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EPA Announces Over $4.6 Million in Grants for Coastal Watersheds in Southeast New England
Friday, September 16, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $4,637,000 for eight grants focused on coastal watershed efforts in southeast Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The projects selected for grant funding are intended to identify, test, and promote effective new regional approaches in critical areas such as water monitoring, watershed planning, nutrient and/or septic management, and resilience to climate change. These projects are funded through EPA's Southeast New England Program (SNEP). Since its launch in 2014, SNEP's mission has been to seek and adopt transformative environmental management. Grantees have developed projects that share innovative solutions and foster collaborative problem-solving and new approaches. One of the goals of the Southern New England Program is to make connections across projects to ensure that restoration strategies are comprehensive and sustainable, that they are informed by input from key stakeholders, and that they are connected to the economies and enhance the ecosystem services that support coastal watershed communities. The program's geographic area encompasses the coastal watersheds from Westerly, Rhode Island to Chatham, Massachusetts, and includes Narragansett Bay and all other Rhode Island coastal waters, Buzzards Bay, and southern Cape Cod as well as the islands of Block Island, Marthas Vineyard, and Nantucket. -- (full text)

Secretary Jewell Approves Utility-Scale Solar Project on Tribal Land in Nevada
Thursday, September 15, 2016-- As part of President Obamas commitment to build strong, sustainable tribal communities and the Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and create clean energy jobs, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today joined leaders of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and First Solar to announce approval of the 100-megawatt Aiya Solar Project on tribal trust land in Clark County, Nevada. Secretary Jewells visit to Nevada was the last of a three-state tour to highlight Obama Administration efforts to support renewable energy. Located about 40 miles northeast of Las Vegas, the Aiya Solar Project is the third utility-scale photovoltaic facility approved for development on the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians Reservation. The project is the 60th renewable energy project approved for federally administered land since 2009 as part of a Department-wide effort to advance smart development of renewable energy on our nation's public lands. -- (full text)
[U.S. Department of the Interior]

SepticSmart Week, Sept. 19-23: EPA Urges Maintenance of Septic Systems to Protect Health, Environment, and Save Money
Thursday, September 15, 2016-- On Monday, September 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  in conjunction with federal, state and local government and private sector partners  will kick off its fourth annual SepticSmart Week (Sept. 19-23) to encourage American homeowners and communities to properly maintain their septic systems. More than 26 million homes in the United States  or one in five households  depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. If not maintained, failing septic systems can contaminate groundwater and harm the environment by releasing bacteria, viruses, and household toxics to local waterways. Proper septic system maintenance protects public health and the environment and saves the homeowner money through avoided costly repairs. By taking small steps to maintain septic systems, homeowners not only protect our nations public health and keep our water clean, but also save money and protect their property values, said Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for EPAs Office of Water. -- (full text)

EPA Awards $2.7 Million to American Samoa for Environmental Protection
Wednesday, September 14, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a grant of over $2.7 million to American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency for its environmental protection programs. EPAs funding enables American Samoa to pursue its goals of clean air, water and land, said Alexis Strauss, acting EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. We appreciate American Samoa EPAs work that benefits the island residents and their natural resources. ASEPA will use the funds to support air, water, and land inspections, monitor the safety of beaches and drinking water, cleanup sites contaminated by waste, improve piggery environmental compliance, monitor water quality, protect coral reefs, and respond to emergencies. -- (full text)

EPA Recognized Supermarkets Across the Country for Environmental Leadership in Reducing Potent Greenhouse Gases
Tuesday, September 13, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized 13 companies in the supermarket industry for their achievements reducing emissions of environmentally harmful refrigerants. Many of the refrigerants used by supermarkets are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change when leaked into the atmosphere. EPAs awardees are meeting the goals of the Presidents Climate Action Plan by preventing refrigerant leaks, transitioning to climate-friendly refrigerants, and using advanced refrigeration technologies. EPAs GreenChill partners own approximately 10,800 stores nationwide, representing 29 percent of the U.S. supermarket industry. If supermarkets nationwide reduced the amount of refrigerant they leak to the current GreenChill partner average, they could avoid $169 million in refrigerant replacement costs while preventing the equivalent of 29 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, roughly equal to the annual emissions of about 6 million cars. -- (full text)

APA to Help Communities Address Climate Extremes
Thursday, September 01, 2016-- The American Planning Association (APA) received a $300,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations (NOAA) Climate Program Office to assist communities in addressing potential climate extremes such as high precipitation in a short period of time or extreme drought. APA will work on the two-year contract with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and climatologists from the University of Illinois and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Consortium. The project, Incorporating Local Science to Help Communities Plan for Climate Extremes, will help communities in the Great Lakes region incorporate available climate data into comprehensive and capital improvement plans. Very few communities currently use climate data as a way to prepare for potential consequences experienced from extreme climate events. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

