Our Top 5: Weekly Round-up in Environmental & Sustainability — February 2, 2011

(1) Obama Seeking New Ways to Achieve Environmental Goals 

President Obama heartened environmentalists when he set a new national goal of Americans getting 80 percent of their electricity from “clean energy” by 2035, but he then dismayed some by including nuclear power and coal in his definition of what’s clean. And interestingly, Obama didn’t even mention climate change as a reason to wean the country from its addiction to fossil fuels.

Source: The Baltimore Sun (free reg. req’d), 2011-01-26.  

2) Signs Show Increasing Efforts to Take on Climate Change Again 

Heading into 2011 there were some surprising signs of renewed movement in efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions. With the gloomy atmosphere dissipating, organizers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said that they expected business leaders were ready to pay attention again to climate issues.

Source: The New York Times (free reg. req’d), 2011-01-25.  

3) EPA Told to Meet February Industrial Boiler Emissions Deadline 

Washington-based District Court Judge Paul Friedman told Environmental Protection Agency officials that the Clean Air Act makes it indisputably clear they need to speed up a final rule setting standards for toxic emissions from industrial boilers by meeting a new Feb. 21 deadline. Back in early December, the EPA mollified the manufacturing sector and disappointed conservationists by saying it needed more time — 15 months — to review the science to establish long-awaited limits on such large-scale heating equipment.

Source: Reuters, 2011-01-25.

4) Dangerous Levels of Lead Found in Many Reusable Bags 

Twenty-one reusable bags sold as alternatives to disposable plastic or paper bags had dangerous levels of lead, according to new test results provided to USA TODAY. The non-woven-polypropylene bags, sold by chains including Safeway, Walgreen’s and Bloom, all had lead content above 100 parts per million — the highest level that many states allow in consumer packaging.

Source: USA Today (free reg. req’d), 2011-01-24.

5) EPA to Address Requiring “Grades” for Vehicle Emissions 

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to decide by the end of July whether to require vehicle emissions “grades” on all new vehicles. Margo Oge, the director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, says the agency is sympathetic to concerns raised about the proposed “A” through “D” grades that the EPA and the Transportation Department may require on all new vehicles.

Source: Detroit News, 2011-01-29.

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