Feb 28, 2010

A polar viewpoint

demotivational posters

Cooling LEDs by heating the water saves on electricity

Another 'EcoHack' ...  swapped out his twin-tube florescent aquarium lights for LEDs. By running tank water through the aluminum LED mounts he's transferring excess heat into the water in the tank, in turn saving some of the electricity that would have been used to heat the tank. Couple this with roughly 35 Watts saved by moving away from fluorescent tubes and he's got a great energy-saving hack. The LEDs used in the last aquarium light conversion were cooled by heat sinks and fans.

'We'd love to see this concept incorporated into that design.' - HackAday

Coal Ash Waste Contamination Study – 31 New Water Pollution Cases

The case for the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to stop sitting on a delayed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) coal-ash site contamination rule is even stronger than it first appeared to be, according to a major new report from the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Earthjustice. The analysis by EIP and Earthjustice identifies 31 additional coal-ash contamination sites in 14 states, which, when added to the 70 in the EPA's justification for the pending rule, brings the total of coal-fired power plant waste storage sites with poisoned water to 101.
With data showing arsenic and other toxic metal levels in contaminated water at some coal-ash disposal sites at up to 1,450 times federally permissible levels, the EIP/Earthjustice report identifies 31 coal-ash waste sites where groundwater, wetlands, creeks, or rivers have been polluted with "wastes (that) contain some of the earth's most deadly pollutants, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, selenium, and other toxic metals that can cause cancer and neurological harm (in humans) or poison fish." The 31 sites are located in the following 14 states: Delaware (1); Florida (3); Illinois (1); Indiana (2); Maryland (1); Michigan (1); Montana (1); Nevada (1); New Mexico (1); North Carolina (6); Pennsylvania (6); South Carolina (3); Tennessee (2); and West Virginia (2).

U.S. coal-fired power plants generate nearly 140 million tons of fly ash, scrubber sludge, and other combustion wastes every year. The EPA has indicated that coal ash dumps significantly increase risks to both people and wildlife. For example, EPA's 2007 risk assessment estimated that up to one in 50 residents living near certain wet ash ponds could get cancer due to arsenic contamination of drinking water. Full Report
Source linked  From Shil Kennedy DocuTicker

Feb 26, 2010

Landowners threaten We Energies' attempt to build 90 turbines

Resistance from Columbia County landowners threatens We Energies' attempt to build 90 turbines for the Glacier Hills Wind Park.

Randolph resident Pete DeBoer, for instance, said the utility offered him $2,000 per year and a $5,000 bonus to a sign a contract waiving his right to sue if the sound from two nearby turbines exceeds 45 decibels after they are built. The utility will install equipment on his house to measure decibels.


"As far as I can tell, if you sign anything with them, they can come and go as they please on your property," DeBoer said. "It's about what they want, when they want it and where they want it.

"I told them no, and so far they've left me alone but I've heard they're harassing other people."

We Energies spokesman Barry McNulty said the utility is trying repeatedly to contact property owners, but only because representatives either are calling or arriving at homes to no answer. "It's a process," he said. "Sometimes it can take several months to try to get communication going, but I wouldn't call it harassment."

When the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approved the estimated $434 million Glacier Hills project in January, commissioners required the company build turbines 1,250 feet from properties unless the owners signed waivers allowing smaller setbacks. Commissioners also set a 45-decibel night noise limit.

...If landowners do not sign off on waivers or easements, Manthey said, We Energies still will find a way to finish the project. But, he said, there is no justification to local concerns the utility will use eminent domain to take the land. "We're not anywhere near that," he said. "We feel pretty confident about getting the turbines up and getting the contracts we need." Please read more and follow story at DailyReporter

Which Health supplements are SnakeOil? - interactive guide

BoingBoing isn't the only place trying out new design ideas today. Information is Beautiful has given us an exclusive preview of a new interactive infographic, designed to make it easy for anybody to parse the data on dietary supplements.
Each bubble represents a specific use—or group of uses—for a dietary supplement. The bigger the bubble, the more popular the supplement is, as measured in Google hits. The higher on the chart, the more solid the evidence supporting that particular supplement for that particular use. David from IiB reviewed nearly 1000 studies to put this baby together, using studies with large numbers of subjects or meta analysis of multiple studies whenever possible.

Much Awesomeness Guys!

