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EPA to impose permits on large polluters

WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) — Coal-fired power plants and other major U.S. emitters of greenhouse gases will need to seek pollution permits starting in 2011, federal regulators said.

The rule released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency covers new sources of at least 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year and existing plants that increase emissions by 75,000 tons.

In its first two years, the rule is expected to affect about 15,550 coal-fired plants, refineries, cement makers, solid waste landfills and other big polluters, EPA spokeswoman Gina McCarthy told The New York Times in a story published Friday.

The rule would affect about 70 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

The EPA set its sights on larger polluters after scrapping a plan to require emitters of 25,000 tons of gases a year to seek permits. That plan would have imposed permits on family farms and large apartment buildings.

“What we realized at the 25,000 level was that we were going to be actually reaching sources that we did not intend to reach,” McCarthy said.

More cars vulnerable to computer hackers

SAN DIEGO, May 14 (UPI) — Increasingly sophisticated cars need to be protected from hackers who could tamper with computerized systems, U.S. scientists said.

As more cars become connected to the Internet through wireless systems, hackers could remotely sabotage the vehicles, The New York Times reported Friday.

In tests, computer security experts at the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego, said they were able to remotely control braking, stop the engine and activate dozens of other functions, almost all of them while a car was in motion.

The researchers tested two versions of a late-model car in laboratory and field settings. The researchers did not publicly identify the manufacturer or model, but said they believed the cars were representative of the computer network systems found in many late-model cars today.

“You should expect that various entry points in the automotive environment are no more secure in the automotive environment than they are in your PC,” said Stefan Savage, a computer scientist in San Diego.

Dirty keyboards a health hazard

LONDON, May 14 (UPI) — Computer keyboards can be breeding grounds for E. coli and other hazardous organisms, scientists in Britain said.

Some keyboards in London offices showed traces of E. coli, coliforms and enterobacteria, which most likely were transmitted by mice and other vermin attracted to food morsels trapped between keys, the Royal Society of Chemistry said.

Office workers eat over their keyboards and drop crumbs by day and the vermin move in at night, leaving feces and disease, researchers said.

Workers can get sick by typing on a fouled keyboard and then picking up food or touching their faces with unwashed hands, the New York Daily News reported Friday.

Graphic designer Jean-Pierre Chery, 27, of New York, said he eats at his keyboard a lot and has never cleaned the crumbs that fall between the keys.

“I’ve got a whole ecosystem going on at the bottom of my keyboard right now,” Chery told the News.

Climate change killing lizards worldwide

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., May 14 (UPI) — Twenty percent of all lizard species could be extinct by 2080 because of rising temperatures involved in climate change, a California researcher said.

Lizards worldwide are far more susceptible to climate-warming extinction than previously thought because many species already live at the edge of their thermal limits, said Barry Sinervo of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Sinervo and colleagues from around the world said they reached their conclusions after comparing field studies of lizards in Mexico to lizard studies from other countries.

Rising temperatures already have driven an estimated 12 percent of Mexico’s Sceloporus lizard population to extinction, the scientists wrote in a recent issue of the journal Science.

“We are actually seeing lowland species moving upward in elevation, slowly driving upland species extinct, and if the upland species can’t evolve fast enough then they’re going to continue to go extinct,” Sinervo said in a release from the university Thursday.

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.

Posted in Buildings, Cars, Coal, Landfills, Other0 Comments

EPA to Impose Permits on Large Polluters

WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) — Coal-fired power plants and other major U.S. emitters of greenhouse gases will need to seek pollution permits starting in 2011, federal regulators said.

The rule released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency covers new sources of at least 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year and existing plants that increase emissions by 75,000 tons.

In its first two years, the rule is expected to affect about 15,550 coal-fired plants, refineries, cement makers, solid waste landfills and other big polluters, EPA spokeswoman Gina McCarthy told The New York Times in a story published Friday.

The rule would affect about 70 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

The EPA set its sights on larger polluters after scrapping a plan to require emitters of 25,000 tons of gases a year to seek permits. That plan would have imposed permits on family farms and large apartment buildings.