EPA Addresses Arkansas Regional Haze Goals
Thursday, September 01, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is completing the process for a federally implemented clean air plan for Arkansas. The plan will reduce regional haze in Arkansas and Missouri to help meet federal Clean Air Act requirements. The announcement comes after several months of meaningful negotiations between EPA and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). All wilderness areas included in the plan have already shown some improvement in visibility, one of the major goals of the federal regional haze rule. The Clean Air Acts regional haze rule requires states to make progress toward achieving natural visibility conditions in some of the nations most treasured wilderness areas. States must submit plans for achieving these progress goals by reducing harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter. -- (full text)

California to Test Road Vibrations as an Energy Source
Wednesday, August 24, 2016-- The roads of California literally hum with energy. Why not use that to make electricity? Perhaps easier said than done  the cost of that energy could dictate its relevance, and theres very little information available as to the details of what such a system would be able to deliver. Nonetheless, the state has started the process of testing the idea to see if it could work at scale. The technology to make it happen already exists. Its called piezoelectric energy harvesting. Crystalline structures can generate a charge when warped  as road vibrations and other movements could do  and then transmit electricity to power everything from roadside lights to household refrigerators. -- (full text)
[Government Technology]

Yale to Host First Sustainability Forum
Tuesday, August 23, 2016-- Yale University will host its first Sustainability Leadership Forum on Sept. 2123. The Forum is indispensable for those wanting or needing to stay abreast of the major changes in environmental thinking in recent years, asserts the Forum director, Daniel C. Esty. The Forum will be a condensation of Professor Estys course entitled, Sustainability: Environment, Energy, and the Economy in the 21st Century. Professor Esty is the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy (YCELP) and former Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The Forum is designed for policy makers at all levels of government and from any country, public and private sector executives, and anyone who wants a better understanding of the full range of developing concepts, tools, and strategies essential to leadership in sustainable practices and policies. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Erie County Town Receives $172,000 EPA Funding For Green Infrastructure to Improve Water Quality in Lake Erie
Wednesday, August 10, 2016-- The Environmental Protection Agency today has awarded a $172,125 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to the Town of Evans, New York to fund green infrastructure projects to improve water quality entering Lake Erie. The town will use these funds to install rain gardens and bioswales, which are tracts of land designed to manage drainage, in Evans Town Park to reduce bacteria at the beach and prevent approximately 221,000 gallons of untreated stormwater from reaching Lake Erie. In 2014, the Evans Town Park beach was closed on 31 days of the 66-day beach season due to water pollution occurrences. Through this EPA grant, Evans, New York will use green infrastructure to prevent stormwater from carrying contamination into Lake Erie and closing public beaches to swimming, said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. -- (full text)

EPA Awards $4.5 Million to Advance Air Monitoring Technology
Tuesday, August 09, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced grants to six research organizations to develop and use low-cost air pollution sensor technology, while engaging communities to learn about their local air quality. Through these projects, scientists and communities will join together to develop and test new low-cost, portable, easy-to-use ways to measure air pollution, said Thomas A. Burke, EPA science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPAs Office of Research and Development. This research will provide tools communities can use to understand air pollution in their neighborhoods and improve public health. While recent advances in technology have led to the development of low-cost air pollution sensors, they have not been widely tested, especially under field conditions. These grants will help fund research projects that explore how scientific data can be effectively gathered and used by communities to learn about local air quality. -- (full text)

Federal Research Aims to Knock Down Two of the Electric Cars Biggest Hurdles
Tuesday, August 09, 2016-- The U.S. Department of Energy thinks it can solve two of the largest obstacles standing in the way of the electric car. Many experts have asserted that the limited range of modern electric vehicles and the amount of time it takes to charge the batteries are the primary reasons why they still make up a miniscule portion of the automobile market  less than 1 percent, according to HybridCars.com. But with a pair of research projects, the DOE is betting that it can more than double the energy density of lithium-metal batteries and dramatically increase the speed of charging. The energy density project  which Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will lead in conjunction with eight other research institutions  is called Battery500. Thats because the project is aiming to pack 500 watt-hours of energy per kilogram into lithium batteries, compared with todays average 170-200 watt-hours per kilogram. That means cars would essentially be able to travel 2.5 to 2.9 times farther without increasing the weight of their batteries. -- (full text)
[Government Technology]

