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Energy Commission Approves New Standards to Save 38 Billion Gallons of Water
Thursday, August 27, 2015-- In response to the state's historic drought and to prepare for the next one, the California Energy Commission approved new standards for showerheads recently. The standards are expected to save more than 2.4 billion gallons of water in the first year and 38 billion gallons after full stock turnover in 10 years. The commission also voted to change the start date for the recently adopted standard for lavatory faucets. "Faucets and showers make up nearly 40 percent of residential indoor water use," said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, the Energy Commission's lead on energy efficiency. "We are hoping for the best, but planning for the worst in the face of the state's historic drought. It is clear that we need to push the envelope to save water and energy while also ensuring it makes sense for consumers and the marketplace." -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

U.S. Mayors Step Up As Key Advocates for Climate Change Action during UN Conference
Thursday, August 27, 2015-- A coalition of U.S. mayors and city officials announced recently that they will join the UN Conference of Parties meeting in Paris in December to showcase their cities' climate leadership and call for an ambitious international agreement that addresses our climate crisis and supports further action at the local level. This group of mayors, called the Local Climate Leaders Circle, includes mayors of Atlanta, Boulder, Chula Vista, Columbus, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, West Palm Beach, and councilmembers from Santa Monica and King County, Wash. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Opening of Sacramento Light Rail Extension Celebrated
Thursday, August 27, 2015-- The U.S. Department of Transportations Federal Transit Administration celebrated the opening of Sacramentos Blue Line light rail extension to Cosumnes River College, which will significantly improve transit options for residents traveling between downtown Sacramento and the growing South Sacramento corridor. FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan was joined at a grand opening by Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Sacramento Regional Transit District representatives, and state and local officials. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Interior Department Approves 485 MW Blythe Mesa Solar Project in California
Thursday, August 27, 2015-- As part of President Obamas Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution, create jobs and move our economy toward clean energy sources, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Bureau of Land Management has approved the Blythe Mesa Solar project in California. The 485 MW photovoltaic facility will be constructed in Riverside County and will produce enough renewable energy to power more than 145,000 homes in California. The Obama Administration is committed to expanding responsible domestic energy production on our public lands as we diversify our nation's energy portfolio and transition to a cleaner energy future, said Secretary Jewell. Working closely with industry and state, tribal and local communities, these projects not only provide clean energy and cut carbon emissions, but also strengthen local economies, generate good jobs and provide affordable, reliable, sustainable power across the West. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

New Executive Actions Will Empower American Communities to Ramp Up Energy Efficiency
Thursday, August 27, 2015-- The Obama administration announced new actions to bring energy efficiency to households across the country. To support these efforts, public and private organizations have committed to support the deployment of energy efficiency technologies in low- and moderate-income communities. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, as one of these organizations, has committed to providing assistance to utilities, states, and localities to advance energy savings in these communities. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Practice Greenhealth Releases its 2015 Sustainability Benchmark Report
Thursday, August 27, 2015-- Practice Greenhealth announced the release of their 2015 Environmental Excellence Awards Sustainability Benchmark Report, a detailed analysis of the achievements of the 2015 Environmental Excellence award winners. The report summarizes the sustainability achievements of 220 hospitals that are setting the standard for health care environmental stewardship. Available for download by Practice Greenhealth members, the report is based on the data covering performance in 2014. The report describes how industry leaders are successfully reducing their environmental footprint, achieving financial savings, and changing the culture of their organizations as they address environmental issues and opportunities in areas as diverse as Energy, Waste Management, Safer Chemicals, Water Reduction, Healthy Food, Green Buildings, and Climate Impact. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System Wins EPA Federal Green Challenge Award
Thursday, August 27, 2015-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System has won a Federal Green Challenge award for transportation. The Challenge encourages federal agencies throughout the nation to lead by example by conserving energy and resources, cutting waste, reducing pollution and saving money. The Minneapolis VA, a hospital providing a range of patient services, won the award for the greatest percentage increase in electric vehicles. The VA acquired four discarded or abandoned vehicles and repaired and repurposed them for landscaping and grounds maintenance, saving as much as 1,000 gallons of fuel a year. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

