missourians know from Ameren's repeated attempts to push through a nuclear plant proposal that private investors dismiss nuclear power plants as economically unsound.

    According to Forbes, "The Department of Energy will spend $452 million — with a match from industry — over the next five years to guide two small modular reactor designs through the nuclear regulatory process by 2022. But cheap natural gas could freeze even small nuclear plants out of the energy market well beyond that date." Where will industry come looking for its share of matching funds? If history is any guide, Missouri ratepayers will be called upon to provide those funds, enabling Ameren to raise our electricity rates in perpetuity.

    Envisioned to create an energy hub with thousands of jobs, the small 225-megawatt nuclear reactor would have about one-fifth the capacity of a large nuclear plant, which might not come online until 2022. As a strategic energy plan, this vision delivers too little, too late.

    Missouri's aging energy infrastructure is dominated by one nuclear and 15 coal-burning power plants, ranging between 2,389 megawatts and 273 megawatts, many in need of retirement. Strikingly, Missouri has a dozen natural gas plants with 100 megawatts to 700 megawatts of generation capacity, enough to supply 50 percent of Missouri's electricity needs. Many of those plants are sitting virtually idle. With natural gas prices at all-time lows, these plants could be brought online today, with no new investment. Doing so would reduce toxic and greenhouse gas releases drastically.

    Wind electricity generation is coming from across the Great Plains states, spanning from Texas to the Dakotas. Electricity costs from wind generation are declining steadily. Plans are underway to construct four major new transmission corridors to deliver electricity to Eastern and Western states where it is needed. Says Clean Line Energy spokesman Mark Lawlor, "We have far more electricity than Missouri needs to meet its renewable energy standards."

    Please continue reading at:

    Safe Chemicals Act, calls for OSHA reform, new whistleblower complaint procedures & more on @intelex EHS This Week - Podcast

    On this intelex EHS This Week Podcast

    • OSHA's issues final rule on whistleblower complaint procedures for the consumer products industry.
    • A Senate comittee approves a new Safe Chemicals Act.
    • Calls for dramatic OSHA reform and a whole lot more.!

    Podcast here from 


    Solve the energy AND rare earth crisis: Join the Thorium Bank | @SmartPlanet

    @SmartPlanet - Put this idea into the “killing two birds with one stone” category.

    The “birds” in this case are nothing less than two great economic and environmental challenges facing the West: How to establish carbon-free, sustainable energy independence, and how to cut reliance on China for the rare earth metals vital to products ranging from missiles to mobile phones.

    The “stone” is literally a stone - okay, a rock - called monazite.

    As I’ve noted before on SmartPlanet, monazite is a mineral rich in rare earth elements, and also in thorium, the element that could replace uranium and usher in a future of safe, efficient nuclear power that helps cut the fossil fuel cord and that greatly reduces nuclear waste hazards including weapons proliferation.

    Two problems: Most countries in the West lack policy that supports thorium nuclear. Likewise, countries like the U.S. years ago took measures that handed the rare earth business to China.

    Co-operative Kennedy. Jim Kennedy speaking in Chicago recently.

    Another issue: Although mining monazite in say, the U.S., could help free the country from China’s rare earth shackles, the presence of thorium in the rock discourages such initiative. That’s because - with no federal thorium nuclear approval in place - mildly radioactive thorium is a costly rare earth byproduct that someone has to safely store away.

    You would think it’s high time to solve this riddle.

    Jim Kennedy’s Thorium Bank to the rescue!

    Kennedy, one of the organizers of the recent Thorium Energy Alliance Conference in Chicago, made a compelling case at the conference for Congress to authorize - but not fund - a “cooperative” responsible for not only taking the thorium off the hands of rare earth mining companies, but also for developing thorium uses and markets, including energy.

    Please continue reading at:

    Another Bill Gates cure for the warming planet: Spritz chemicals in sky | via @SmartPlanet

    ...Bill Gates is financially backing two Harvard scientists who will spray sun reflecting chemicals 80,000 feet above Fort Sumner, N.M. with the help of a balloon,the Guardian reports.

    Harvard professor of applied physics David Keith, who is leading the project, wants to replicate the effect of volcanoes - known to spew earth cooling sulfates - by using sulfate aerosols to reflect sunlight away from earth and thus reduce the heat.

