Sustainable Transportation

EPA Earth Month Tip of the Day - April 3, 2011: Don't idle! Remind your school system to turn off bus engines when parked.

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 04/03/2011 - 16:34.

Earth Month Tip of the Day: Don't idle

Today's environmental tip: Don't idle! Remind your school system to turn off bus engines when buses are parked. Exhaust from idling school buses can pollute air in and around the bus, and can enter school buildings through air intakes, doors, and open windows. Constant idling also wastes fuel and money, and school bus engines really need only a few minutes to warm up.

Ohio's Renewable Portfolio Standard vs. California's New SB X1-2 vs. America's New Clean Energy Standard

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 04/02/2011 - 03:17.

March 29, 2011, the Union of Concerned Scientists reported: "In a bold move to bolster one of the few bright spots in California’s economy and set a precedent for strong renewable electricity standards nationwide, the California Legislature today approved a bill that would require utilities in the state to obtain at least 33 percent of their electricity from clean, renewable sources, such as the wind and sun, by 2020.  Promoted by the governor and legislative leaders in both houses as part of a green jobs stimulus package, the bill would create the most aggressive renewable energy requirement in the country and position California as a national leader in clean energy investments."

“This bill establishes California as the national leader in clean energy, improving the environment and stimulating the economy while protecting ratepayers from excessive costs,” Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto has said of Senate Bill ("SB") X1-2 he sponsored, which is expected to be signed into law by California Governor Brown.

Below is an overview of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission’s Renewable and Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard, which requires that by the year 2025 25 percent of the electricity sold by each utility or electric services company within Ohio must be generated from alternative energy sources, and Senate Bill ("SB") X1-2, which requires California's electric utilities to increase their renewable generation to 33% by 2020. Passage of that legislation is the culmination of years of effort to increase California's Renewable Portfolio Standard ("RPS") from its current 20%.

Only quick, aggressive attacks can stave off the doomsday scenario: the collapse of society as zombies overtake us all.

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 04/01/2011 - 22:44.

Living in Cleveland, fighting against excessive polluting by popular local industrial interests, I've found environmental and climate awareness here brain-dead... zombified... people walking in an unnatural smog, accepting unnatural death around them. So I appreciate a mathematical explanation of how an entire city of 500,000 may become dominated by environmental zombies - from today's Climate Progress, which references a study of the proliferation of zombies finding they will drive humanity to the collapse of civilization.... I believe this effectively explains Cleveland (and much of America) today:

The model showed two equilibria: the disease-free equilibrium (with no zombies) and the doomsday equilibrium (where everyone is a zombie). The application of a linear stability analysis showed that — in the absence of further interventions — the disease-free equilibrium was unstable and the doomsday equilibrium was stable. This finding was not promising.

Simulations based on a city of roughly 500,000 people demonstrated that an entire such city would be replaced by zombies [rapidly]. Were this mass replacement of a population to occur in a city such as Washington, DC, it may be unlikely anyone would notice.

There is a solution: "the most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to attack hard and attack often":

DOE Announces $12 Million in Available Funding to Support up to 5 Advanced Biofuels Development Projects

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 03/30/2011 - 19:58.

DOE Announces $12 Million in Available Funding to Support Advanced Biofuels Development - March 30, 2011

To support the goal announced by President Obama today to reduce America’s oil imports by one-third by 2025, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it will be accepting applications for $12 million in funding for laboratory or small pilot-scale projects that support the development of advanced biofuels. Successful projects will develop technologies that will be able to replace refinery feedstocks or directly replace gasoline, diesel, or jet fuels without requiring modifications to vehicles or fueling infrastructure. These projects will continue to accelerate innovations in the renewable biofuels industry as part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to build a cleaner, safer, and more secure energy future for America that ultimately breaks our dependence on foreign oil and moves our nation toward a clean energy economy that creates jobs and boosts U.S. competitiveness.

Obama Administration’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future Equals Blueprint for a Secure Future for the Hemp Economy in America

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 03/30/2011 - 18:13.

