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Environmental head announces $2M program for Great Lakes

Environment WTOP

CLEVELAND (AP) — The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $2 million grant program to clean up the shorelines and waters of the Great Lakes.EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an appearance Friday in Cleveland says
'CLEVELAND (AP) — The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $2 million grant program to clean up the shorelines and waters of the Great Lakes. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an appearance Friday in Cleveland says the grants will be available to state and local governments, nonprofit groups and universities for cleanup programs. Wheeler says removing trash from U.S. waterways is an EPA priority. The program is part of the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It will fund up to a dozen projects, with the largest amount set at $500,000. The EPA is seeking projects that will address trash on beaches, shorelines, harbors and rivers. It will also fund litter prevention and education programs. Grant applications will be accepted starting in October, with awards announced in February. Source'

Environmental wackos use nooses in “provocative performance art”

Environment Hot Air

'Some environmental extremists in Iowa thought it would be a good idea to use nooses in their climate change protest.Rational Iowans disagreed.A former Iowa state representative, a Democrat, is now apologizing for using such a racially-charged symbol in what he calls “provocative performance art.” Now he is calling it a “lapse in judgment.” Ya think?Ed Fallon is the leader of Bold Iowa, a liberal activist group.Last weekend the 5th annual Progress Iowa Corn Feed hosted twelve 2020 Democrat presidential candidates in NewBo.The sidewalk protest involved members of Bold Iowa, blocks of ice, and rope nooses.People stood on blocks of ice with nooses around their necks.A sign read “As the Arctic melts, the climate noose tightens.” Fallon now calls the idea a “lapse in judgment” . “It wasn’t the right call on our part in terms of trying to get the message across,” he said. “I hope people will look beyond that lapse in judgment and understand that we have a tremendous challenge facing us right now” with climate change.This wasn’t a one-off performance.Just the day before, Bold Iowa activists did the same thing at the Ankeny Democrat SummerFest Barbecue.Clearly, this was intended to be a signature kind of protest and message from the group.The group proudly posted a photo on their Facebook page after the Ankeny barbecue event.As you can imagine, the local NAACP chapter wasn’t amused.The president of the Cedar Rapids branch is spreading the word in order to head off any future assinine performances.Dedric Doolin, president of the NAACP Cedar Rapids branch, decried the protest using something so emblematic of lynching as insensitive and said it displayed “the lack of understanding about how the symbol of a noose intimidates, terrorizes and puts fear in the hearts of many people, especially African-Americans.” “They didn’t understand the impact their display had on the community,” Doolin said.A member of NAACP’s national board of directors, Doolin plans to spread the word of the protest’s tactics to other NAACP chapters in hopes of curbing any such future protests.Other liberals couldn’t wait to throw Bold Iowa under the bus.Progress Iowa, the host group of the Corn Feed, issued a statement from Executive Director Matt Sinovic. “The protest held by Bold Iowa outside of our event (Sunday) had absolutely nothing to do with Progress Iowa or NewBo City Market,” Sinovic said in the statement. “No matter what message they were trying to send, the way they did it was offensive, disturbing, and inappropriate.” It’s pretty sweet that a liberal activist group is being slapped for its lame attempt at portraying an urgent call to action on climate change, an issue at the top of the list of concerns for the left.Commenters on Bold Iowa’s Facebook page called for pictures to be taken off and others voiced their disgust.Notice that none of the Democrat presidential candidates were asked for quotes about the use of the nooses.Michael Bennet, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Marianne Williamson attended.Notably, top candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris skipped the event.I can’t help but think if it had happened at a large annual gathering of Republicans, every candidate and current elected official in the place would be asked about it.The double standard is alive and well.This story has flown under the radar with the national press.If a connection could be made between conservatives and nooses, well, you know it would be the headline story on 24/7 cable news channels and online news sites for days.Fallon said, “We were kind of surprised and disappointed that our message did offend people.” Naturally, he roped President Trump into his poor decision-making.The bad Orange Man is a racist, you know. “We underestimated the way it may trigger folks who either are concerned about the rise in racism in this country, in many respects because of Donald Trump,” Fallon said in an interview. “And also people who were affected by a family member who maybe committed suicide by hanging. … Our focus is to get people to understand just how urgent of a situation climate change is.We really are at a point where human extinction is a possibility.” A statement was issued to local media from NewBo City Market’s Executive Director.City Market was the venue for the Progress Iowa Corn Feed.The statement included the contact number for Fallon, which I am not including in the quote. “Yesterday, there was a demonstration orchestrated on the public sidewalks outside of NewBo City Market during the Progress Iowa Corn Feed Presidential Candidate events.The demonstration was intended to bring awareness of climate change by having people standing on blocks of ice with hangman’s nooses around their necks.We saw the protest and we were equally disgusted by it.It was staged by a group unaffiliated with the Market or Progress Iowa and conducted outside of the Market property.As it was a political demonstration on a public sidewalk, it was protected speech and there was nothing we, the event organizers, or CRPD could have done to stop it.We share the outrage of many in the community at this use of a racist symbol.Whatever point this group was trying to make was completely lost because of they way they presented themselves.What a disgusting protest.That Fallon desperately tried to drag President Trump into the fray shows how shallow the thinking is on the left. . The post Environmental wackos use nooses in “provocative performance art” appeared first on Hot Air .'

