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The Horinko Group's Newsletter: Sustainabulletin

May 2013 — In this month's bulletin...

leafTHG’s NEXT FREE WEBINAR

WRAP PROJECT PROFILED IN CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

MARIANNE HORINKO ADDRESSES WWEMA IN WASHINGTON

The Horinko Group's April 2012 Salon


LATEST HEADLINESleaf

spacerFARMERS AND RANCHERS WORK TO CONSERVE NATION’S LARGEST AQUIFER

(USDA NRCS) With the help of U.S Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, farmers and ranchers are working hard to conserve the Ogallala Aquifer, a 225,000-square-mile underground basin vital to agriculture, municipal and industrial development.  The aquifer stretches from western Texas to South Dakota and supports nearly one-fifth of the wheat, corn, cotton and cattle produced in the United States. 

Description: Aquifer.png

Ogallala Aquifer Initiative Map
(Source: USDA NRCS Website)

By reducing an individual operation’s water use, conservation helps relieve some of the pressure put on the aquifer.  Many farmers are switching their irrigation systems from gravity to sprinkler center pivots and subsurface drip irrigation systems, which can increase pumping efficiencies by at least 40 percent.

Technology is also playing a large role in water conservation.  Some new pivots use variable rate irrigation, meaning as the pivot travels over areas, it adjusts water rates to match the need.  Conservation practices such as no-till and cover crops can help improve soil health and water quality.  Healthy soils increase water capacity and infiltration making lands more resilient to drought.

To read this article in its entirety, visit http://bit.ly/ogaquicnsrv.

spacerEPA AWARDS $4 MILLION TO HELP SUPPORT CLEANUP REUSE OF BROWNFIELDS SITES

(U.S. EPA) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will award approximately $4 million in grants to 20 communities across the country to assist with planning for cleanup and reuse of Brownfields properties. This funding is part of the Brownfields Area-Wide (BF AWP) Planning program, which aims to promote community revitalization by using cleanups to stimulate local economies and protect people’s health and the environment. EPA’s Brownfields program encourages the redevelopment of abandoned and potentially contaminated waste sites across the country.

Cargill shipping barge; Source: Star Tribune

EPA’s Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Fact Sheet
(Source: U.S. EPA Website)

“EPA continues to respond to Brownfields challenges in communities of every size by encouraging strong public-private partnerships and promoting innovative and creative ways to assess, clean up and redevelop Brownfields sites,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “The area-wide planning approach recognizes that revitalization of the area surrounding the Brownfields sites is critical to the successful reuse of the property as cleanup and redevelopment of an individual site. The locally-driven planning process will help communities create a shared vision for and commitment to revitalization.”

To read the full text of the article, visit Yosemite.epa.gov.

spacerASSESSING THE IMPACTS OF FEDERAL FARM BILL PROGRAMS ON RURAL COMMUNITIES

AGree Paper; Source: foodandagpolicy.com

Source: foodandagpolicy.com

AGree recently released a report summarizing the state of scientific knowledge on the impact of federal farm and food programs on rural communities in the United States. The report focuses on the impacts of five specific programs of what is commonly referred to as the “farm bill.” These five include farm commodity programs; farm risk management, insurance, and disaster programs; agricultural conservation programs; food and nutrition programs; and rural development programs.

Although there is extensive research on the relative merits and effectiveness of specific rural development programs and policies on rural community outcomes, the impacts of the other four main farm bill programs on rural America have received much less empirical scrutiny. 