“What we realized at the 25,000 level was that we were going to be actually reaching sources that we did not intend to reach,” McCarthy said.

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.

Posted in Buildings, Coal, Landfills, Other0 Comments

EPA to Look for Link Between Dump, Defects

KETTLEMAN CITY, Calif., Jan. 27 (UPI) — A U.S. environmental agency plans to investigate a possible link between an apparent cluster of birth defects in a poor California town and a toxic waste dump.

Kettleman City in the Central Valley about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on Interstate 5 is home to about 1,500 people, many of them poor migrant farm workers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday its scientists will examine whether the nearby dump has caused facial deformities in infants there, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Jared Blumenfeld, regional EPA administrator for the Pacific Southwest, told the Times in an interview Tuesday the Obama administration is looking more at issues of economic justice.

“Kettleman City is a very vulnerable community at the confluence of large agriculture and pesticide use, heavy truck traffic, a chemical waste facility accepting PCBs and a proposed 600-megawatt power plant,” Blumenfeld said. “This is also a community trying to be represented in a way to get its voice heard..”

Kettleman City residents have gone to court to try to block Kings County from expanding the dump to accept toxic waste from Los Angeles and other cities.

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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Radioactive Waste Including 5,408 Drums of Uranium Headed for Utah Landfill

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 22 (UPI) — Utah state officials say they are ready to supervise the movement of low-level radioactive waste received from South Carolina into a specialized landfill.

The 5,408 drums of depleted uranium from the federal government’s Savannah River cleanup site in South Carolina arrived by train Sunday and were to be offloaded Tuesday about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City under the supervision of state inspectors, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The waste will be kept at the landfill temporarily so Utah regulators can finish updating disposal requirements needed to permanently bury the waste. The aim, the newspaper said, is to ensure Utah does not get stuck with radioactive waste that cannot be effectively contained at the permanent disposal site run by EnergySolutions Inc.

Dane Finerfrock, director of the Utah Division of Radiation Control, told the Tribune his staff arrived Monday to look over the shipping papers and check the manifests against the content of a sampling of drums.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Consumer Waste, Hazardous Waste, Landfills, Nuclear, Radiation, Recycling & Waste, Waste Disposal0 Comments

Landfills Still Filling Up in Northern California

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 25 (UPI) — Landfill operators in Northern California say it will take more than recycling to reduce the need for trash dumps in the coming years.

Tighter environmental regulations have led to some landfills in the San Francisco region to close, but at the same time has required other waste facilities to expand.

“We are on a path toward zero waste but we’re not there yet, and there’s a finite amount of landfill space in the Bay Area,” said Adam Alberti, spokesman for the waste-hauling company Recology. “A big part of it is that consumers need to change their behaviors — not just in recycling, but in consumption.”

The San Francisco Chronicle said Wednesday that Recology was seeking permits to begin shipping trash to Nevada by rail as some Bay Area dumps move closer to capacity or are shut down due to environmental concerns.

The newspaper said three landfills serving the area have either closed in the past four years on the verge of shutting down. Environmentalists say that causes more communities to truck their refuse farther to massive regional dumps.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Causes, Consumption, Landfills, Other, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Regional0 Comments

Group Urges Less Waste During Holidays

ROCHESTER, Mich., Nov. 13 (UPI) — Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, U.S. residents generate an extra 1.2 million tons of waste per week, said the group Use Less Stuff.

In 1995, Use Less Stuff, a Michigan-based non-profit group, designated the third Thursday of November as a day of awareness of how much waste is produced during the holidays

Since then, the amount of holiday waste has grown by 20 percent, prompting Use Less Stuff to designate the entire week before Thanksgiving to awareness of holiday waste, Bob Lilienfeld, editor of the Use Less Stuff Report said in a release Friday.

If every U.S family reduced holiday gasoline consumption by one gallon a week, 6.5 million tons of climate-changing carbon dioxide would be prevented from entering the air, Lilienfeld said.