Feb 25, 2010

DOE triples projections for Nation's Wind Energy Potential

Department of Energy Releases New Estimates of Nation's Wind Energy Potential for wind-generated electricity, tripling previous estimates of the size of the nation's wind resources. The new study, which was carried out by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and AWS Truewind, finds that the contiguous 48 states have the potential to generate up to 37 million gigawatt hours annually. By contrast, total U.S. electricity generation from all sources was roughly 4 million gigawatt hours in 2009. The estimates show the total energy yield that could be generated using current wind turbine technology on the nation's windy lands. (The estimates show what is possible, not what will actually be developed.)

Along with the state-by-state estimates of wind energy potential, NREL and AWS Truewind have developed
wind resource maps for the United States and for the contiguous 48 states that show the predicted average wind speeds at an 80-meter height.

A wind resource map of the United States. This map shows the predicted mean annual wind speeds at 80-m height (at a spatial resolution of 2.5 km that is interpolated to a finer scale). Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 m/s and greater at 80-m height are generally considered to have suitable wind resource for wind development. Click on a state to view individual state maps. Go to the Washington wind map and resources. Go to the Oregon wind map and resources. Go to the California wind map and resources. Go to the Idaho wind map and resources. Go to the Nevada wind map and resources. Go to the Arizona wind map and resources. Go to the Utah wind map and resources. Go to the Montana wind map and resources. Go to the Wyoming wind map and resources. Go to the North Dakota wind map and resources. Go to the South Dakota wind map and resources. Go to the Nebraska wind map and resources. Go to the Colorado wind map and resources. Go to the New Mexico wind map and resources. Go to the Kansas wind map and resources. Go to the Oklahoma wind map and resources. Go to the Texas wind map and resources. Go to the Minnesota wind map and resources. Go to the Iowa wind map and resources. Go to the Missouri wind map and resources. Go to the Arkansas wind map and resources. Go to the Lousiana wind map and resources. Go to the Wisconsin wind map and resources. Go to the Michigan wind map and resources. Go to the Michigan wind map and resources. Go to the Illinois wind map and resources. Go to the Indiana wind map and resources. Go to the Ohio wind map and resources. Go to the Kentucky wind map and resources. Go to the Tennessee wind map and resources. Go to the Mississippi wind map and resources. Go to the Alabama wind map and resources. Go to the Georgia wind map and resources. Go to the Florida wind map and resources. Go to the South Carolina wind map and resources. Go to the North Carolina wind map and resources. Go to the West Virginia wind map and resources. Go to the Virginia wind map and resources. Go to the Maryland wind map and resources. Go to the Pennsylvania wind map and resources. Go to the Delaware wind map and resources. Go to the New Jersey wind map and resources. Go to the New York wind map and resources. Go to the Maine wind map and resources. Go to the Vermont wind map and resources. Go to the New Hampshire wind map and resources. Go to the Massachusetts wind map and resources. Go to the Rhode Island wind map and resources. Go to the Connecticut wind map and resources.

Click on a state to view individual state maps. Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not have 80-meter wind maps available but have 50-meter wind maps.

More alerts for the month of Feburuary (good month for DOE ;-)
Read more at EERE

Waste Energy Generators HACKaDay - Much love

HackAday brings us another awesome 'EcoHack'
Looks a lot like the one I installed in my sons room for lighting (via heating duct ;-)

[Peter Wirasnik] has been casting his own aluminum heat sinks. He's working on capturing the heat from a car's exhaust system and turning it into electricity, kind of like the candle generator. In the photo above a standard heat sink is bolted to one side of a Peltier cooler with [Peter's] own casting on the bottom. That casting will connect to the exhaust pipe and transfer heat to the Peltier while the other heat sink keeps the opposite side relatively cool. What results is a voltage between 600mV and 1V. Please read, credit and spread the love from hackaday

Also see Energy recycling prosthetic foot:

At first, we thought that this energy recycling prosthetic foot was going to be a power generating device to harvest some energy using our weight in the heel compression. Actually, it is showing off a fancy micro controller based system for reproducing our naturally springy step.

These guys even hacked the "Steorn Orbo"

Reader [Hjhndr] ran across an interesting set of tests and wanted to know if they're brilliant or just a load of bull. We're not making the call on that, but the tests on a Steorn Orb motor replica are worth looking at.Keep in mind, people used to think the earth was flat and scientists of the time would have sworn up and down that's the way things were.

The Steorn Orbo is a motor that generates more power than is put into it. At least according to Steorn Limited that's what it does. An independent panel of scientists said otherwise a few years back but that didn't stop the company from showing off the concept a few more times, most recently a showing in Dublin ended this month.