    Keith says that the technique could represent an inexpensive method for slowing down global warming. Other scientists warn that “it could have unrpedictable, disastrous consequences for the Earth’s weather systems and food supplies,”  the Guardian notes. And environmental groups worry it could de-emphasize attempts to reduce carbon emissions.

    The project is part of a larger “geoengineering” initiative bankrolled by Gates’ Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research, and managed by Keith. A Guardian article in February reported that Gates had provided $4.6 million to the fund.

    Please continue reading at:

    Changes to Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Reporting Forms

    On July 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) modified the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Section 312 Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms (Tier I and Tier II) to add new data elements under the facility identification and contact information sections.  EPA also revised some existing data elements. 

    In October 2011 ACA submitted comments to EPA generally supporting revisions in the August 2011 proposed rule; however, ACA expressed concern that some of the changes and revisions in the proposal, however slight, were not warranted by the administrative record and would add additional recordkeeping burden. ACA asked EPA to abandon certain new data elements, or at least streamline the data elements to address documented problems and concerns with the current Tier I and Tier II forms.     

    In general, EPA heeded ACA comments on the proposed rule, and the changes aren’t very substantial.  Most significantly, facilities need to keep track of a few additional things during the 2013 reporting period. The final rule is effective on January 1, 2014, and facilities must comply with the new requirements for the 2013 reporting year.  

    These modifications in the final rule change existing data elements and add new data elements to make the forms more useful for these emergency planning agencies and provide information to the public concerning potential chemical hazards present in their communities.

    The changes and additions to the forms include the following:

    • Facility’s latitude and longitude;
    • Identification numbers assigned under the Toxic Release Inventory and risk management program;
    • Whether the facility is manned or unmanned;
    • Estimate for the maximum number of occupants at the facility at any given time;
    • Whether the facility is subject to EPCRA section 302 and the Clean Air Act section 112(r) risk management program;
    • Contact info for the person responsible for completing the forms;
    • Emergency contact information for facilities subject to EPCRA section 302;
    • Email addresses for the operator and emergency contact;
    • Revised range codes for the maximum and daily average amount of hazardous chemicals; and
    • Facilities must provide a description for storage types and conditions (rather than reporting codes).

    Additional information, including the final rule, is available athttp://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/epcra/

    Please read full and follow at:

    ACA PaintCare Program Plan Receives Official Sign-Off from CalRecycle, California Program to Begin Oct. 19

    ACA’s PaintCare program plan has been officially approved by CalRecycle, California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. The California PaintCare program will officially start Oct. 19, 2012. 

    Please continue reading at:

    Senate Committee Passes TSCA Reauthorization Legislation via @enviroexpert

    In a largely symbolic vote along party lines, on July 25, 2012, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by a 10-8 vote passed an amended version of Senator Frank Lautenberg's (D-NJ) Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847). Despite the Committee's passage of the bill, the legislation faces a headwind of opposition from Senate Republicans and the chemical industry and is unlikely to be passed this year. Republicans criticized the scheduled markup of the Safe Chemicals Act, particularly in light of Lautenberg's earlier agreement to enter into bipartisan negotiations to create a 'fresh legislation proposal' to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member, entered a statement criticizing the Safe Chemicals Act as currently drafted. The amended bill is available online. An archived webcast of the Committee's hearing and Inhofe's statement are available online.

    One of the pillars of the legislation is a revamped chemical evaluation process. This would be launched by an update of the TSCA Inventory of existing chemicals that supporters of the legislation believe will better refocus the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) energy on priority chemicals. Once the Inventory is updated, EPA would assess chemicals on the updated Inventory over an extended period of time by creating batches of about 6,000 chemicals for review, each over a five-year period. Within each batch, EPA would identify chemicals that are either of very high concern (which would require expedited risk management) or very low concern (which would require no further action). EPA would also identify chemicals that require additional safety information and those that require a safety standard determination. For the latter category of chemicals requiring a safety standard determination, EPA would focus its resources first on the highest priority chemicals. Risk management, such as use restrictions or labeling, would be required where necessary to ensure a chemical meets the safety standard. If a chemical cannot meet the safety standard, only critical uses of that chemical would be allowed.