Ex-British ambassador to US called Clinton White House ‘chaotic,’ documents reveal

Environment New York Post

A former British ambassador to the United States described the “chaotic” environment of the Clinton White House in the 90s, a report said Wednesday. Robin Renwick, who served as ambassador from 1991 and 1995, described the ordeal as “Clinton’s
'A former British ambassador to the United States described the “chaotic” environment of the Clinton White House in the 90s, a report said Wednesday. Robin Renwick, who served as ambassador from 1991 and 1995, described the ordeal as “Clinton’s roller coaster ride” in diplomatic cables sent at the time, according to London’s Telegraph. He also..'

A Biological Root for Yo-Yo Dieting

Environment theatlantic.com

A new study in mice shows how calorie deficits might be useless in the face of human cell biology.
'The American conventional wisdom about weight loss is simple: A calorie deficit is all that’s required to drop excess pounds, and moderating future calorie consumption is all that’s required to maintain it. To the idea’s adherents, the infinite complexity of human biology acts as one big nutritional piggy bank. Anyone who gains too much weight or loses weight and gains it back has simply failed to balance their caloric checkbook, which can be corrected through forswearing fatty food or carbs. Endocrinologists have known for decades that the science of weight is far more complicated than calorie deficits and energy expenditures. And in 2016, the fickle complexity of weight came to broad national attention. In a study of former contestants on the weight-loss reality show The Biggest Loser , scientists found that years later, all the contestants had not only gained back much or all of the weight they lost on the show, but also had far weaker metabolisms than most people their size. The contestants’ bodies had fought for years to regain the weight, contrary to the contestants’ efforts and wishes. No one was sure why. Along with a team of researchers, Ann Marie Schmidt, an endocrinologist at the New York University School of Medicine, has been unraveling the mystery. In a new study published today, Schmidt and her team have unlocked a molecular mechanism controlling weight gain and loss in mice: a protein that shuts down the animals’ ability to burn fat in times of bodily stress, including when dieting or over-eating. This discovery might hold the key to understanding why it’s so hard for humans to lose weight, and even harder to keep it off. In 1992, Schmidt was studying the complications of diabetes when she and her team made what she calls a startling discovery : Humans and other mammals have a protein on the surface of fat cells called the receptor for advanced glycation end products, or RAGE, which appeared to play previously unobserved roles in a host of the body’s metabolic and inflammatory responses. Eventually, it became clear that the protein was also present in non-diabetic tissues, which suggested RAGE had consequences far beyond just a few chronic diseases. Schmidt’s latest study found an enormous difference in weight gain between two test groups: conventional mice and mice that had their RAGE pathways deleted. The latter group gained 70 percent less weight than conventional mice, had lower glucose levels, and expended more energy while eating the same high-fat diet and doing the same amount of physical activity. In the conventional mice, their bodies hit the metabolism brakes, making it impossible for them to burn as much energy as their RAGE-deleted counterparts. Schmidt posits that RAGE might have evolved to protect mammals, including humans, when another meal might not be predictably forthcoming and the body’s ability to retain its resources would be a boon. “However, in time of plenty, when there is no shortage of nutrients, the receptor is still present and is able to continue to exert that unfortunate role of hoarding the energy and not allowing it to be expended,” she explains. It makes sense that the body would conserve resources when it detects a potential need, but it feels particularly cruel, at least in modern times, that humans might experience the same metabolic slowdown after a hearty meal. Schmidt also theorizes that RAGE’s influence on chronic inflammation, which she had previously studied, would have been more useful to humans when our lifespan was much shorter. The responses could have protected short-term health, which would have been all that mattered. “These organisms didn’t live to high ages after reproduction, so it wasn’t required to survive and stay alive longer,” Schmidt says. The known side-effects of RAGE, like chronic inflammatory diseases, might have been meaningless to the wellbeing of humans who only lived to their 40s. Although Schmidt cautions that the translation of her findings in mice into therapies for humans will be a long, careful process, she’s optimistic about the potential. In her new study,  she found that the weight benefits of RAGE inactivity could be conferred on new animals simply by transplanting a relatively small amount of brown fat tissue from mice that had had their RAGE pathway deleted into conventional mice. This holds promise for future treatments for patients with metabolic and chronic inflammatory disorders. With the qualification that the study’s findings are in mice and its exact translation to humans is not yet known, Utpal Pajvani, a professor and endocrinologist at Columbia University, expressed similar optimism about the new RAGE findings. “These data are quite interesting, and are consistent with the hypothesis that the obesity epidemic is in part due to evolutionary pressures to prevent starvation in stress,” he told me via email. “The current study adds to [Schmidt’s] impressive body of work, and suggest that methods to reduce RAGE signaling in fat may have benefit in people.” Over the course of millennia, mammals might have developed things like RAGE in order to contend with their often-challenging surroundings. For humans, whose lifespans have lengthened significantly in the space of only a few generations, that might be both a blessing and a curse. To meet the contemporary needs of people whose circumstances have changed at rates far quicker than evolution’s ability to keep up, findings like Schmidt’s are leading scientists toward ways to speed up the process. In order for those advances to have the best chance of improving people’s lives, Schmidt cautions against the tendency to gloss over human complexity in favor of too-simple cultural beliefs, like the idea that weight loss is just calorie deficits and willpower. “Weight loss is very, very difficult,” she says. “Only by studying the good things, the bad things, and how sometimes things that were meant to be good can go awry can we figure out the big picture and how to safely make people’s lives healthier and better.”'

Group suggests enclosure for orcas in state

Environment The Columbian

OLYMPIA (AP) — An environmental nonprofit group is hosting a series of public meetings in Western Washington to discuss the possibility of creating an enclosure in Washington’s San Juan Islands for orcas retired from theme parks.
'OLYMPIA — An environmental nonprofit group is hosting a series of public meetings in Western Washington to discuss the possibility of creating an enclosure in Washington’s San Juan Islands for orcas retired from theme parks. Leaders of the Whale Sanctuary Project said a cordoned-off bay or cove can also serve as a rehabilitation site if a member of the local orca population is ailing, the Northwest News Network reported. The first of six meetings begins tonight in Olympia. Other meetings will be held in Gig Harbor, Seattle, Friday Harbor and Eastsound, with the final meeting being held on Lopez Island on July 24. Multiple government bodies would be involved in permitting an orca sanctuary once the nonprofit settles on a final location to submit for approval. A spokesman for NOAA Fisheries said that they are interested but reserving judgment until more is known. The sanctuary team has scouted locations on the Washington, British Columbia and eastern Canada coasts looking for sites of 60 to 100 aquatic acres with quiet surroundings and nearby utilities for the staff facilities. But the idea has raised concerns from at least one orca advocacy group and a brush-off from the current owners of captive killer whales. SeaWorld holds 20 orcas, including Corky, an orca captured off the coast of British Columbia in 1969. Miami Seaquarium has steadfastly refused entreaties to consider retiring Lolita, their sole orca, who was captured in Penn Cove, Whidbey Island in 1970. Dr. Chris Dold, chief zoological officer for SeaWorld, said putting orcas in a sea pen “introduces a tremendous level of risk.” “Environmental changes, weather, potential harmful algal blooms, potential infectious diseases of which our whales would not have been exposed to — not having grown up in that environment,” he said. Donna Sandstrom, director of the Seattle-based orca advocacy group, The Whale Trail, expressed concerns about the risks of disease transmission from nonnative whales to the endangered local population. “With all the threats facing the Southern Resident killer whales, putting nonnative cetaceans in the heart of their range is about the most foolhardy thing I could think of,” she said. Sanctuary project executive director Charles Vinick said that the proposed refuge enclosure will have quarantine areas to prevent pathogens from passing back and forth. As for the resistance from places like SeaWorld, Vinick said he is confident the attitudes of orca owners will evolve. The nonprofit’s plan is to establish their sanctuary first, then make agreements to receive suitable orcas. “The ethic around keeping whales in captivity for performance purposes has really shifted,” Vinick said. “We have to move forward and acquire the site so there is a facility fully staffed and ready to accept a whale from a captive facility.”'

New DNR Staff Will Probe Pollution

Environment urbanmilwaukee.com

Added scientists will look at impact of “forever chemicals” contamination by Tyco company.
'Running Tap Water. Image by Steve Johnson (Public Domain). The head of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources  says additional scientists included under the next budget will examine chemicals known as PFAS near places where firefighting foam has been located, including the Marinette and Peshtigo areas. The agency recently expanded the scope of its investigation into chemical contamination there related to the Tyco Fire Products’ fire training center. DNR Secretary Preston Cole said the agency will hire two positions in the coming months to focus on identifying per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in groundwater and surface water. The budget also includes $200,000 from the state’s environmental fund to create a model to identify areas of likely contamination and survey fire departments about the use of firefighting foam. PFAS are often referred to as “forever chemicals” because they last a long time in the environment. Concerns have risen over the chemicals in drinking water because they’ve been linked to cancer and other health problems. The chemicals are found in firefighting foam and other products like nonstick cookware. In an interview with WPR, Cole said research on groundwater in places like Peshtigo and Marinette will be the highest priority. “Because, quite frankly, we have people there that are on bottled water and their groundwater and their wells are already in jeopardy,” he said. The agency considers Tyco’s training center to be the largest contributor of PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo areas. As first reported by the  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , the DNR recently sent a  letter  to Johnson Controls International, Tyco’s parent company, directing them to test more private wells and soil on farmland in the area for PFAS, said Darsi Foss , administrator of the DNR’s environmental management division. “We also asked them to submit a plan to look at the fields where they had the city of Marinette spread biosolids that may have PFAS in them and come to us with a proposal on how to address those — probably in phases,” said Foss. \t\t\t The DNR said wastewater from the fire training center was received by Marinette’s wastewater treatment plant. The city informed the agency that significant amounts of PFAS were found on biosolids sludge that had been spread on surrounding fields. The DNR has also asked the company to conduct sampling in the Menominee and Peshtigo rivers because of runoff-associated fields that accepted the material for spreading. John Perkins , vice president of environmental health and safety for Johnson Controls, said they’re reviewing the agency’s request and adding their own. “We’ve asked for any information the DNR may have on their review of other potential sources within the city of Marinette,” said Perkins. Johnson Controls sent a  letter  to the DNR detailing that it believed other sources existed because the city found PFAS contamination in all five of the treatment plant’s intake lines, but the training facility only has access to three of those lines. The DNR has also identified ChemDesign Products, Inc. as another responsible party related to contamination in the case. Foss said PFAS may not be coming from just one source, but they tend to work with the company that has the highest concentration of contamination. Johnson Controls has sampled 168 private wells and 58 have tested positive for PFAS, according to figures provided by the DNR. Of those, 16 wells exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ’s health advisory limit of 70 parts per million in drinking water. There are 29 wells that exceed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommended groundwater standard of 20 parts per trillion. The company said it’s been providing bottled water to 125 residents since November 2017 and installed over 38 water treatment systems at homes with elevated levels of PFAS. “Our number one priority, and has been, is to ensure that we provide a permanent solution to drinking water to the affected residents,” said Perkins. Johnson Controls has said it would install a municipal water line from the city of Marinette to the Town of Peshtigo. But, town officials have asked the company to consider deep water wells as alternative water source, as well as a water line from the city of Peshtigo. Perkins said they don’t feel those options are viable. He added examining other alternatives may delay implementation of a line until 2021 because an engineering analysis would need to be executed. However, Foss said the DNR is just asking the company to take information it has already collected on potential options and present them to the public for consideration. The DNR referred Johnson Controls to the Wisconsin Department of Justice for civil prosecution in June, alleging the company failed to promptly notify the agency of any release of chemicals when first discovered in 2013. The company said they had no indication that chemicals had migrated offsite. The DNR has asked the company to submit a work plan for the additional sampling by early September. Listen to the WPR report here . DNR Positions Will Put Priority On PFAS Research Near Marinette, Peshtigo was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.'

