The votes are in for key environmental issues of the 2018 midterms

November 7, 2018 by  
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Most of the results are in from Tuesday’s election, and when it comes to environmental issues, the outcomes sent a lot of mixed messages. While renewable energy and the fight against climate change won in some states, fossil fuel companies are celebrating in other states. Read on for the results to important environmental issues of 2018 elections across the country. Changes in Washington On the national stage, the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, putting up a roadblock to any major environmental legislation President Trump would like to pass. In the past two years, the POTUS has pushed for an attack on the Endangered Species Act and a farm bill with limited controls on water pollution and pesticides. So for environmental activists, this change is a big win. Also, many of the Republicans who were ousted from the House were climate-science deniers, and voters replaced them with Democrats who are supporters of investments in clean energy. But in the Senate, there was a big blow in the Florida race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Governor Rick Scott. During his time as a Senator, Nelson had consistently voted in favor of climate action and attacked anyone who denied climate science. Nelson lost to Scott, who has a history of challenging the science behind climate change. There will likely be a recount in this race, because it was so close. Climate activists were also hoping that Democrat Beto O’Rourke would unseat Texas Senator Ted Cruz, but Cruz held on and ended up defeating O’Rourke. There were a couple of wins in the Senate for climate activists. Mitt Romney won the race in Utah (he scored higher on climate issues than his opponent, Democrat Jenny Wilson). In Nevada, challenger Jacky Rosen defeated the incumbent Republican Senator Dean Heller. During his time in office, Heller expressed doubts about the science of climate change, and he also voted against any effort to reduce carbon pollution. Results of state ballot initiatives The environment did not score a lot of wins when it came to state ballot initiatives, but there were a few victories. Related: A quick guide to the environmental issues you’ll find on the ballot Alaska Salmon Initiative – defeated The first measure on Alaska’s ballot was an initiative that would have forced the state’s Department of Fish and Game to hand out permits for projects and activities that might harm fish. The measure also focused on improving habitats for anadromous fish , like salmon, by looking at water quality, stream flow and temperature. Arizona Proposition 127 – defeated This clean energy proposal would have required 50 percent of electricity from utility companies to come from renewable sources by 2030. California Proposition 3 – pending, projected defeat The most significant proposition on California’s ballot related to environmental issues was Proposition 3. But with over 93 percent of precincts reporting at the time of writing, 52 percent of voters have rejected it, and the projection is that it will not pass. This initiative would have allocated close to $8 billion in funds for surface and groundwater storage, watershed protection (habitat restoration) and water infrastructure. Colorado Proposition 112 – defeated This ballot proposition would have banned oil and gas drilling on 85 percent of non-federal lands in the state, but it failed to pass. The fossil fuel industry invested millions into this election to defeat Proposition 112. Florida Constitutional Revision 4 – passed Florida took a major step against offshore drilling in this election. Constitutional Revision 4 bans offshore drilling and will put an end to oil and gas mining on lands under state waters. Lumped into this revision is a ban that will prevent individuals from vaping inside closed workplaces. The ban included all electronic devices that generate vapor, such as electronic cigarettes, and will only be enforced in indoor workplaces. This movement for clean water and air passed by 69 percent. Georgia Amendment 1 – passed This proposal allows up to 80 percent of the revenue from sales and use taxes of outdoor recreational goods to go toward land conservation: protecting water quality, conserving forests and wildlife habitats and improving state and local parks. The measure had overwhelming bipartisan support and passed by 83 percent. Montana Ballot Issue #14 I-186 – defeated This initiative would have helped regulate new rock mines in the state by requiring them to have plans for reclamation, restoration or rehabilitation to receive permits. The new mines would have also been required to have adequate plans to avoid water pollution . Nevada Question 6 – passed This initiative aims to put the state on track for renewable energy by 2030. Voters said yes to all utility companies investing in renewable energy over the next 12 years. The measure also requires electric companies to transform half of their electrical output to renewable sources by the projected date. Rhode Island Bond Measure – passed Voters approved this bond measure that authorizes $47.3 million in funds for various environmental projects throughout the state. The measure outlines where the money will be allocated and the different types of projects that will be funded, including coastal resiliency and access, clean water and treatment, dam infrastructure, bikeway initiatives, farmland access and local recreation. The largest project on the ballot is related to improving water quality and will receive $7.9 million. The measure passed with nearly 79 percent of voters’ support. Washington Initiative 1631 – defeated Initiative 1631 in Washington was designed to target greenhouse gases while rewarding companies that promote clean energy. The law would have imposed the nation’s first fees on carbon emissions, starting out at $15 for every metric ton of carbon and increasing every year by $2. The money from the fees was also going to go back into the environment and help improve air quality, raise awareness about clean energy and examine environmental issues in various communities. Companies that complied with the environmental standards could have also received credits from the added revenue. The U.S. oil industry pumped about $30 million into the race to stop this initiative from passing. Via EcoWatch , Green Tech Media and Forbes Images via Jomar , Tom Coe and Aaron Burden

