Envirobytes - An Environmental Newsletter
ENVIROBYTES, A SUMMARY OF ISSUES AND EVENTS FOR WEEKS ENDING DECEMBER 23, 2011, DECEMBER 30, 2011, AND JANUARY 6, 2012
REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR HELPS UNVEIL STATE-OF-THE-ART WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY IN DELMAR, A TOWN BORDERING BOTH MARYLAND AND DELAWARE
On Dec. 20, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin joined Delaware and Maryland state officials and those of Delmar at a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the combined efforts that helped transform the plant into one that effectively controls plant pollution and protects public health. Regional Administrator Garvin said: "This water infrastructure project is helping improve the health of local waterways and ultimately will benefit the Chesapeake Bay by substantially reducing this plant's loadings of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution by as much as 85 percent."
EPA ANNOUNCES HISTORIC RULING TO CURB MERCURY AND OTHER POLLUTANTS FROM COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS
On Dec. 21, EPA issued the first national standards to slash emissions of dangerous air pollutants (including mercury) from coal-fired power plants. EPA estimates that the new safeguards will not only decrease plant emissions of dangerous air pollutants, but will prevent premature deaths, heart attacks, and respiratory illnesses, reduce exposure to cancer causing toxins, make fish safer to eat, and provide jobs. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/mats/.
EPA FINALIZES 2012 RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARDS
On Dec. 27, EPA announced it has finalized the Renewable Fuel Standard Program's requirements to reduce 2012 greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the use of renewable fuels, blending more than 1.25 billion gallons of renewable fuels over the amount mandated for 2011. This will help reduce petroleum imports and encourage the development and expansion of the nation's renewable fuels sector. For more information on the standards and regulations, go to http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/regulations.htm.
EPA RECOGNIZES JANUARY AS NATIONAL RADON ACTION MONTH
Radon is a natural, radioactive gas that can seep into homes from underground and accumulate to levels that can cause lung cancer. As part of National Radon Action Month, EPA suggests Americans take the simple and affordable preventive steps to test their homes from harmful levels of radon gas, and when building a new home, use the safer radon-resistant construction techniques available. For more information on how to test, fix, and obtain a test kit, contact your state radon office: http://www.epa.gov/radon or call 1-800-SOS-RADON.
2011 COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME DAY CHALLENGE COMPETITION WINNERS INCLUDE THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA AS HIGH ACHIEVER
In the fall of 2011, colleges across the country competed in EPA's Game Day Challenge to see which schools reduce, reuse, and recycle the most waste to improve the environment. The schools designed and submitted waste reduction plans for a 2011 regular season home football game. The resulting winners included the University of Virginia as Greenhouse Gas Reduction Champion (i.e. greatest greenhouse gas reductions from diverting waste) and as Recycling Champion (with the highest recycling rate).
EPA RELEASES 2010 TOXICS RELEASE INVENTORY NATIONAL ANALYSIS MAKING DATA MORE RELEVANT
On Jan. 5, EPA released its 2010 national analysis on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report providing vital public information to the public about their communities. The TRI program publishes information on toxic chemical disposals and other releases into air, land and water, as well as waste management and pollution-prevention activities. EPA's web-based TRI tools greatly facilitate access to information, and myRTK, a new mobile application for accessing TRI data, is now available in Spanish. For more on the 2010 TRI analysis and TRI Web-based tools, go to http://www.epa.gov/tri.
HEALTHY WATERS BLOG CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
HAVE AN IDEA FOR URBAN WATERS? - EPA recently announced the availability of up to $1.8 million in urban waters small grants for projects that improve water quality, restore urban waters, revitalize communities and protect public health. Join us to learn more at http://blog.epa.gov/healthywaters/.
GREEN TRACKS FOR MARYLAND'S LIGHT RAIL - The Maryland Transit Administration is testing a "Green Track" concept, establishing vegetation between and adjacent to light rail tracks to reduce polluted stormwater from running into local streams. Join us to learn more at http://blog.epa.gov/healthywaters/.