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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, August 18, 2017
How Norway is selling out-of-date food to help tackle waste
Supermarkets selling out-of-date produce and apps that identify food at risk of being binned are part of an ambitious plan to slash the nation's food waste. Source: The Guardian, 8/17/17

It's Time to Tie Executive Compensation to Sustainability
Despite conflicting messages about climate change from U.S. government leaders, sustainability is getting more and more attention at American companies. Shareholders are ratcheting up their demands on environmental and social issues. Consumers are registering their concerns about how companies make their products. And talented Millennial employees are voting with their feet by leaving laggard companies behind. Meanwhile, new technologies are making it easier for sustainability investments to pay off in the middle to long term.

A similar phenomenon happened in the 1980s, when quality became a significant issue for manufacturers. Many of them responded by including quality metrics in their compensation incentives. These moves helped to focus executive attention and ensure that quality initiatives actually got carried out. Over the next decade, quality levels improved substantially. It's time for companies to start doing the same thing for sustainability. Source: Harvard Business Review, 8/17/17


Thursday, August 17, 2017
Algal blooms cost Ohio homeowners $152 million over six years
In a new study, researchers at The Ohio State University estimate algal blooms at two Ohio lakes cost Ohio homeowners $152 million in lost property value over six years. Meanwhile, a related study suggests that algae is driving anglers away from Lake Erie, causing fishing license sales to drop at least 10 percent every time a bloom reaches a moderate level of health risk. Based on those numbers, a computer model projects that a severe, summer-long bloom would cause up to $5.6 million in lost fishing revenue and associated expenditures by anglers. Source: Ohio State University, 8/17/17

Understanding alternative reasons for denying climate change could help bridge divide, study finds
Mainstream criticism of people who deny climate change essentially portrays climate skeptics as being out of touch, ignorant or somehow incapable of understanding the facts about climate change. However, an early look at ongoing work by a University of Kansas researcher examines alternative reasons for climate change denial, specifically economic, social or cultural influences on why individuals or entire communities remain skeptical of climate change. Source: University of Kansas, 8/16/17

Renewable Energy Prevented 12,700 Premature Deaths Over Nine-Year Period, Study Says
The expansion of wind and solar energy, and the resulting avoided emissions from fossil fuels, helped prevent up to 12,700 premature deaths in the U.S. from 2007 to 2015, according a new study in the journal Nature Energy. Source: e360 Digest, 8/17/17

In the complex world of sustainability, taxes are still certain
The U.S. pullout from the Paris climate accord -- an agreement by more than 200 countries to reduce their carbon footprint -- has created an air of uncertainty around environmental initiatives. One question making the rounds is whether countries remaining in the accord will impose energy taxes or levies on non-compliant U.S.-refined products, which could create a new tracking and reporting nightmare. Source: GreenBiz, 8/17/17

MPCA will place air quality sensors in every Minneapolis/St. Paul ZIP code
To get a better picture of how air pollution may vary across urban areas, the MPCA is starting a project to place new air quality sensors in all the ZIP codes of Minneapolis and St. Paul, thanks to a grant from the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. The sensors represent a new type of technology for measuring air quality and are smaller and less expensive to operate than traditional air monitors. Source: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 8/17/17

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Michigan Capitol going green with geothermal
The Michigan Capitol is going "green and clean" with a new geothermal heating and cooling system that officials say will be the largest of its kind at a state government building in the country. Source: Detroit News, 8/14/16

Society of Environmental Journalists announces winners of 16th Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment
The Society of Environmental Journalists is proud to present the winners of the 2016-2017 Awards for Reporting on the Environment. SEJ's journalism contest is the world's largest and most comprehensive awards for journalism on environmental topics. Source: Society of Environmental Journalists, 8/16/17

EPA Issues Guidance for New Nanotechnology Reporting and Recordkeeping Rule
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued guidance materials for the recently-issued TSCA section 8(a) Nanotechnology Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements Rule which becomes effective on August 14, 2017. This rule establishes one-time reporting and recordkeeping requirements for certain chemical substances when they are manufactured or processed at the nanoscale as described in the rule issued January 12, 2017.

The guidance reflects input received on draft guidance EPA issued in May 2017 and provides answers to questions the Agency has received from manufacturers (including importers) and processors of certain chemical substances when they are manufactured or processed at the nanoscale, as described in the final rule. EPA has incorporated public comments and included additional questions in the guidance.  EPA intends to update the guidance based on questions and input they receive.

If this general guidance does not answer those questions or other questions you have about the rule, please contact EPA and the Agency will answer these questions on a case-by-case basis.  EPA intends to add further questions/answers and update the guidance as warranted based on further questions we may receive. EPA's technical contact for this rule, Jim Alwood, can be reached at Alwood.jim@epa.gov.

Source: U.S. EPA, 8/16/17

Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Researchers creating warning system for toxic algae in lakes
Satellites in space and a robot under Lake Erie's surface are part of a network of scientific tools trying to keep algae toxins out of drinking water supplies in the shallowest of the Great Lakes. Source: Associated Press, 7/30/17

2017 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Awards Open for Nominations
The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable is accepting nominees for the 2017 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention (MVP2) Awards. The MVP2 awards are presented annually during National Pollution Prevention Week. National Pollution Prevention Week is the third week of September, September 18th -- 25th, 2017.

Applications are due September 8. 2017. Source: National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, 6/15/17


Thursday, August 10, 2017
New California law gives air quality officials the power to quickly shut down polluters
Local air quality officials are gaining new powers to quickly stop polluters when they endanger people's health under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday. Source: Los Angeles Times, 8/7/17

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