EPA And Oregon Partner To Monitor Air Quality

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $314,375 to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to support air monitoring programs. The grant will help ODEQ maintain the state’s monitoring network for hazardous air pollutants. The state’s program also helps reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants and enforcement of air regulations within the state. 

EPA

“EPA and our regulatory partners at the state and local level have taken significant steps to dramatically reduce hazardous air pollutants and provide important health protections,” said EPA Regional Administrator Chris Hladick. “This grant helps further protect our communities and gives us a better understanding of the air pollution sources that may be affecting Oregon’s local air quality.”

“EPA’s grant will support our ability to make science-based decisions, which is the cornerstone of our work and critical for advancing healthy communities and economic progress in Oregon,” said ODEQ Director Richard Whitman. “Our progress is most effectively achieved with support from our federal partners and work with local communities to meet regulatory standards.”

There are currently 187 hazardous air pollutants, or air toxics, regulated under the Clean Air Act that have been associated with a wide variety of adverse health effects, including cancer and neurological effects. These air toxics are emitted from multiple sources, including major stationary, area, and mobile sources, resulting in community exposure to these pollutants.

The National Air Toxics Trends Station program was developed to fulfill the need for long-term hazardous air pollutants monitoring data of consistent quality. These sites are part of a 27-site national network of air pollution monitoring stations. The primary purpose of the network is tracking trends in ambient air pollutant levels to help measure progress toward reducing emissions and health risks.

ODEQ is currently operating two of these National Air Toxics Trends monitoring sites in Oregon. One station is in La Grande (a rural site) and the other is in Portland (an urban site). EPA grant funding supports the activities of ODEQ in the operation of these two sites. EPA has provided grant funding to support DEQ’s air quality monitoring program for more than a decade.

Background
 
EPA’s most recent air trends report highlights that, between 1970 and 2017, the combined emissions of six key pollutants dropped by 73 percent, while the U.S. economy grew more than three times. A closer look at more recent progress shows that between 1990 and 2017, average concentrations of harmful air pollutants decreased significantly across our nation:
 
Sulfur dioxide (1-hour) ↓ 88 percent
Lead (3-month average) ↓80 percent
Carbon monoxide (8-hour) ↓ 77 percent
Nitrogen dioxide (annual) ↓ 56 percent
Fine Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 40 percent
Coarse Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 34 percent and
Ground-level ozone (8-hour) ↓ 22 percent
 
The report includes interactive graphics that enable citizens, policymakers, and stakeholders to view and download detailed information by pollutant, geographic location, and year. Explore the report and download graphics and data here: U.S. Air Trends Report.
 
The Clean Air Act was established to lower levels of six common pollutants — particles, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide — and toxic pollutants. Data of actual conditions is key to state and local clean air programs and areas reaching attainment.
 
The progress of the Clean Air Act reflects efforts by state, local governments, business, non-profit and non-government organizations, and EPA. EPA continues to work with states, local governments, tribes, and citizens – to further improve air quality for all Americans.

Electric-assisted Bike Share In Bellevue

Electric-assisted Bike Share In Bellevue. In addition to seeing more green-painted bikeways in Bellevue, starting this week you’ll see more green bicycles as part of the city’s one-year bike share pilot. Bellevue’s is the first bike share system in the Pacific Northwest to feature exclusively electric-assisted bicycles (also called e-bikes) and a network of preferred parking areas.

Electric-assisted BikeElectric-assisted Bike Share In Bellevue

“The city’s Electric-assisted bike share pilot aims to provide people who live in, work in and visit Bellevue with more choices about how they get where they want to go,” said Transportation Director Dave Berg. “Bellevue has a lot of hills, so we’re focusing on e-bikes to make riding an option for as many people as possible across the city.”
An electric motor provides a boost while pedaling, so riders can go anywhere without breaking a sweat. The motor provides assistance up to 15 miles per hour. The green bikes are owned and operated by Lime, a private company based in San Mateo, California.
Continue reading “Electric-assisted Bike Share In Bellevue”

EDF Renewables-PGGM Agreements On US Wind And Solar Projects

EDF Renewables North America announced on August 1,2018 the signing of two Purchase and Sale Agreements (PSA) by which PGGM Infrastructure Fund will acquire a 50 percent ownership interest in the following projects: Glacier’s Edge Wind and Valentine Solar. Combined capacity of the projects is 332 megawatts (MW). Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary conditions precedent.

