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Archive for July, 2011

Smog Blog (or: Is the fourth time the charm?)

July 29th, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was scheduled this month to release new standards for ground-level ozone, or smog. This release has been rescheduled three times. According to an EPA statement, the Agency “looks forward to finalizing this standard shortly.” “Shortly” is not defined.

Without being too legalistic or esoteric (or boring), some background may help.

The Bush Administration tightened the smog standards in March, 2008. These new standards were outside of the range and less stringent than the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee recommended.  Multiple lawsuits were subsequently filed; some suits arguing that the standards should be strengthened and some suits arguing that the standards were too restrictive. The federal courts consolidated the suits, which were proceeding when in 2009 the current Administration announced that it would reconsider the smog standards. Basically, the EPA requested that the consolidated lawsuits be put on hold, “while EPA officials that are appointed by the new Administration  . . . determine whether the standards should be maintained, modified or otherwise reconsidered.”


Bill Droessler


Senior Director of Strategic Project Planning

Lessons on Partnership

July 21st, 2011

One of the most common questions I get when I’m at events, meet new people, or even out with friends is, “So, what exactly does your organization do?” It’s not a totally unreasonable question, especially because unlike other organizations, Environmental Initiative doesn’t focus on a specific environmental issue and we don’t lobby.

Environmental Initiative is the partnership building organization. Environmental problems are often wickedly complex and their potential solutions have political, environmental, economic and social implications. To reach those solutions, input from people in all of these areas is critical, and facilitating solutions amongst these groups is what Environmental Initiative is all about. I’ve been with the organization for five years this summer, which has honestly felt like five minutes (They say time does fly when you’re having fun). During my time here, I’ve learned some things about working in partnership with others. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way: (more…)

Emily Franklin


Director of Communications

Business & Environment Session Preview: How Green Is Your Supply Chain?

July 12th, 2011

Today we hear from Georjean Adams, of EHS Strategies, and Terry Foecke, of The Environmental Defense Fund and Materials Productivity, LLC. We look forward to hearing more at Environmental Initiative’s Business & Environment Session on August 18, “Greening the Supply Chain: Drivers, Challenges and Strategies.” What questions do you have for Terry and Georjean?

Georjean Adams:

“Greening Your Supply Chain” is the latest buzz on how to get to sustainability.  You can’t achieve significant improvements in your own operations unless you understand and are working with your upstream and downstream supply chain partners. You’ve probably already received inquiries from some of your customers and maybe even some of your suppliers on your greenhouse gases, energy use, toxic chemicals, recycled content, biodegradation, etc.  If not, you will be soon!

At the upcoming Business and Environment Session on this topic on August 18, I will provide an overview of what life cycle environmental impacts are of interest to your stakeholders and why, offer examples of how companies like Walmart, Nike, P&G, Apple, Herman Miller and others are rating suppliers on how sustainable they are, and why and how you can work with your suppliers to be more sustainable.


3,300 and Going Strong!

July 7th, 2011

Project Green Fleet Celebrates Its 3,300th Retrofit

Did you know that diesel vehicles make up only 10% of road traffic, yet they contribute to 50% of air emissions? Diesel emissions contain many dangerous pollutants that are harmful to our health and environment. That is why the Environmental Initiative folks who operate Project Green Fleet have been working hard over the last few years to clean up eligible diesel vehicles all across the state. Project Green Fleet is now celebrating 3,300 retrofits and we are still going strong!

The various vehicles that have received this pollution reduction equipment are the same ones we see every day: school buses, refuse haulers, dump trucks, long-haul tractors, construction equipment, locomotives and more.

Most recently, Project Green Fleet wrapped up two grants: a $3 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a $1.2 million grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).


Eric David


Program Manager, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
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