School Indoor Air Quality Assessments Go Mobile
Monday, August 24, 2015-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today launched a new mobile app to assist schools and school districts with performing comprehensive indoor air quality (IAQ) facility assessments to protect the health of children and school staff. The School IAQ Assessment mobile app is a one-stop shop for accessing guidance from EPAs Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Action Kit. The mobile app provides schools and school districts with an efficient, innovative technology integrated with proven strategies for addressing critical building-related environmental health issues such as ventilation, cleaning and maintenance, environmental asthma triggers, radon, and integrated pest management. -- (full text)

President Obama Announces New EPA Clean Power Plan
Monday, August 24, 2015-- On August 3, President Obama announced EPAs historic Clean Power Plan, a first-of-its-kind step to cut the harmful carbon pollution fueling climate change from our nations power plants. At the heart of the final Clean Power Plan are its uniform emission rates for fossil fuel power plants. These standards limit the average amount of carbon pollution released for every unit of energy generated  and the standards are now the same in every state for similar types of fossil fuel plants. Based on those standards, EPAs plan sets state-specific carbon pollution reduction goals that reflect each states unique energy mix. -- (full text)

Boston Receives Grant for Climate Change Preparedness
Monday, August 24, 2015-- Mayor Martin Walsh recently announced that the City of Boston has received $350,000 in funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to support climate preparedness in Boston, as part of the state's Office of Coastal Zone Management's Coastal Community Resilience Grant Program. The grant will support the Boston Climate Preparedness Planning Initiative, a project led by the city's Office of Environment, Energy and Open Space in partnership with the Boston Green Ribbon Commission. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Students Charged Up Over New SolarMax Technology University
Monday, August 24, 2015-- SolarMax University, which has made its debut at Aurora High School in San Bernardino County, is a forward-thinking career technical education program, developed through a partnership between renewable energy leader SolarMaxTechnology, Inc., and local education officials. The program seeks to equip youth with the job-ready skills needed to thrive in one of the fastest growing sectors of clean technology. SolarMax Technology selected San Bernardino County for the pilot program due to the areas relatively large high school dropout rate. According to the most recent statistics from the California Department of Education, more than 4,000 students failed to complete their high school education. While the percentage of dropouts fell to 12.2 percent, a 1 percent decline, the county lags behind other regions in terms of graduation rates. Company officials worked closely with educational professionals at the district and school level to shape coursework and study. Classes take place in the mornings and are embedded within the Aurora High School core curriculum. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

City Partners with Ameresco to Install LED Street Lights with Wireless Controls
Monday, August 24, 2015-- Ameresco, Inc., an energy efficiency and renewable energy company, announced that it has completed an LED street lighting and control project for the city of West Richland, Wash. The project team converted 1,097 high pressure sodium street lights to energy efficient LED luminaires and installed a wireless monitoring and control system. The new LED street lights are expected to reduce the systems annual electricity consumption by 61 percent, saving the city approximately $67,000 in energy costs per year. Under an agreement with the citys electric utility, Benton Rural Electric Authority, the lighting control system will enable the city to implement dimming strategies projected to reduce energy use by an additional 10 to 20 percent. The amount of the CO2 emissions reduction is approximately 527,481 pounds annually, which is the equivalent of removing 50 passenger cars from the road each year. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

DEQ Awards Grants to Protect Michigan's Great Lakes Coasts
Thursday, August 20, 2015-- The Michigan Department of Environmental Qualitys Office of the Great Lakes recently awarded more than $700,000 in grants to support coastal projects in several local communities. The federal grant funds came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide technical and financial assistance to local units of government for creative coastal projects. Follow the link to explore the funded projects! -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

EPA Grant to City of Baltimore Will Help Revitalize Properties
Thursday, August 20, 2015-- EPA announced a $200,000 brownfields grant to the city of Baltimores Sustainability Office. The grant will support efforts to assess brownfields sites potentially contaminated with hazardous substances so that they can be cleaned up and redeveloped. Baltimores Sustainability Office will focus the work of this grant on transforming brownfields into green spaces, including urban gardens and places for urban agriculture. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Mainers Urged to Sign Up for Free Disposal of Banned, Unusable Pesticides
Thursday, August 20, 2015-- The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestrys Board of Pesticides Control will team up with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to help Mainers dispose of banned pesticides or unusable pesticides. This free disposal program is open to homeowners, family-owned farms and greenhouses. Collection will occur at sites located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland. Governor Paul LePage is urging Mainers to take advantage of this opportunity to protect the environment and save money through this once a year collection event that highlights cooperation between government agencies. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