EDF RenewablesEDF Renewables-PGGM Agreements On US Wind And Solar Projects

“EDF Renewables has a long track record of successful investments in the American sustainable energy market. The PGGM Infrastructure Fund is looking forward to building a strong long-term partnership with EDF Renewables.’’ ”

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This transaction follows on an earlier agreement between the two companies concerning three projects for 588 MW. Total capacity of the portfolio (five projects in total) is 920 MW. EDF Renewables will remain a 50 percent co-owner and provide management as well as operations and maintenance services.

The agreement with EDF Renewables is part of PGGM’s fast-growing portfolio of investments in climate solutions for PFZW, the pension fund for Dutch healthcare workers. At this stage PGGM has realized €7 bn. of these investments both in private and public markets. These investments generate market rate financial returns and have measurable positive impact on the world’s carbon footprint.

Nate McMurry, director, divestiture and portfolio strategy for EDF Renewables commented, “PGGM is an ideal partner for this large portfolio of EDF Renewables developed projects. Their focus on long-term investments and interest in a diverse portfolio of wind and solar projects is well aligned with our strategy in North America. This equity partnership with PGGM will help to facilitate EDF Renewables growth.”

Erik van de Brake, head of infrastructure at PGGM commented, “EDF Renewables has a long track record of successful investments in the American sustainable energy market. The PGGM Infrastructure Fund is looking forward to building a strong long-term partnership with EDF Renewables.’’

PROJECT CAPACITY LOCATION TECHNOLOGY
Glacier’s Edge 200 MW Cherokee County, Iowa GE
Valentine Solar 132 MWp Kern County, California First Solar

 

EDF Renewables is one of the largest renewable energy developers in North America with 10 gigawatts of wind, solar, storage, biomass and biogas projects developed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

 

Sagebrush Hospitality Can Save Vineyards

Sagebrush is a protective home for good bugs that help fight harmful pests on grape vines, according to new research from Washington State University scientists.

SagebrushSagebrush Hospitality Can Save Vineyards

This finding could be a huge benefit for local vineyards who want to manage pests and reduce their use of pesticides.
The work recently was published in the journal Insects.
“We’ve looked at about 120 native plants near vineyards over the last few years to see how attractive they are to different beneficial insects,” said WSU entomologist David James. “And sagebrush had the highest number of beneficial insects of any plant we’ve studied so far.”
The most common helpful insects were several species of parasitic wasps, tiny parasites that feed on pests that harm healthy wine grapes. One kind of parasitic wasp loves to feed on leafhoppers, a major pest for vineyards.
“The wasps don’t harm people or crops, and are often too small to even see,” said James, an associate professor with WSU Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center. “These aren’t yellow jackets, but they’re really helpful in combating pests.”
The entire team was surprised by how hospitable the sagebrush is to beneficial insects, he said. One reason was that the bugs don’t just live in the sagebrush when it’s flowering and has nectar in the autumn. The team found insects throughout the spring and summer as well.
“It’s a year-round benefit,” James said. “We suspect that’s because sagebrush is the dominant plant in much of the Inland Northwest, and beneficial insects have evolved to rely on it as a refuge from the heat or wind.”
James now recommends that vineyards leave sagebrush in as many areas as possible. More sagebrush nearby means more beneficial insects to feed on pest bugs and less need to apply pesticides.
James said he’s been asked if sagebrush attracts pest insects as well as the beneficial ones. Not an issue, he said.
“The parasitic wasps and other natural enemies seem to provide sagebrush with good protection from pests,” James said. “Sagebrush in eastern Washington appears to rarely suffer from pest damage. Given the likely long association between beneficial insects and sagebrush, this makes perfect sense.”
One problem is that sagebrush isn’t nearly as common as it once was, James said.
“Central Washington and Oregon used to be a virtual sea of sagebrush, but the ecosystem is threatened and fragmented now,” he said. “Everybody takes sagebrush for granted. It doesn’t necessarily look very nice, but it’s a valuable resource. And can be really useful in helping agriculture.”
James’ research has been supported by state and federal funding, as follows:

  • Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research(59-5358-1-429_FR_9-30-14) (Federal)
  • Washington State Grape and Wine Research Program (0524/3315) (State)
  • Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension (WSARE) (SW10-052) (Federal)

Read more Green News at Bellevue Business Journal.