So anyway, [Jean-Louis Naudin] took what he saw from those demonstrations and built a replica. He's made several papers about the principle as well as his testing available online. There's a lot of math, a little bit of smoke and mirrors, and several videos.  Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments

DOI Launches WaterSMART Initiative

The "SMART" in WaterSMART stands for "Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow."
    "The federal government's existing water policies and programs simply aren't built for 21st century pressures on water supplies," Salazar said. "Population growth. Climate change. Rising energy demands. Environmental needs. Aging infrastructure. Risks to drinking water supplies. Those are just some of the challenges." ... the 2011 budget proposed by President Obama for the Department of the Interior doubles the current enacted 2010 appropriations for water programs to move the initiative forward. It includes $72.9 million for the WaterSMART program, which is a total increase of $36.4 million over 2010. Read more from U.S. Department of the Interior

Linked from Shirl Kennedy DocUticker

Ultimate respect for electrical safety training

This footage was taken outside of Thunder Bay , Ontario.
These guys are checking hydro tower insulators.
Listen at the end for the three things he is afraid of... classic.

VIA email from Jim Crowley/Chip ;-)

Ironic my son and I were going over "electrical safety" for his school homework last night.

'no excuse for ignoring combustible dusts threat'

OSHA Quote of the day by Charles Adkins,
Fed-OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo.(pictured in Middle row)

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 "There is no excuse for the lack of attention to accumulation of combustible dusts in any mill or grain elevator, especially given our nation's history of such horrific combustible dust explosions resulting in a high number of employee fatalities."

Go to the full story in WDAF via Cal-OSHA

Feb 24, 2010

Webinar Focus on 40% of primary energy and 75% of all electricity sources

VIA LuxResearch (cost$???)

Understanding the Budding "Green Building" Market Register now.

March 10 2010, 11am EST

Nearly 40% of primary energy and a whopping 75% of all electricity flows to the numerous residential, commercial, and government buildings in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). The growing trend towards "Green Buildings" promises to slash the energy inputs used for temperature control and ventilation, lighting, appliances and electronics. Aside from clear environmental benefits, green buildings represent significant cost savings, however, payback periods are often too long for some segments of the market. Despite some hurdles, the market for green building related technologies and services is already worth tens of billions of dollars and it is growing rapidly on the back of energy cost and regulatory drivers, in addition to growing green sentiment.

Join LuxResearch's first-of-its-kind analysis of the key drivers, technologies and services in the green buildings area, and how they have penetrated and will infiltrate the market. Learn:
• What "green" technology is in the building equipment material and service segment
• What the pertinent technology and service categories are
• Which regions and technologies have the most favorable prospect for adoption
• What the market size and growth forecast is for existing and emerging green technologies
• What the ramifications are of green buildings on adjacent market and technology sectors

Register now

We know that workplace violence is preventable,

Cal-OSHA Quote of the day:
"We know that workplace violence is preventable, as has been demonstrated in California, Washington, New York and New Jersey, states that have strong workplace violence regulations."
Go to the full article in Baltimore Sun VIA Cal-Osha

Wisconsin places 'Silver' for highest gas tax rate in nation

VIA VisualizingEconomics

Ranking the state tax on gasoline from the lowest (Alaska $0.08) to the highest (Washington $0.375)

