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EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Week Ending September 18, 2009 

EPA LIGHTS UP THE NIGHT SKY SEPT. 25-26-27 ATOP THE PECO BUILDING TO PROMOTE POLLUTION PREVENTION WEEK

EPA Region 3 is undertaking a pollution prevention outreach to raise awareness that the effort to prevent pollution in the first place, saves money and protects the environment in the long run.  The pollution prevention message will light up the night sky in Philadelphia on the recently installed, energy-efficient LED "Crown Lights" atop the PECO Building (2301 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa.) and can be viewed at night Sept. 25-26-27. EPA is also challenging the public to participate in its "Pick 5" campaign (available online) which challenges the public to pick five out of 10 pollution prevention challenges and commit to carry them out to make a difference in the environment.  (examples:  testing your home for radon, ecycling, saving electricity, using less water, commuting without polluting).  Register to pick 5 via the region's homepage for this challenge at www.epa.gov/region03 or at the P2 Web site http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/p2/index.htm

PENNSYLVANIA CHURCH WINS ENERGY STAR AWARD

The Energy Star Small Business and Congregation Awards announced that the Swarthmore (Pa.) Presbyterian Church, one of eleven organizations nationwide (and one of four congregations) have won recognition in the effort to fight climate change through the Energy Star for Congregations program.  By undergoing Energy Star standard improvements in their heating and air conditioning systems, acquisition of Energy Star appliances and energy efficient lighting, and enhancing public awareness with a "Green Christianity" speaker series, the church is saving more than $30,000 each year in energy costs. This more than 86,500 kWh and almost 11,000 therms of natural gas per year represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 19 homes. Learn more about the program and winners, at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=small_business.sb_congregations and http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=sb_success.congregations_winners

GREEN POWER PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCES ITS RENEWABLE ENERGY LEADERS IN REGION 3

EPA's Green Power Partnership recognized its annual Leadership Award winners for their effort to fight climate change and reduce conventional electricity use through the purchase of green power (solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro).  Two mid-Atlantic region based organizations: Maryland-based real estate firm Foulger-Pratt Management, Inc. and the Western Pennsylvania Energy Consortium (WPEC) received awards for their sizeable purchases of renewable energy.  In 2009, Foulger-Pratt Management purchased more than 34 million kilowatt-hours of wind-derived renewable energy certificates to power 74 percent of its facilities. During 2009, WPEC plans to increase its use of green power to 15 percent/annual electricity needs to assist the consortium reach its goal of reducing its 2003 greenhouse gas emissions level by 20 percent by 2023.    For more information, go to www.epa.gov/greenpower/awards

BUCKS COUNTY ECO-INDUSTRIAL PARK AND TWO TENANTS JOIN EPA PROGRAM

EPA's mid-Atlantic region welcomed three new members to its Sustainability Partnership including U.S. Steel Corporation's Keystone Industrial Port Complex (KIPC), the developer of the industrial complex and brownfield.  The Sustainability Partnership helps organizations that expend large quantities of energy, water, and natural resources, providing them with cost-effective ways to save money and minimize any adverse affects on the environment in their redevelopment/cleanup efforts.  KIPC's two tenants: AE Polysilicon and Abington Reldan Metals have joined the program, joining other eco-based tenants. AE Polysilicon develops materials for use in the production of solar energy; and Abington Reldan Metals reclaims metals used in computers and electronics that otherwise become toxic waste. Partners will receive EPA assistance to implement sustainability plans and voluntary programs, collecting data, and will benefit from reduced purchasing, disposal costs and improved operating efficiency.  For more information, go to www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/spp/index.html.

VOLUNTARY INITIATIVE HELPS CITIES REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

EPA's sustainable skylines partnership initiative (SSI) is a voluntary program that assists organizations to partner with cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.  Specifically, any agency, company, or organization with a service, expertise, product, or needed resources that can help member cities reduce emissions, or who commit to improve their environmental footprint, may apply as a national partner.  EPA offers assistance (technical support, training, funding) to help communities achieve the project objectives by identifying local issues, building partnerships, and providing technical expertise and resources.  Benefits include cost savings, tax advantages, and recognition.  For more information, go to  http://www.epa.gov/sustainableskylines/ssipartners.html#npp

EPA PLANS TO REVISE 2008 NATIONAL OZONE STANDARDS

EPA announced the agency is considering revising the 2008 national ozone standards (both the primary and secondary ozone standards) to ensure they are scientifically sound and protective of human health and to cut healthcare costs and make cities healthier and safer places.  The primary air quality standards protect public health (including the health of sensitive groups such as asthmatics, children and the elderly), and the secondary standards protect public welfare and the environment, (including against visibility impairment, damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings).  The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review the national standards for ozone and scientific information every five years. The Agency will propose any revisions to the ozone standards by December 2009 and will issue a final decision by August 2010. 

