EPA Announces Environmental Justice Video Contest: Faces of the Grassroots

The following was announced March 1st in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Daily Digest Bulletin:

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sponsoring an environmental justice video contest that challenges professional or aspiring filmmakers to create videos that capture the faces of the environmental justice movement. The Faces of the Grassroots contest is an opportunity to publicly exhibit creativity with environmental justice stories, and connect with others working to raise awareness of the movement.”

What does this mean?  It means the EPA is giving monetary prizes to people for developing short informational videos or public service announcements focusing on any environmental justice activity, issue, or topic.  Granted, the amounts are small and range from $500 to $2,500.  In fact, this might be seen as a cost saving exercise since developing professional advertising is much more expensive.  Looking at it from a different perspective, why is the EPA advertising at all?  While the prize money amount is miniscule compared to the national debt, imagine all of the bureaucracy behind this effort and what it costs.

Read the full text of the announcement here.  To see another example of what the EPA is spending money on, check out EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s Facebook page.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson Responds to Senators Regarding Greenhouse Gases

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has issued a response to a request by eight U.S. Senators about the Agency’s plans for 2010.  The letter addresses the time frame for addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the impact of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s resolution of disapproval of EPA’s endangerment finding on the light-duty vehicle standard and the historic agreement among states, automakers, the federal government, and other stakeholders.  She goes on to say that a vote to vitiate (make legally defective or invalid) the greenhouse-gas endangerment finding would be viewed as a vote to reject the scientific work of the thirteen U.S. government departments that contribute to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.  She also says that this would be viewed by many as a vote to move the United States to a position behind that of China on the issue of climate change, and more in line with the position of Saudi Arabia.

This is evidently Administrator Jackson’s own view as she states the following, “After the EPA staff conducted a comprehensive survey of the soundest available science and carefully reviewed hundreds of thousands of public comments, I determined last December that greenhouse-gas emissions do endanger Americans’ health and welfare.”  She assures the Senators that she will ensure that no stationary source will be required to get a Clean Air Act permit to cover its greenhouse gas emissions in calendar year 2010.  Permit requirements will be phased in beginning in calendar year 2011.  The largest stationary sources will be required to apply for permits in 2011 with the smallest sources not being subject to permitting until 2016 at the soonest.  Whether a phasing in of permitting over the next six years will make this any more palatable to affected businesses remains to be seen.  The full text of Ms. Jackson’s letter can be found on the EPA website along with her recent statement at a legislative hearing on EPA’s 2011 Budget Proposal

Will Algae Solve the Pentagon’s Jet Fuel Problem?

The latest news on the biofuel front is that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) claims that algae is going to solve the Pentagon’s jet fuel problem.  Darpa says it is just months away from producing a jet fuel from algae for the same cost as its fossil-fuel equivalent. While researchers have been able to turn pond scum and seaweed into fuel, they have not found a cost-effective method to do so.  Predictions for operation of a larger scale refining operation range anywhere from 2011 to 2013.

The history of biofuel development has been fraught with problems as researchers have touted many sources including corn and other vegetable oils, wood based products, and even kudzu as the answer to the energy crisis.  Is algae the latest in a long line of impractical solutions or is it really the answer?  Only time will tell.

Proposed National Rulemaking to Strengthen the Stormwater Program

EPA is announcing plans to initiate national rulemaking to establish a program to reduce stormwater discharges from new development and redevelopment and make other regulatory improvements to strengthen its stormwater program.  This affects owners, operators, developers, and contractors of new development and redevelopment as well as the owners and operators of MS4s.

EPA has issued a Federal Register Notice (PDF) (6 pp, 76K) seeking stakeholder input to help EPA shape a program to reduce stormwater impacts. Input will be provided through both written comments and during a series of public listening sessions. As described in the FR Notice, EPA seeks input on the following preliminary regulatory considerations:

  • Expand the area subject to federal stormwater regulations
  • Establish specific requirements to control stormwater discharges from new development and redevelopment
  • Develop a single set of consistent stormwater requirements for all MS4s
  • Require MS4s to address stormwater discharges in areas of existing development through retrofitting the sewer system or drainage area with improved stormwater control measures
  • Explore specific stormwater provisions to protect sensitive areas

Written comments must be submitted on or before February 26, 2010 to the address specified in the Federal Register notice.

DES Consultants Featured in The Citizen Newspaper Online. Check out the link

Fayette headquartered company offers required erosion control training and certification

DES Consultants, Inc. Announces Upcoming Erosion Control and Training Certification Classes

Jeret Elwell, CPESC, CPSWQ, LEED AP. Lead Instructor for DES Consultants, Inc.

Jeret Elwell, CPESC, CPSWQ, LEED AP. Lead Instructor for DES Consultants, Inc.

DES Consultants, Inc. (DES, Inc.), a leading provider of environmental training and consulting services to builders, developers, and contractors throughout the United States, today announced their upcoming course schedule for Erosion Control Training & Certification in the Metro Atlanta area.

Erosion Control Training & Certification is required for all individuals involved in land disturbing activities. Training and Certification courses offered by DES, Inc. include: Subcontractor Awareness, Level 1A, Level 1B, Level 2, and all levels of re-certification.

Jeret Elwell, CPESC, CPSWQ, LEED AP, and Lead Instructor for DES, Inc elaborates on the training requirements, “The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) is tasked with managing the curriculum and certification in the state for the thousands that are Erosion Control certified.” Elwell further states, “Each erosion control certification is valid for a 3 year period. However, within the last year of the individual’s certification period a 4 hour recertification course must be completed to keep the certification active. If the certification expires, then the individual will have to start over and take the test again from the very beginning, so don’t let your card expire–make sure to take a recertification.”

Who should attend: Anyone who is currently or will be involved in land disturbing activities, homebuilders, developers, grading companies, silt fence providers, etc. If you are involved in any land disturbing activities in Georgia you must be certified by the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) at the required level based on involvement. Additionally, DES offers courses to anyone that needs the Erosion Control Re-Certification training. For more information on which level of certification affects you please contact DES, Inc or visit www.gaswcc.georgia.gov.

*DES, Inc also offers on-site training to groups of 10 or more.

To register for an upcoming course or to find out more information please call DES, Inc. at (770) 631-1555 or log on to www.desconsultants.com.