As a citizen interested in clean energy and renewable fuels, who lives in an environmental injustice hotspot, heavily polluted by fossil fuel emissions, that needs cleaner energy solutions in our region, I have been excited to see President Obama and his core department leadership - especially Department of Energy Secretary Chu and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Jackson - embrace and champion the urgency of moving America beyond our dependency on ecologically-destructive fossil fuels, toward development of a sustainable, localized, environmentally, socially and economically positive biomass and biofuels energy economy, which shall include industrial hemp grown in the United States of America once again, beginning in 2011.

From the conclusion of a speech by President Obama, at Georgetown University, today, on the Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future for America:

We’re already paying a price for our inaction.  Every time we fill up at the pump, every time we lose a job or a business to countries that are investing more than we do in clean energy, when it comes to our air, our water, and the climate change that threatens the planet that you will inherit -– we’re already paying a price.  These are costs that we are already bearing.  And if we do nothing, the price will only go up.

So at moments like these, sacrificing these investments in research and development, in supporting clean energy technologies, that would weaken our energy economy and make us more dependent on oil.  That’s not a game plan to win the future. That’s a vision to keep us mired in the past.  I will not accept that outcome for the United States of America.  We are not going to do that.  (Applause.)

Garden As If Your Life Depended On It, Because It Does

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 03/30/2011 - 04:33.

You don't need to drive far south or west of Cleveland to find life springing renewed from the soil and plants, and appreciate we will soon have an abundance of sunshine, warm weather and opportunity to grow healthy, local food in our yards here in Ohio, again.

Home-grown food picked fresh from the garden is much more flavorful and environmentally friendly than most food available in markets - much more convenient and far less expensive... essential in times of economic and price uncertainly. This Winter, we ate tomato sauce made from tomatoes we grew last Summer, and froze, and it tasted as fresh as a Summer day - and the tomatoes were free, and as near at hand and low-carbon as the unused back corner of the freezer.

Because of concern about the economy, environment, and our health, I expect our family will grow significantly more food at home this year than last. For inspiration and reasons to plant large, abundant gardens this year, and help others in the community grow local food at home, as well, here is an excellent article from Alternet suggesting you "Garden As If Your Life Depended On It, Because It Does":

Tremors in food supply chains and pricing will make gardening look like a lot more than a hobby, a seasonal workout, a practical way to fill your pantry with your summer favorites, or a physically, spiritually and mentally healing activity, or all four. Gardening and small-scale and collective farming, especially of staple crops and the ones that could stave off malnutrition, could become as important as bringing home the bacon, both the piggy and the dollar kind. Why?

Draft Plan EJ 2014 Implementation Plans outline actions EPA will take to advance environmental justice in each area of focus

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 03/18/2011 - 06:55.

Draft Plan EJ 2014 Implementation Plans New!

To accomplish the goals outlined in Plan EJ 2014, the EPA developed nine Draft Implementation Plans which will guide agency actions in rulemaking, permitting, compliance and enforcement, community-based action, Administration wide action, science, law, information, and resources. The Draft Implementation Plans outline EPA goals, strategies, activites, deliverables, and milestones for each of the nine areas.

For each of the Draft Implementation Plans, we are asking for feedback from the public on how we can continue to address the issues that are most important to ensuring the protection of the air, water and land that support all of our nation’s communities and will result in environmental and economic health benefits.

Submit Public Comments on Regulations.gov

I'm certain more people than ever in history are interested in the subject of global air pollution monitoring by analyzing corn

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 03/15/2011 - 14:15.


U.S. Fossil Fuel Carbon Dioxide Map (red = most polluted, blue = least polluted)

I'm certain more people than ever in history are interested in the subject of global air pollution monitoring, as a deteriorating cluster of nuclear power plant disasters in Northern Japan are already contaminating the Earth's atmosphere with deadly radioactive emissions, which will blow across the Pacific Ocean and in other directions to all points downwind until they settle back to Earth, on us, our land, in our water, and into our food-streams.

From the Wall Street Journal's Monday, March 13, reporting about nuclear fallout from the meltdown in Japan, which has taken many turns for the worst since then...

