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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, August 21, 2014
Conflict minerals reports are filed, but what do they say?
Most filers in this initial disclosure year were unable to determine the origin of conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold, known collectively as 3TG) in their products. They described their conflict minerals status as "undeterminable" or made no declaration. While some stakeholders were anxious to see what companies had to say, those participating in efforts to comply with the SEC's new conflict mineral rule know well the challenges of completing these first-year filings. The complexity of supply chains created challenges for most companies. And there is still a long way to go. Ernst & Young's recent study of conflict minerals filings -- which may help serve as an early guide to the 3TG disclosure landscape and help facilitate an assessment of how companies compare -- found data about reporting across all SEC reporting companies. Source: GreenBiz.com, 8/19/14

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Upcoming report tracks P2 results at U.S. public agencies
The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange collaborate on an ambitious effort to grow and maintain a national database of P2 Results. The database focuses on a variety of measures with a goal to document the efforts of some 90 U.S. government agencies and technical assistance providers to improve environmental performance. Such efforts include activities by government and technical assistance providers; behavior changes by industry; reductions in waste, energy consumption and water usage; and economic gains achieved through these activities. The tri-annual NPPR report of these results is to be released next month during National P2 week. Source: GreenBiz, 8/20/14

Water Utilities Are Starting to Take Their Own Conservation Advice
Wastewater treatment plants are often the biggest consumers of electricity in their areas. Gresham, Ore., and Washington, D.C., are making moves to change that. Source: Governing, August 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Illinois coal plant owners say they've done their part
Owners of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants in Illinois told regulators Monday that they should look to other generators to reduce the state's carbon footprint. Source: Chicago Tribune, 8/19/14

Thursday, August 14, 2014
Ohio farmers point to algae law loophole
Ohio farmers caught in the headlights of the recent Toledo water crisis are defending their voluntary efforts to reduce phosphorus run-off to Lake Erie. That runoff is the primary source of toxic algae blooms. But Ohio farm groups and environmentalists say a new state law that will certify fertilizer use doesn't go far -- or fast -- enough. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 8/13/14

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
The Secret to Real Sustainability
Truly sustainable decisions start with looking at the big picture. Source: Ensia, 7/22/14

Is Sharing Really Green?
Many have sung the sharing economy's environmental praises, but the evidence may not be there to back up their claims. Source: Ensia, 7/29/14

Manufacturing Goes Lean and Green
Manufacturers around the world are uncovering the environmental as well as financial benefits of lean approaches. Source: Ensia, 4/21/14

Copper foam turns CO2 into useful chemicals
Scientists at Brown University's Center for Capture and Conversion of CO2 have discovered that copper foam could provide a new way of converting excess CO2 into useful industrial chemicals, including formic acid. Source: Brown University, 8/12/14

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