Sector: california

Posted: December 5, 2014

26 communities selected nationwide for Local Foods, Local Places Initiative

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, on behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies joined to announce 26 communities selected to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative providing technical support to integrate local food systems into community economic action plans. Over the next two years, the project will aim to increase access to locally grown, healthy fruits and vegetables for residents while boosting economic opportunity for farmers/producers in various areas.

The Youth Policy Institute in Los Angeles, Calif. will receive technical assistance to create a community-supported agriculture program that can improve the health of low-income residents by increasing access to local foods, boost economic opportunities for farmers and producers in the region, and help revitalize distressed neighborhoods.
Read more

Posted: October 2, 2014

Agency highlights water conservation project in the city of Fresno, reducing water use by 25%

FRESNO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld announced more than $183 million in funding to invest in California for statewide improvements in local water infrastructure and the reduction of water pollution. Blumenfeld was joined by Fresno Public Utilities Director Thomas Esqueda, and other state and local officials for the announcement at an event highlighting $51 million in federal funding that was used to install water meters within the city of Fresno. The event was held at the home of Bruce and Amy Roberts, who participated in the water meter program.

“Water is the lifeblood of our communities and EPA is committed to working with our state and city partners to protect this precious resource,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Today’s funding will help create construction jobs, develop infrastructure and conserve resources as we deal with the challenge of climate change.”

The City of Fresno, through a zero percent interest loan from the state, used the $51 million in drinking water funding to purchase and install 73,152 water meters in residential homes in several neighborhoods. The meters help homeowners and the city easily identify how much water homes are using. The meters have an electronic device that helps the city obtain quicker and more accurate meter readings. Since the installation of the meters was completed this year, water usage in the city has decreased by 25 percent.
Read more

Posted: September 22, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded more than $335,000 to the University of California Berkeley and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control for projects to help businesses and manufacturers reduce hazardous chemicals in consumer products and to train a new generation of engineers, chemists, and product designers to use green chemistry for safer products.

“UC Berkeley and DTSC are exploring innovative tools and technologies to make consumer products safer and more environmentally friendly,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By promoting green chemistry during product design, companies can reduce costs, increase market opportunities and operate more sustainably.”

UC Berkeley’s Center for Green Chemistry received a $230,915 pollution prevention grant to create “Greener Solutions: an Interdisciplinary Safer Design Partnership,” providing student training in green chemistry and helping businesses reduce their use of hazardous chemicals. UC Berkeley will develop a for-credit course to teach 25 students per year in using green chemistry techniques to solve real-world business problems. Students will apply their green training to help five companies find ways to reduce hazardous chemicals and products in their supply chains. UC Berkeley will share innovations from these projects through training materials and pollution prevention case studies.
Read more

Posted: September 22, 2014

WASHINGTON – Today, EPA announced the availability of up to $5 million in grant funding to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing emissions from marine and inland water ports located in areas of poor air quality.

“Communities surrounding ports often face serious air quality and other environmental challenges, “ said Janet McCabe,  Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “By working with fleet owners to replace or update older equipment with cleaner technologies, we can find collaborative solutions that foster both economic growth and improve public health.”

Older diesel engines emit large amounts of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM).  These pollutants are linked to a range of serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease, and other respiratory ailments.  Most of the country’s busiest ports are located near large metropolitan areas and, as a result, people in neighboring communities are exposed to high levels of diesel emissions.  Since most ships and equipment at ports run on diesel engines, clean diesel projects at ports will produce immediate emissions reductions and provide health benefits to those living and working in the area.

This is the second grant competition to focus on reducing emissions at ports under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). Under this competition, EPA anticipates awarding between two and five assistance agreements. Applicants may request up to $2 million in funding toward eligible projects. Port authorities, governmental or quasi-governmental public agencies that operate ports, and state and local governments with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality are eligible to apply. Community groups, terminal operators, shipping carriers, and other related entities are encouraged to participate through partnerships with eligible applicants.  Projects may include drayage trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and cargo handling equipment at marine or inland water ports.  Funding is limited to projects at ports located in areas of poor air quality, as determined by the Administrator.  The list of eligible areas for this RFP can be found at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/ports/documents/fy14-ports-county-area-list.pdf.

All proposals must be received by December 11, 2014. For more information and to access the Request for Proposals and other documents, please visit http://www.epa.gov/otaq/ports/ports-dera-rfp.htm.

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.”
Read more