Data From The Department of Energy

EPA’s Proposed Air Quality Standards - 2010 Revisions

Source: Congressional Research Service (via DocUticker)
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed proposed changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone on January 6, 2010. The proposal appeared in the Federal Register on January 19. NAAQS are standards for outdoor (ambient) air that are intended to protect public health and welfare from harmful concentrations of pollution. By changing the standard, EPA would be concluding that protecting public health and welfare requires lower concentrations of ozone pollution than it previously judged to be safe. Under the proposed standards, as many as 96% of the counties that currently monitor ozone might need to take action to reduce emissions. The proposal would also, for the first time, set a separate standard for public welfare, the principal effect of which would be to call attention to the negative effects of ozone on forests and agricultural productivity.
The ozone standard affects a large percentage of the population: as of November 2009, 122 million people (about 40% of the U.S. population) lived in areas classified "nonattainment" for the primary ozone NAAQS. As a result of the standard's strengthening, more areas will be affected, and those already considered nonattainment may have to impose more stringent emission controls.
The proposed revision would lower the primary (health-based) standard from 0.075 parts per million—75 parts per billion (ppb)—averaged over 8 hours to somewhere in the range of 70 to 60 ppb averaged over the same time. Using the most recent three years of monitoring data, 515 counties (76% of all counties with ozone monitors) would violate the new standard at 70 ppb; 650 counties (96% of those with monitors) would be in nonattainment if the standard is set at 60 ppb. By comparison, only 85 counties have monitors showing exceedance of the currently implemented 1997 standard. Thus, the change in standards will likely have widespread impacts in areas across the country. (The counties that might exceed the proposed standard are shown in Figure 3 of this report.)
The proposed standards, when finalized in August 2010, will set in motion a long and complicated implementation process that has far-reaching impacts for public health, for sources of pollution in numerous economic sectors, and for state and local governments. The first step, designation of nonattainment areas, is expected to take place in the summer of 2011, with the areas so designated then having 3 to 20 years to reach attainment. The proposed standards raise a number of issues, including whether they should lead to stronger federal controls on the sources that contribute to ozone pollution. Current federal standards for cars, trucks, nonroad vehicles and engines, power plants, and other stationary pollution sources are not strong enough to bring many areas into attainment, thus requiring local pollution control measures in many cases.
EPA, the states, and Congress may also wish to consider whether the current monitoring network is adequate to detect violations of a more stringent standard. Only 675 of the nation's 3,000 counties have ozone monitors in place. This report discusses the standard-setting process, the specifics of the new standard, and issues raised by the Administrator's choice; and it describes the steps that will follow EPA's promulgation.

Source Shirl Kennedy of the DocUticker

Share your ideas with even more government agencies

So remember how the EPA is taking suggestions from average citizens? Turns out, it's not just the EPA... Anil Dash at AAAS, and pointed out OpenGov Tracker—the multi-agency dashboard that allows you to share ideas with everybody from the NSF to the DOD, and vote on other people's ideas.

Dash—who's working with the White House on this and other, similar projects—says that what's posted at OpenGov really is being read, and thought about, by the people in power.

NASA and Veterans Affairs are getting the most activity right now. Other agencies—like the Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US Agency for International Development—are low on public input. Maybe you've got something to say?
OpenGov Tracker is taking your ideas for the next 23 days.

VIA the Boing2 

Feb 23, 2010

Market remains gloomy for solar panels

A small, solar electric system can run a homeowner around $26,000.HTML clipboardhttp://www.kawther.info/Imasb04.jpg
Public grants can cover about $10,000 of the construction cost, but homeowners are on the hook for the rest because banks don't lend money to build solar panels.... The city of Milwaukee is trying to break the cycle with loans to homeowners for installation of residential solar panels. Borrowers would pay off the debt through an additional fee on their property tax bills.

If approved by the Common Council and mayor, the city loan program would start with $150,000 from a federal grant and give loans of up to $20,000 per project, said Alderman Tony Zielinski, the main sponsor of the plan.

"There's a good chance a bank won't even give them a loan for this,"

Please read full at DailyReporter

"Wild Fires" Not a natural disaster...

There are a lot of reasons for wildfires–climate and ecology, periodic droughts, humans. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, the "vast majority" of wildfires are due to human activity.

AP has an interesting website about wildfires from 2002 to 2006. Each year, most wildfires occurred west of the Continental Divide:

Many of these areas are forested. Others are desert or shortgrass prairie:

Many wildfires affect land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. For most of the 1900s, the BLM had a policy of total fire suppression to protect valuable timber and private property.

Occasional burns were part of forest ecology. Fires came through, burning forest litter relatively quickly, then moving on or dying out. Healthy taller trees were generally unaffected; their branches were often out of the reach of flames and bark provided protection. Usually the fire moved on before trees had ignited. And some types of seeds required exposure to a fire to sprout.

...In the last few decades the BLM has recognized the importance of occasional fires in forest ecology. Fires are no longer seen as inherently bad. In some areas "controlled burns" are set to burn up some of the dry underbrush and mimic the effects of naturally-occurring fires.

But it's not easy to undo decades of fire suppression. A controlled burn sometimes turns out to be hard to control, especially with such a buildup of forest litter. Property owners often oppose controlled burns because they fear the possibility of one getting out of hand. So the policy of fire suppression has in many ways backed forest managers into a corner: it led to changes in forests that make it difficult to change course now, even though doing so might reduce the destructive effects of wildfires when they do occur.

Given this, I'm always interested when wildfires are described as "natural disasters." What makes something a natural disaster? The term implies a destructive situation that is not human-caused but rather emerges from "the environment." As the case of wildfires shows, the situation is often more complex than this, because what appear to be "natural" processes are often affected by humans…and because we are, of course, part of the environment, despite the tendency to think of human societies and "nature" as separate entities.