To read the report in its entirety, visit http://bit.ly/AGreepgm2013-04.

spacerEPA ISSUES VAPOR INTRUSION GUIDANCE TO ENHANCE ASSESSMENT, MITIGATION EFFORTS

In-Situ Water Monitoring Smartphone App

Source: U.S. EPA Website

(Daily Environment Report) The Environmental Protection Agency released for public comment April 16 a draft final version of its long-awaited vapor intrusion guidance to ensure that exposure assessment and mitigation actions are undertaken in a consistent manner.  EPA released two documents – broad vapor intrusion guidance from the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response and a second guidance document from the Office of Underground Storage Tanks on petroleum hydrocarbons such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

“When final, these guidance documents will help ensure vapor intrusion exposure assessment and mitigation actions to protect human health are undertaken in a technically, scientifically and nationally consistent manner,” Richard Kapuscinski, a senior official in EPA's Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, said in a memorandum announcing the release.

Comments on the guidance will be accepted through May 24 at www.regulations.gov.

To read the article in its entirety, visit www.bna.com.

spacerEPA LOWERS ESTIMATE OF METHANE LEAKAGE DURING NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION

Cargill shipping barge; Source: Star Tribune

Gas well site near Burlington, PA
(Source: Washington Times)

(Associated Press) The EPA has recently lowered its estimate for the amount of gas that leaks from natural gas wells, pipelines and other infrastructure.  The volume of methane gas released during drilling operations has become a turning point in the ongoing debate on hydraulic fracturing.  Lower estimates have bolstered the positions of those pushing for rapid growth of the natural gas industry via the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing, indicating from a climate perspective that natural gas is an improvement over the fuel sources it is replacing.  Higher estimates, like the EPA’s previous estimate, would suggest that natural gas is an equal or worse climate offender than alternative hydrocarbons.  Part of the EPA revision has to do with an improvement in, and more widespread use of, cost effective leak controlling fixes to equipment and practices.  The revised estimates are significantly lower, about 20 percent less than previous estimates even as natural gas production has increased by about 40 percent during the same period.

To read the article in its entirety, visit http://n.pr/17lLwzR.

GAO RECOMMENDS A STRENGTHENED APPROACH FOR EPA CHEMICAL ASSESSMENT AND CONTROL

AGree Paper; Source: foodandagpolicy.com

Source: gao.gov

In 2009, EPA announced principles to reform and strengthen the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) Toxic Substances report examines the extent to which EPA has made progress implementing its new approach and how well this approach will enable EPA to reach its goal of ensuring the safety of chemicals.

GAO’s conclusions center around the time intensiveness of the chemical risk assessment process that EPA has undertaken as part of its new principles as well as the need for improved strategic planning for the new approach.

To read the report in its entirety, visit gao.gov/assets/660/653276.pdf.


UPCOMING EVENTSleaf

Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources Holds Forum on Shale Development: Best Practices and Environmental Concerns
May 23, 2013 | 10:00 am Eastern | Live Webcast

Senate Committee on Energy & Natural ResourcesOn May 23, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will hold a forum focusing on the extraction of gas from shale.  Particular topics of interest will be current best practices within the industry and environmental concerns to be addressed.

The forum will be webcast live on the committee's website and an archived video will be available shortly after the forum is complete.  To watch the webcast or find out more about the forum, visit http://www.energy.senate.gov.


THG’s Next Free Webinar features ELI President John Cruden
Release Date: June 26, 2013 | Free Recording | More Information

John Cruden

John Cruden   

John Cruden, President of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), is the featured presenter of the sixth installment in the Mentoring Environment & Energy Together free webinar series.  Mr. Cruden joins ELI from the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division.  Before joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Cruden was the Chief Legislative Counsel of the Army, an appointment that followed numerous military assignments.  Mr. Cruden will discuss his career path, accomplishments, current efforts underway at ELI, and advice for early career professionals.

The webinar recording will made available on THG’s website on June 26. To hear previous presentations in the MEET series, visit our website at http://www.thgadvisors.org/our-resources/webinars.


EPA Hosts Webinar – On-Site Renewables: Lessons Learned from Idea to Implementation
May 29, 2013 | 1:00 – 2:00pm Eastern | Free Registration

One Water Leadership SummitOn May 29, EPA’s Green Power Partnership will host a webinar entitled, On-site Renewables: Lessons Learned from Idea to Implementation.  Organizations across the country continue to make direct investments in on-site renewable energy generation, indicating a long-term commitment to using renewable energy and securing the benefits of reduced electricity price volatility.