2015 Federal Energy and Water Management Award Winners Announced
Thursday, August 20, 2015-- The Federal Energy and Water Management Awards recognize individuals, groups, and agencies for their outstanding contributions in the areas of energy efficiency, water conservation, and the use of advanced and renewable energy technologies at federal facilities. Follow the link to learn more information about each awardee. -- (full text)

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Selects 23 Projects to Build Drought Resiliency in Nine States
Thursday, August 20, 2015-- Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López has announced the selection of 23 projects to receive grants totaling $5.2 million for proactive drought planning and other efforts to build long-term drought resiliency in nine states in the West. "The western United States has faced an unprecedented drought this year and will face many more water challenges in the future," said Commissioner López. "This funding will help the selected communities prepare for future droughts." Follow the link to learn more about the projects! -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

EPA Proposes Stronger Standards for People Applying Riskiest Pesticides
Thursday, August 06, 2015-- On August 5, 2015 the EPA issued a proposal to revise the Certification of Pesticide Applicators rule. The rule would help keep our communities safe, protect the environment and reduce risk to those applying pesticides. Pesticide use would be safer with increased supervision and oversight. The proposed changes will help ensure that the riskiest pesticides are used safely. EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for 90 days at regulations.gov under docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0183 once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. -- (full text)

Arch Coal Subsidiaries to Make System-Wide Upgrades to Reduce Pollution Entering U.S. Waters
Thursday, August 06, 2015-- EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice the announced today that Arch Coal Inc., one of the nations largest coal companies, and 14 of its subsidiaries under the International Coal Group Inc. have agreed to conduct comprehensive upgrades to their operations to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act. The settlement resolves hundreds of Clean Water Act violations related to illegal discharges of pollutants at the companies coal mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The state of West Virginia and the Commonwealths of Virginia and Pennsylvania are co-plaintiffs in todays settlement. The companies will also pay a $2 million civil penalty. -- (full text)

92 rural projects get USDA grants and loans to boost business
Thursday, August 06, 2015-- About $18.1 million in USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service loans and grants have been awarded to 92 projects, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday. The grants and loans will help support the start-up or expansion of rural small businesses, USDA said, and join more than 20,000 previous grants and loans to more than 85,000 rural businesses the Rural Business Cooperative Service has already awarded. "These funds will allow small and emerging businesses and the organizations that support them to get the financing they need to strengthen their operations, create jobs and expand economic opportunities," Vilsack said. USDA is awarding the funds through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, the Intermediary Relending Program and the Rural Business Development Grant program. See a full list of the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant recipients on the USDA website. -- (full text)
[Farm Futures]

US Surgeon General Visits Eastern Market In Celebration Of National Farmers Market Week
Thursday, August 06, 2015-- The U.S. Surgeon General stopped by Eastern Market on Saturday afternoon in celebration of National Farmers Market Week. Dr. Vivek Murthy came to see the Fair Food Networks Double Up Food Bucks program in action, which allows low-income families to use food stamps to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. Murthy stated, we need to make sure that wherever people are  whether youre shopping in a farmers market, a small retail store or at a big retail store  that fruits and vegetables are available at affordable prices. -- (full text)
[CBS Detroit]

ORPCs RivGen® Power System Delivers Power to Remote Alaskan Village Grid
Thursday, August 06, 2015-- ORPC is pleased to announce that its 2015 RivGen® Power System Demonstration Project in the Kvichak River at the remote river village of Igiugig, Alaska, was successfully deployed and is providing power to the local microgrid, significantly decreasing the community's diesel fuel use. Equipped with ORPCs latest technological advancements, the 25-kilowatt RivGen® Power System is designed to reduce and stabilize the cost of power in remote or "islanded" communities located near rivers and tidal estuaries. "We are thrilled that our RivGen® System is demonstrating a viable, renewable energy option for islanded communities currently dependent on diesel fuel to meet their local electricity needs," said ORPC President & CEO Chris Sauer. "We are indebted to our Alaska and Seattle-based project team, the Village of Igiugig, and the expertise of the local contractors who've proven once again that installation, maintenance and retrieval of the RivGen® System is absolutely do-able using locally-available equipment and vessels." -- (full text)
[Alaska Business Monthly ]

