Archive | environmental laws

Environmental News Roundup – October 14, 2015

Big Apple-based BigFarms growing greenhouse in Culpeper

BrightFarms, a greenhouse aquaponics developer, has opened its doors to the public in Culpepper County, Virginia. This project has increased the production of local produce and 24 new jobs. Most of our produce comes from California, Florida, Arizona, Mexico, and Canada. This causes the price and travel time of the produce to increase, and the quality to decline. In addition to the aquaponics system, there are interior beehives that assist with the pollination. Since this new project is local to Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, it cuts the time and cost of transportation, while growing produce that is free of pesticides and GMOs.

Johnie Forte, Jr. Memorial Environmental Education Grant 

The Johnie Forte, Jr. Memorial Environmental Education Grant is open to all Fairfax County Public and Private Schools, clubs, and programs that reside in schools. Fairfax County Schools and environmental clubs can earn a grant of $250-$500 to carry out their environmental projects involving sustainability initiatives, littler prevention and control, recycling, reuse, composting etc.  

All requests must include an itemized budget. Additionally, they need to be completed by the end of the school year, unless more time is specifically requested. Projects which are awarded grants are invited, but not required to present their program results at SpringFest 2015.

*This grant is sponsored by Clean Fairfax and Fairfax County Recycling Program. 

Lexus Made A Cardboard Car That Actually Drives

Recently, Lexus reviled a car that is made out of cardboard, and runs on an electric engine. Over the steel and aluminum frame, the car included 1,700 recyclable sheets of cardboard. The team consisted of five people. Together, they came up with the digital design, modeling, laser cutting, and assembly. The car was on display at the Grand Designs Live event in England.  

People Power and Solar Lights Go on in Yirca. 9 Oct, 2015 © Umut Vedat / Greenpeace

Two tales of one village

Last October, Yirca, Turkey went through a devastation of may olive trees from a coal company. Late last year, officials declared in court that the destruction of olive groves illegal. In the same village, GreenPeace has installed solar panels electricity systems in the village’s school, mosque, and cemetery. Moving away from the dependency of fossil fuel, now the village can use renewable energy powered from the sun. The installation of the solar panels included the village’s school, mosque, and cemetery. With the help of local people, volunteers from eight different countries, and GreenPeace, the residents from Yirca can enjoy renewable solar energy, and remove dependency from coal.       


Environmental News Roundup – October 7, 2015

Mom’s Organic Market Grand Re-Opening  

Clean Fairfax is pleased to be in attendance at the grand re-opening of Mom’s Organic Market in Herndon, VA. If you would like to volunteer, please send an email to We could use a few extra pair of hands, and we have fun things planned throughout the day.  

  • Friday October 23  3 p.m.-6 p.m. 

  • Saturday Oct 24 9 a.m.-12 p.m., and 12 p.m.-3 p.m.  

  • Sunday October 25 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

Detroit Zoo no longer sells bottled water

The Detroit Zoo will no longer sell bottle water. Instead, visitors will have to bring their own containers and fill them up at one of the 20 filtered water stations. Another option is that they can buy a reusable bottles with the zoo’s logo. This change was made into effect for environmentally friendly reasons. Additionally, the zoo has installed several rain barrels, for landscape irrigation. For the water recirculation program, 101/2 million gallons of water are used annually by the zoo.      

spotted wren babbler

Hundreds of New Species Discovered in the Easter Himalayan Region  

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), there has been over 200 new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas, including a sneezing monkey and a a walking fish. The Eastern Himalayas is the most biologically diverse places on earth. Unfortunately, only 25% of the original habitats remain intact, and hundreds of species are considered to be threatened. Climate change, deforestation, overgrazing, poaching, wildlife trade, mining, and pollution are the underlying causes for this issue. WWF is working with countries in the Eastern Himalayas for a green economy and value ecosystem for many people in that region. Additionally, WWF promotes collaboration with the people in the region, in order to live sustainably with nature.     



Environmental News Roundup – May 20, 2015


Cleanup of 21,000-gallon oil spill resumes off Santa Barbara County coast

The rupture on an 11-mile-long underground pipe, part of a larger oil transport network centered in Kern County, was first reported about noon Tuesday after a woman at Refugio State Beach in Goleta smelled the crude’s noxious fumes.

Gov. Jerry Brown is “monitoring the situation with great concern,” said spokesman Evan Westrup. During the several-hours-long leak, about 21,000 gallons of oil escaped the pipeline, Coast Guard officials estimated. Refugio State Beach and area fisheries were closed, and a warning was posted at El Capitan State Beach, according to county emergency officials.

White House unveils new plan to save the bees

The White House on Tuesday unveiled a new plan aimed at stopping the rapid decline in bee and butterfly populations that has become a threat to the nation’s crops.

To save the bees, the White Houses said it will make sure that the government’s landscaping plans, methods of restoring forests after fires, and other land management actions keep the insects’ health in mind. Obama’s budget for the 2016 fiscal year asks for about $82.5 million for the effort, an increase of almost $34 million from last year’s budget.


Wind turbines are huge, but they’re about to get way, way bigger

If a new report from the Department of Energy is correct, the potential for wind to generate energy in the United States is far, far greater. At the same time, though, it’s also greatly limited by a key factor — most of the wind turbines being used in the country today aren’t tall enough. If they were extended higher, where winds tend to be stronger and also more constant, they could potentially not only tap more energy — they could tap it in vastly more places.

Obama: climate change is a national security threat

President Obama will use a commencement speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Wednesday to argue ever more forcefully that climate change is a threat to America’s national defense.

The Department of Defense is studying the effect that climate change will have on its 7,000 bases and installations, and more extreme weather events also put a strain on National Guard troops that respond to emergencies.


