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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
CA: EPA honors Crystal Creamery for reducing waste from Modesto plant
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored the Modesto-based company for turning the waste into electricity and other byproducts. It presented the annual Food Recovery Challenge National Innovation Award, part of a federal effort to reduce food waste estimated at 37 million tons a year. Source: Modesto Bee, 1/10/17

Federal Register notice: Trichloroethylene (TCE); Regulation of Use in Vapor Degreasing under TSCA
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a volatile organic compound widely used in industrial and commercial processes and has some limited uses in consumer and commercial products. EPA is proposing under section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in vapor degreasing; to prohibit commercial use of TCE in vapor degreasing; to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors, except for retailers of TCE for any use, to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require limited recordkeeping. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/11/17

How The Thousands Of Cities With Dangerous Lead Levels Can Fix The Problem
The laws are on the books to make businesses fix the problem--we just need to enforce them. Source: Fast Company, 1/10/17

The expanding role of sustainability leadership
As the sustainability role moves into the wider business imperative, sustainability professionals have to understand the entire spectrum of the company's operations. It's no small task. Source: GreenBiz, 1/11/17

Obama in scientific journal: 'The trend toward clean energy is irreversible'
President Obama has long made a moral case for investing in clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, saying the United States and other countries must slash their emissions of greenhouse gases to stave off the worse effects of global warming.

But writing Monday in the journal Science, the president also makes an economic argument for a national policy that embraces renewable energy, rather than the renewed focus on fossil fuel production that his successor has promised Source: Washington Post, 1/9/17

Making a Case for Water as a Key Component in the Smart City
Water has yet to take a place in the roster of smart city regulars, but there's much that technology could do to improve water infrastructure. Source: FutureStructure, 1/10/17

Webinars on TSCA Title VI Final Rule Requirements
To support the Toxic Substances Control Act Title VI formaldehyde rule implementation, EPA is hosting several upcoming webinars that will cover the requirements of the TSCA Title VI final rule. There will be separate webinars specific to the different categories of regulated entities under the final rule and they will include a Q&A session with EPA staff. EPA will also host webinars for Accreditation Bodies and Third-Party Certifiers involved in the Third-Party Certification program on how to use Central Data Exchange platform to submit applications and reports to EPA. Source: Environmental News Bits, 1/11/17

NJ:Preventing the E-Waste Stream from Becoming a Flood
Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill to overhaul the state's e-waste recycling program, a step advocates say will ensure the safe disposal of old televisions, computers, and other electronic equipment. The legislation (S-981) is designed to put the onus on electronic manufacturers to bear the cost and obligation of recycling e-waste, which includes in many cases toxic materials such as lead. By most accounts, New Jersey's e-waste recycling program was nearing collapse, with old electronic equipment piling up around the state, including in many public works' garages. A couple of years ago, the market for e-waste declined, causing many manufacturers to cut back on what they picked up from towns and counties while reducing what they paid recycling vendors. That left counties and towns, which collect the material, with no place to recycle the e-waste. "This law clarifies the manufacturers' obligation and gives the state Department of Environmental Protection new power to act should the product makers drop the ball," said Dominick D'Altilio, president of the Association of New Jersey Recyclers, which lobbied for the changes. Source: NJSpotlight, 1/10/17

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
EPA Gives $3.8M to Help 19 Communities Plan New Uses for Former Brownfield Sites
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected 19 communities for approximately $3.8 million in funding to assist with planning for cleanup and reuse of Brownfield sites as part of the Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (AWP) program. Each recipient will receive up to $200,000 to engage their community and conduct planning activities for brownfield site reuse. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/5/17

Energy Department Launches New Manufacturing USA Institute Focused on Recycling and Reusing Materials
As part of the Manufacturing USA initiative, today the Energy Department announced its new Reducing Embodied-energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute, which will be headquartered in Rochester, New York and led by the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance. REMADE will leverage up to $70 million in federal funding, subject to appropriations, and will be matched by $70 million in private cost-share commitments from over 100 partners. Source: U.S. DOE, 1/4/17

Granting Petitions To Add n-Propyl Bromide to the List of Hazardous Air Pollutants
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing a draft notice of the rationale for granting petitions to add n-propyl bromide (nPB), also known as 1-bromopropane (1-BP), (Chemical Abstract Service No. 106-94-5) to the list of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) contained in section 112(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance (HSIA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) submitted petitions requesting that nPB be added to the list of HAP. In response to the EPA requests for additional data, HSIA subsequently supplemented its petition. Petitions to add a substance to the list of HAP are permitted under the CAA section 112(b)(3).

Based on the EPA's evaluation of the petitioners' showing concerning potential hazards, emissions, and atmospheric dispersion modeling that provided estimates of ambient concentrations of nPB, the EPA has determined that there is adequate evidence to support a determination that emissions and ambient concentrations of nPB may reasonably be anticipated to cause adverse health effects. Source: EPA, 1/9/17

Flint-Inspired Law Forces Faster Public Notice About Contaminated Water
Gov. Rick Snyder visited Flint Friday and signed legislation that will require Michigan communities to be notified much more quickly than Flint was about elevated lead levels in their drinking water. Source: Governing, 1/9/17

Falcons, Drones, Data: A Winery Battles Climate Change
Jackson Family Wines is among California winemakers employing both high-tech and old-school techniques to adapt to hotter, drier conditions. Source: New York Times, 1/5/17

