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California – Cap and Trade Report Final
A 14-member market advisory committee released their final report of recommendations on the design of a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the state. Key members presented their findings before the Air Resources Board in July. “In order to meet California’s aggressive greenhouse gas targets, we’re going to need a comprehensive approach to get the most reduction, in the quickest timeframe and at the lowest cost,” said Winston Hickox, chair of the committee. Read the report at www.climatechange.ca.gov/policies/market_advisory.html.
Georgia – A Helping Hand
Atlanta and six surrounding communities were selected under a new national program by the EPA to receive about $45,000 aid. The grants will pay for assistance from a team of national experts organized by the agency to work with local leaders. This is the latest group selected from 67 submissions that were received from 30 states. Other recipients include the California Department of Transportation; the city of Denver, the city of Greensboro, N.C., Sanitation District No. 1 of Northern Kentucky and Valley Metro Transit, Phoenix and Mesa, Ariz.
Michigan – UST Funding Goes Another Round
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced the start of the second round of the Refined Petroleum Fund Temporary Reimbursement Program. The program is a result of legislation signed by Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm on July 20, 2006. It provides a total of $45 million for underground storage tank owners and operators who had approved claims under the former Michigan Underground Storage Tank Financial Assurance Program and meet specific eligibility requirements. The department will begin accepting pre-certification applications for the second round on July 30, 2007, and will continue to accept applications through Aug. 29, 2007. Details on the program are available online at www.michigan.gov/deqrrd.
Nebraska – Recycling and Reducing Wastes
The state’s Department of Environmental Quality announced the awarding of $2.3 million in grants for waste reduction and recycling projects. The grants are available through the Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Grant Fund. This fund is generated by a fee on solid waste disposed in landfills, an annual retail business sales fee, and a fee assessed on the sale of new tires for motor vehicles. Tire fee grants totaling over $1.7 million for projects related to tire recycling were previously announced in April.
New Mexico – Climate Change Issues
The state will hear proposals this October for regulating output of greenhouse gases. Gov. Bill Richardson signed Executive Order 05-033 in June 2005 to establish the New Mexico Climate Change Advisory Group. The group issued reports and provided proposals to control emissions of greenhouse gases. The governor followed up with Executive Order 06-069 in December 2006. The group was additionally tasked to report proposals for greenhouse gas emissions reporting and regulation development. Public hearings are scheduled for Oct. 2, 2007 (visit www.nmenv.state.nm.us/aqb/GHG/ghgrr_index.html). Updates are available at www.nmenv.state.nm.us/aqb/projects/OGER.html.
New Jersey – Closed Cleanups
The federal EPA announced that two Superfund site sites had successfully completed cleanup and monitoring activities and could be removed from the National Priority List pending a public comment period. The Grand Street Mercury site, located in Hoboken, had been a mercury lamp manufacturing facility. Buildings on the property had been converted to residential and studio spaces. It was found in 1995 that the buildings and soils were contaminated with mercury vapors. The other site was the Manheim Avenue Dump, located in Galloway Township. Nearly 300 drums of degreasing sludge had been disposed in a pit from the 1960s to the early 1970s along with leaded waste, plaster molds, and china and clay forms.
Oklahoma – Testing Flood Waters
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was joined by the EPA to gather water samples at three locations near drinking water intakes after flooding occurred this summer. Samples were analyzed for metals, organic chemicals, pesticides, PCBs and bacterial contaminants. Some metals were detected but at levels below what would result in short- or long-term health affects. Manganese was detected above secondary maximum contaminant limits (MCL) at a few locations. These MCL levels are set for this metal to prevent the discoloration of clothes during laundering.
Utah – Fireworks Pollute the Air
After reported spikes in air pollution levels due to July 4 fireworks, Gov. Jon Huntsman has issued an emergency ban on personal fireworks for Pioneer Day, a state holiday commemorating the arrival of Mormon settlers in Utah. The governor cited wildfire dangers and fine-particle air pollution as reasons for the action. On July 4, many air monitor stations recorded levels that exceeded the federal health standard for fine-particle pollution known as PM2.5. Most notably, the high levels were recorded in areas surrounding smaller gatherings of neighborhoods or families igniting their own fireworks rather than watching a large professional display. Short-term exposures to the particle pollution can aggravate asthma attacks and lung disease. In people with heart disease, short-term exposures have been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias.