What follows is a press release issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Lehigh Cement Company LLC (Lehigh) and Lehigh White Cement Company, LLC (Lehigh White) have agreed to invest approximately $12 million in pollution control technology at their 11 portland cement manufacturing plants in eight states to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice. Today’s settlement will reduce more than 4,555 tons of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 989 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution each year. » Continue Reading.
Last month, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler proposed an amendment to the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the Clean Air Act “risk and review” process that should worry everyone who cares about the Adirondacks and public health.
On the surface, the change looks like a routine adjustment of technical language about the way EPA calculates “side benefits” from proposed air pollution rules. That’s how EPA is describing it. As a result, few people have paid attention to the proposal. But if approved, it would have far-reaching effects that strike at the heart of some of the most important public health and environmental protections. » Continue Reading.
As the nation mourns the passing of George H. W. Bush, the President who signed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 creating America’s first acid rain program – a conference of scientists and advocates has concluded that the fight to stop acid rain is nearly won. Sadly, victory is now in doubt due to the Trump administration’s proposed pollution rule changes.
It feels like we are a marathon runner who has been tripped with the finish line in sight. In 1990, President Bush understood that the United States was supposed to set an example for the rest of the world when it comes to protecting the environment. The current Environmental Protection Agency is pushing hard in the other direction, imposing reductions to environmental protections that took a generation to enact. » Continue Reading.
On January 9, Adirondack Council Chairman Robert Kafin called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to drop its proposal to repeal the federal Clean Power Plan, calling the notion “illegal and unreasonable.” He urged the EPA to instead begin enforcing the plan.
His comments were part of his testimony on the impacts that the proposed repeal would have on the Adirondack Park’s environment and communities. He presented his testimony during a hearing held in Manhattan by NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Schneiderman and DeBlasio. » Continue Reading.
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an injunction that delays implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan’s greenhouse-gas regulations. EPA’s plan must wait until after a legal challenge in a lower court, as well as an expected appeal to the Supreme Court, are decided. These events are expected to take a year or more. » Continue Reading.
Today’s announcement that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released draft greenhouse gas emission reduction regulations for over 1,000 existing power plants is a major landmark in environmental history. EPA estimates that 83% of greenhouse gas emissions are from carbon dioxide (C02) released into the atmosphere.
As a group these coal-fired power plants are the single largest sources of C02 pollution in the U.S., producing nearly 25%. These new rules expect to produce a 20% reduction in C02 emissions at these plants by 2020 and 30% by 2030 (based on 2005 levels). » Continue Reading.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision today has revived the Cross-State Pollution Rule that makes it illegal for states to cause air pollution that harms neighboring states. The rule was reinstated in a 6-2-1 ruling, led by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented. Justice Samuel Alito recused himself.
“The Cross-State Pollution Rule should never have been struck down in 2011 and we are thrilled that the Supreme Court has revived it,” William C. Janeway, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council, said in a statement to the press. “The Adirondack Park has suffered for decades from pollution drifting in from Midwest states. Nearly all of our acid rain is created by smokestacks hundreds of miles away.” » Continue Reading.
A team of University of Texas at Arlington biologists working with the U.S. Geological Survey in the Black and Oswegatchie river basins has found that watershed wetlands can serve as a natural source for the improvement of streams polluted by acid rain.
The group, led by associate professor of biology Sophia Passy, also contends that recent increases in the level of organic matter in surface waters in regions of North America and Europe – also known as “brownification” – holds benefits for aquatic ecosystems. The research team’s work appears in the September issue of the journal Global Change Biology. » Continue Reading.
During this season of giving, it is only right to include the environment on your list of those that need a gift. While a tie, sweater, or a pair of socks is not appropriate for Mother Nature, the item that many individuals should consider bringing to our fields and forests is the ashes that are produced by wood stoves, fireplaces and outdoor wood boilers, as this material is one of the most precious commodities that our environment can use.
The off-white, powdery ash that is produced from the combustion of wood contains a variety of compounds that are beneficial to the soil, especially in the Adirondacks. Wood ash has been known for centuries to act as a fertilizing agent, and its importance in agriculture during the colonial era is well documented. The preparation of wood ash for commercial use was routinely conducted by treating the ash in large pots and creating a compound that was obviously labeled “potash”. (In 1790, Samuel Hopkins developed a more effective process for producing potash from wood ash and was granted the first patent. The U.S. Patent Office, a small government agency at the time, required final approval from both President George Washington and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson for a patent.) » Continue Reading.