If the Japanese nuclear core were to melt, certain radioactive materials, such as iodine, strontium and cesium, would also be released. These particles are one-quarter the size of a grain of salt and can be carried by winds. The larger the grains, the more quickly they would fall out of the air.

U.S. import prices rose 1.4 percent in February, the U.S. BLS reported today, following a similar 1.3 percent rise in January

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 03/15/2011 - 12:25.

The  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just released its U.S. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRICE INDEXES – FEBRUARY 2011 - reporting ongoing significant price increase trends in core sectors of the global economy - like US import and export food and energy prices - that indicate US annual inflation in the double-digits for many products and services impacting daily life in America... like the price of gasoline, milk and bread. The impacts worldwide - especially in developing countries - will be staggering... radicalizing.

EPA's 2005 National Air Toxins Assessment looks at human health impacts from estimated, chronic air toxin exposure

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 07:14.

EPA's 2005 National Air Toxins Assessment human cancer risk from estimated, chronic inhalation exposures based on emissions data from the 2005 National Emissions Inventory for hazardous air pollutants, assuming these emissions remain constant throughout one's lifetime
EPA's 2005 National Air Toxins Assessment looks at human health impacts from estimated, chronic inhalation exposures based on emissions data from the
2005 National Emissions Inventory for hazardous air pollutants, assuming these emissions remain constant throughout one's lifetime

On March 11, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a press release (below) and held conference calls supporting release of the fourth update of the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) - a computer tool that helps federal, state, local governments and other stakeholders better understand the potential health risks from exposure to air toxics.  The EPA  states: "the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) contains 2005 emissions data submitted primarily from the states for 178 pollutants. Models are used to make broad estimates of health risks for areas of the country.  The tool is not designed to determine actual health risks to individuals living in these areas." "Because the data submitted varies from state to state, it is also not possible to use the data to compare risks between different areas of the country."

As someone who lives in Cleveland, Ohio, which the Federal EPA and their NATA prove is highly polluted and unhealthy, I truly appreciate access to all environmental data management and mapping services the EPA may provide, as real-time as possible. These federal government tools offer citizens access to information that allows us to make better life-decisions - like where to live - and empowers us to be better environmental stewards - like shutting down coal pollution in our own backyards.

Yale University Identifies Six Distinct “Americas” When It Comes To The Issue Of Global Warming - Where Do You Live?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 03/13/2011 - 21:09.

U.S. Commerce Department Announces $12 million i6 Green Challenge to Promote Clean Energy Innovation and Economic Growth

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 03/10/2011 - 14:20.

U.S. Commerce Department Announces Launch of i6 Green Challenge to Promote Clean Energy Innovation and Economic Growth

U.S. departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Energy, along with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation, support entrepreneurship initiative

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and its Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship today announced the opening of its $12 million i6 Green Challenge in partnership with the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. ‪

EDA will award up to $1 million to each of six teams around the country with the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in support of a green innovation economy, increased U.S. competitiveness and new jobs. Its partner agencies will award more than $6 million in additional funding to i6 Green winners.

Celebrate the 2nd Annual Hemp History Week - May 2nd-8th 2011 - a national grassroots education campaign

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 03/10/2011 - 04:44.

Hemp History Week website

Wherever you live in America, there should be some near-by gathering, event, public meeting or celebration in support of Hemp History Week - May 2nd-8th 2011 - and if there isn't, you may help organize one in your community. Check their website for planned events - and how to organize events - and do it ASAP, as events registered by March 15th may get hemp product samples to distribute, and that is worth hustling-for.

The sponsors and supporters of Hemp History Week include Vote Hemp, the Hemp Industry Association, and leading hemp manufacturers, natural foods retailers, celebrities, farmers, historians and hemp advocates. "Hemp History Week is all about celebrating the goodness of hemp", and that is something all these organizers and millions of other people are working hard to make legal in every state across America - like New Mexico is succeeding with this week - to making hemp agriculture legal in America and worldwide, as is the mission of Vote Hemp and other advocacy organizations, large and small.