City of Derby, Conn. Will Take Steps to Stop Sewage Discharges to Rives under EPA Order
Friday, August 05, 2016-- The City of Derby, Conn. has agreed to sign an order from the Environmental Protection Agency and to make changes to limit future sewer overflows. According to EPA's New England office, since June 2, 2011, on at least four occasions, the City discharged untreated sewage from its sewer system to the Naugatuck River or to the Housatonic River. The order requires that, in order to prevent future overflows, known as sanitary sewer overflows or SSOs, the City will re-evaluate and revise its operation and maintenance practices. An assessment done by the City as required in the order will evaluate the condition of its sewer system and operational practices. Based on that assessment, the City will create a plan with a schedule for putting in place infrastructure improvements and operational changes to limit further overflows. -- (full text)

U.S. EPA Co-Hosts Food Recovery Summit in Sacramento
Friday, August 05, 2016-- On Monday, August 8, Kathleen Salyer, with U.S. EPAs Office of Resource Conservation & Recovery, will be joined by state and national officials to highlight the importance of keeping food out of the waste stream. U.S. EPA will also be announcing a new tool for tracking waste and food recovery. U.S. EPAs first Pacific Southwest Food Recovery Summit supports the national Food Loss and Recovery Goal of cutting food loss and waste in half by 2030, with a focus on the measurement of food recovery programs. At the Summit, leaders in this field will highlight various food recovery issues, including measurement, food rescue to feed those in need, source reduction, mandatory commercial programs, and anaerobic digestion. U.S. EPA is co-sponsoring the Summit with the California Resource Recovery Association, and the event is being held as part of the broader California Resource Recovery Association Conference, now in its 40th year. -- (full text)

EPA Provides Partnerts $710K for Gold King Mine Response Costs
Friday, August 05, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding more than $710,000 to reimburse state, tribal and local response costs for actions taken in Colorado and Utah associated with the August 5, 2015 Gold King Mine release near Silverton, Colo. These funds include costs incurred for various activities associated with the release response, including field evaluations, water quality sampling, laboratory analyses, and personnel. EPA continues to evaluate state, tribal and local response costs and has reimbursed nearly $1.4M to date through cooperative agreements established with regional partners. Nationally, the agency has awarded more than $3 million in reimbursements, and $2 million in Clean Water Act grants. -- (full text)

Louisville, Colo., Banks on Future Solar Savings
Friday, August 05, 2016-- Solar energy continues to become a more prevalent source of energy throughout the U.S., with individuals opting toward clean power. In keeping with the trend, Louisville's City Council will look toward multiple agreements later this month where officials would commit to purchase 400 kW of electrical production from a Clean Energy Collective (CEC) solar array, and through a lease-purchase financing agreement with Alpine Bank and related documents with CEC for solar panels rated to produce an additional 199 kW of electrical production. City Council will vote on the agreements at its next meeting on August 16. -- (full text)
[Government Technology]

The Adirondacks: A Battleground for Conservationists and Development-Hungry Towns
Friday, August 05, 2016-- All across the Adirondacks, small towns and villages find themselves in a struggle for survival. With mining and logging jobs nearly gone, with businesses closing and with the population growing older, the towns are looking for any way they can find to halt the decline. Frequently, though, efforts to revive local economies come into conflict with concerns over preserving the park. The battle between conservation groups and pro-development town officials amounts to a dramatic test for a park long viewed as one of the countrys grand experiments in conservation. The most contentious battle these days between conservation groups and town officials concerns the future of the large Boreas Ponds tract, the most scenic and highly coveted parcel in a recent land purchase. -- (full text)
[Government Technology]

Officials Emphasize Commitment to Flint after Federal Emergency Declaration Expires
Wednesday, August 03, 2016-- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the State of Michigan and City of Flint reaffirmed a continued commitment to restoring Flints drinking water system and support for Flint residents past the August 14 expiration date of the federal emergency declaration. I want to assure residents of Flint that the city, along with our federal and state partners, will continue efforts to support Flints recovery after the federal declaration ends on the August 14, said City of Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. Filters, replacement cartridges and bottled water will continue to be distributed at no charge. Other support services that have been in put in place will continue as well. -- (full text)

EPA Report Tracks our Changing Climate
Tuesday, August 02, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a report that shows compelling and clear evidence of long-term changes to our climate, and highlights impacts on human health and the environment in the United States and around the world. The report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States, features observed trend data on 37 climate indicators, including U.S and global temperatures, ocean acidity, sea level, river flooding, droughts and wildfires. With each new year of data, the signs of climate change are stronger and more compelling, said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPAs Office of Air and Radiation. This report reiterates that climate change is a present threat and underscores the need to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and prepare for the changes underway, to protect Americans health and safeguard our childrens future. -- (full text)