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In the Air: December News

December 27th, 2016

Welcome to this month’s installment of Environmental Initiative’s new blog series focused on the environmental, economic, and health effects of air pollution. Think of this series as an easy way to keep up on the latest local and global air quality stories.

Here are the headlines and reporting that caught our attention this month – including an air quality success from the City of Minneapolis Green Business Cost Share Program and why reducing soot emissions could be a quick win for the climate:

school bus tail pipesFinance & Commerce
Minneapolis helps businesses cut pollution »

The Guardian
Why cutting soot emissions is ‘fastest solution’ to slowing Arctic ice melt »

Time
Beijing’s Air Pollution is Frightening. This video shows how bad it gets »

The Economic Times
How much does air pollution cost in India? 3 percent of its GDP. »

Spot a story worth sharing? Leave a comment below or send me a note and we’ll consider it for a future post.

Photo credit: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency 

Bill Droessler

POSTED BY:

Senior Director of Strategic Project Planning

In the Air: November News

November 30th, 2016

Welcome to the second installment of a new, monthly blog series focused on the environmental, economic, and health effects of air pollution exposure. Think of this as an easy way to keep up to date on air quality news.

In this month’s issue, learn about vulnerable populations, how trees can cut air pollution, and the first EV shuttle bus fleet.

AIR QUALITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT


Study: Tree planting pays off for Minneapolis, other cities

A study conducted by The Nature Conservancy found that Minneapolis was among 16 North American cities where there is a return on investment for planting trees. They provide both a cooling effect and significant reductions in air pollution. Read MPR’s coverage »

Rise in global carbon emissions slows

The Scientific American reports, “While Americans used more oil and gas in 2015, the United States decreased emissions by 2.6 percent as the use of coal declined. Researchers expect to see a decrease in emissions of 1.7 percent in 2016.” Read the full story »

 

AIR QUALITY AND THE ECONOMY

School bus
First ever EV shuttle bus fleet launches

EV company Proterra and real estate company JLL are partnering to create an electric bus fleet in Chicago. The new fleet of 10 electric buses is more economical the first all-electric shuttle fleet to operate in the United States. Learn more »

Introducing Project Stove Swap  

Project Stove Swap provides financial incentives to residents, businesses, and organizations to replace old appliances with more efficient, less-polluting technologies. Read more about Project Stove Swap and how your organization can become more efficient »

A step toward producing cleaner air

Mathiowetz Construction in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota partnered with Project Green Fleet to retrofit one of their loaders.  Learn more about their commitment to cleaner air »

 

AIR QUALITY AND HEALTH


300M Children are breathing extremely toxic air, UNICEFF says

According to a UNICEFF report released this month, it is estimated that 300 million children around the world are breathing toxic air. Children are among the populations most vulnerable to air pollution’s health effects, and many of the affected live in areas “where outdoor air pollution exceeds international guidelines by at least six times.”

Air pollution linked to blood vessel damage in healthy young adults

While we know air pollution can impact vulnerable populations, like children and the elderly, a new study from the University of Louisville reports that fine particulate matter may be associated with blood vessel damage among young, healthy adults. Read the report »

Bill Droessler

POSTED BY:

Senior Director of Strategic Project Planning

Weekly Wrap-Up: EPA Proposed Rules

June 6th, 2014

Earlier this week, the Obama Administration issued proposed rules to limit carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants; calling for 30 wind energypercent reductions from 2005 levels by the year 2030. Headlines ranged from “Health experts see benefits in push to cut pollution,” to “Texas attorney general plans to fight new EPA rule.” There has been widespread coverage of the announcement all week. Here are some of the best articles I’ve read on the issue so far:

  • How the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) power plant rules will actually work: step-by-step (Vox).
  • At home: Minnesota must reduce carbon emissions by 41% (Pioneer Press).
  • Editorial: Minnesota leads in carbon emission reductions (Star Tribune).
  • From the source: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s remarks from the Clean Power Plan announcement (U.S. EPA).
  • Why clean tech innovators should be celebrating the proposed climate pollution rule (GreenBiz).
  • Proposed carbon emission reductions: the costs and benefits by the numbers (Bloomberg).

Have you been following the news surrounding the EPA announcement? What have you been reading? Share with me here or shoot me a note anytime.