    Please continue reading at:

    Jul 28, 2012

    Radiation doses 4 times larger for outside workers at nuclear plants.

    Nuclear plant workers not employed by the operating utilities were exposed to nearly four times the radiation doses received by utility employees, indicating that "outside workers" are often assigned the dangerous tasks, statistics showed.

    Please continue reading at:

    Illinois Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Clean Air Act Violations Involving Asbestos (HQ, IL

    WASHINGTON – Duane “Butch” O’Malley, 59, of Bourbonnais, Ill., who was convicted by a federal jury on September 26, 2011, for the illegal removal, handling and disposal of asbestos from a Kankakee building in August 2009, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Federal District Court Judge Michael McCuskey. O’Malley was also ordered to pay restitution of $47,086 to the U.S

    Please continue reading at:

    The US Garbage Indicator Is Sending An Ominous Sign For The Economy

    Among the 21 categories of items shipped by rail, none have a tighter correlation to GDP than waste.

    According to a 2010 piece on Bloomberg, economists Michael McDonough and Carl Riccadonna note that waste has an 82 percent correlation to US economic growth.

    This should be pretty intuitive.  The more you produce, the more you throw out.

    McDonough, a Bloomberg BRIEF economist, tweeted out an update on the indicator.

    And frankly, it stinks.  Waste carloads are way down.

    See chart here:

    EPA Awards Over $11 Million to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to Support the Clean Water State R

    The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $11,419,000 to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to support the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program. The funds will be used by the state of Oklahoma to provide loans and other types of financial assistance to local communities and intermunicipal and interstate agencies for wastewater improvements

    Please continue reading at:

    Jul 27, 2012

    When the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological complex is too large scientific method in most cases fails. --Albert Einstein

    LIFE - Enjoy the ride ;-)

    New EHS opportunities in #Environment, Process #Safety Management - #jobs

    Environmental Manager - Greater Tulsa, OK Area (Ref job code 5451)
    This client is continuing to gain prominence in their industry sector and is experiencing growth, as their products fit with the global economy. They are seeking an Environmental Manager, who is responsible for providing leadership to the environmental performance and compliance of this growing facility.
    • Responsible for overseeing the environmental performance and compliance of the facility.
    • Develop, implement, and monitor environmental strategies, policies and programs to ensure
    • Regulatory Compliance.
    • Examine corporate activities to establish improvements that can be made and ensure compliance
    • with all State and local environmental legislation.
    • Carrying out environmental audits and assessments.
    • Identify and resolve environmental problems and act on any required changes.
    • Have training and specific knowledge with air permits, RCRA, CERCLA, and State Regulations.
    • Have familiarity with CEMS units, their operation and daily tasks associated with such equipment.

    Process Safety Manager - Greater Houston Area - Chemicals (Ref job code 5443) Our client is a global leader in processing specialty chemicals for a wide array of industries, including plastics, chemicals, aviation, agriculture, technology, and more. This position has responsibilities for PSM disciplines within the site and compliance to all related regulations. The company believes in safety first.

    This position has excellent visibility and a job done well will lead to additional responsibilities.
    •  Responsible for facilitating for both revalidations and projects, PHAs, and LOPA studies and preparing and issuing reports from these studies.
    •  Identifies hazard event scenarios through reference to the PHAs.
    •  Assists study teams in estimating initiating event frequencies, and consequence & failure categories.
    •  Ensure all Independent Protection Layers (IPLs), Consequence Mitigation Systems (CMSs) and Safety
    • Instrumented Functions (SIFs) are reviewed and that they achieve a level of reliability that is appropriate.
    •  Supports site on all matters pertaining to PSM (Process Safety Management).
    •  Ensures site compliance with the Management of Change process and Pre-Startup Safety Review.
    •  Participates in Incident Investigations as required and supports regulatory agencies and corporate
    • compliance audits to the site and participates, in corporate audits at other Huntsman facilities.
    •  Supports the training of PSM requirements to plant personnel and guidelines and maintains compliance
    • with Federal Regulation 29 CFR 1910.119 (PSM) and 40 CFR 68 (RMP).
    •  Maintains a high level of understanding of PSM Laws and Regulations that impact the facility.
    Process Safety Engineer - Baton Rouge / New Orleans - Chemicals ( Ref job code 5435)
    This client is a highly regarded chemical company, known for their quality and service. This position provides leadership in developing and implementing the plant’s and the company’s safety programs, to ensure the safety of employees and the integrity of these programs.
    Responsibilities and Duties
    • Provide technical safety and engineering insight for the management of facility Process Safety
    • Management (PSM) and OSHA systems and programs.
    • Perform technical analysis of process safety programs and metrics to identify opportunities for
    • improvement.
    • Coordinate facility PSM systems and programs to comply with current and future PSM requirements.
    • Drive unit Process Compliance Coordinators to achieve uniformity in approach and compliance
    • Participate in Management of Change programs including conducting Process Hazard Analysis
    • reviews, administering PCA, maintaining and/or creating PSM standards/procedures, and
    • conducting training as needed.
    • Participate in/Conduct Root Cause Analysis and provide timely follow-up of corrective actions.
    • Compiles, reports, and maintains plant safety statistics and records, as required.
    If you have an interest in these opportunities please contact  Jerry Clapp