This webinar will feature two EPA Green Power Partners, SC Johnson and Coca-Cola Refreshments, that have invested in on-site projects powered by landfill gas and wind, respectively, and highlight the companies’ experiences from initial investigation of on-site systems to the results obtained once the projects were brought online.

To register for this free webinar, visit https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/116301642.


IAGLR Conference on Great Lakes Research
June 2-6, 2013 | West Lafayette, IN | Registration

IAGLR Conference on Great Lakes ResearchThe International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) is hosting its annual Great Lakes Restoration & Resiliency conference in West Lafayette, IN. The program includes technical sessions, plenary sessions with keynote speakers, a trade show, and workshops.

For more information, visit the conference website, iaglr.org/iaglr2013/.


2013 AWRA Mid-Atlantic Conference – Water Resources: Adaptation & Advancement
September 26-27, 2013 | Trenton, NJ | Registration

2013 AWRA Mid-Atlantic ConferenceThe New Jersey Section of the American Water Resources Association (NJ-AWRA) is teaming with the Delaware, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Metropolitan Area and the National Capital Region Sections of the AWRA to host the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Conference on September 26 & 27.  The conference will be held outside of Trenton, NJ and promises an interesting and informative program that will provide attendees with lessons and tools to apply in their watershed.

For more information, visit the conference website, mac2013.wildapricot.org/.


IN THE SPOTLIGHTleaf

Environmentalists Tap Palestinian School Children to Clean Jerusalem’s Holy Valley

WRAP Brendan McGinnis and Bob Cole

A joint Israeli-Palestinian environmental initiative is reaching into the schools to educate young Palestinians on the merits of environmentalism
Source: Chelsea Sheasley, Correspondent

The Water Resources Action Project’s rainwater harvesting installation at the Sur Baher Girls School in East Jerusalem was recently profiled in the Christian Science Monitor’s April 22 online edition, as part of the news organization’s ongoing coverage of current events and issues in the Middle East.  

The article describes the environmental education effort in East Jerusalem started four years ago as a part of a plan to clean up Jerusalem’s Kidron Valley, which abuts the city’s most historic sites and separates East and West Jerusalem.  It’s also full of trash and raw sewage – 15 to 20 million cubic meters are dumped each year – enough to fill six Olympic swimming pools.  Political disagreement has stymied efforts to build a sewage treatment plant, but a team of Israelis and Palestinians is making a renewed push for the plant.  They see environmental education as part of their task.

To read the article in full on the CSMonitor website, visit http://bit.ly/WRAPcsmonitor.


FEATURED COLUMN

Hydraulic Fracturing – Outlook for the Next Four Years (EXCERPT)

WRAP Brendan McGinnis and Bob Cole

Marianne Horinko, President of The Horinko Group at WWEMA's 40th Annual Washington Forum

Excerpt from: WWEMA’s 40th Annual Washington Forum

By: Marianne Horinko, President of The Horinko Group

Building on THG’s landmark 2012 report, Hydraulic Fracturing: Guidebook on the Current and Future Environmental, Regulatory, and Legal Challenges, Marianne Horinko discusses the environmental challenges hydraulic fracturing presents, the state of regulation and litigation governing its practice, and opportunities for technology providers in finding safe solutions for reducing its environmental impact.  

Since the formation of The Horinko Group in 2008, my team has been closely tracking many energy sectors and considering their economic viability, energy security, and environmental impact.  Before I delve too far into hydraulic fracturing and the related environmental, regulatory and legal challenges, I believe it is important to describe the energy landscape as a whole, while sharing some key facts and insights that I’ve gained along the way.

TO READ THE REMAINDER OF THE FEATURED COLUMN, VISIT http://bit.ly/THGMay2013FC.