Emily Franklin

POSTED BY:

Director of Communications

Weekly Wrap-Up: Emerging Research

April 18th, 2014

Over the past few weeks, a series of new research endeavors and published studies have caught our eye. Here’s the latest so you can be informed and armed with interesting things to share at your holiday tables this weekend:

  1. Graphic: New study out of the University of Minnesota reveals that people of color live in neighborhoods with more air pollution than whites. (Star Tribune)
  2. What are Ultra Fine Particles and why is the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency measuring them? (KARE 11)
  3. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received over 50,000 public comments on the PolyMet mining project. How on earth are they processing all of the input? (MinnPost)
  4. The seven most important findings from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Climate Science Report (Mashable).
  5. New survey reveals governments are failing to lead on sustainability. (GreenBiz)
Emily Franklin

POSTED BY:

Director of Communications

Your Groundwater Questions, Answered.

December 23rd, 2013

Thank you to everyone who attended our December 17th policy forum Seizing Opportunities for Integration in Groundwater Management. Attendees learned about and discussed emerging strategies and plans for integrating groundwater management across state and local agencies and how these strategies may inform future planning and permitting decisions.

The audience had a lot of great questions – so many in fact, that we did not have time during the event to answer them all.  I asked our speakers to respond to some of we were unable to answer at the event.

Here are their responses:

What link is there between strategies in the Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan (NFMP) and the Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP)?

Dan Stoddard, Minnesota Department of Agriculture:

The Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan was developed independently of, and without consideration for, the Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program.

The concept of certainty, protection from future regulations, for MAWQCP certified growers would apply to any new rules developed under the NFMP during the period of certification.  This means that if the Minnesota Department of Agriculture was to develop new rules under the NFMP we would assume that certified growers are meeting all required water quality goals and would write into the new rule that certified growers are exempt or considered to be in compliance with the rule during the period of certification.  This is reasonable since the requirements to adopt best management practices to become certified should meet or exceed the requirements in the new rule.

One of the goals of the revised NFMP is to work with local growers to consider changing land management practices in targeted areas to address local concerns with elevated nitrate in the groundwater.  Therefore we would still want to work with MAWQCP certified growers and involve them on the local advisory team and any other local activities.  Since these growers have demonstrated leadership by participating in the MAWQC program, we would seek them out as potential leaders in local response efforts. (more…)

Andrea Robbins

POSTED BY:

Director, Engagement and Systems

Weekly Wrap-Up – 9/27/13

September 27th, 2013

Environmental Initiative’s next policy forum, The Future of Minnesota’s Electric Utilities, will focus on the future business models for utilities given changes in the landscape – from increasing energy efficiency to smaller, more dispersed sources of energy such as solar and wind. State and local energy experts will be featured and it should be a really interesting conversation. Given the forum topic, here are few things that grabbed my attention this week:

  1. What’s the largest misconception people in the U.S. have about renewable energy? (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. 2040: The City of Minneapolis establishes its energy vision. (City of Minneapolis)
  3. Installed solar power capacity outpaces wind energy for the first time. (Fuel Fix)
  4. World climate scientists embrace an upper limit for emissions. (The New York Times)
  5. If you add more solar and wind power to the energy grid, what happens? (The Washington Post)

Registration for the event will remain open until Friday October 25th. The event is from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and is $30 for members and $60 for nonmembers. We hope you’ll join us!

Emily Franklin

POSTED BY:

Director of Communications

Weekly Wrap-Up – 8/2/13

August 5th, 2013

Happy August, everyone! It’s been a busy week for energy and climate issues. Here’s the latest and greatest we’ve pulled from the web:

  1. New U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head, Gina McCarthy, gives her first public speech on climate change and energy (The Washington Post).
  2. New study states world energy use is expected to rise 56% by the year 2040 (The Los Angeles Times).
  3. Should Minneapolis take over electric and natural gas services from Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy? Read up on the hearing this week (Star Tribune).
  4. Southern Minnesota’s Riverland Community College is recognized for solar energy innovation (KTTC.com).
  5. Have you thought about buying or leasing an electric car? Here is one Minnesota family’s story about plugging in (Clean Energy Resource Teams).
Emily Franklin

POSTED BY:

Director of Communications

Policy Forum Recap: 2013 Legislative Preview

January 2nd, 2013

On Thursday, December 20, a bipartisan group of legislators along with a crowd of over 200 members of Minnesota’s environmental community gathered in downtown Saint Paul for our annual Legislative Preview Policy Forum. Each year, the event gives an audience from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors the chance to hear from Minnesota lawmakers about their environmental priorities for the coming legislative session.

A short presentation from Minnesota Management and Budget’s John Pollard and Michelle Mitchell highlighted future budget uncertainties the state will have to contend with this year. They also reminded us of the relatively tiny share of funding that is allocated to environment, energy, and natural resources (0.7 % of general fund spending, and 3.2% of total state spending).

(more…)

Georgia Rubenstein

POSTED BY:

Senior Manager, Sustainability Program

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