    Please join @WasteCap for LEED Platinum Building Tour Resilience Research Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

    Please join WasteCap, Bachmann Construction, and Center for Resilient Cities on September 20th as we tour the Center for Resilient Cities' newest Community Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Meet the Lead Contractor and Project Manager of the Resilience Research Center and learn the green strategies and techniques employed during the building phases of the project. A guided tour of the center will follow and we will wrap up with a networking session.

    September 20, 2012

    9 am - Noon
    Resilience Research Center
    Madison, Wisconsin

    Registration Now Open

    $10 Members
    $25 Non Members
    Continental Breakfast Included


    The Green Graveyard of Taxpayer-Funded Failures

    Sobering...  Solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra became a household name when it collapsed, taking $627 million in American taxpayer dollars with it. It’s the poster company for the government picking winners and losers—or really, just losers—in the energy market. But there are 12 more “green energy” losers that have declared bankruptcy despite attempts to prop them up with taxpayer money—and the list is growing. There’s a reason why these companies could not rely solely on private financing and needed help from the government. They couldn’t make it on their own; they couldn’t even make it with extra taxpayer help.

    Read on at:

    Code joke... From the awesome @SMBCComics

    Whee! Have a good weekend!

    Great Lakes Water Temperatures At Record Levels


    A comparison between Lake Superior's average water temperature this year so far and the longer-term average. Click on the image for a larger version. Credit: GLERL.

    ...OK, so the lake’s average water temperature is still a bracing 68 degrees, but it's considered downright tropical for the region. As the above chart shows, based on the 30-year average, the lake’s average water temperature should be in the mid-50s. But thanks to scant lake ice cover this past winter, along with a rare March heat wave and warmer-than-average weather since then, the lake began warming earlier than normal, and that warming has kept right on going. Wintertime ice cover on the Great Lakes was the lowest observed since such records began in 1980.

    “It’s pretty safe to say that what we’re seeing here is the warmest that we’ve seen in Lake Superior in a century,” said Jay Austin, a professor at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, who has researched the lake’s water temperatures back to the beginning of the 20th century.

    The lake's record temperatures are yet another consequence of the record heat so far in 2012. The contiguous U.S. had its warmest January-to-June period since records began in the late 19th century. Manmade global warming will likely result in more years with very warm water temperatures, which could have significant adverse consequences for marine life. In a rare benefit from the ongoing drought, this summer has been so dry that the warm water temperatures are not resulting in major harmful algal blooms, such as one that occurred on Lake Erie last year. 

    Instrument data from three buoys in Lake Superior provide a reliable record of water temperatures since about 1980, and the information also shows that, with water temperatures running in the mid-to-upper 60s (and even warmer closer to shore), “we are at record temperatures for this time of year,” according to Austin.

    Austin said that water temperatures at the westernmost edge of Lake Superior are running in the mid-70s, and it was due in part to the runoff from flooding rains that struck Duluth, Minn., in late June.

    Please continue reading at:

    Jul 26, 2012

    FREE Webinar in SPANISH: US adoption of OSHA's HCS 2012 and GHS Compliance - Gratis!

    This Webinar will be in SPANISH, please click here for the Spanish version of this invitation.

    When:  August 22, 2012 

    Time:  North American, Latin American, and European Time Zones

    How:  Register for FREE!

