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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Can Congress cut food waste? It depends on the success of this bill
For decades, the federal government has regulated how landfills operate, how air and water are protected and how dangerous sites are cleaned up. However, the federal government has yet to implement a national policy on how to handle food waste. The lack of federal guidance on food waste has left the U.S. with a patchwork of food waste solutions, with some states, like New Jersey, pursuing ambitious food waste goals -- while others seem to all but ignore the issue. Now with the introduction of the Food Recovery Act (H.R. 3444), a vision of what could become the first national food waste policy is taking shape. A similar measure was introduced in 2015, but did not make it out of committee. Source: Waste Dive, 8/14/17

New study: Corn's environmental impact varies greatly across the U.S.
New research from the University of Minnesota drills down to the county-level impact of corn production, connecting it for the first time to where corn likely winds up -- based on the facility-specific demand of large-scale U.S. corn consumers, which include meat and ethanol producers. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the innovative research reveals that the environmental impact of corn varies significantly across geographic consumption locations of sectors and individual producers. Source: University of Minnesota, 9/5/17

Hotel Buffets, a Culprit of Food Waste, Get Downsized
Though no good data exists yet about how much hotels or their buffets specifically contribute to overall food waste totals, the thinking is that hotels are an ideal place to raise awareness and change behaviors around sustainability issues, as they have for water conservation. Source: New York Times, 9/8/17

Monday, September 11, 2017
Measurement, Motivations And Opportunities To Waste Less Food
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality releases findings on psychological, socio-economic and structural drivers that contribute to generation of preventable wasted food in households. Source: Biocycle, September 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017
Unprecedented levels of nitrogen could pose risks to Earth's environment
Human production of fixed nitrogen, used mostly to fertilize crops, now accounts for about half of the total fixed nitrogen added to the Earth both on land and in the oceans, according to a new study by researchers at North Carolina State University and Duke University. Source:, 9/6/17

Drainage technology, cover crops help to curb nutrient loss
Farmers have a lot of questions about water quality. Researchers at Southern Illinois University are hoping to provide some answers. Source: Illinois Farmer Today, 8/19/17

Antidepressants found in fish brains in Great Lakes region
Human antidepressants are building up in the brains of bass, walleye and several other fish common to the Great Lakes region, scientists say. Source:, 8/31/17

Green your tailgating, no matter your school's colors
Make your next tailgate more environmentally friendly with these tips. Source: Earth911, 9/7/17

IDNR issues first fracking permit in Illinois
In a historic move, regulators from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Department of Oil and Gas Resource Management on Thursday approved the state's first fracking permit. Source: The Southern Illinoisan, 9/3/17

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Natural drainage: More bioswales coming to Waukegan lakefront
Waukegan's Sustainable Shoreline Plan received a $375,000 boost from a federal grant that will be used to construct bioswales -- drainage systems aimed at using nature as a natural filter for rainwater runoff -- along the Waukegan Municipal Beach parking lot and Sea Horse Drive. Source: Lake County News-Sun, 9/3/17

Potentially safer alternatives to BPA identified
NIEHS-funded researchers and colleagues have identified a group of potential substitutes for bisphenol A (BPA). These compounds demonstrate low potential for affecting estrogenic or androgenic endocrine activity, which means they are less likely to disrupt hormones produced by the body. Source: Environmental Factor, September 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017
Midwest researchers aim to make home energy management systems even smarter
In times of limited power availability, even today's smartest appliances may not be clever enough. However, a team of Midwestern researchers is hoping to devise a way to better align automated home energy management systems with what their users really want. Source: Midwest Energy News, 8/23/17

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