Recyclers Grapple With Contamination Costs

Environment Coastal Review Online

Garbage mixed with recyclables is compounding problems and raising costs in the recycling industry, as here on the coast, operators ask folks to be mindful of what they throw in the bin.
'KINNAKEET — In a depressing way, Hatteras Recycle is a microcosm of the current crisis in the U.S. recycling industry, and the urgent need for people to rethink what they throw in recycling bins. Owners Beth and Peter Eady, who bought the business in January, are already confronting steep spikes in tipping fees they’re charged, forcing them to increase fees to their customers. At the same time, the need for uncontaminated product is thwarted by some customers who take co-mingling to its careless extreme. A Hatteras Recycle truck is loaded with recycling bins. Photo: Island Free Press “We’re struggling,” Beth Eady said in a recent interview. “We’re going to have to see at the end of the year where we stand financially. If we can keep the stream clean, that’s the biggest thing.” As a private business serving a small resort community whose population explodes in the summer, Hatteras Recycle, which services about 1,500 rental properties and 300-400 local residences on Hatteras Island, has less cushion to absorb the stress created by the collapse in the recycling markets in 2017. That’s when China cut off most imports of recyclables, blaming dirty and unusable product. Extrapolating just from what Eady says she has seen tossed into their recycling carts, it’s easy to imagine the extent of the contamination problem. Whether it’s thrown in because of laziness or ignorance — “I think it’s a little bit of both,” she said — trash mixed in with recycling has included dirty diapers, filled dog waste bags, pee-pee pads, fishing bait, fish parts, fishing line, plastic pool toys and spoiled or leftover food. And that’s besides the slew of plastic shopping and garbage bags that also contaminate the recycling. When previous owner Todd Phillips first started Hatteras Recycle in 2007, he was being paid $25 a ton by Bay Disposal & Recycling in Powells Point, said Peter Eady. Before Phillips sold to the couple, he was paying Bay Disposal $45 per ton to take the recyclables. Now the Eadys have been informed that the tipping fees are being raised from the current $75 a ton to $95 a ton. “It’s just been a year like no other,” said Phillips in a recent telephone interview from his home in Massachusetts where he lives. Phillips still maintains a financial interest in the business. Phillips said in an interview late last year that Hatteras Recycle collected 425 tons of material in the 2018 season, from Easter through Thanksgiving. Crushed glass is tumbled by the Dare County Public Works Department, Recycling Division, so it doesn’t have sharp or jagged edges, which the county says makes it perfect for gardening. Photo: Dare County Public Works In response to Bay Disposal no longer accepting glass, Hatteras Recycle this year asked commercial restaurant customers to separate out glass bottles and residential customers to dispose of glass at collection sites in Buxton and Rodanthe. The added benefit is that removing the weight of the glass decreases the tonnage costs. Also, Dare County has a glass crusher, and the crushed glass is offered for free to the public for uses such as landscaping material and garden mulch, arts and crafts projects and driveway material. Meanwhile, the business has printed flyers to distribute to summer rental companies and local businesses with information about what is and is not recyclable. Eady said the couple remains hopeful that the situation will improve, both in the industry nationwide and in public awareness. Ivey Johnson, who for 14 years has operated Dare Area Recycling Technologies, or D.A.R.T., a metal recycler in Wanchese, is also optimistic that the industry overall will bounce back. “I see the big boys creating new markets, finding new buyers,” Johnson said. “I think we need to reposition ourselves as top dog.” But for now, recycling in the U.S. is undergoing an industry version of a gut-twisting churn. Plastics, glass and cardboard are no longer accepted in many overseas markets, and pallets of crushed plastic and paper waste are warehoused while mad searches are conducted for a place to send it. Countries that still accept U.S. recyclables are also now demanding only clean product. Recently, Indonesia sent back 57 shipping containers filled with recyclables contaminated by garbage and incompatible or unacceptable material, the Associated Press reported July 9. The majority of the containers were returned to Australia, the U.S., France, Germany and Hong Kong because their contents violated Indonesian laws that forbid importing toxic waste, the AP reported. More shipments of recyclables from wealthy nations have been going to Southeast Asian nations since China banned plastic waste imports two years ago. Sources of plastic waste imports into China in 2016 and cumulative plastic waste export tonnage in million metric tons in 1988–2016. Figure: Brooks, Wang and Jambeck An article detailing the impact of the Chinese plastics ban in the June 2018 journal Science Advances said that more than half of recycled plastics had been exported to hundreds of countries, with China taking about 45 percent of cumulative plastic waste since 1992.  Between 1950 and 2017, a cumulative total of 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic has been produced. With the ban, an estimated 111 million metric tons of plastic waste will be displaced by 2030. “Only 9 percent of plastic waste has been recycled globally, with an overwhelming majority of global plastic waste being landfilled or ending up contaminating the environment (80 percent),” according to the article, “resulting in an estimated 4 million to 12 million metric tons of waste plastic entering the oceans annually.” Things got even worse for U.S. recycling markets in 2018, when China instituted its National Sword program that banned imports of a total of 24 types of recyclables, including mixed paper and eventually all plastics because of widespread contamination. Recycling programs across the U.S were put on notice while the industry scrambled to find new markets. But there have been no easy answers. According to a June 21 article in The Guardian , the equivalent of 19,000 shipping containers of plastic recycling per month that used to be exported is now stranded in the U.S.  Much of it will end up in landfills. North Carolina and South Carolina are in a better position than most states because they have a strong plastics recycling industry in place, said Micki Bozeman, Brunswick County Solid Waste and Recycling coordinator. The county has also been protected somewhat from market shocks by contracting out most of its recycling programs, she said, and by going out to bid every three years. For instance, the county has just issued a request for proposals for its electronics recycling program. It also seeks grant funds to offset higher costs of recycling old TVs and other outmoded, heavy electronics. “We found keeping the contracts in place really help, especially if the markets go south,” Bozeman said. For the time being, Bozeman said that Brunswick will continue its comingled recycling program, which ranked 12 th in the state in 2018 for tonnage per capita, but it is stepping up educational efforts for the public with brochures and programming. It’s a new world, and people need to know they can’t just throw everything together and ship it off. Now it is essential for recycled products to be clean and to be disposed of where they belong, she said. But different items can be recycled in different communities and states, and often consumers are confused. For instance, she explained, most people don’t realize that glass windows and wine glasses are not recyclable glass and that they contaminate glass bottle recyclables. Being more responsible for what goes in the recycling bin is an adjustment for the consumer and the businesses, Bozeman said. But with more sorting and materials recovery facilities, and more educational resources for municipal and county operations, she also sees it as an opening for new domestic businesses. “I think it’s going to take everybody’s effort,” she said.  “I think it’s an opportunity to build the recycling industry. The whole idea is to produce recyclable material that can be recycled to a new material.” North Carolina currently does not allow plastic bottles, aluminum cans, pallets, electronics or oyster shells to be disposed of in landfills. But recycling is not mandated in the state. “Most of it is not a malicious act. It’s what we call ‘wish recycling,’ such as tossing in clothing and garden hoses.” — Mike Greene, recycling business development specialist, Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service In an educational campaign targeting the counties, the state is set to launch an initiative called RecycleRightNC in the fall, said Mike Greene, recycling business development specialist for the state Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service. The state already has printable educational brochures and posters available online to help the public understand what and how to recycle. The point is to make people aware in order to bring down the level of contamination, in turn helping to restore profitability for recycling, Greene said. “Most of it is not a malicious act,” he said. “It’s what we call ‘wish recycling,’ such as tossing in clothing and garden hoses.” In the earlier days of recycling, Greene said, everyone got used to separating certain disposables in different containers. When recycling switched to single-stream disposal it increased recycling overall, but it changed people’s good habits. “What we’ve done is we’ve gotten away from education,” he said. “Where with co-mingling everybody thought they throw out everything that’s not disgusting.” Greene said that the state is working to help counties individualize information for what is acceptable for each recycling company, while also standardizing recycling imagery and language across the state. Along with education, he said the state is also promoting an enforcement aspect that involves a warning tag and ‘three-strikes’ approach. There are also state grants available to encourage building of processing facilities and recycling businesses in counties. Greene said the industry in North Carolina is adjusting, and the demand for recycled products is starting to come back. “It will recover in time,” he said. “It’s a temporary crisis and I think we’re re-building it the right way.”'

EPA restores use of pesticide opposed by beekeepers

Environment The Columbian

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency will allow farmers to resume broad use of a pesticide over objections from beekeepers, citing private chemical industry studies that the agency says show the product does only lower-level harm to bees
'WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency will allow farmers to resume broad use of a pesticide over objections from beekeepers, citing private chemical industry studies that the agency says show the product does only lower-level harm to bees and wildlife. Friday’s EPA announcement — coming after the agriculture industry accused the agency of unduly favoring honeybees — makes sulfoxaflor the latest bug- and weed-killer allowed by the Trump administration despite lawsuits alleging environmental or human harm. The pesticide is made by Corteva Agriscience, a spinoff created last month out of the DowDuPont merger and restructuring. Honeybees pollinate billions of dollars of food crops annually in the United States, but agriculture and other land uses that cut into their supply of pollen, as well as pesticides, parasites and other threats, have them on a sharp decline. The University of Maryland said U.S. beekeepers lost 38 percent of their bee colonies last winter alone, the highest one-winter loss in the 13-year history of their survey. Emails and records obtained from the EPA through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the Sierra Club, and provided to The AP, show sorghum growers in particular had pressed senior officials at the agency for a return to broad use of sulfoxaflor. Sorghum growers regard honeybees as just another “non-native livestock” in the U.S., lobbyist Joe Bischoff said in a 2017 email to agency officials, and by cutting threats to the bees, “EPA has chosen that form of agriculture over all others.” A federal appeals court had ordered the EPA to withdraw approval for sulfoxaflor in 2015, ruling in a lawsuit brought by U.S. beekeeping groups that not enough was known about what it did to bees. EPA Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn said Friday that new industry studies that have not been made public show a low level of harm to bees and other creatures beyond the targeted crop pests. Dunn said EPA’s newly reset rules for use of sulfoxaflor, such as generally prohibiting spraying of fruit and nut-bearing plants in bloom, when pollinators would be attracted to the flowers, would limit harm to bees. She called it “an important and highly effective tool for growers.” Michele Colopy, program director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, one of the beekeeping groups that had successfully sued to block sulfoxaflor, said the EPA limits weren’t enough to protect bees and other beneficial bugs whose numbers are declining. “We understand farmers want to have every tool in their toolbox,” when it comes to curbing insects that damage crops. “But the … pesticides are just decimating beneficial insects,” Colopy said. “The Trump EPA’s reckless approval … without any public process is a terrible blow to imperiled pollinators,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health program.'