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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
The Grand Calumet River -- Fighting its Way Back to Life
A combination of efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Indiana Department of Environmental Management had contributed some $52 million--including funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process--to revive the area in and around Roxana Marsh. Source: U.S. EPA, 7/5/16

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
The art of changing the climate debate
Scientific knowledge is vital but on its own will never change our environmental behavior. The key to that is to incorporate skills from the other side of the traditional science-humanities divide, say Trinity College academics. Source: Irish Times, 7/11/16

Why the next frontier for green building is manufacturing
Conjure an image of a factory and smokestacks come to mind. "Green" building isn't in the picture. But in fact, factories around the world are going green at a remarkable pace. Today, there are 500 million square feet of green factory space, including pace-setting construction, here in Chicago.

Why? Green manufacturing saves big money in the long run. Manufacturers do well by doing good. Source: Crain's Chicago Business, 7/12/16

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Ferroalloys Production
On June 30, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the residual risk and technology review (RTR) final rule, establishing national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for the Ferroalloys Production source category. Subsequently, the EPA received two petitions for reconsideration of certain aspects of the final rule. The EPA is announcing reconsideration of and requesting public comment on three issues raised in the petitions for reconsideration, as detailed in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this action.

The three issues the EPA is reconsidering and seeking public comment on are the following: the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) compliance testing frequency for furnaces that produce ferromanganese (FeMn); the use of the digital camera opacity technique (DCOT) for determining compliance with the shop building opacity standards; and the use of bag leak detection systems (BLDS) on positive pressure baghouses. The EPA is seeking comment only on these three issues and will not respond to comments addressing other issues or other provisions of the final rule. The EPA is not proposing any changes to the NESHAP in this document. Source: Federal Register, 7/12/16

Is Burning Trees Still Green? Some Experts Now Question Biomass
Although biomass produced more than twice as much electrical energy last year than solar panels, it still makes up less than two percent of electricity generation overall. Most electricity generated comes from fossil fuels. And now, some scientists and environmentalists are challenging the "renewability" of biomass. Source: NPR, 7/12/16

Study: Role of chief sustainability officers projected to shrink
A study by the consulting firm Verdantix predicts spending on consulting services by sustainability officers will drop 2.4% from $417 million this year to $369 million in 2021. Source: WasteDive, 7/6/16

Newly introduced federal bill would limit e-waste exports
Representatives Paul Cook (CA) and Gene Green (TX) have introduced the Secure E-Waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA) in an effort to reduce the export of used electronics. Source: WasteDive, 7/1/16

Mother Earth's Secret Weapon: Girl Scouts
According to a study in the journal Nature Energy, a program in which Girl Scouts were taught how to save energy at home had lasting results, changing the behavior of both the young ladies and their parents. What's more, many of these new habits remained seven to eight months following the training. Source: Pacific Standard, 7/11/16

The Difference Between Zero Waste to Landfill and Zero Waste
The zero waste journey involves a constant evaluation about materials choices and a strong commitment to eliminating waste, not just treating it. Source: Waste360, 7/12/16

Mattel Plans to Cut Utility Bills 40% Using Recycled Water
Mattel recently became a California water agency's newest recycled water customer, which will save about 2 million gallons of drinking water per year in the drought-stricken state. Source: Environmental Leader, 7/11/16

Friday, July 8, 2016
This Detroit House Is Being Turned Into A Living Model Of Cost-Saving Sustainable Design
Motown Movement will help residents find affordable ways to retrofit their houses and save energy (and cash). Source: Fast Company, 7/7/16

Thursday, July 7, 2016
Pig manure paves road to sustainable asphalt
Engineers are road testing their new swine bioadhesive as possible replacement for petroleum. Source: National Science Foundation, 6/27/16

U.S. and Canada Release Final Report on Groundwater Science
The 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement includes a commitment to publish a report on relevant and available groundwater science. In response to this commitment, a report that documents groundwater science relevant to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement has been finalized after considering public comments received over December 2015 to the end of January 2016. The report is a product of extensive collaboration among experts in a variety of subject areas and summarizes current knowledge on groundwater in the Great Lakes region. This effort was led by the Groundwater Annex Subcommittee. Source: U.S. Geological Survey, 6/13/16

Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Why 'aha' moments don't drive sustainability innovation
Innovation typically isn't the product of some random "aha" moment. Instead, it comes from a process that, if managed carefully, can engage employees, bring new opportunities, improve operations and create customer value. And employee-led innovation can catalyze positive change. Source: GreenBiz, 7/6/16

Vanishing Act: Why Insects Are Declining and Why It Matters
Insect populations are declining dramatically in many parts of the world, recent studies show. Researchers say various factors, from monoculture farming to habitat loss, are to blame for the plight of insects, which are essential to agriculture and ecosystems. Source: Yale E360, 7/6/16

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