View original at contexts.org

How Healthy Is Your County? Snapshot of Health in Each State.

Press Release: County Health Rankings—the first set of reports to rank the overall health of every county in all 50 states—were released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The 50 state reports help public health and community leaders, policy-makers, consumers and others to see how healthy their county is, compare it with others within their state and find ways to improve the health of their community.


Each county is ranked within the state on how healthy people are and how long they live. They also are ranked on key factors that affect health such as: smoking, obesity, binge drinking, access to primary care providers, rates of high school graduation, rates of violent crime, air pollution levels, liquor store density, unemployment rates and number of children living in poverty.

Other studies have ranked states on health factors, but this is the first time researchers have examined the multiple factors that affect health in each county in all 50 states.

Poorly ranked counties often had multiple challenges to overcome, including:

  • Two- and three-fold higher rates of premature death, often from preventable conditions.
  • High smoking rates that lead to cancer, heart disease, bronchitis and emphysema.
  • High rates of obesity which can put people at risk for diabetes, disability and heart disease.
  • High unemployment and poverty rates.
  • High numbers of liquor stores and fast-food outlets but few places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
Link via Shirl DocUticker

Feb 19, 2010

Public hearings on water protection for large livestock operations

From WDNR "Wisconsin has been the last state to use individual permits for large-scale livestock operations. By adopting general permits, we will be better able to make the most of our available time to protect public health and Wisconsin's lakes, rivers and groundwater," Stevenson says.

"Wisconsin has among the most rigorous permitting standards in the nation right now, and our proposed general permits have the same requirements," says Gordon Stevenson, who leads the Department of Natural Resources runoff management section.
Two such proposed general permits covering operations of different sizes will be the topic of public hearings statewide in March and April, and a public comment period through April 23, 2010.
Information on hearing dates and locations, and on how to submitted written comments, are available online. http://dnr.wi.gov/runoff/ag/permits.htm
...Under state and federal law, largescale livestock operations are allowed to expand and operate in accordance with a water protection permit, and it's DNR's responsibility to issue those permits and ensure that operations comply with permit conditions, Stevenson says.

DOE & EPA join to help Energy Efficiency Metrics in Data Centers

"The progress made in this agreement will also support the Department of Energy's broader goal of reducing industrial energy intensity 25% over the next 10 years."
HTML clipboardThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) joined with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry leaders to announce a breakthrough agreement on energy efficiency measurements, metrics, and reporting conventions for data center facilities.

The new agreement provides guiding principles for data center operators to gauge energy use and create opportunities for improved energy performance. By providing clear direction for data center energy management, the groups participating in the agreement hope to spur data center operators to improve their measurement practices leading to higher efficiency and reduced energy consumption.

More information on the agreement and its guiding principles can be found in ITP's February 1 press release.
Read full from EERE

Feb 18, 2010

DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP) pick up steam

EERE - DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP) announces the GTP Projects Database... the database allows users to access details for more than 170 GTP-funded projects.

Users can interactively search for projects by state, awardee, technology, partner, and more. Summaries provide details such as participants, funding level, background, objectives, and possible impacts on projects dealing with Enhanced Geothermal Systems, geothermal energy production, ground source heat pumps, innovative exploration technologies, and the National Geothermal Data System. Read more DOE geothermal here or visit GTP Projects Database

Rothschild questions for proposed $250 million biomass plant project by We Energies

Rothschild have a lot of questions about how We Energies' proposed $250 million biomass plant project will affect their neighborhood.

The community has not heard much about the project since representatives from the state and We Energies visited Rothschild in September to announce plans to build a 50-megawatt biomass plant next to Domtar Corp.'s paper mill, said Village President Neil Torney, who said the plant's burner would be built 1,400 feet from his house.

"There's a few concerned citizens who live near the plant who would, naturally, have a bunch of questions," he said. Torney said his list of questions is seven pages.

We Energies is sending people to knock on doors within a mile of the project to share information and gather comments, said spokesman Brian Manthey. On Saturday, the utility will hold its first project open house in Rothschild, he said.

We Energies planners, Manthey said, want to hear concerns before applying for Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approval in March or April so the designs can be changed to alleviate problems.

The project will supply jobs to the community and other economic benefits, Manthey said.

"Those are all good things, and those are real good community benefits," he said. "And we want to make sure that we are out there as well to address any issues."

He said the project will cut emissions from the site by 30 percent. After the biomass plant is complete, Domtar will shut its four gas and wood boilers because the mill will use steam from the We Energies plant, he said.

We Energies has opened discussions with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources over the state air and water permits needed for the project, Manthey said.

"I have confidence in the DNR as far as issuing air-quality permits," said Torney, "and also, our village will be very cognizant."

Read more VIA DailyReporter

“Where in the World Will Our Energy Come From?”

HTML clipboardFull "Presentation is Now Available!"
Nate Lewis "Global Energy Perspective: Where in the World Will Our Energy Come From?"

Nathan S. Lewis, PhD. of California Institute of Technology

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 1:30 pm PST
Sierra Hearing Room, 2nd Floor, Cal/EPA Building
1001 I Street, Sacramento, California

Announcement and Presentation can be viewed at cARB Website

Feb 17, 2010

Energy Regional Innovation Cluster picking up steam and funding

The Obama Administration is pledging up to $130 million for a multi-agency initiative that seeks to boost regional economies while making buildings more energy efficient. The plan will create an Energy Regional Innovation Cluster that will partner with local governments and building industry experts to reduce energy use. Read VIA EERE news

Haase - Hey that's funny isn't that the program I proposed for googles 10^ 100^ project 'ideas to save the world'?
"industry experts to reduce energy use." - Always happy to help ;-)

Wave power to hit the Big Kahuna

Ocean Power Technologies has deployed a wave energy device offshore from a Marine Corps base in Hawaii. If this and other ocean energy trials now underway globally succeed, the ocean could yield as much as 200 gigawatts of power by 2025, according to a new report. Read more at DOE 

New Cellulosic Ethanol Facilities Sprout Up in Four States

Commercial cellulosic ethanol plants are moving ahead in Iowa and Kansas, while demonstration-scale plants are now operating in Pennsylvania and Tennessee. The new facilities will help meet the new federal Renewable Fuel Standard for cellulosic ethanol.

Read full VIA EREE News

Big TSCA & Chemicals Management Policy updates

ACA Efforts to Address Pending Changes in U.S. Chemicals Management Policy:
New and aggressive legislative efforts at the federal and state level are anticipated seeking to amend longstanding policies with respect to management of new and existing chemicals, including critical coatings industry raw materials. To a large extent, the focus is expected to be on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), a 30-year-old statute that has served to regulate the chemical industry into the modern era. Read on here

EPA Publishes SNURs for 15 Chemical Substances under TSCA:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Feb. 1 published in the Federal Register a notice of promulgation of Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) under Section 5(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 15 chemical substances.
Full article here

DOT Publishes Final Rule Boosting Compliance Flexibility for Hazmat Shipments:

The U.S. Department of Transportation has published a hazmat transport rule to revise packing-related definitions, allow more flexibility when preparing and transmitting closure instructions, and clarify documentation requirements.
Please read full at paint.org

Wattbot Beat Launched today- clean energy. simplified

wattbot - clean energy. simplified

 Wattbot launched Public Beta today in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and New York City metro areas* giving personalized recommendations for solar electric, solar hot water, insulation, refrigerators and dishwashers.

...find out how you can lower your energy bills with this beta.

EPA "Area Source" Rules that May Impact Your Manufacturing Operations

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In the last several months the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized three area source rules that may impact coatings, ink, adhesive, resin, and chemical preparation manufacturing operations by requiring add-on pollution controls and work-practice standards to reduce hazardous air pollutants (HAP). HTML clipboard 

Read more at American Coatings Association

Feb 16, 2010

Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC) session with WebCast

DOE - The Obama Administration has announced a multi-agency funding opportunity to support an Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC). This pilot initiative will spur regional economic growth while developing innovative energy efficient building technologies, designs, and systems. Seven federal agencies released a combined Funding Opportunity Announcement (pdf - 787kb) making up to $129.7 million available over five years to support the cluster.

DOE and its interagency partners will host an information session on the E-RIC on February 22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. For those who cannot attend in person, there will also be a Webcast.

The Energy Efficient Building Systems Hub will be based at a university, DOE national laboratory, nonprofit organization, or private firm, partnering closely with local or state government officials, and leveraging existing expertise of local architects, builders, and manufacturers. With this specialization, the regional economy could support other businesses that address the full production lifecycle for building technologies and thus create more jobs. Training and education activities would help narrow the gap between the supply and demand for workers in these specialized fields.
For more information about this project, including details on the information session, please visit EERE

The demise of innocence online... 'child play or prey'?

Major threat to young children online... with web links to other tween games such as Hannah Montana, Bratz and Scooby Doo, the site has attracted the attention of children as young as seven. HTML clipboard

Quote from kids game developer: "'The contraceptives and morning-after pills are only one part of the game"...The more often avatars buy and use condoms and morning-after pills, the higher their IQ is rated.http://agapepartners.org/content_images/8/Internet%20Safety.gif

Far from the innocent online dress-up games on other websites, parent groups and child psychologists fear My Minx is pressuring children to grow up too quickly.

The website does not have any age restrictions, and even this technologically challenged journalist was able to figure out the pay-by-text system.

''This sort of site sexualises women, which can create negative body images, low self-esteem and unhealthy ideas about women's roles in society in terms of sexual behaviour,'' said Dr Dooley, the scientific director of ECU's Cyber-bullying and Child Health Promotion Research Centre.

''Some older children can assess such sites critically, while younger ones can just take it on board and normalise these ideals as their own.  Please read full at herald

Feb 15, 2010

U.S. military “Revolutionary” Portable Bacteria-Based Water Filter

Portable Water Filter is Super Efficient,

sustainable design, green design, bacteria water filter, design for disaster, humanitarian design, water filter, haiti, dod, afghanistan, department of defense, green design

The new bacteria-based water treatment unit, developed by researchers at Sam Houston State University and sponsored by Department of Defense cash. The filtration system is portable (it can be transported via truck) and purifies water in less than 24 hours — a marked improvement over standard waste-water treatment processes that can take nearly a month.

Read the rest from source inhabitat.com

Gyres Projects Search the Oceans for New Garbage Patches

sustainable design, green design, 5 gyres project, waste reduction, great pacific garbage patch, environmental responsibility, plastic ocean island

You may be familiar with the dreaded Great Pacific Garbage Patch — a massive soup of plastic debris, flotsam and junk floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Scientists say that ocean currents determine the precise gathering of the junk: the patch lies in the middle of a giant ocean gyre, or vortex in the sea. There are five major gyres in the world's oceans, and one group, 5 Gyres, is determined to search the remaining 4 for evidence of similar plastic island gatherings.

Read the rest of The 5 Gyres Project Searches the Oceans for New Garbage Patches

Feb 14, 2010

Tobacco-Free Kids - Save lives & billion$

Source: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

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By increasing cigarette taxes by $1 per pack, the states could raise more than $9 billion in new annual revenue to help close severe budget shortfalls, while also reducing smoking and saving lives, according to a new report released today by a coalition of public health organizations.

A national poll released along with the report finds that 67 percent of voters support a $1 tobacco tax increase. The poll also found that voters far prefer higher tobacco taxes to other options, such as other tax increases or budget cuts, for addressing state budget deficits.

  • Raise $9.1 billion in new annual revenue;
  • Prevent more than 2.3 million kids from becoming smokers;
  • Prompt more than 1.2 million adult smokers to quit;
  • Prevent more than 1 million premature, smoking-caused deaths; and
  • Save $52.8 billion in health care costs.

Link VIA Kennedy at DocUticker

Feb 13, 2010

Selling Off Nation's Helium Reserve is no Laughing Matter

From National Academies- Selling Off Nation's Helium Reserve Helium is used in applications ranging from medical devices such as MRIs to surveillance balloons for national security.  In the Helium Privatization Act of 1996, Congress directed the government to sell essentially all of the U.S. helium reserves by 2015.  A new report from the National Research Council finds that selling off the reserves has adversely affected critical users of helium and recommends that the federal government reconsider whether selling the reserves is still in the nation's best interest.

Considering the The United States' helium supply could be depleted in a decade, and Earth could be helium-free by the end of the century. according to an article in Science Daily. It quotes Dr. Lee Sobotka, of Washington University in St. Louis: 'Helium is non-renewable and irreplaceable. Its properties are unique and unlike hydrocarbon fuels (natural gas or oil), there are no biosynthetic ways to make an alternative to helium. All should make better efforts to recycle it.' (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a local article with quotes from Dr. Sobotka and representatives of the balloon industry.) On Earth, Helium is found mixed with natural gas, but few producers capture it. Extracting it from the atmosphere is not cost-effective. The US created a stockpile, the National Helium Reserve, in 1925 for use by military dirigibles, but stopped stockpiling it in 1995 as a cost-saving measure." (VIA-slashdot.org)
While the BoTHe Reactor might 'solve' the Peak Helium problem! I might call it the BoTHe Reactor - Boron Transformation to Helium - sounds more Alchemical (can't use the word transmutation though) and after a famous Physicist.

