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Vice President Joe Biden Hits Pay Dirt in Michigan
June 24, 2010 09:34 AM - Douglas Elbinger, Exclusive to ENN
Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Michigan on Monday, June 21, for the groundbreaking of a new battery manufacturing facility is evidence that the Recovery Act grants the President announced last August, are starting to hit pay dirt, in the form of ground-breaking's and ribbon cuttings that will ultimately create "new economy" jobs. As part of the six-week focus on the "economic recovery act" infrastructure projects nationwide, Biden's appearance signals the administrations commitment to environmental and renewable energy projects. The grant for this battery project is part of the $2.4 billion announced last August to develop next-generation electric vehicles using the lithium polymer battery, a "breakthrough" technology which is a key component in bringing electric vehicles to reality. Officials said the batteries can store up to three times more energy than the nickel metal hydride batteries currently used in most hybrids. Dow Kokam www.dowkokam.com, a joint venture was created by Dow Chemical of Midland, Michigan www.dow.com, to research, develop and produce this new battery technology, and has secured a U.S. Department of Energy grant of $161 million dollars and tax credits totaling $180 million dollars from the State of Michigan.
High Risk Processes and Their Safety
June 23, 2010 04:04 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
High risk chemical processes are regulated by OSHA, EPA and many state agencies. Information about the releases from these processes are available from a number of sources. Sometimes the guidance on how other interested parties may participate is not always clear. The EPA has released interim guidance that would provide greater transparency in the agency’s chemical safety inspections process. Under the interim guidance, EPA inspectors will offer employees and employee representatives the opportunity to participate in chemical safety inspections. In addition, EPA will request that state and local agencies adopt similar procedures under their related Risk Management Program.
Voyages of the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson
June 23, 2010 11:47 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
There are many ships at work right now in the Gulf of Mexico responding to the devastating consequences of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Some are skimming the water to collect oil, some are burning off the oil. Some are busy digging a relief well. However, there is at least one vessel that is using this tragedy as an opportunity to conduct scientific research. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) ship, Thomas Jefferson, is using acoustic and fluorometric scanning to detect oil under the surface.
Oceanic Temperatures and Climate Effects
June 22, 2010 04:38 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The study of ancient climates and oceanic temperatures can lend clues as to how future climate changes might happen. An international team of researchers, led by the members of the Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), has published studies of the evolution of Northern Pacific and Southern Atlantic sea surface temperatures, dating from the Pliocene Era; some 3.65 million years ago. The data obtained in the reconstruction indicate that the regions closer to the poles of both oceans have played a fundamental role in climate evolution in the tropics.
The Dangers of Arsenic
June 22, 2010 11:11 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Arsenic is an extremely potent carcinogen and toxic to vital organs such as the liver, skin, kidney, and cardiovascular system. A common pathway of human exposure is through drinking water. Previous studies that assessed the long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water have lacked resolution and rely too heavily on retrospective analysis. However, a 10-year study in Bangladesh has been released recently, and promises to be the definitive study to determine the long-term effects of arsenic exposure.
The Return of the Superfund Tax
June 22, 2010 11:08 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sent a letter to Congress in support of reinstating the old and lapsed Superfund polluter pays taxes. Superfund is the federal government's program that investigates and cleans up the nation's most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. If reinstated, the Superfund tax would provide a stable, dedicated source of revenue for the program and increase the pace of Superfund cleanup. It would also ensure that parties who benefit from the manufacture or sale of substances that commonly cause environmental problems at hazardous waste sites, and not taxpayers, help bear the cost of cleanup when responsible parties cannot be identified.
Asian Rivers Impacted by Clmate Change
June 21, 2010 05:27 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
It all depends on where you are. When weather patterns change rainfall will increase some places and decrease in other places. What has the most impact is those river systems that many people depend on. Two of Asia's major rivers are the the Brahmaputra and Indus river basins that descend from the Himalayas into India. According to some recent study these two are likely to be severely affected by climate change while others will be less affected and could even benefit.
Saharan Sun Power
June 21, 2010 01:52 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
There is plenty of sun in deserts and the Sahara is one of the biggest deserts in the world. Europe intends to import its first solar generated electricity from North Africa within the next five years, European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said in an interview on Sunday. The European Union is backing projects to turn the plentiful sunlight in the Sahara desert into electricity for Europe, a scheme it hopes will help meet its target of deriving 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Greening Our Capital Cities
June 18, 2010 02:22 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Greening America's Capitals is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help state capitals develop an implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green building and green infrastructure strategies. This program will assist three to four communities per year, with the first projects beginning in the fall of 2010.
The Oddness of Water and Ice
June 17, 2010 04:53 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Water is vital for life and how it freezes is very important. For years water (ice) has been known to exist in 15 phases. Subjected to higher pressures and varying temperatures, ice can form in fifteen separate known phases. With care all these types can be recovered at ambient pressure. The types are differentiated by their crystalline structure, ordering and density. There are also two metastable phases of ice under pressure, both fully hydrogen-disordered; these are IV and XII. Ice XII was discovered in 1996. In 2006, XIII and XIV were discovered. Ices XI, XIII, and XIV are hydrogen-ordered forms of ices Ih, V, and XII respectively. In 2009 ice XV was found at extremely high pressures and −143 degrees celsius. Now there is another variation.