The steepness of the drop prompted a skeptical reaction at Cleveland City Hall. "We believe it is a significant undercount"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 03/10/2011 - 02:44.


Data provided by U.S. Census Bureau.

Cleveland Sees Plunge in Population, reports the Wall Street Journal today, announcing: "A larger-than-expected exodus from Cleveland during the past decade shrunk the city's population by 17% to about 397,000, according to U.S. Census data released Wednesday." That's right, Cleveland's population has crashed below the 400K floor for the first time since around the start of the 20th Century, which triggers all sorts of unsustainable, shrinking, un-re-imaginable financial and political realities for leadership and citizens here.

Perhaps the only silver lining is that this proof of Cleveland political and leadership failure will have a significant price of leaders' heads. From the Wall Street Journal:

Political observers said the decline could tilt the balance of political power in one of America's most hotly contested swing states.

"Ohio is expected to lose two congressional districts, and this big decline in Cleveland suggests that both could come out of northeastern Ohio," a Democratic stronghold, said John Green, a University of Akron political-science professor.

New Mexico State - House Agriculture Committee has passed Historic Bill HB 565 for licensing the growing of “Industrial Hemp"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 03/08/2011 - 17:21.


State Rep Ray Begaye (NM-4) discusses the positive impact of biotech and
the potential offered by hemp biotech in his state

Attached is New Mexico House Bill 565 (.pdf - 214 kb), and below is the press release announcing INDUSTRIAL HEMP BILL RECEIVING SUPPORT FROM NM LEGISLATORS - the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee has passed Bill HB 565 relating to agriculture: Providing for licensing, growing, selling and processing of “Industrial Hemp - Santhica”.

House Bill No. 565 is sponsored by Raye Begaye (D-NM 4th District ), NM State Representative 7th term: Vice Chair; House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee; Concurrent Jurisdiction for Tribes, Nations, Pueblos and the State of New Mexico.

The progess of this bill was announced by Ray Begaye - from their press release: "House Bill 565 passed the agriculture committee by a vote of 8-l this past Monday.  The bill will go to the Judiciary Committee and then onto the Floor of NM legislature.  House Bill 565 upon passage will stimulate the New Mexico economy with producers, processors, manufacture, and growers."

New Mexico Industrial Hemp Coalition Contacts are Bernice Muskrat, Attorney at Law and CFO for The Native International Solutions, Inc. - Bernicemuskrat [at] yahoo [dot] com - 575-759-4412... and Gloria Castillo, President; New Mexico Hemp Commission - gjc777 [at] gmail [dot] com - 505-554-5476. They are taking donations through the non-profit Rural Coalition to support these efforts.

They are each and all to be congratulated!!

Among the reasons New Mexico passed this bill, from their Press Release about NMHB 565 and industrial hemp: 

How Does the Electricity I Use Compare to the National Average? User friendly web tool allows Americans to search by zip code

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 03/08/2011 - 13:34.

I just received an email from the EPA announcing it "updated its database that helps Americans understand the health and environmental impacts of electricity generation" and now provides a useful public interface - "Power Profiler is a user friendly online application that uses eGRID data to show air emissions information and the type of electricity generation, such as coal or nuclear, in various regions of the country.  By simply entering a zip code and selecting a utility, users can learn more about where their electricity comes from and what impact it has on air quality and the environment."

Good morning, The state of the American education system today is unacceptable.... let me know what you think:

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:28.

The White House, Washington

Good morning,

The state of the American education system today is unacceptable. As many as one quarter of American students don’t finish high school. We've fallen to ninth place in the proportion of young people with college degrees. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations.

For the sake of the next generation, and America's economic future, this has to change.

Advance in Biofuel - using bacteria to convert plant matter directly into isobutanol, which can be burned in regular car engines

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 03/07/2011 - 21:07.

http://www.ornl.gov/ornlhome/images/print/header_print.jpg

Energy Department Announces New Advance in Biofuel Technology

Highlights Opportunity to Reduce America's Oil Dependence and Create Jobs in Rural America

March 07, 2011

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today congratulated a team of researchers at the Department's BioEnergy Science Center who have achieved yet another advance in the drive toward next generation biofuels: using bacteria to convert plant matter directly into isobutanol, which can be burned in regular car engines with a heat value higher than ethanol and similar to gasoline. This research is part of a broad portfolio of work the Department is doing to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and create new economic opportunities for rural America.