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The votes are in for key environmental issues of the 2018 midterms

A quick guide to the environmental issues you’ll find on the ballot

November 2, 2018 by  
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The general election for 2018 features many interesting issues related to environmental improvements. But with these environmental proposals competing with other issues on the ballot, it is easy for them to get lost in the shuffle. From funding eco-friendly projects to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, here is a quick guide to some of the environmental issues on the 2018 ballots around the U.S. Alaska Salmon Initiative The first measure on Alaska’s ballot is an initiative that would force the state’s Department of Fish and Game to hand out permits for projects and activities that might harm fish . The measure also focuses on improving habitats for anadromous fish, like salmon, by looking at water quality, stream flow and temperature. If passed, the measure will create a system for processing permits, which includes allowing public input on major permits. The fish and game department will still have the authority to deny permits if the project or activity harms fish or habitats. Any existing projects would be exempt from the new permit system. Arizona Proposition 127 In a push for clean energy, this proposal would mandate that 50 percent of electric utilities come from renewable sources by 2030, and the percent required would steadily increase each year. The acceptable renewable energy sources would include solar , wind and biomass as well as certain hydropower, geothermal and landfill gas energies. California Proposition 3 There are a number of propositions on California’s ballot related to environmental issues, but Proposition 3 is one of the most significant. This initiative will give the green light for close to $8 billion in funds for surface and groundwater storage, watershed protection (habitat restoration) and water infrastructure. The measure outlines where all of the money will be dispersed and how much funding each project will receive. Colorado Proposition 112 This proposition on Colorado’s ballot would limit the areas available for oil and gas development, including fracking , in an effort to maintain public health and safety. If passed, oil and gas developments would have to maintain a distance of 2,500 feet from occupied structures and vulnerable areas, including homes, schools, hospitals, parks, lakes, rivers, sporting fields and more. Florida Constitutional Revision 4 Florida is taking a major step against offshore drilling this election. Constitutional Revision 4 could ban offshore drilling, putting an end to oil and gas mining on lands under state waters. Lumped into this revision is a ban that will prevent individuals from vaping inside closed workplaces. The ban includes any electronic device that generates vapor, such as electronic cigarettes. The ban would only be enforced in indoor workplaces. Georgia Amendment 1 This amendment would allow up to 80 percent of the revenue from sales and use taxes of outdoor recreation and sporting goods retailers to go to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund for land conservation, including protecting water quality, conserving forests and wildlife habitats and improving state and local parks. Montana Ballot Issue #14 I-186 This initiative will help regulate new rock mines in the state. If passed, new mines would be required to have plans for reclamation, restoration or rehabilitation to receive permits. More specifically, the new mines would be required to have adequate plans to avoid water pollution. Water contaminated by acid mine drainage often results in perpetual treatment to make the water safe for consumption. The measure also gives the Department of Environmental Quality the right to reject permits that do not have a reclamation plan in place. Nevada Question 6 Nevada’s environmental initiative this year will put the state on track for renewable energy by 2030. Question 6 on the Nevada ballot proposes that all utility companies invest in renewable energy over the next 12 years. If passed, the measure would require electric companies to transform half of their electrical output to renewable sources by the projected date. The current law requires utility companies to use 25 percent of renewable electricity by 2025. Rhode Island Question 3 This measure would authorize $47.3 million in funds for various environmental projects throughout the state. The measure outlines where the money will be allocated and the different types of projects that will be funded. The projects include coastal resiliency and access, clean water and treatment, dam infrastructure, bikeway initiatives, farmland access and local recreation. The largest project on the ballot is related to improving water quality and would receive $7.9 million. Washington Initiative 1631 Initiative 1631 in Washington targets greenhouse gas pollutants and rewards companies that promote clean energy. If voted in, the law would impose fees on carbon emissions. The price of the fee starts out at $15 for every metric ton of carbon, increasing every year by $2. The money generated from the fees will go right back into the environment. The revenue would help improve air quality, raise awareness about clean energy and examine environmental issues in various communities. Companies that comply with environmental standards could also receive credits from the added revenue. The measure also requires that Native American tribes have their voices heard on projects that affect their land. All of the money dispersed from the carbon fee will have to be approved by a public board first. Via Vote Smart , Ballotpedia and NCSL Image via Element5 Digital

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A quick guide to the environmental issues you’ll find on the ballot

Made from sewage, these "popsicles" reveal the scale of Taiwan’s water pollution

June 8, 2017 by  
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We wouldn’t eat these “popsicles” if we were you. Concocted by Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui and Cheng Yu-ti, a group of students from National Taiwan University of the Arts , the frozen treats comprise sewage from 100 different locations across the East Asian island nation. Hung and company froze their samples—bottle caps, plastic wrappers, and all—to illustrate the scope of Taiwan’s water-pollution problem. To preserve their creations, they dipped the popsicles in a polyester resin. They even designed wrappers for each frozen non-treat based on the locations they sampled from. Unappetizing “flavors” include “Yang-tzu-chou Drainage,” “The Large Ditch in Tianwei,” and “New Huwei Creek.” Related: Residents go nearly two weeks without safe drinking water in this Texas town Hung said they chose to make the popsicles to illustrate the importance of clean water. (Popsicles are, after all, mostly H2O.) “They’re made out of sewage, so basically these things can only be seen, not eaten,” Hung told Mashable . “[Having] pure water, a clean water source is actually very important.” + Polluted Water Popsicles Via Quartz A post shared by ??? (@yongbin.zhou) on May 25, 2017 at 6:45am PDT

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Made from sewage, these "popsicles" reveal the scale of Taiwan’s water pollution

Rethinking the water cycle through corporate collaboration

May 30, 2017 by  
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“Business as usual will lead to a 40 percent gap in supply demand of water by 2030,” said Emilio Tenuta, vice president of corporate sustainability at Ecolab. However, “despite water conservation projects, since 2011, corporate water use has only declined by 10 percent.According to Tenuta, if the world is to address the pressing issue of water quality scarcity, “we’re going to have to create partnerships that accelerate change and reinvent the way we work.” 

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Rethinking the water cycle through corporate collaboration

Residents go nearly two weeks without safe drinking water in this Texas town

May 25, 2016 by  
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When something goes wrong with a public water supply , utility officials often issue an advisory warning residents to boil water before using it for drinking, cooking, or bathing. Such measures are generally temporary—a brief period of caution while crews repair the source of the problem. However, residents of Corpus Christi, Texas have been living under a boil advisory for nearly two weeks , and it’s the city’s third in 10 months. Nobody knows for sure when locals will have access to safe drinking water again. The current boil advisory was issued May 13, after utility officials reported low levels of chlorine disinfectant in the water supply . Chlorine is being used to kill harmful bacteria, which itself was at the heart of a previous boil alert in July 2015. Prior to that time, the city was using a different method for disinfecting the water, and it wasn’t working. Potentially hazardous levels of E. coli had been detected, and utility managers were unable to combat the bacteria without switching to a chlorine-based disinfectant. Ironically, the disinfectant in the water is now posing a threat to local residents. Related: Florida nuclear power plant is leaking pollutants that threaten drinking water Local news reports say the chlorine was expected to disperse through the water supply quickly after a treatment on May 19, but it’s taking longer than officials thought it should. A final treatment was performed at 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday, May 24 and needs at least 18 hours before water tests can confirm safe disinfectant levels. The boil alert could be lifted sometime today, Wednesday, but the debacle has left residents frustrated and upset, feeling as though city leaders have let them down. Corpus Christi city manager Ron Olson resigned his position just days after the current boil alert was issued amid claims he mishandled the situation. Some residents are calling for the city’s mayor, Nelda Martinez, to step down as well. Via Huffington Post Images via Steve Johnson/Flickr and Ted Gresham/Flickr

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Residents go nearly two weeks without safe drinking water in this Texas town

Recycled cigarette butt bricks slash energy consumption by 58%

May 25, 2016 by  
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Familiar habit: step outside, smoke a cigarette to relieve urban stress, toss what’s left on the concrete. This small action, multiplied a few trillion times around the world, produces 1.2 trillion tons of waste . This waste is not strictly organic ; mixed in with the plant products are heavy metals that can contaminate land and water. Even the increased popularity of vaping will do little to combat the increase of cigarette waste, which is predicted to grow by up to 50 percent by 2025. Perhaps inspired by the concrete on which so many butts have been dumped, Dr. Abbas Mohajerani, engineer at RMIT University in Melbourne, has proposed repurposing this waste into bricks for building. “I have been dreaming for many years about finding sustainable and practical methods for solving the problem of cigarette butt pollution,” says Mohajerani. If the material for only 2.5 percent of the global production of bricks was sourced from cigarette butts, it would offset the waste produced by cigarette butts. Bricks produced using cigarette waste are cheaper and less energy intensive than traditional bricks. The cigarette butts are mixed into traditional clay bricks, reducing the energy required by 58 percent. The resulting bricks are more insulating, which would cut down the cost of heating or cooling a home, and easier to move due to their lighter weight. Related: Ultra-sturdy dirt brick gets its remarkable strength from paper towels Mohajerani believes that his techniques could make a huge dent in the problem of global pollution. “Incorporating butts into bricks can effectively solve a global litter problem as recycled cigarette butts can be placed in bricks without any fear of leaching or contamination,” says Mohajerani. How these cigarette butts will be effectively collected is unclear. Although the mass production of cigarette butt bricks is still far on the horizon, the work of Mohaherani and his team have helped to clarify a creative solution to an enduring human problem. If we must smoke, let us build something too. Via TreeHugger

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Recycled cigarette butt bricks slash energy consumption by 58%

China to Levy Unlimited Fines Against Major Polluters

May 19, 2014 by  
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The Chinese legislature has voted in favor of changes to its environmental policies for the first time in 25 years. The new law gives government the ability to levy unlimited fines against polluters in a country with some of the world’s worst air quality and widespread pollution. Under the new anti-pollution laws set come into effect on January 1, 2015, Chinese companies violating the regulations will be subject to unlimited fines along with public naming and shaming, while executives in charge could spend up to 15 days in prison. Local governments will also be held accountable for covering up environmental breaches, while Chinese citizens will be encouraged to “adopt a low-carbon and frugal lifestyle” and “perform environmental protection duties.” Read the rest of China to Levy Unlimited Fines Against Major Polluters Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: air , Air quality , carbon dioxide emissions , china , china’s war on pollution , chinese environmental law , Climate Change , Environment , fines for chinese polluters , global warming , hong kong pollution , polluters , Pollution , water issues , water quality

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China to Levy Unlimited Fines Against Major Polluters

World Water Week finds power in partnerships

September 6, 2013 by  
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The world's heavyweights met in Stockholm to address looming threats to water quality and quantity. Here are highlights.

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World Water Week finds power in partnerships

How Investing in Water Infrastructure Could Grow Green Jobs

October 4, 2011 by  
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Investing $188 billion to properly manage stormwater in the U.S. and preserve water quality may potentially create nearly 1.9 million jobs over the next five years, according to a new report.

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DEC Rules that Indian Point cooling technologies will not meet New York’s water quality standards

April 7, 2010 by  
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photo: SMI direct Obama last week expanded controversial sources of energy such as drilling along the coastlines, but the nuclear power plant near Westchester, NY may be in its final years of operation. On Friday, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation denied Entergy, the owners of Indian Point nuclear power plant, a water quality certificate. The denial of the water permit follows on the heels of New York’s utility regulator rejecting Entergy’s …

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DEC Rules that Indian Point cooling technologies will not meet New York’s water quality standards

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