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Envirobytes - Archive

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EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Weeks Ending December 14, 2009 to December 25, 2009

EPA'S TRAILBLAZER AWARD HONORS LEHIGH VALLEY HEALTH NETWORK

EPA Region 3 Administrator Shawn M. Garvin recognized Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley Health Network with EPA's Trailblazer Award for reducing the organization's environmental footprint in a sustainable and economical way.  Lehigh Valley Health Network's methods for reducing its carbon footprint include an extensive recycling program; a green cleaning program; environmentally-preferable purchasing practices; LEED-certified buildings; rooftop solar panels; and its computer power management and conservation programs. EPA's Trailblazer Award recognizes hospitals for achieving sustainable practices that pave the way for other area hospitals. To find out more about the award and how EPA is improving the healthcare sector's environmental pollution, go to http://www.epa.gov/Region3/green/healthcare.html

EPA HOSTS VIDEO COMPETITION TO REDUCE CONSUMER WASTE

EPA is challenging filmmakers to produce creative videos (either 30 or 60 seconds in length) on the contest themes of reduce, reuse, and recycle, for submission through Feb. 16.  The video must indicate the steps individuals and organizations can take to minimize the negative environmental impacts within their communities by promoting efforts in reducing and reusing, recycling, composting, as well as consumption's effect on one's environmental footprint. Awards will be given to the top three videos.  (1st Place - $2,500, 2nd Place - $1,500, and 3rd Place - $1,000).  There is also a special “Student Winner” category in which 2 student winners (13 to 18 years old) are awarded $500 each.  For more information on the contest, go to http://www.epa.gov/waste/wycd/video.htm

COMPANIES ANNOUNCE PHASEOUT OF FLAME RETARDANT PRODUCTS

EPA negotiations and concerns have prompted several companies to announce a three year phaseout of decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE), a persistent and toxic chemical that has been used as a flame retardant in consumer and other products.  EPA considers the announcements a responsible step to protect human health and the environment since studies show that decaBDE persists in the environment, potentially causes cancer, may impact brain function, and can also degrade to more toxic chemicals that are found in the environment and are hazardous to wildlife.  DecaBDE is a polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). Find out more about PBDEs.  What EPA is doing to protect children from the harmful effects of PBDEs: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pbde/#agency

EPA SEEKS APPLICATIONS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNITY GRANTS

EPA is making $2 million available in 2010 to reduce pollution at the local level through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. This competitive grant program gives local communities a way to take action to reduce the toxic pollutants they face and the funding to address these risks. Applications for the CARE grants are due March 9, 2010.  EPA will conduct three Webcasts to answer questions from prospective applicants about the application process on Feb. 2, 23, and 26 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  CARE cooperative agreements are awarded at two levels. Level I awards range from $75,000 to $100,000, and Level II awards, range from $150,000 to $300,000 each. To apply, visit: http://www.epa.gov/care/ To learn more about the CARE program, go to http://www.epa.gov/care/basic.htm#Description

EPA ADOPTS STRONG DIESEL EMISSION STANDARDS FOR LARGE SHIPS TO CURB PORT AIR POLLUTION

EPA has finalized a rule setting tough engine and fuel standards for large U.S. ships, a major milestone in the agency's strategy to slash harmful marine diesel emissions. The regulation will lead to significant air quality improvements to port communities throughout the country and harmonizes with international standards. The rule adds two new tiers of NOX standards and strengthens EPA's diesel fuel program for affected ships. This action is a milestone in EPA's effort to reduce pollution from diesel engines under the National Clean Diesel Campaign and will bring attention to the communities near ports who suffer unduly from marine based port diesel emissions.  More information on the rule and coordinated strategy: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/oceanvessels.htm

U.S. EPA RELEASES ANNUAL ENFORCEMENT RESULTS AND MAPPING TOOL

EPA has released enforcement results for fiscal year 2009, and has a new Web-based tool and interactive map that allows the public to get information by location about the enforcement actions taken at approximately 4,600 facilities. The maps show facilities where civil enforcement actions took place whether for air, water, or land pollution, and a separate map for criminal enforcement actions. Viewers can click on specific facilities to find information about cases, such as violations and monetary penalties, and find out if a facility is located near water bodies listed as "impaired” because it does not meet federal water quality standards. The new mapping tool will provide the public with a clearer picture of EPA's enforcement activity nationwide.  More information on the mapping tool: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/endofyear/eoy2009/index.html

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