Archive | Air Pollution Prevention

Clean Air Regulations to Create 1.5M Jobs, Report Finds

An upcoming U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal that will mandate air pollution laws for industrial facilities could create 1.5 million jobs over the next five years, according to a new report.

The study by Ceres and the Political Economy Research Institute claims that the new federal regulations will generate engineering, construction and pipefitting positions as facilities work to meet pollution standards and as older, inefficient plants are dismantled.

“New Jobs – Cleaner Air” predicts $200 billion in capital improvements in the electric power industry in the 36 Eastern states over the next five years.

The report flies in the face of the frequent objection by Republicans that a shift to clean energy would be “job killing,” forcing coal industry workers out of employment.

“The bottom line: clean air is a worthwhile investment,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, as quoted by AP.

Most of the 1.46 million jobs created over the next five years would be temporary, related to power industry investment in the construction of new facilities.

But the clean air regulations would trigger more than 2,000 permanent positions in operations and maintenance, according to the report released Tuesday at the 2011 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference in Washington, D.C.

The new EPA regulations – designed to reduce smog-causing emissions in the East, reduce mercury output, and curtail other harmful pollutants – are expected to be finalized later this year.

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Pollution Standards Won’t Apply to All, EPA Says

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday reversed pollutions standards for a California power plant waiting for a permit, and the decision could leave a dozen additional industrial facilities exempt from the stringent new rules as well, The Associated Press said Wednesday.

A top EPA official reportedly told a federal panel that a California facility would not have to comply with new federal air pollution regulations.

The EPA on Wednesday appeared before a Senate panel to go over its new federal controls on heat-trapping greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Republicans say the new restrictions will kill jobs and slow economic growth.

AP reported Wednesday that the reversal could exempt about 10 to 20 industrial facilities from the standards on smog and pollutants responsible for acid rain.
An EPA official said the change would not influence efforts to fight global warming.

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Russian Waterworks Uses Giant Snails as Air Pollution Sensors

A Russian waterworks facility is using six giant African snails to monitor air pollution from its sewage incinerator.

The Achatina snails, which can grow up to 20 cm in height, have been fitted with heart monitors and motion sensors so that researchers can keep an eye on the effects of air pollution. Their readings will be compared with a control group, AFP reports.

The waterworks chose the snails as air pollution sensors because they have lungs and breathe air, the Vodokanal state utilities company said.

Dmitry Artamonov, the head of the Saint Petersburg office of Greenpeace environmental campaigning group, criticized the move as a publicity stunt.

“Burning sludge emits toxic dioxins,” AFP quoted Artamonov as saying. “I don’t know if snails get cancer, but even if they do, it won’t happen straight away, and we will not hear about it from Vodokanal.”

The sewage treatment facility, which is located on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg, is one of the biggest in Russia.

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China Develops Nuclear Fuel Technology

China says it has developed the technology to reprocess nuclear fuel and use the recycled material to radically raise its power supply.

A report on China’s state television, CCTV, said Monday that the country currently has enough uranium to last 70 years. The scientific breakthrough could make that supply last up to 3,000 years.

The technology to recover fissile and fertile materials to generate new fuel will allow China to break away from its dependence on coal and diversify its energy sources, UPI reported Monday.

China currently has 13 operating reactors, but the new process will require an ambitious program of building a number of additional industrial power stations.

France, Britain and India already have their own reprocessing operations, UPI said.

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Bald Eagles Used to ID Chemical Pollution

HASTINGS, Minn., Feb. 1 (UPI) — A National Park Service official says scientists are using bald eagles to determine how chemicals are polluting waterways and wildlife in the U.S. Midwest.

Bill Route of the National Park Service said by monitoring the systems of nearly 60 male-female eagle pairs along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, scientists are able to gather details regarding the spread of human contaminants, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said Monday.

“They accumulate these contaminants in their system,” Route said of the eagles. “If we can track those trends through time we can discover a good measure of human contaminants.”

Among the discovered contaminants found via the eagle research were two groups of flame retardants used in the production of a variety of consumer items.

Route said while such contaminants are still evident in parts of Minnesota, there has been a noticeable drop in discovered traces of the pesticide DDT, which was tied to a bald eagle population drop in the 1960s.

“We need to congratulate ourselves for cleaning up the water with a lot of these pesticides,” Route told the Star Tribune. “We just have to be vigilant … to look for other chemicals.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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U.S. to Help Finance Climate Change Fund

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 17 (UPI) — The United States will contribute to a $100 billion fund to help developing countries address climate change, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.

Speaking at the U.N.-sponsored climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, Clinton said the yearly contribution would be contingent on reaching a substantial accord that includes “transparency” in tracking emission cuts by major developing countries, The Washington Post reported.

Earlier in the week, China said it would not permit independent verification of its pledged emission cuts, saying Chinese laws would ensure the cuts were made.

As the conference barrels toward its conclusion Friday, Chinese and U.S. officials indicated a final political agreement on climate change likely won’t happen when the environmental summit concludes, The New York Times reported.

The stalemate is over emission controls for developing countries, including China, and how wealthy nations would help finance poorer countries to address climate change issues. Delegations said they had hoped to reach an interim agreement on the issues that would have “immediate operational effect,” but China didn’t indicate it would sign on, the Times said.

“I still believe it’s possible to reach a real success,” the United Nations climate secretary, Yvo de Boer, said Wednesday. “But I must say that in that context, the next 24 hours are absolutely crucial and need to be used productively.”

Accompanying Clinton to the Danish capital were U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other legislators. President Barack Obama will arrive Friday.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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