It seems each autumn, I start noticing sunsets more. They are so pink, so orange, so bright. I’ve always chalked up my autumnal sunset attention to my mood shifting with the changing season; perhaps I’m feeling a little wistful at summer’s end and reflecting on nature’s splendor more than usual. But according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the colors we see during sunsets really are more vibrant in fall and winter than they are in spring and summer – seasonal melancholia has got nothing to do with it.
The intensity of sunset and sunrise colors has to do with Rayleigh scattering. I spoke with meteorologist Chris Bouchard of the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who kindly dropped some knowledge on this scattering business. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation (ALSC) recently completed collections of dragonfly larvae in acid rain sensitive Adirondack surface waters in a new study of mercury pollution.
ALSC staff assisted Dr. Sarah Nelson of the University of Maine Mitchell Center and School of Forest Resources, and collaborators at the SERC Institute, Maine Sea Grant, the USGS Mercury Research Lab, and Dartmouth College, who have been developing the concept of using dragonfly larvae as bio-sentinels for mercury concentrations in northeast lakes and streams. Dragonfly larvae or immature dragonflies live in the water for the first year or years of their lives. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Council, an independent advocate for the Adirondack Park founded in 1975, has issued it’s 2012 State of the Park report. “The Adirondack Park was subjected to a barrage of extreme outside influences over the past 12 months, some of which devastated small communities and public natural resources, while others brought unprecedented good news to park residents and visitors,” a Council issued press release said.
The annual State of the Park Report reviews of the actions of local, state and federal government officials that the Council believes have helped or harmed the Adirondack Park over the past year. The illustrated, 18-page review is the Council’s 27th annual State of the Park report. A copy of the report is available online. » Continue Reading.
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program has issued a call for volunteers to help census loons on Adirondack lakes as part of the 11th Annual Adirondack Loon Census taking place from 8:00–9:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 21. With the help of local Adirondack residents and visitor volunteers, the census enables WCS to collect important data on the status of the breeding loon population in and around the Adirondack Park and across New York State. The results help guide management decisions and policies affecting loons.
Census volunteers report on the number of adult and immature loons and loon chicks that they observe during the hour-long census. Similar loon censuses will be conducted in other states throughout the Northeast simultaneously, and inform a regional overview of the population’s current status. One of the major findings of the 2010 census: The Adirondack loon population has almost doubled since the last pre-census analysis in the 1980s, and now totals some 1,500–2,000 birds. A new analysis however, demonstrates the threat environmental pollution poses for these iconic Adirondack birds. » Continue Reading.
It was immensely satisfying to watch EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson announce today that power-plant mercury emissions will be reduced 90 percent.
We in the Adirondacks have waited more than two decades for this. You would think limiting a toxin such as mercury, which harms the nervous systems of children exposed in the womb, would not be subject to protracted debate. But coal- and oil-fired power plants resisted the regulation shamelessly for decades. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced awards for “Clean Air Grants” to 13 New York communities, including three in the Adirondack region. The grants are hoped to assist counties, towns and villages in reducing open burning of leaves and other organic materials, educate residents about the dangers of open burning and assist with the purchasing of recycling and composting equipment.
“DEC is committed to reducing harmful air pollutants and the prevention of destructive wildfires,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a prepared statement. “In addition to releasing harmful pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde and lead, the open burning of residential organic waste such as leaves and branches, is the largest single cause of wildfires in the state.” A total of $60,000 was awarded for 13 projects statewide ranging from helping the Village of Windsor in Broome County better manage wood waste to partnering with the Dutchess County Town of Tivoli to conduct a home composting pilot project and help educate residents about safer alternatives to open burning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides DEC with the funding for these grants.
DEC recently extended restrictions on the open burning of residential organic waste in all communities statewide, regardless of the community’s size in population.
The Clean Air Grant Program was designed to help local communities better manage residential organic waste materials and also build better community understanding of the dangers associated with open burning. Grants of up to $5,000 were awarded to the following local communities:
Town of Pinckney, Lewis County, to assist in the purchase of a commercial wood chipper to give area residents a safer option for disposing branches and other tree waste. The Town will partner with the Tug Hill Commission and Development Authority of the North County to educate residents about the availability of the chipping service, the dangers of open burning and how they can get wood chips and mulch from the program.
Town of Webb, Herkimer County, to assist in the purchase of a municipal leaf vacuum to help the community safely and efficiently remove and compost organic materials. In addition to the health and safety benefits of reducing of open burning, the Town also identifies the economic benefits of maintaining clean air and a healthy eco-system within the Adirondack Park.
Town of Boonville, Oneida County, to repair and refurbish a municipal leaf collection vacuum to reduce the possible loss of life and property that can often result from open burning and the added burden it puts on local volunteer fire companies.
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