EPA suspends environmental law enforcement

March 30, 2020 by  
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The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that, in accordance with the wishes of the Trump administration, it will suspend enforcing environmental laws for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses will not face any repercussions for polluting American air, land or water, as long as they can claim their practices are related to COVID-19. “This temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion under the current, extraordinary conditions, while ensuring facility operations continue to protect human health and the environment,” said Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the EPA. Related: Air pollution could make COVID-19 more dangerous The memo explains that staff shortages and social distancing restrictions may constrain laboratories’ abilities to analyze samples and companies’ abilities to meet reporting obligations. The new policy applies retroactively, beginning on March 13, with no end in sight. “The EPA will apply this policy to actions or to missions that occur while this policy is in effect even after the policy terminates,” according to the memo. Last week, the American Petroleum Institute, which promotes the interests of gas and oil companies, sent the EPA a letter lobbying for the suspension of rules requiring these companies to fix leaky equipment or monitor pollution . Air pollution is particularly worrisome at the moment, as COVID-19 attacks the human respiratory system. People with preexisting respiratory conditions are especially in danger, as are those who live near industrial facilities emitting large quantities of pollution. Because these facilities are usually located in less affluent neighborhoods, those with low incomes and people of color will unfairly bear the consequences of these relaxed laws. The EPA’s new policy has shocked and outraged public health and environmental advocates. “EPA should never relinquish its right and its obligation to act immediately and decisively when there is threat to public health, no matter what the reason is,” said Cynthia Giles, who headed EPA enforcement during the Obama administration. “I am not aware of any instance when EPA ever relinquished this fundamental authority as it does in this memo. This memo amounts to a nationwide moratorium on enforcing the nation’s environmental laws and is an abdication of EPA’s responsibility to protect the public.” + Environmental Protection Agency Via The Guardian Image via Environmental Protection Agency

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EPA suspends environmental law enforcement

Starbucks suspends personal cup use because of coronavirus

March 6, 2020 by  
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Starbucks is putting public health first until the coronavirus situation improves. The coffee giant has announced a decision to temporarily suspend its practice of refilling people’s personal cups as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread. Because Starbucks is a popular place to socialize, with more than 30,000 stores worldwide, executives recognize the importance of being proactive in fighting the viral spread. Thus they’re opting for disposable cups indefinitely. “We are optimistic this will be a temporary situation,” Rossann Williams, president of Starbucks-operated businesses in the U.S. and Canada, said in an open letter on the company’s website. Related: This giant Cup Monster wants Starbucks to use recyclable cups In 1985, Starbucks began giving customers a discount if they brought in their own personal cups. The program became more formalized in 2008, when the company set a goal of serving 25% of all beverages in either personal or “for here” cups by 2015. Starbucks failed to track “for here” use and eventually revised the goal to concentrate on more people bringing in personal tumblers. Starbucks will still give customers a 10-cent discount for bringing in a personal cup or asking for a “for here” cup during the suspension, but all drinks will be served in the single-use paper or plastic cups. Other coronavirus prevention strategies include increased sanitizing and cleaning of all company-operated stores, restricting both domestic and international business-related air travel through March 31 and postponing or modifying meetings for U.S. and Canada offices. Starbucks is also training employees on dealing with the virus . “We have provided scenario-based procedural information to our store teams on how to report and support anyone that may express they’ve been impacted by the virus, including store closure decision making support,” Williams said. For now, the suspension of the personal cup program is indefinite. As new developments unfold in the epidemic, Starbucks will modify its response. Williams said, “We will continue to communicate with transparency and act courageously and responsibly to ensure the health and well-being of our partners and customers.” Still, if you need your morning coffee, the most sustainable, cheapest and healthiest option is to brew it at home. + Starbucks Via CNN Image via Quan Le

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Starbucks suspends personal cup use because of coronavirus

LEED Gold-certified Azurmendi crowned Worlds Most Sustainable Restaurant

March 6, 2020 by  
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Three-star Michelin restaurant Azurmendi has once again been crowned the “World’s Most Sustainable Restaurant” by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Noteworthy for its renewable energy systems that offset the building’s carbon footprint, the LEED Gold -certified restaurant has also distinguished itself as a leader of sustainable development with its proactive community role in encouraging knowledge-sharing and a circular economy. Located in Spain near the town of Bilbao, Azurmendi is also currently working on a germplasm bank to host over 400 local seed varieties of vegetables to show the importance of preserving genetic diversity.  Helmed by owners Eneko Atxa and Gorka Izagirre, Azurmendi was developed with the belief that all parts of the restaurant’s operations should be holistically considered, from the land it sits on to the surrounding Basque cultural heritage. Completed in 2010, the bioclimatic building was designed to minimize site impact and incorporate local and recycled materials as well as cutting-edge renewable energy systems. In addition to being recognized as the World’s Most Sustainable Restaurant by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2014 and 2018, Azurmendi also earned LEED Gold certification and is the first sustainable restaurant of its kind on the Iberian Peninsula. Related: Eco-friendly Brae restaurant and retreat targets net-zero energy in Australia Along with adherence to passive solar conditions to minimize energy usage, Azurmendi is equipped with highly efficient insulation, energy-efficient fixtures and high-performance glass that improves energy savings by 50%. The building draws power from photovoltaic solar panels as well as geothermal energy, which is used to power the climate control systems. Rainwater is collected and stored in tanks large enough to cover 100% of irrigation and toilet needs. To further reduce its carbon footprint, the owners planted 700 native trees around the restaurant. They have also joined an initiative promoted by the City of Larrabetzu to recycle all of the restaurant’s organic waste into compost that is then used by local farmers to fertilize their fields. Azurmendi works closely with several producers in the area for local ingredients, which are picked up by a single truck in one trip to reduce carbon emissions. + Azurmendi Images via Azurmendi

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LEED Gold-certified Azurmendi crowned Worlds Most Sustainable Restaurant

Gymnastic rings hang in the center of Naturehumaine’s innovative home renovation in Montreal

May 28, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Gymnastic rings hang in the center of Naturehumaine’s innovative home renovation in Montreal Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: exercise room , gymnastic rings , home renovation , house renovation , In Suspension , In Suspension by Naturehumaine , Montreal , naturehumaine , plywood , unfinished plywood

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Gymnastic rings hang in the center of Naturehumaine’s innovative home renovation in Montreal

Street artist Bordalo II turns Lisbon trash into wild animal sculptures

May 28, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Street artist Bordalo II turns Lisbon trash into wild animal sculptures Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal street art , Bordalo II , Lisbon , new art technique , portugal , recycled art , recycled street art , street art sculptures , trash animal sculptures , trash collage , urban art

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Street artist Bordalo II turns Lisbon trash into wild animal sculptures

US Bans BP From New Government Contracts After Gulf Coast Oil Spill

November 29, 2012 by  
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In the wake of the most recent $4.5 billion settlement and criminal charges , BP has now been suspended from all new government contracts within the United States. Citing a “lack of business integrity,” the Environmental Protection Agency handed down the decision this Wednesday. While the decision doesn’t impact current holdings by the company, BP will not be permitted to bid on new contracts until it can adequately prove that it has changed its practices to align with federal standards. Read the rest of US Bans BP From New Government Contracts After Gulf Coast Oil Spill Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: BP , congress , deepwater horizon , environmental protection agency , epa , federal court , gulf of mexico , justice department , oil drilling , suspension , united states

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US Bans BP From New Government Contracts After Gulf Coast Oil Spill

6 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to the Traditional Christmas Tree

November 29, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of 6 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to the Traditional Christmas Tree Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Christmas , christmas tree , eco christmas tree , fake christmas tree , faux christmas tree , green christmas , Green Christmas Tree , green design” title=”One Two Tree Eco Christmas Tree , green holidays , Green Xmas Tree , holiday tree , inflatable Christmas tree , managed forests , One Two Tree , plastic Christmas tree , plastic xmas tree , sustainable design , sustainable holiday decor , sustainable xmas tree , sustainably sourced wood , wooden christmas tree , wooden holiday tree , wooden xmas tree , xmas tree

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6 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to the Traditional Christmas Tree

Clement Briend Projects Digital Deities Onto Trees in Cambodia

November 29, 2012 by  
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Clement Briend Projects Digital Deities Onto Trees in Cambodia

Budget Cuts Hit EIA’s Data Collection Efforts

May 4, 2011 by  
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A $15.2 million budget shortfall prompted the U.S.

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Budget Cuts Hit EIA’s Data Collection Efforts

Toyota unveils new RAV4 electric demonstration vehicle at LA Auto Show

November 19, 2010 by  
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Eco Factor: Zero-emission vehicle powered by electric motors. Toyota has unveiled its new RAV4 electric vehicle at the LA Auto Show

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Toyota unveils new RAV4 electric demonstration vehicle at LA Auto Show

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