6 Things Every American Should Know About the Clean Power Plan
Thursday, August 06, 2015-- On August 3rd, President Obama unveiled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys (EPAs) Clean Power Plana historic step to cut the carbon pollution driving climate change. This article details the six key things that every American should know about the Clean Power Plan. -- (full text)

Entrepreneurs Celebrated at White House Demo Day
Tuesday, August 04, 2015-- On August 4th, President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Demo Day, showcasing entrepreneurs who have launched innovative businesses across the country. The event highlights a diverse set of entrepreneurs: people whose stories show why America needs to continue growing our innovation economy and make sure there's plenty of opportunity for everyone to succeed. -- (full text)
[U.S. Department of Energy]

EPA Report to Congress: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is Accelerating Great Lakes Cleanup and Protection
Tuesday, July 28, 2015-- During its first five years, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative implemented more than 2500 projects to improve water quality, clean up contaminated shoreline, protect and restore native habitat and species and prevent and control invasive species in the Great Lakes. That work, which began in 2010, is summarized in a new Report to Congress and the President. This project has produced unparalleled results, including delisting five Great Lakes Areas of Concern, protecting, enhancing and restoring over 148,000 acres of wetlands, coastal, upland and island habitat, working with the agricultural community to reduce phosphorus runoff, which contributes to algal blooms, and preventing new introductions of invasive species. -- (full text)

Infrastructure Management and Extreme Events Program
Tuesday, July 28, 2015-- The IMEE program supports fundamental, multidisciplinary research on the impact of hazards and extreme events upon civil infrastructure and society. The program is focused upon research on the mitigation of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from multi-hazard disasters. Community and societal resilience and sustainability are important topics within the research portfolio of IMEE. The program is deeply multidisciplinary and attempts to integrate multiple issues from civil, mechanical, transportation, and system engineering, sociology, psychology, economics, geography, political science, urban planning, epidemiology, natural and physical science, and computer science. -- (full text)
[National Science Foundation ]

Sixth Annual National Building Competition Kicks off Today
Wednesday, July 22, 2015-- For the sixth consecutive year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR program is hosting the National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings to help organizations improve the energy and water efficiency of their commercial buildings, save money, and protect the environment. More than 125 teams and more than 6,500 individual competitors are measuring and tracking their building's monthly energy and water consumption using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®, EPA's online measurement and tracking tool. EPA maintains a competition website (www.energystar.gov/battleofthebuildings) featuring a list of competitors and their weigh-in results, as well as tips and links to EPA's existing inventory of ENERGY STAR tools and resources. The site also features a live Twitter feed with tweets about the competition. -- (full text)
[U.S. EPA]

EPA Releases Updated Environmental and Public Health Indicators in Online Database
Monday, July 20, 2015-- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released updated environmental and public health indicators in an online database, making information about the current and historical condition of the nations environment and human health more accessible to the public. This is an online update to EPAs Report on the Environment. Users can explore 85 individual indicators-- on our air, water, land, human exposure, health and ecological condition-- using interactive graphs, tables, and maps, and download the data for each indicator. -- (full text)
[U.S. EPA]

White House, EPA Honor Environmental Education Award Winners
Friday, July 17, 2015-- The White House Council on Environmental Quality, in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recognized the winners and honorable mentions for the annual Presidents Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) and Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE). The 44 students and 27 teachers from across the country were honored at a ceremony at the White House for outstanding contributions to environmental education and stewardship. -- (full text)

U.S. Requires Arizona and New Mexico Plant Owners to Reduce Emissions at Navajo Nation Four Corners Power Plant
Wednesday, June 24, 2015-- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a federal Clean Air Act settlement with several Arizona and New Mexico-based utility companies to install pollution control technology to reduce harmful air pollution from the Four Corners Power Plant located on the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, New Mexico. The settlement requires an estimated $160 million in upgrades to the plants sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution controls. The settlement also requires $6.7 million to be spent on three health and environmental mitigation projects for tribal members and payment of a $1.5 million civil penalty. EPA expects that the actions required by the settlement will reduce harmful emissions by approximately 5,540 tons per year. -- (full text)