    Come hear 3E Company’s Latin America & Mexico Regulatory Analyst, Leticia Cuevas discuss the impact of GHS adoption within the new regulatory landscape in Latin America. Leticia will cover Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and more. Attendees will learn about the latest developments, take away practical ideas for effectively managing the vast amounts of complex information related to Latin American regulations, and receive Ms. Cuevas’s firsthand comparative analysis on these topics:

    • Overview of GHS Classification, Labeling & MSDS regulatory update
    • US adoption of OSHA's HCS 2012 for GHS
    • Varied GHS adoptions among different Latin American countries
    • Latin American SDSs and GHS trends

    América latina: Clima regulador y conformidad de GHS 

    Fecha: Miércoles 22 de agosto 2012 


    •7:00 a. m. Zona del Pacífico de Estados Unidos 

    •10:00 a. m. Zona Este de Estados Unidos

    •11:00 a. m. Argentina 

    •9:00 a. m. Colombia/México 

    •11:00 a. m. Brasil/Chile 

    •3:00 p. m. Reino Unido 

    •4:00 p. m. Europa

    Venga y escuche a la especialista en asuntos regulatorios de la empresa 3E Company para América Latina y México, Leticia Cuevas, en la platica sobre el impacto de la adopción del sistema SGA en el marco del nuevo entorno normativo en América Latina. Leticia se referirá a Argentina, Brasil, México, Colombia, Chile y a otros paises. Los asistentes podrán conocer los últimos avances, llevarse ideas prácticas para un manejo eficaz de la gran cantidad de  informaciones complejas relacionadas con las regulaciones para América Latina y ser de los primeros en enterarse de los análisis comparativos de la Abogada Cuevas respecto a estos tópicos:

    •Visión general sobre las actualizaciones en la clasificación, etiquetado y regulaciones sobre las HDS del sistema SGA

    •Adopción en EUA de la nueva norma de OSHA 2012 sobre comunicación de peligros para el SGA 

    •Variantes de la implementación del SGA en los diferentes países de América Latina 

    •Tendencias en América Latina respecto a las HDS y al sistema SGA

    Último día para registrarse: 21 de agosto 2012.

    El enlace de confirmación que usted recibirá es específico para su nombre y dirección de correo electrónico.  Si usted conoce a otras personas que pudieran estar interesadas en participar en este webinario, reenvíeles este correo para que puedan registrarse individualmente.

    New Jersey: Seventeen Graduate from Free #OSHA #Safety Program

    cal-osha.com: Seventeen people are now certified in workplace safety after taking a free, five-week occupational safety and health training program this spring. Geared toward laborers, foremen, superintendents and project managers who work in construction, the training program was a 30-hour class held over the course of five weeks.  

    "Offering free training programs is one of the ways our Office of Small Business Development is helping vendors gain a competitive edge and grow their businesses," said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. in a press release. "The information and certification they receive help them demonstrate to their clients and employees that they are stable, knowledgeable and dependable."

    Geared toward laborers, foremen, superintendents and project managers who work in construction, the training program was a 30-hour class held over the course of five weeks in April and May. Students got a lesson in the OSHA Act, created in 1970 by Congress to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for men and women by setting standards and providing training, outreach, education and assistance, according to the OSHA website.

    Go to the Full Story at Newark Patch

    House Backs Safety Exemptions for Minors On Family Farms

    cal-osha.com: The U.S. House has passed by voice vote legislation that would preserve the exemption from most safety regulations for minors working on farms owned or partially owned by members of their extended family, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles. The measure passed July 25 would block any future attempt by the department to issue similar rules, with supporters saying implementation of such policies would prevent experiential learning opportunities for a future generation of farmers and restrict their ability to earn money for college.  
    Go to the Full Story at  Bloomberg

    Just Punishment for adults leaving their children locked in cars in 100 degree

    Just Punishment

    Gary Varvel - The rash of stories about adults leaving their children locked in cars in 100 degree heat is so gut-wrenching. I commented on this subject years ago. Unfortunately it’s happening again. Those little “Baby on Board” signs that you sometimes see in the back window of cars should be placed in the front windshield to remind drivers there’s precious cargo in the back seat.

    Please read full and follow at: