Sci/tech

Chesapeake Bay Group Wants EPA to Be Aggressive
April 20, 2009 06:10 AM - Water & Wastewater News

With its 10th annual State of the Bay report continuing to show no significant progress, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) President William C. Baker on April 15 challenged the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency to use its regulatory authority to take aggressive new action to reduce pollution. "That the Chesapeake Bay, a national treasure, remains in critical condition is outrageous. It is a national disgrace," said CBF President Will Baker. "Who are we kidding? It is 2009 and this national treasure is still getting trashed, while government refuses to use every possible tool available to stop it. When will EPA exercise its regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act to set a strict pollution reduction mandate and enforce it? Do laws mean nothing when it is only nature that is getting injured?"

First Wind Files Permit Application to Build a Proposed 51 Megawatt (MW) Wind Project in Maine
April 19, 2009 07:01 AM - Green Progress

First Wind today announced that it has filed a permit application with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to build a proposed 51 megawatt (MW) wind project in the town of Oakfield in Aroostook County. The proposed Oakfield Wind project will consist of up to 34 GE 1.5 MW turbines that can produce enough energy to power more than 20,000 homes. "Maine continues to foster the development of renewable energy, and we are excited to continue work to provide indigenous renewable and clean wind power,” said Matt Kearns, First Wind’s Vice President of Development for New England. “In addition to its many environmental and renewable energy attributes, the Oakfield Wind project will offer significant economic benefits to the state, Aroostook County, and most importantly to the Oakfield community. We are looking forward to working with members of the community to advance this project."

Change is a cold certainty
April 18, 2009 11:20 AM - The Australian

RUSSIAN sea captain Dimitri Zinchenko has been steering ships through the pack ice of Antarctica for three decades and is waiting to see evidence of the global warming about which he has heard so much. Zinchenko's vessel, the Spirit of Enderby, was commissioned in January last year to retrace the steps of the great Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, marking the century of his Nimrod expedition of 1907-09. Spirit of Enderby was blocked by a wall of pack ice at the entrance to the Ross Sea, about 400km short of Shackleton's base hut at Cape Royds. Zinchenko says it was the first time in 15 years that vessels were unable to penetrate the Ross Sea in January. The experience was consistent with his impression that pack ice is expanding, not contracting, as would be expected in a rapidly warming world. "I see just more and more ice, not less ice."

EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare / Proposed Finding Comes in Response to 2007 Supreme Court Ruling
April 18, 2009 07:36 AM - U. S. Environmental Protection Agency

After a thorough scientific review ordered in 2007 by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed finding Friday that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat. "This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation,” said Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This pollution problem has a solution – one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country’s dependence on foreign oil."

New study warns damage to forests from climate change could cost the planet its major keeper of greenhouse gases
April 17, 2009 06:59 AM - The Collaborative Partnership on Forests

The critical role of forests as massive "sinks" for absorbing greenhouse gases is "at risk of being lost entirely" to climate change-induced environmental stresses that threaten to damage and even decimate forests worldwide, according to a new report released today. The report will be formally presented at the next session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) taking place 20 April-1 May 2009 at the UN Headquarters in New York City.

Implementing sustainable technology to monitor the integrity of the nation's bridges
April 16, 2009 04:17 PM - University of Miami

University of Miami engineers are using a wireless monitoring system for analyzing the safety of older bridges while harvesting wind and structural vibrations as its sources of power

Artificial Trees Could Cool Climate
April 16, 2009 11:00 AM - Eric Bland, Discovery News

A new kind of tree could cool the planet by removing a major greenhouse gas from the planet's atmosphere.

Peapod Debuts on Earth Day
April 16, 2009 09:45 AM - Keith Barry, Wired

The long-awaited, often-advertised Peapod will be available for order on Earth Day, April 22. Coincidentally, the 22nd also is Administrative Assistant's Day. We expect to see a lot of greenies and maybe some secretaries tooling around in their $12,500 Peapods at no more than 25 miles an hour.

California Utility Considering Space-based Solar Arrangement
April 15, 2009 04:03 PM - Environmental Leader

When procuring just about anything, it makes sense to get as close to the source as possible. That’s the idea behind an ambitious plan to harvest solar energy from outer space, then beam the electricity back to Earth.

Midwestern ethanol plants use much less water than western plants, U of Minnesota study says

Ethanol production in Minnesota and Iowa uses far less water overall than similar processes in states where water is less plentiful, a new University of Minnesota study shows. The study, which will be published in the April 15 edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is the first to compare water use in corn-ethanol production on a state-by-state basis. The authors used agricultural and geologic data from 2006-2008 to develop a ratio showing how much irrigated water was used to grow and harvest the corn and to process it at ethanol plants. Among the major ethanol-producing states, Iowa uses the least water, with about six gallons of water used for each gallon of ethanol. Minnesota, which in 2007 produced roughly a third as much ethanol as Iowa, uses about 19 gallons of water per ethanol gallon.

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