Captain Paul Watson of Whale Wars and Sea Shepherd in San Diego Saturday

Captain Paul Watson Sea ShepherdSea Shepherd Conservation Society Founder Captain Paul Watson will be in San Diego, California, on Saturday July 28th, 2018 from 10am-2pm aboard the M/V Farley Mowat at 1492 N Harbor Drive to talk about our current campaigns that are saving our ocean’s marine life.

The M/V Farley Mowat has just returned from the most successful campaign to save the vaquita to date, Operation Milagro IV.

This is Sea Shepherd’s fourth consecutive year in the Gulf and the most crucial one yet for the vaquita. The latest official numbers of this species have dropped to less than 30, half the amount previously recorded in the 2015. With such dire statistics, the vaquita is now the most endangered marine mammal in the world.  Continue reading “Captain Paul Watson of Whale Wars and Sea Shepherd in San Diego Saturday”

Plastic Bag Ordinance In Kenmore

Plastic Bag Ordinance In Kenmore was adopted by the city council on Monday, July 23, 2018. The new plastic bag policy will be effective next year January 1, 2019.

Plastic Bag Ordinance In Kenmore
Plastic Bag

The said ordinance was said to encourage the use of reusable carryout bags in the City of Kenmore. The policy prohibits retailers from providing single-use plastic bags to customers at checkout and requires they charge a 5-cent fee for each recycled paper bag supplied. This fee is retained by the retailer. The ordinance includes exemptions for in-store specialty bags (for items such as bulk foods, produce, meat, etc.) and bags for prepared foods (restaurant takeout bags), laundry, newspapers, pet waste, garbage bags, and bags where dampness could be an issue.) Additionally, low-income residents with electronic vouchers for government programs will be exempted from the 5-cent fee. Plastic straws were not addressed in this ordinance.
Continue reading “Plastic Bag Ordinance In Kenmore”

San Diego-Based Torrey Holistics Awarded First Adult Use License by California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control

Torrey Holistics San Diego CannabisSan Diego based Torrey Holistics recently announced that California has chosen the collective to be the first approved Adult Use marijuana dispensary in the state. Thousands of businesses applied for the license prior to the state’s awarding of the first license yesterday. Granting of the license means that as of January 1st, 2018, Torrey Holistics will be legally permitted to temporarily sell marijuana to adults 21 years of age and over without the medical recommendation of a physician, as was previously required in California.  Continue reading “San Diego-Based Torrey Holistics Awarded First Adult Use License by California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control”

Puget Sound to Get EPA Funding for Protection, Conservation & Recovery

EPA Funding for Puget SoundThe Northwest office of the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced today through its National Estuary Program it is providing $25.2 million in grant funds to state, local and tribal Puget Sound recovery and conservation efforts.

“A healthy Puget Sound is vital to the environmental and economic health of Washington state,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA is succeeding in protecting and restoring habitats and water quality by supporting local partners and projects.”

Among the efforts funded in whole or in part with National Estuary Program funds announced are: Continue reading “Puget Sound to Get EPA Funding for Protection, Conservation & Recovery”

Five Holiday Sustainability Tips from Republic Services

This holiday season, Republic Services, Inc. encourages consumers across the country to incorporate environmentally responsible practices into celebrations and family gatherings with five simple tips.

“The holiday season can be a hectic time of year for just about everyone,” said Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic Services. “Many of us want to be more sustainable during the holidays, but we aren’t sure how or we just don’t have the time. These five easy tips can help each of us to do our part to make environmentally responsible choices throughout the holiday season and help make a positive impact in our communities for generations to come.” Continue reading “Five Holiday Sustainability Tips from Republic Services”

Washington Bikes Ride in the Rain Challenge kicks off Wednesday, November 1

Get your fenders in place and take on the rain!

This November 1-30, Washington Bikes is inviting everyone in the state of Washington to participate in the Ride in the Rain Challenge, a friendly competition among two-wheeled teams to bike as much as possible—for fun, for work or for just getting around town.  

Ride In the Rain WA BikesParticipants log bike trips throughout the month of November while competing for bragging rights and prizes—and to prove that no one embraces the rainy season like the Pacific Northwest. Continue reading “Washington Bikes Ride in the Rain Challenge kicks off Wednesday, November 1”