EPA RELEASES PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR SURFACE COAL MINING PERMIT REVIEWS

EPA announced on Sept. 11 that it has identified 79 proposed surface coal-mining projects in the Appalachian states for further, detailed reviews of their pending permits. "Release of this preliminary list is the first step in a process to assure that the environmental concerns raised by the 79 permit applications are addressed and that permits issued are protective of water quality and affected ecosystems," said former EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. The Corps and EPA will work together during this review process to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act and the protection of this nation's public health and environment. The list will be available for public review for the next two weeks (9/14 - 9/25) and a final list will be published and provided to the Corps of Engineers to begin the next review phase.  For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/guidance/mining-screening.html and EPA's initial list (PDF)

EPA REVISES RULES FOR WASTEWATER DISCHARGES FROM POWER PLANTS

EPA plans to revise the existing standards for water discharges from coal-fired power plants to reduce pollution and better protect the nation's water. Wastewater discharged from coal ash ponds, air pollution control equipment, and other equipment at power plants can contaminate drinking water sources, cause fish and other wildlife to die and cause other detrimental environmental effects. Once the new rule for electric power plants is finalized, EPA and states would incorporate the new standards into wastewater discharge permits.  More information about EPA's study is provided in an interim report published in August 2008 with a final study to be published later this year. For more information on wastewater discharges from power plants, go to http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/guide/steam/

EPA/DOT PROPOSE NATIONAL PROGRAM TO IMPROVE FUEL ECONOMY AND REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES AND ENERGY SECURITY

On Sept. 15, EPA and the Department of Transportation proposed a national program that would increase fuel economy by approximately five percent every year; reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 950 million metric tons, save the average car buyer more than $3,000 in fuel costs, and conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil. Under the proposed program (which covers model years 2012 through 2016), automobile manufacturers would build a single, light-duty national fleet that satisfies all federal requirements as well as the standards of California and other states. EPA and the NHTSA (National Highway and Traffic Safety Adm.) are providing a 60-day comment period beginning with publication of the proposal in the Federal Register. The proposal and how to submit comments:  http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm for EPA, and http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/portal/site/nhtsa/menuitem.43ac99aefa80569eea57529cdba046a0/ for NHTSA.

REPORT: RECYCLING AND LAND REUSE PRACTICES CAN HELP FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

A report states that there is a potential to reduce the nation's greenhouse gases through recycling, waste reduction, smart growth, and reuse of formerly contaminated sites including brownfields, and suggests that land management and materials management approaches should be part of the nation's toolbox to meet the 83 percent reduction target in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  EPA's report "Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Materials and Land Management Practices" finds that 42 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are influenced by materials management policies including the impacts from extracting raw materials, food processing, and manufacturing, transporting, and disposing of products. Another 16 to 20 percent of emissions are associated with land management including emissions from passenger transportation, construction, and from lost vegetation when greenfields are cleared for development. The equivalent of 13 percent of U.S. emissions absorbed by soil and vegetation can also be protected or enhanced through these policies. More information on the report: http://www.epa.gov/oswer/publication.htm

EPA ANNOUNCED NEW STANDARDS FOR AIR TOXICS EMISSIONS FROM MEDICAL WASTE INCINERATORS NATIONWIDE

About 50 medical waste incinerators nationwide will have to reduce their air pollution under new regulations announced by EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. The new rules require better monitoring and tighter emissions limits to reduce toxic pollution from burning medical waste by 390,000 pounds annually.  Medical waste incinerator emissions is a particularly toxic mix of dioxins/furans, heavy metals (lead, cadmium, and mercury), acid gases and other contaminants from the burning of biological waste, needles, plastic gloves, batteries and many other items.  Based on Region 3's current source inventory, 13 facilities located in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia will be affected by the new rules, expected to be published in the Federal Register within the next two weeks.  Details on the new rules can be found at the following EPA website http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/129/hmiwi/rihmiwi.html

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