Green Power Network RFP Update: solicitations for renewable energy generation, renewable energy certificates, and green power

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 03/07/2011 - 20:40.

This update contains solicitations for renewable energy generation, renewable energy certificates, and green power as a courtesy to our subscribers. Unless otherwise noted, these requests for proposals and solicitations are neither supported nor endorsed by the U.S. Department of Energy, Green Power Network.

March 31, 2011
Dayton Power and Light Company (DP&L) RFP seeking qualified solid biofuel materials for use at two of its generating stations for the next three years to meet Ohio RPS requirements. DP&L will consider contracts for quantities starting in the 4th quarter of 2011 and in the years 2012-2014. Questions due by March 23, 2011.

EPA Awards $32 million to fund four Clean Air Research Centers at universities conducting cutting edge air pollution research

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 03/07/2011 - 19:59.

EPA Awards $32 Million to Understand Health Impacts of Air Pollution

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $32 million to fund four new Clean Air Research Centers at universities conducting cutting edge air pollution research. The research will focus on the impacts of air pollution mixtures on people’s health. It is important to understand the health risks associated with exposure to multiple air pollutants because people are exposed to more than one pollutant at a time.“These centers are critical to understanding how to improve air quality and protect Americans’ health from complex mixtures of air pollutants,” said Dr. Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “The centers will focus on important scientific questions remaining in air research.”

Energy Matters, the quarterly newsletter for the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP)

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 03/07/2011 - 19:44.

Winter 2011 Issue of Energy Matters Now Available

Energy Matters, the quarterly newsletter for the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP), provides in-depth articles to help industry professionals save energy, reduce costs, and increase productivity.

The Winter 2011 issue includes the following:

EPA Seeks Comment on Their Environmental Justice Action Development Process Guide - Close of Public Comment Period April 8, 2011

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 03/03/2011 - 20:07.

Environmental Justice - It ain't a RACE thing - it's an INJUSTICE thing

As thoroughly documented on realNEO, over a course of many years - and now being thoroughly addressed by the EPA through their courses of action - Cleveland has environmental justice problems to solve.

Right now - through April 8, 2011 - the EPA is asking for your help determining how they carry out that responsibility, as they want public comment on THEIR Guide to Providing Environmental Justice for YOU.

As quoted from the EPA's Interim Guidance on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action, introduced and linked below: "Environmental justice (EJ) is central to the Agency’s mission and is the responsibility of everyone at EPA".

Peak Drupal 2011: Real Drops of Open Source Alternate Energy to Fuel and Feed Villagers in "The Social Network" Desert

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 03/02/2011 - 16:00.

Screen Shot of White House Gov website March 2 2011

At the beginning of the 21st Century - a time when the pace of global evolution was certain to be astounding in every way, in accelerating change each day - especially as driven by transformational new Information Technologies (IT) and services - a serious, young college computer science student wrote some historic collaboration software, in his dorm-room, to help his fellow students communicate more effectively in their evolving, un-tethering, socially-networked world, and that software has been helping citizens freely interconnect with greater impact each day since, to save the world.

The early days of this software are beloved, in real geek-lore:

In 2000, permanent Internet connections were at a premium for University students, so two students set up a wireless bridge between their student dorms to share one of the students' ADSL modem connection among eight students. While this was an extremely luxurious situation at that time, something was missing: There was no means to discuss or share simple things.

This inspired the other student to work on a small news site with a built-in web board, allowing the group of friends to leave each other notes about the status of the network, to announce where they were having dinner, or to share some noteworthy news items.

The software did not have a name until the day after that student moved out after graduation. The group decided to put the internal website on-line so they could stay in touch, keep sharing interesting findings, and narrate snippets of their personal lives. While looking for a suitable domain name...