Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Final Rule on Mandatory GHG Reporting

On September 22, 2009, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule for mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from large GHG emissions sources in the United States.

This reporting rule will provide a better understanding of where GHGs are coming from and will guide development of the best possible policies and programs to reduce emissions.

This national reporting requirement will provide EPA with GHG emissions data from facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, including suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, and manufacturers of vehicles and engines.

This action includes final reporting requirements for 31 of the 42 emission sources listed in the proposal. EPA continues to consider comments and options for the remaining source categories.

The following source and supply categories are not required to report at this time:
  • Electronics manufacturing
  • Ethanol production
  • Fluorinated GHG production
  • Food processing
  • Industrial landfills
  • Magnesium production
  • Oil and natural gas systems
  • SF6 from electrical equipment
  • Underground coal mines
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Suppliers of coal
Detailed information and text of the final rule is available on the EPA's website.

Previously on the Northgate Sustainability Forum: A Mandatory GHG Registry for the US?

What's Good for the Environment is Good for the Economy? Some Not So Sure...

Americans continue to send mixed signals about the dangers of climate change
Rasmussen Reports, September 25, 2009

In a recent poll, 47% of respondents said that they do not consider themselves selfish for putting economic concerns ahead of the fight against global warming.

Twenty-nine percent (29%) take the opposite view and believe Americans are being selfish for putting the economy first, and 24% are not sure.

Still, 52% of all Americans agree with President Obama that "the danger posed by climate change cannot be denied, and our responsibility to meet it must not be deferred."

Sixty-four percent (64%) of US voters say global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem, with 35% who regard it as very serious. Forty-seven percent (47%) believe global warming is caused by long-term planetary trends rather than human activity, and 42% blame human activity.

Perhaps the World's Largest Dam Removal Project

Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement
Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times, September 30, 2009

PacifiCorp, a Portland, Oregon utility, has consented to the removal of four hydroelectric dams that for decades have been the subject of bitter feuding among farmers, fishermen, and tribal interests along the Klamath River.

The dams, which range in height from 33 feet to 173 feet and are spread across 65 miles of the Klamath, have impaired water quality and blocked a 300-mile migratory route for salmon for a century.

Removal won't begin until 2020, but is seen as vital to restoring California's dwindling salmon stocks.

Backers say the decommissioning -- which still must be approved by the federal government -- would be the nation's largest and most complex dam removal project. The tentative agreement was reached after a decade of negotiations among 28 parties.

Read the article here, and in the San Francisco Chronicle here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PG&E Quits US Chamber of Commerce

PG&E takes a stand against "disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort" the facts around global climate change
Mary Catherine O'Connor, Triple Pundit, September 22, 2009

In the past several weeks, two high-profile companies - Duke Energy and Alstom - publicly gave up their membership in the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy in protest over its opposition to federal climate change legislation.

Now, in a letter to the US Chamber of Commerce, PG&E Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee cited "fundamental differences" over climate change to explain why the company is pulling out of the organization, despite the Chamber's "long history as a positive force for America's businesses and its economy."

The utility quit the Chamber, a lobbying group that represents three million businesses and has called for the EPA to hold a public hearing in order to debate if climate change is a result of human activity--part of its attempts to oppose federal emissions regulations.

PG&E is not the first Chamber member to air its dismay at the organizations’ stance on climate change. Politico reports that Johnson & Johnson and Nike have both taken steps to put distance between their firms and the Chamber’s lobbying against climate and cap-and-trade legislation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

West Coast Green - October 1-3, 2009

West Coast Green, known as the largest green building conference, is expanding its focus this year to include the "intersection of the built environment and technology", with sessions on Business & the New Economy and Social Innovation.

This year's event will be held October 1-3 at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, California. Over 14,000 attendees are expected. There will be 300 exhibits showcasing the latest in resource efficiency, 80 education and networking sessions to learn and discuss innovations and opportunities with thought leaders fact-to-face, and 125 inspirational and dynamic speakers, including:

  • Ray Anderson - Chairman and Founder, Interface, Inc.; Author, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist
  • Dan Kammen - Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, UC Berkeley
  • Panama Bartholomy - Advisor to Commissioner, California Energy Commission
Register in advance for a reduced price.

Triple Pundit readers can get additional discounts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bay Trash Hot Spots

Plastic bags threaten the bay
Kelly Zito, San Francisco Chronicle, September 15, 2009

In their fourth annual report on the most garbage-strewn sites in the region, Save the Bay says plastic bags remain a severe threat, clogging wetlands, strangling wildlife and harming water quality. The 50-year-old environment advocacy group zeroed in on 10 hot spots where a total of almost 15,000 plastic bags were retrieved from the Bay Area during 2008's Coastal Cleanup Day.
  • 1.37 million plastic bags were picked up by volunteers during the Ocean Conservancy's 2008 International Coastal Cleanup Day, second only in number to cigarette butts.
  • Californians use approximately 19 billion plastic bags and 5 billion paper bags annually.
  • Bay Area residents use 3.8 billion plastic bags every year. Each year about 1 million end up in the bay.
  • 12 million barrels of oil are used to produce 30 billion plastic bags in the US every year.
  • The average use time for plastic bags is about 12 minutes.
  • In San Francisco, as many as 30 percent of people in grocery stores are bringing in their own bags says Mark Westlund, spokesman for San Francisco's Department of the Environment.
Read the complete article here:

And please consider donating a few hours of your time for 2009's Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday, September 19. Volunteers are still needed!

