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When buildings compete, we all win
Friday, May 20, 2016-- Today, EPA is announcing the results of the 2015 Battle of the Buildings, a national competition between building managers to save the most energy and water. Our nations buildings play a vital role in public health because they can harm the environment and cause health problems. We are also announcing the return of the competition in 2016 as Energy Star Bootcamp, which will kick off September 1 and end on November 30. -- (full text)
[EPA News Releases ]

New Watershed Signs Remind Everyone to Protect the Great Lakes
Friday, May 20, 2016-- (New York, N.Y.  May 20, 2016) A new network of Great Lakes watershed road signs will remind people that the creek, stream or roadside drainage area that they just drove by is part of a system that feeds into the Great Lakes. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck and New York State Department of Environmental Protection Great Lakes Program Coordinator Donald Zelazny unveiled two of the new signs at a ceremony today at Beaver Island State Park in Grand Island, N.Y. The EPA, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Department of Transportation and New York State Thruway Authority are collaborating to install signs along major highways throughout the Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and St. Lawrence River basins to alert people who dont see the Great Lakes in their daily lives they have entered the Great Lakes Watershed. Work began in December 2015 to install 15 signs along major highways and will be completed in July 2016. The signs will say: Entering Lake Erie Watershed, Entering Lake Ontario Watershed, or Entering St. Lawrence River Watershed. -- (full text)
[EPA News Releases ]

Invasive Tree Pests Cost U.S. Communities $2 Billion Per Year
Wednesday, May 18, 2016-- MILLBROOK, N.Y. - Imported forest pests cause billions of dollars in damages each year, and U.S. property owners and municipalities foot most of the bill. Efforts to prevent new pests are not keeping pace with escalating trade and must be strengthened if we are to slow the loss of our nations trees. So reports a team of 16 scientists in a new paper recently published in the journal Ecological Applications. Dr. Gary Lovett, a forest ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and the papers lead author, explains, Imported forest pests are the most pressing and underappreciated forest health issue in the U.S. today. We need to act now to strengthen prevention if we are going to protect billions of valuable trees in communities and forests all across the U.S. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network ]

The SunShot Story: Challenging the Solar Industry to Say 'What If' Since 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2016-- Since 2011, the SunShot Initiative has bolstered the U.S. solar energy industry by funding innovative, cutting-edge technologies that have an immediate, measurable impact on reducing the cost of solar power in an effort to make solar electricity fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources, without incentives, by 2020. The program funds research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects that help the United States reestablish market leadership while improving energy security, strengthening the economy, and combatting climate change. Five years into the SunShot Initiative, the solar industry is already 70% of the way to achieving the SunShot goals, but the remaining 30% of this goal represents some of the toughest work ahead. -- (full text)
[Department of Energy ]

EPA Proposes Increase in Renewable Fuel Levels
Wednesday, May 18, 2016-- WASHINGTON  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed increases in renewable fuel volume requirements across all types of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The proposed increases would boost renewable fuel production and provide for ambitious yet achievable growth. The Renewable Fuel Standards program is a success story that has driven biofuel production and use in the U.S. to levels higher than any other nation, said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPAs Office of Air and Radiation. This administration is committed to keeping the RFS program on track, spurring continued growth in biofuel production and use, and achieving the climate and energy independence benefits that Congress envisioned from this program. -- (full text)
[EPA News Releases ]

New York High School Student Receives Prestigious Award for Developing Clean Drinking Water Project
Friday, May 13, 2016-- WASHINGTON  A Dix Hills, New York, high school senior has won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award for a project currently providing clean drinking water affordably to a community in Kenya. "On behalf of the agency, I am proud to announce Alexis DAlessandro as the Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability award winner for her work to protect public health and the environment said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development. This award is just one way EPA helps encourage and support the next generation of scientists and engineers to put their passion for innovation into practice." -- (full text)
[EPA News Releases ]

Cities Hold Key to Saving the Bees
Wednesday, May 11, 2016-- If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man. Despite this dire warning, sometimes dubiously attributed to Albert Einstein, Americas natural and commercial bee populations continue to decline dramatically, decimated by pesticides, pathogens, parasites, harsh weather, disappearing pollinator habitats, and climate change  all of which seem to be contributing to the mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. For Danielle Bilot, we dont have to be Einsteins to recognize that there are serious problems facing bees. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network ]

