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Sector: california

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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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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Posted: April 23, 2014
Source: Reuters

With California facing its worst drought in a century, state officials have fast-tracked first-in-the-nation water efficiency standards for new toilets, urinals and faucets, an action expected to save about 8.2 billion gallons of water the first year while cutting energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The draft standards, released late last week, would prohibit the sale of appliances in California that do not meet proposed standards, which are expected to go into effect in 2016.

The standards would require that toilets use no more than 1.28 gallons per flush instead of the current limit of 1.6 gallons per flush.

They would limit urinals to a half a gallon of water per flush, half of what is currently allowed.

Lavatory faucets would have a maximum water use level of 1.5 gallons per minute under the proposed standards, down from the current limit of 2.2 gallons per minute.

California Energy Commission Chair Robert Weisenmiller hopes that California’s standards will serve as a model for other parched states and even the federal government as policymakers grapple with how to conserve water as climate change puts a dent in supplies.
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Posted: April 10, 2014

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced research grants to Arizona State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara to better understand the impacts of chemicals and nanomaterials throughout their life cycle—from design, manufacture, use and disposal.

“EPA is committed to understanding how chemicals and materials can affect human health and the environment,” said Lek Kadeli, acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “This research will advance the science of chemical life cycle assessments and provide tools to design safer chemicals, while enabling a healthy economy and safer society.”

Arizona State University’s research will evaluate the trade-offs between using nanomaterials to improve the functionality of consumer products and the potential risks to humans and the environment. The University of California, Santa Barbara’s research will develop an online tool to evaluate life cycle impacts of chemicals which industry, academia and other decision makers can use to make more informed decisions about chemical and product design.
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Posted: April 7, 2014
Source: Yale Environment 360

Researchers from the U.S. military are developing technology that would harvest solar energy in space and beam it down to Earth, according to the Naval Research Laboratory. Although the concept seems futuristic, the Navy is currently testing two prototype designs, both of which combine solar panels with electronic components that convert the energy to radio waves and transmit it to Earth. Eventually, engineers plan to use robotic vehicles to transport the panels to space and assemble them into a 1-kilometer wide satellite orbiting the planet. Theoretically, harvesting solar energy in space is more efficient than on Earth, because panels can collect sunlight around the clock and regardless of weather conditions. The U.S. military, currently the world’s largest oil consumer, is eager to develop the technology to save money on fuel and simplify military deployments. But the private sector also has plans for the technology: California utility company Pacific Gas & Electric plans to buy space solar power from Solaren within the next two years, and a Japanese company recently announced plans to build a 11,000-mile solar strip around the moon to capture solar energy.

Posted: February 25, 2014
Source: U.S. EPA

LOS ANGELES – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Center for Corporate Climate Leadership announced the third annual Climate Leadership Award winners in partnership with the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR). Nineteen awards were given to 15 organizations and two individuals in the public and private sectors for their leadership in addressing climate change by reducing carbon pollution. The University of California, Irvine has received an Organizational Leadership Award for its reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions at its campus.

“Today’s winners are champions in their communities because of the steps they’ve taken to reduce carbon pollution harmful to the environment,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We are proud to recognize UC Irvine for its leadership in fighting climate change.”
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Posted: Feb. 4, 2014
CONTACT: David Yogi, 415/972-3350, yogi.david@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Sacramento’s La Valentina building complex as the Built Projects winner of the 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement.

The National Award for Smart Growth Achievement recognizes communities that use innovative policies and practices to develop in ways that protect the environment, provide housing and transportation choices, and strengthen their economies. Seven projects will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on February 5.

“The winning projects show us that we can develop, grow local economies, and protect public health and the environment all at the same time,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “These projects also act as models for others, so they too can chart their own path toward healthier, more sustainable communities.”
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FRESNO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it recently awarded the State of California $174 million in federal funding to invest in water infrastructure projects. The California Department of Public Health received a $79 million grant for its Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the California State Water Resources Control Board received a $95 million grant for its Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The funding will be used for projects to control water pollution and provide low-cost loans for both drinking water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades statewide.

“In the last 26 years, EPA has provided more than $4 billion in funding for California water projects alone” said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator of EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “Without this investment at the federal level, many communities would not be able to satisfy Californians’ basic needs for clean and safe drinking water.”
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