Monday, September 14, 2009

EPA Region 9 Recovery Act News

California's Green Projects During the First 200 Days of the Recovery Act
San Francisco, California, September 3, 2009

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. More than $517 million in Recovery Act funds have already been obligated to California, including:
  • The California State Water Resources Control Board will receive $2.8M for water quality management planning. In addition, the Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program will receive $280M for water quality protection projects.
  • The California Department of Public Health’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program will receive $159M to provide low-interest loans for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements and ensuring safe drinking water.
  • Seven Tribes in California will have improved access to vital water services through $8.5M in Recovery Act funding. Projects to be undertaken include upgrades to wastewater treatment, upgrades to sewer connections, and expansion of sewer lines.
  • The California Air Resources Board has been awarded $1.73M in Recovery Act funds for clean diesel projects. Eligible projects include engine idling reduction and retrofit technologies, engine replacement, vehicle replacement, and clean diesel emerging technologies.
  • A cooperative agreement with the California State Water Resources Control Board will be used to distribute $15.6M for assessment and cleanup of underground storage tank petroleum leaks.
  • Over $25M in Clean Diesel Recovery funds will be used to replace, repower, and retrofit engines in buses, heavy-duty trucks, locomotives, agricultural vehicles, construction vehicles, and cargo handling equipment in metropolitan Los Angeles, the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, San Diego, San Joaquin Valley, and the Bay Area.
  • To help clean up brownfields sites, EPA has awarded $3.3M from the Recovery Act and $6.8M from the EPA brownfields general program funding to help communities in California revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive community use.
  • EPA has awarded $700K, funded in part through the Recovery Act, to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. The LA Conservation Corp will provide job training for 160 students to learn the latest environmental technologies and prepare them for "green" jobs.
  • Over $10M in new funding through the Recovery Act will be used to accelerate the cleanup at the Iron Mountain Mine Superfund site near Redding, California.
For more info, please visit

The EPA's Pacific Southwest region on Twitter:
The EPA's LinkedIn group:

Superfund Green Remediation Strategy - Request for Comments

Memorandum from James E. Woolford, Director, Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation

The Superfund Remedial Program has developed a strategy that sets out its current plans to reduce energy use and enhance the environmental performance of remedial and non-time critical removal actions undertaken to address hazardous waste sites. The development of the Strategy reflects EPA’s recognition that at many sites, more can be done to limit the environmental footprint of Superfund activities, while at the same time protecting human health and the environment. I am writing to ask for your comments on the Strategy.

Developed by a workgroup of Headquarters and regional staff, the Superfund Green Remediation Strategy is an initial effort to outline key actions and related activities that can be undertaken to promote green remediation. These action items fall into three major categories: policy and guidance development, resource development and program implementation, and program evaluation. The Strategy also contains a number of recommendations including calling for EPA to implement a series of near-term program initiatives and establish a baseline of Superfund energy usage.

The Strategy is available at EPA will accept comments until November 10, 2009.

Comments should be sent to:
Superfund Green Remediation Strategy, Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, U.S. EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Mail Code 5204P, Washington, DC 20460 or may be e-mailed to

ASTM Green Cleanup at Waste Sites

EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) has been working with private and public partners to foster the use of best management practices (BMPs) for green remediation at waste sites throughout the US. The EPA developed a list of green cleanup core elements that may serve as a framework for an ASTM green cleanup standard (posted here). The existing core elements were developed using input from the EPA’s April 2009 public website posting as well as from other public conferences and meetings.

The E50 Green Cleanup Task Group Leader, Helen Waldorf, is in the process of using the core elements to develop an initial draft ASTM Guide. Discussions for initiation of the standard have included members from ASTM staff and Committee E50, EPA, industry and State agencies. This standards development project was also approved by the E50.90 Executive Subcommittee.

First Meeting

The first meeting for the ASTM E50.04 Green Cleanup Task Group will take place in conjunction with the regularly scheduled E50 meetings on Thursday, October 22, 2009 8:00 am-4:00 pm in Atlanta at the Hyatt Regency. The purpose of this meeting will be to review the core elements as well as a draft outline for the ASTM Guide (Guide to be distributed prior to the meeting). A detailed agenda will also be distributed a few weeks prior to the October 22 meeting.


Members and non-members can register for the E50 meetings by visiting the ASTM Website. Simply click “Meetings” from the left side menu and then select “Committee E50” from the drop down. Then click “Environmental Assessment, Risk Management and corrective Action” in order to register, download the complete E50 schedule and access hotel and other information.

Call for Participation

If you are a non-member and are interested in joining ASTM Committee E50, please visit and click “Membership” from the left side menu. Complete the online application and indicate that you want to join Committee E50 on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management and Corrective Action and the E50.04 Corrective Action Subcommittee. As a member, you are able to vote and provide input on standards ballots. You will also have access to minutes, agendas, meeting information and other E50 documents. Members are entitled to one free Book of Standards. All E50 standards are found in Volume 11.05 (select Volume 11.05 during the application process).

All stakeholders interested in serving on the Green Cleanup task group should contact Dan Smith ( Task Group members will be placed on the email distribution list and will receive Green Cleanup progress reports, revised drafts, notices of upcoming meetings, etc.

If you have any questions about membership or Committee E50, please contact Dan Smith ( If you have any technical questions about the development of the ASTM Green Cleanup standard, please contact Helen Waldorf (

Draft ASTM Green Cleanup Core Elements

Green Cleanup Core Elements

1. Minimizes Total Energy Use and Maximizes Use of Renewable Energy

  • Minimize energy consumption (e.g., use energy efficient equipment)
  • Power cleanup equipment through onsite renewable energy sources
  • Purchase commercial energy from renewable resources

2. Minimizes Air Pollutants and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Minimize the generation of greenhouse gases
  • Minimize generation and transport of airborne contaminants and dust
  • Use heavy equipment efficiently (e.g., use a diesel emission reduction plan)
  • Maximize use of machinery equipped with advanced emission controls
  • Use cleaner fuels to power machinery and auxiliary equipment
  • Sequester carbon dioxide onsite (e.g., use soil amendments, revegetate)

3. Minimizes Water Use and Impacts to Water Resources

  • Minimize water use and depletion of natural water resources
  • Capture, reclaim and store water for reuse (e.g., as aquifer recharge, irrigation)
  • Minimize water demand for revegetation (e.g., use native species)
  • Employ best management practices for stormwater

4. Reduces, Reuses and Recycles Material and Waste

  • Minimize consumption of virgin materials
  • Minimize waste generation
  • Use recycled products and local materials
  • Segregate and reuse or recycle materials, products, and infrastructure (e.g., soil, construction and demolition debris, buildings)

5. Optimizes Future Land Use and Protects Ecosystems

  • Integrate anticipated site use or reuse plans into the cleanup strategy.
  • Minimize areas requiring activity or use limitations (e.g., destroy or remove contaminant sources)
  • Minimize unnecessary soil and habitat disturbance or destruction
  • Use native species to support habitat
  • Minimize noise and lighting disturbance

6. Optimizes Sustainable Management Practices During Stewardship

  • Maximize long term system performance through periodic evaluation, maintenance and optimization
  • Minimize energy use, material consumption, and waste generation from sampling and monitoring procedures
  • Ensure clear responsibility and implementation processes for monitoring and maintaining all engineered and institutional controls

Corporate Water Footprinting Conference

The 2nd annual Corporate Water Footprinting conference and exhibition will take place December 2-3, 2009 in San Francisco, California.

Corporate Water Footprinting will outline the risks and opportunities water poses to business and offer practical advice on mapping and reducing water consumption in products across the supply chain. As well as discussing new methodologies and standards for water footprinting the event will examine how companies are addressing water issues at a strategic level including: corporate engagement on water policy, collective action on water issues, unravelling the water-energy nexus, the development of water policy and regulation, the growing interest of water to the investment community, and corporate engagement with NGOs and activists on water issues.

The conference will include:

  • Case studies from corporate leaders in water management and efficiency
  • The latest methodologies and standards for water footprinting
  • New water policy and regulation development, and how companies are getting involved
  • Water stakeholder engagement strategies
  • The potential impact of the "human right to water"
  • Individual sessions on water market development, frameworks for strategic water management and the water-energy nexus

Expert speakers include:

  • Robert Barbieri, Global Environmental Project Manager, Diageo
  • Dan Bena, Director of Sustainability, Health, Safety and Environment, PepsiCo International
  • Elissa Loughman, Environmental Analyst, Patagonia
  • Matti Rihko, Chief Executive Officer, Raisio
  • Kirstin Thorne, Corporate Advisor, Global Issues and Policy, Chevron
  • Alex McIntosh, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Nestle Waters North America
  • Tom Cooper, Corporate Water Programs Manager, Intel Corporation
  • Debra Vernon, Manager, Corporate Responsibility, California American Water
  • Jonah Schein, Marketing Specialist, WaterSense Program, EPA
  • Kasey D. Schimke, Assistant Director, Legislative Affairs Office, California Department of Water Resources
  • Adam Krantz, Managing Director, Government and Public Affairs, National Association of Clean Water Agencies

To download the full event brochure click here. To register click here.