Communities Invited to Become SolSmart; Receive Recognition and Technical Assistance for Reducing Solar Energy Costs
Wednesday, April 27, 2016-- The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and The Solar Foundation (TSF) today announced the launch of the SolSmart designation program. SolSmart will recognize leading solar cities and counties as well as empower new communities to advance through no-cost technical assistance. A core component of the technical assistance program are the SolSmart Advisors, fully-funded temporary staff embedded in up to 40 communities to help each achieve designation. Communities interested in pursuing SolSmart designation, receiving technical assistance, and applying to host an Advisor can learn more and take action at solsmart.org. SolSmart is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. -- (full text)
[ICMA]

EPA History: Earth Day
Friday, April 22, 2016-- It may be hard to imagine that before 1970, a factory could spew black clouds of toxic into the air or dump tons of toxic waste into a nearby stream, and that was perfectly legal. They could not be taken to court to stop it. How was that possible? Because there was no EPA, no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act. There were no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment. -- (full text)
[U.S. EPA]

Superfund is Making a Visible Difference
Wednesday, April 20, 2016-- Thirty-five years ago, the Superfund program was created to clean up sites where hazardous releases have occurred or might occur. At some of these sites, there are potential long-term human health effects from contamination, such as cancers, birth defects, or respiratory issues. Contaminated sites can also cause long-term harm to fish, wildlife, and other natural resources if not addressed and managed. At other sites, the risk might be more immediate in the form of fires and explosions. By implementing the Superfund statute with the help of residents, and collaboration with state, tribal and local officials, we can restore these sites that threaten the health and environment of communities across the country. That is why we recently added five sites, and proposed adding an additional eight to the National Priorities List (NPL). -- (full text)
[U.S. EPA]

EPA Publishes 21st Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Friday, April 15, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 21st annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (GHG Inventory), today, which presents a national-level overview of annual greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. The inventory shows a nine percent drop in emissions since 2005, and a one percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 from 2013 levels. -- (full text)
[U.S. EPA]

Permission to Build? Why Well-Maintained Hazardous Waste Permits are Good for the Environment, Good for our Communities, and Good for Business
Tuesday, April 12, 2016-- We all know this principle: that which is built, also must be maintained. This applies to the houses and buildings we live in, the bridges and roads we travel, and the infrastructure that provides us reliable electricity and clean water. And it also applies to the facilities that treat, store, and dispose of hazardous waste  including the operating conditions and requirements at manufacturing facilities that also manage hazardous waste (treatment, storage, or disposal facilities). These requirements are maintained in their hazardous waste permits. -- (full text)
[U.S. EPA]

EPA Grant Will Help Central States Improve Air Quality
Tuesday, April 12, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $561,507 to the Central States Air Resource Agencies Association to help states collaborate on improving air quality. This group of nine states in the central U.S. will work on issues related to air pollution moving between states, and provide lower-cost training for state staff. -- (full text)
[U.S. EPA]

HUD and National Environmental Health Association Join Forces to Discuss Environmental Health and Healthy Housing
Friday, April 08, 2016-- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) today announced they are co-hosting an annual educational conference from June 13-16, 2016 in San Antonio to address today's pressing environmental health issues. The State of Big Ideas: Moving Environmental Health Outside the Box will include sessions on emerging issues such as Zika virus, preserving affordable housing through healthy home repairs, marijuana, climate change, the Flint, Michigan water crisis and more. -- (full text)
[U.S. HUD]

Department of Energy Announces 12 New Projects to Accelerate Technologies that Improve the Efficiency and Reliability of the U.S. Electric Grid
Friday, December 11, 2015-- The Energy Departments Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) recently announced $33 million in funding for 12 innovative projects as part of ARPA-Es Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES) program. NODES project teams will develop technologies that coordinate load and generation on the electric grid to create a virtual energy storage system. The teams will develop innovative hardware and software solutions to integrate and coordinate generation, transmission, and end-use energy systems at various points on the electric grid. These control systems will enable real-time coordination between distributed generation, such as rooftop and community solar assets and bulk power generation, while proactively shaping electric load. This will alleviate periods of costly peak demand, reduce wasted energy, and increase renewables penetration on the grid. The NODES program aims to create a new approach to management of the two-way flow of power to and from homes and businesses that consume and deliver electricity back to the grid. The resulting virtual energy storage will manage the intermittency of renewable energy, the lack of electricity production when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The expected benefits of these technologies include improving grid efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions in power generation, and significant savings of system costs. -- (full text)
[Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy]