News

Are you driving the right car for an oil crisis?

Posted July 29, 2014
Source: Fuel Fix.com by Amy Myers Jaffe

With further escalation in hostilities in Iraq as the militant group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) tries to lock down more oil and gas assets, it is hard not to worry that an oil crisis might be looming. Saudi Arabia has fortified its northern border with Iraq with more military hardware and troops while Iraqi oil industry sources report that Iranian forces were simultaneously moving into areas surrounding the Southern Iraqi oilfields, raising the stakes in a possible escalation in recent border skirmishes. At the same time, Moscow is doubling down in its support for rebel fighters in the Ukraine, intensifying its conflict with the West and increasingly the likelihood that energy trade with Russia will get disrupted.

So far, the looming global instability has not ratcheted up US gasoline prices which are generally hovering around $3.50 a gallon. But it might be a good time for American consumers to think about how well they would be positioned in an oil crisis.

The Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis (ITS-Davis) can help you figure out the answer to that question with a new web-based tool, EV Explorer, that allows consumers to compare simultaneously up to four different vehicles on an energy cost basis.
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Drought Forces Many Places to Figure Out How to Recycle Wastewater

Posted: July 28, 2014
Source: Governing.com
By Jessica Moulden

Overwhelmed by severe drought, the Oklahoma legislature passed a law this year to help communities make the most of their water resources by treating and reusing wastewater.

As drought spread over 80 percent of the state, Oklahoma cities expressed interest in reusing water but lacked clear guidance from the Department of Environmental Quality on how to do it. A bill signed by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin at the end of May directs the state agency to design a process for creating water reuse projects and to establish rules and permitting requirements.

“Oklahoma is challenged, not just today but looking down the road,” said state Sen. Rob Standridge, who sponsored the bill along with fellow Republican Rep. Scott Martin. “Water is turning into an extremely important natural resource. It’s hard to envision a plan that doesn’t require some type of reuse.”

Oklahoma is one of many states reusing wastewater to address water shortages. The practice isn’t new _ California began reusing wastewater in the early 1900s _ but it is increasingly popular as huge swaths of the U.S. struggle with drought.
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How to power California with wind, water and sun

Posted: July 28, 2014
Source: Science Daily.com

New Stanford research outlines the path to a possible future for California in which renewable energy creates a healthier environment, generates jobs and stabilizes energy prices.

Imagine a smog-free Los Angeles, where electric cars ply silent freeways, solar panels blanket rooftops and power plants run on heat from beneath the Earth, from howling winds and from the blazing desert sun.A new Stanford study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert California’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by clean, renewable energy. Published in Energy, the plan shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply in California that could create tens of thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars in pollution-related health costs.

“If implemented, this plan will eliminate air pollution mortality and global warming emissions from California, stabilize prices and create jobs — there is little downside,” said Mark Z. Jacobson, the study’s lead author and a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering. He is also the director of Stanford’s Atmosphere/Energy Program and a senior fellow with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy.
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New TRI Data Now Available!

Posted: July 21, 2014
Source: US EPA TRI

TRI – it’s your right to know. For more information about EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory: http://www.epa.gov/tri

The 2013 Toxics Release Inventory preliminary dataset containing the most current TRI data is now available.

You can find out:

  • What toxic chemicals a particular industrial facility is using
  • How much is being released into the environment
  • Whether the facility is recycling or treating any of the toxic chemical waste, or burning any of it for energy recovery
  • Whether a facility initiated any pollution prevention activities in the most recent calendar year

You can access the data through Envirofacts or downloadable data files on the TRI website. With the Envirofacts TRI Search, it’s simple – just enter a facility name, location, industry sector, or chemical name.

New to TRI? Why not get familiar with some common TRI terms before you start using the data? Or, you can explore a TRI facility to learn about how and where TRI chemicals are used in one type of industry.


Google maps methane leaks

Posted: July 20, 2014
Source: Nature News Blog.com

Google’s fleet of city-mapping cars are now working to measure urban natural gas leaks.

The technology giant’s collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), announced on 16 July, equips Google’s Street View cars with sensors to detect methane leaking from ageing city pipes, through city streets and into the atmosphere. The sensors were developed by researchers at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

The project has released online methane maps for Boston, Massachusetts; Staten Island in New York; and Indianapolis, Indiana. The team found thousands of leaks in Boston and Staten Island at a rate of roughly one per every mile (1.6 kilometres) of road driven, whereas Indianapolis’s roads are leaking only once every 200 miles (322 kilometres) — a sign of newer infrastructure.

These leaks are too small to be a health or explosion risk, but they are also a growing climate concern; methane is 86 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, over a 20-year period, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Massachusetts passed legislation in June that requires utilities to speed up their pipe replacement, and California is considering following suit.
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Roughly $80 Billion Wasted on Power for Networked Devices, Report Says

Posted on July 3, 2014
Source: Yale Environment 360

Click to Enlarge
Game console energy consumption

Energy consumption of a typical game console.

The world’s 14 billion online electronic devices, such as modems, printers, game consoles, and cable boxes, waste around $80 billion in electricity annually because of inefficient technology, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). In 2013, networked devices consumed around 616 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, with most of that used in standby mode. Roughly 400 TWh — equivalent to the combined annual electricity consumption of the United Kingdom and Norway — was wasted because of inefficient technology. The problem will worsen by 2020, the agency projects, with an estimated $120 billion wasted as devices such as refrigerators, washing machines, and thermostats become networked. Much of the problem boils down to inefficient “network standby,” or maintaining a network connection while in standby mode. Most network-enabled devices draw as much power in this mode as when fully active, the report notes. Using today’s best technology could cut energy consumption by 65 percent, the IEA said, and applying better efficiency measures over the coming years could save 600 TWh. That’s equivalent to closing 200 standard 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants, which would cut emissions by 600 million metric tons of CO2, the report says.


NPDES News: Pathogen FAQs Posted

Posted: July 1, 2014
On June 30, 2014, the Water Permits Divison in EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management posted a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to the NPDES web site: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/pathogenfaq.cfm

This set of FAQs provides an overview of NPDES permitting applicable to continuous dischargers (such as Publicly Owned Treatment Works) based on water quality standards for pathogens and pathogen indicators associated with fecal contamination.

These FAQs answer questions to help EPA, state, tribal and territorial NPDES permit writers understand implications of changes to state water quality standards based on the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC), published November 29, 2012.

The 2012 RWQC recommendations are for two bacterial indicators of fecal contamination – enterococci and E. coli. Section 304(a)(9) of the Clean Water Act directed EPA to publish new or revised water quality criteria recommendations for pathogens and pathogen indicators for the purpose of protecting human health. A pathogen indicator, as defined in section 502(23) of the CWA, is “a substance that indicates the potential for human infectious disease.” Most strains of enterococci and E. coli do not cause human illness (that is, they are not human pathogens); rather, they indicate the presence of fecal contamination.

If you have any questions regarding the FAQs, please contact David Hair [hair.david@epa.gov] at 202-564-2287.


TRI-related research: University of California, Los Angeles – Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Posted: June 27, 2014
UCLA students published Cal EcoMaps a website integrating TRI data with toxicology, demographic, ecological, and revenue data. Through this interactive map, you can find information on profiled facilities from four major industries in Los Angeles County. Each facility is assigned an Environmental Impact Score based on its percentile rank within its respective industry for five environmental impact indicators developed by the students.

To view the maps, environmental impact scores, and facility- and industry-level analyses, visit www.environment.ucla.edu/ccep/calecomaps


To learn more about our 2013-2014 partners and to read the selected proposals for the 2014-2015 school year, visit the TRI University Challenge website.


I-CAR Releases NACE Training Schedule

Posted: June 27, 2014
Source: Body Shop Business.com

I-CAR will offer multiple Professional Development Program (PDP) training courses during Industry Week in Detroit July 31 through Aug. 2. The program will feature some of I-CAR’s newest courses, including the 2015 Ford F-150 Structural Repair Training Course (FOR06).

I-CAR collision repair training experts worked alongside Ford Motor Company engineers during the 2015 Ford F-150 design and development process to create FOR06. In conjunction with I-CAR’s Welding Training & Certification: Aluminum GMA (MIG) Welding course, FOR06 also meets the 2015 F-150 training requirements for the Ford National Body Shop Program.

“I-CAR is thrilled to bring this lineup of training to NACE during Industry Week,” said Josh McFarlin, I-CAR director of curriculum and product development. “This is an excellent opportunity for I-CAR to reach industry professionals with some of I-CAR’s newest and most exciting courses available.”

The training schedule is as follows:
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EPA Proposes Approval of New Climate-Friendly Refrigerants

Posted: June 27, 2014

Proposal supports president’s Climate Action Plan by curbing emissions of potent greenhouse gases

WASHINGTON – In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to increase the options for refrigerants in the United States that offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer. This is the agency’s first action that addresses refrigerants under the Climate Action Plan, which calls on EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program to identify and approve additional climate-friendly chemicals.

Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, EPA’s SNAP Program evaluates substitute chemicals and technologies that are safe for the ozone layer. This proposed action would expand the list of SNAP-approved substitutes to include more low-global warming potential (GWP) alternatives that can replace both the ozone-depleting substances and high-GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

“Last June, President Obama introduced a broad set of initial steps designed to slow the effects of climate change, including reducing potent greenhouse gases,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This proposal is a great example of how businesses and EPA can foster innovation by working together to identify refrigerants that better protect our environment.”
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