Rain as a Resource: St. Paul Innovates Shared, Sustainable Stormwater Management
If you've ridden the Green Line in St. Paul lately, or this summer enjoyed a ball game at CHS Field in the Lowertown neighborhood, you experienced two new, innovative and complex infrastructure systems. The new systems use rain as a resource instead of letting rainfall and stormwater enter into area lakes and the Mississippi River, along with all of the pollutants that water collects. Source: MinnPost, 12/9/16

France bans pesticides in public green spaces
French children will soon be able to frolic in the grass without risk of intoxication. Pesticides will be banned in all public green spaces from Sunday while non-professional gardeners will no longer be able to buy pesticides over the counter. Source: Associated Press, 12/29/16

Tracking the Flint drinking water crisis
The city of Flint, Michigan, population 100,000, has been dealing with water problems since April 2014, when the state decided to switch its water source to the Flint River to save money.

Within months of the switch, pediatricians reported elevated levels of lead in their young patients. The city has since switched back to its former water source, but the damage was done -- and lead is still leaching from its aging pipes.

TriplePundit is tracking this story as it develops. Source: Triple Pundit, 1/8/17

Friday, January 6, 2017
80% of Companies Don't Know If Their Products Contain Conflict Minerals
Manufacturing used to be highly vertically integrated in the U.S. For example, Ford's River Rouge plant not only assembled cars but also made its own steel, glass, fabrics, power, and cement on-site. But since outsourcing has become an increasingly common approach to cutting costs, many producers now rely heavily on globally dispersed supply chains. For example, Apple works with at least 200 suppliers and 242 smelters and refineries across the world. There are similar stories in the electronics industry, pet food, pharmaceuticals, and even national security. It's no wonder so many consumers have no idea where their favorite brands come from. But are businesses any better informed than their customers? We wanted to find out. (Article by Yong H. Kim and Gerald F. Davis.) Source: Harvard Business Review, 1/4/17

Trending: Emerson, AT&T, London Startup Find More Creative Ways to Fight Food Waste
Food waste poses a significant risk to both food security and the planet, but new technologies and creative reuses of waste streams are pushing the food industry towards more sustainable, circular models. Source: Sustainable Brands, 1/6/17

EPA Exploring Revisions to RCRA Waste Handling Regulations for Retailers
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") is pursuing plans to address the unique challenges faced by retailers in complying with the waste handling regulations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA"). In particular, retailers must make hazardous waste determinations for a diverse and ever-changing lineup of products, and the "reverse distribution" process raises a number of compliance questions exclusive to the retail industry. The agency's initiative has been in the works for a number of years (since 2008), but gained renewed momentum when EPA released its Strategy for Addressing the Retail Sector under RCRA's Regulatory Framework last Fall. Given the goal of reducing regulatory burdens, implementation of the Strategy is expected to continue with the incoming Trump Administration. Source: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, 1/3/17

Here's why 2017 will be the year of the circular economy revolution
The circular economy has captured the imagination of brands, cities and innovators. Will 2017 be the year when the concept evolves from aspiration to profitable action? This article outlines four reasons why these circular economy investors believe this year will mark a shift from idea to action. Source: GreenBiz, 1/5/17

Addition of Natural Gas Processing Facilities to the Toxics Release Inventory Proposed Rule
EPA is proposing to add natural gas processing facilities to the scope of the industrial sectors covered by the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). This rule proposes to expand coverage to all natural gas processing facilities, which receive and refine natural gas. Natural gas processing facilities that primarily recover sulfur from natural gas are already covered by TRI. Facilities primarily engaged in natural gas extraction (e.g., exploration, fracking, etc.) are not included in this proposal. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/6/2017

EPA Recognizes Electronics Manufacturers, Retailers and Brand Owners for Making Electronics More Sustainable
Tomorrow, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will recognize leading electronics manufacturers, retailers, and brand owners for their significant contributions in diverting electronics from landfills. The winners will be honored during an event at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Electronic products are a global economic driver, with supply chains reaching around the world. By designing with the environment in mind and through a lifecycle lens, the product can be made to be more readily repairable and reusable, while toxic materials can be designed out of the product, which extends product life and facilitates recycling. In the spirit of innovation, the EPA is unveiling a new award this year: The Cutting Edge Award. This award promotes bold ideas that have the potential to make a huge impact on the future of sustainable electronics management across a product's full supply chain. It is designed to encourage life cycle thinking while creating ambitious and new ideas that have the potential to be game changers in addressing sustainability in electronics. Source: US EPA, 1/6/17

Thursday, January 5, 2017
Republicans can cancel some Obama environment rules. But they'll have to choose carefully.
Two bills under consideration in Congress, each expected to go to a swift vote, could help expedite the process of undoing recent regulations -- or even make it more difficult to pass them in the first place. Source: Washington Post, 1/4/17

Wednesday, January 4, 2017
It's time to stop overspending our freshwater budget
If freshwater is to remain a renewable resource, we must balance supply and demand on farms, in cities, in industry and in power production. Source: Ensia, 12/14/16

How does workplace safety and health align with sustainability?
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels reveals surprising connections, as well as where employee engagement comes into play. Source: GreenBiz, 1/4/17

Engineering rice to waste less fertilizer
Cutting rice's ability to pack phosphorus into its seeds wouldn't hurt the crop's nutritional value, but it could cut our need for fertilizer, along with its economic and environmental consequences. So a team of Japanese researchers decided to find out how phosphorus ends up in rice grains in the first place. Source: Ars Technica, 12/21/16

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