Biomimic Propaganda - you bought into it...


Nature as ideology
But in the end there is another hidden, largely unconscious, yet even bigger propaganda mechanism going on. Perhaps even the shrewdest political campaign managers are not really aware that political ideas sold using this kind of Biomimic Propaganda, simultaneously promote a very one-dimensional and romanticized notion of nature. Along with the promotion of ideologies, nature is being promoted as the sensible, harmonic, soothing, authentic, healthy, honest and beautiful force in life. The darker, more negative, side of nature is consistently omitted by the biomimic propagandists, as you can't sell your political party with diseases, death, hurricanes, floods, or other extremely crude, unpredictable and amoral qualities nature has to offer. 

Well, they sure look good on shirts. And we're very happy that the beautiful Animal Wallpaper designed by Karl Grandin
Nature itself is the most successfully marketed product of our time.

Please read more by Next Nature

Natural Gas Supplies Could Be Augmented With Methane Hydrate

Naturally occurring methane hydrate may represent an enormous source of methane -- the main component of natural gas -- and could ultimately enhance conventional natural gas supplies, although some technical challenges remain before commercial production is feasible, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Energy has made considerable progress toward understanding and developing methane hydrate as a possible future energy resource. From National Academies

Fire in the Ice Newsletter

OSHA booklet outlines hexavalent chromium standards

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently published Houtlining industry requirements for hexavalent chromium standards. Workers exposed to this toxic chemical can develop lung cancer and damage to the nose, throat and respiratory system.

Inhaling the chemical's fumes can cause allergic reactions or asthmatic symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath. Hexavalent chromium is used in pigments, metal finishing, wood preservatives and fungicides. Workers may also be exposed to hexavalent chromium fumes generated during welding of chromium metal alloys. Full Document
Link via Shirl Kennedy DocUticker


Happy Valentines Day

Feb 12, 2010

Clean energy bill lacks details & The OSHA report

Critics of Wisconsin's clean energy bill are calling for a sharper focus on specific job creation numbers and a detailed explanation of how much the proposal will cost.

"The cost is something we need to know and taxpayers need to know," said state Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon. "I don't think anybody's against green jobs, but I'm not quite sure how many there are going to be."

Fitzgerald joined state Reps. Michael Huebsch, R-West Salem; Phil Montgomery, R-Green Bay; and Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford, in sending letters this week to the secretaries of the state departments of Commerce and Natural Resources and to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin requesting cost and job tallies associated with the bill.

The bill, based on recommendations made in 2008 by the Governor's Task Force on Global Warming, is in committee in the state Senate and Assembly. The omnibus bill sets a course for Wisconsin's future energy consumption, establishing renewable energy goals through 2025 and requesting changes to state building codes and vehicle emission standards.

Read more and see the OSHA report at the Daily Reporter

Feb 11, 2010

WI high speed Rail may be the model of unsustainable

Lets make it clear that this kind of money could make Wisconsin nearly energy independent and fiscally sustainable creating 10,000 of jobs.

Highspeed rail will not...
"long-term drain on state transportation money," in a state currently crippled by transportation overspending.

HTML clipboardState legislators want hard figures on the annual cost of running a Madison-to-Milwaukee high-speed rail line before approving construction.
That is unlikely to happen.

People around the country are asking the same question about operating costs for rail lines, said Laura Kliewer, director of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission. There really isn't an answer, she said, because the federal government did not start investing large amounts of money into high-speed rail until 2009.

...Gov. Jim Doyle this week asked the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance to approve the state's acceptance of $810 million to build a Madison-to-Milwaukee high-speed rail line. The cost of operating the trains would come from the state transportation budget, said Chris Klein, executive assistant to Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi.


The state came up with a rough estimate of operating costs when it applied for the money, but the actual cost is unknown, Klein said. The estimate — $8.2 million annually in 2013 dollars — is preliminary and based on the cost of running Amtrak trains from Milwaukee to Chicago.

But finance committee member Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, said she will not support accepting the money until she gets firm numbers.

"I want a definite, credible evaluation of our obligation — the pluses and the minuses, the ridership, and the costs and how all of this works — on a spreadsheet," she said. 

"I can't believe we are even having this discussion," she said, "without even knowing what we are talking about."

Please read full at DailyReporter