And if every U.S. family used just 2 feet less of holiday ribbon, the ribbon kept out of landfills would be equal to enough ribbon to circle the Earth twice, he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Consumption, Landfills, Recycling & Waste0 Comments

Utah Sees Nuclear Waste As Threat

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 8 (UPI) — U.S. nuclear regulators owe Utah a policy change and an apology for their handling of nuclear waste, scientists say.

Two geologists and a climatologist say the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is wrong in deeming depleted uranium safe for surface and shallow burial disposal, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday.

Almost 50,000 tons of uranium are already stored in shallow landfills in Tooele County, east of Salt Lake City. The scientists say that site is underwater a few hundred of every thousand years. The waste remains hazardous for 1 million years, they warn, and wet cycles could spread the long-lived material across the entire Great Salt Lake basin.

A lack of deep, underground disposal sites is “clearly driving” the NRC’s decision to allow surface disposal, the scientists charge, and they accuse regulators of “a programmatic failure” to plan for proper disposal deep underground, the Tribune reported.

The NRC will will consider the scientists’ comments as part of an in-depth review, agency spokesman David McIntyre said. But, the agency won’t approve any more depleted uranium disposal in Utah “if we don’t think it’s safe,” he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Landfills, Pollution & Toxins0 Comments

Finland to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Long Range Emission Goals

HELSINKI, Finland, Oct. 17 (UPI) — Finland aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 through tougher building standards and electric cars, officials said.

Government incentives and mandates will encourage Finnish residents to be more energy efficient in housing, transportation and food production, a government report on climate change said.

Under the new policy, buildings must use 60 percent less energy than they do now, cars must reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 90 percent and waste management facilities must curb emissions from landfills, Helsingin Sanomat reported Saturday.

The policy means Finland will see more electric cars and the use of alternative fuels in cars with internal combustion engines, Finish climate expert Oras Tynkkynen said.

The policy represents the first time Finland has set long-term targets for emission reduction.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Buildings, Cars, Energy, Landfills, Pollution & Toxins, Transportation, Waste Management0 Comments

Dumped Medical Waste from Athens Hospitals Pose Significant Health Hazards

ATHENS, Greece, Oct. 3 (UPI) — Hospitals in Athens, Greece, routinely send toxic waste to landfills, violating regulations and endangering people’s health, a municipal report said.

A random inspection of garbage trucks by the Association of Municipalities and Communities of Attica revealed waste transported from private and state-run hospitals contained materials that are required by law to be disposed of by sanitary incineration, Kathimerini reported Saturday.

Many hospital administrators said the few incinerators, on the grounds of municipal association or at the capital’s larger hospitals, are insufficient to accommodate all the waste from the city’s hospitals. Some hospitals indicated they incinerate their waste in their own facilities, the report said.

The municipal association’s report has been submitted to Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos.

“For years, we saw hospital waste being dumped at landfills illegally, and landfill employees would often complain about the risks to their health,” said Costas Sypsas, a municipal association spokesman.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Incineration, Landfills, Other, People, Recycling & Waste0 Comments

Australian Town Bundanoon Bans Bottled Water

The Australian town of Bundanoon Saturday followed through with its threat to ban bottled water — a first in the nation, officials said.

The ban means local stores will sell only refillable water bottles, including a bottle that carries the label “Bundy on Tap,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported Saturday.

Bundanoon has installed four free filtered public drinking stations in the town with a fifth filtered-water station at the local primary school.

Bundanoon residents voted 355 to 1 in July to ban the sale of bottled water because it is an environmental and economic menace, said Jon Dee, an organizer of the ban.

“Bottled water is a menace and a marketing con that’s been visited on Australians by the bottled water industry and what we are trying to do is expose that con for what it is,” Dee said.

Empty water bottles clog landfills and the bottles require large amounts of oil to create; the bottles also are trucked and flown across Australia and overseas, creating greenhouse gases, Dee said.

Posted in Landfills, Other, Recycling & Waste1 Comment

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