Environmental News Roundup – May 13, 2015


Alaska’s tricky intersection of Obama’s energy and climate legacies

President Obama’s move to open up vast, untouched Arctic waters to oil and gas drilling as he pursues an ambitious plan to fight climate change illustrates the inherent tensions in his environmental and energy agenda.

In the administration’s view, the decision to drill in the waters off the Alaska coast is a calculated risk that addresses environmental concerns, continues domestic oil production and manages legal obligations. Mr. Obama, administration officials say, chose to move forward with the Arctic drilling only after pairing the approval with tough new safety regulations.

Senate bill would create national renewable electricity standard

Senate Democrats want to create a national renewable electricity standard to create jobs, save consumers money and reduce pollution.

The bill unveiled Tuesday that would require utilities to generate 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, starting with an 8 percent requirement by 2016 followed by gradual increases.


Sri Lanka first nation to protect all mangrove forests

Sri Lanka has become the first nation in the world to comprehensively protect all of its mangrove forests. A scheme backed by the government will include alternative job training, replanting projects and microloans.

Mangroves are considered to be one of the world’s most at-risk habitats, with more than half being lost or destroyed in the past century. Conservationists hope other mangrove-rich nations will follow suit and adopt a similar protection model.

Apple expands renewable energy goal

Apple has pledged to create enough energy through renewable sources to power its global operations. Now it’s setting a far more ambitious goal to do the same for its manufacturing supply chain.

Apple says it generates renewable energy – from solar, wind, biogas, fuel cells, geothermal and small hydropower plants — equivalent to 87% of the energy used by its facilities worldwide. The company’s goal is to get to 100%.


Environmental News Roundup – May 6, 2015


Tesla ventures into solar power storage for home and business

In recent years, the fast-growing popularity of solar panels has intensified a central challenge: how to use the sun’s energy when it isn’t shining.

Now, Tesla Motors, the maker of luxury electric sedans, says it is taking a big step toward meeting that challenge with a fleet of battery systems aimed at homeowners, businesses and utilities. The company’s foray into the solar storage market will include rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs that can mount to a home garage wall as well as battery blocks large enough to smooth out fluctuations in the grid.

Pipeline politics: Virginia’s Keystone?

Call it the Keystone next door. A core group of Virginia Republicans and other landowners is leading the charge against a proposed natural gas pipeline near their backyards and using tactics similar to the environmental crusade against the Keystone XL oil pipeline — the very project Republicans in Congress have elevated into a matter of national economic survival.


Do consumers really have the power to end the illegal wildlife trade?

The rate at which wildlife and wildlife parts are currently being traded is alarming to say the least. One elephant is killed for their ivory every 15 minutes, around three rhinos are poached every day and around 28,300 freshwater turtles are traded on the illegal wildlife market every day.

The Sea Party Rebellion

Gas is cheap. America is pumping more domestic oil than at any time in the last 30 years. But two newly released science reports have reached disturbing conclusions. One in the journal Science states human activities threaten mass-extinction of marine life in the ocean, the other in the journal Nature tells us that to avoid the most catastrophic effects of fossil fuel fired climate disruption we need to leave a third of the world’s known petroleum reserves in the ground and under the seabed.

A Sea Party of activists, businesses and coastal communities committed to promoting the health and economic well-being of our public seas ― while also championing clean energy, including offshore wind ― could prove a strong unifying force between now and the 2016 presidential elections.


Environmental News Roundup – Apr. 29, 2015


Did Nepal Earthquake Change Mount Everest’s Height?

The massive earthquake that struck Nepal Saturday likely caused permanent changes in the Earth’s surface and may have made Everest a little taller—or shorter, scientists say.

A team of geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is working on the problem now, but they need to retrieve data from a GPS station near Everest within the next 11 days.

Green Groups Push Obama on Arctic Drilling

More than a dozen conservation and environmental groups are pushing President Obama to prevent oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. The groups took out an advertisement in USA Today on Tuesday saying drilling in the Arctic is “not worth the risk” of negatively affecting the climate or creating an oil spill in the ocean. The ad comes as Shell looks to begin drilling in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska.


The Reactors That Will Revolutionize Nuclear Energy

We’re at a turning point in energy. The U.S. should be a leader in mitigating climate change and meeting a nearly 30% increase in U.S. demand for electricity projected by 2040.

Renewable-energy technologies will continue to advance, as will other carbon-free power sources like nuclear energy. The nuclear industry is developing new technology that will be up and running inside of 10 years – a smaller reactor option built at much lower capital costs.

Pope Francis Steps Up Campaign on Climate Change

Since his first homily in 2013, Pope Francis has preached about the need to protect the earth and all of creation as part of a broad message on the environment. The Vatican summit meeting will focus on the links between poverty, economic development and climate change, with speeches and panel discussions by climate scientists and religious leaders, and economists like Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia. The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, who is leading efforts to forge the Paris accord, will deliver the opening address.



Environmental News Roundup – Earth Day 2015


Earth Day’s Importance and Evolution Since 1970

Decades later, we find the issue of environmental protection has evolved in a number of important ways. Environmental pollution is widely seen as a public health issue and broad public support for a clean environment is as strong today as it was in the first decade after Earth Day. Moreover, the issue of global sustainability and the connection of the planet’s environmental health to our economic wellbeing have moved from the fringes of the political agenda to its center. Sustainability is at or near the top of the modern global political agenda.

McAuliffe’s Path to Clean Power Plan Success

Governor McAuliffe’s clean energy bill signing today was another step toward building a New Virginia Economy through the Clean Power Plan, which is not only our nation’s first comprehensive effort to slow dangerous climate change by cleaning up carbon pollution from power plants, but which is also McAuliffe’s best chance to both deliver clean energy jobs and address the climate change that already imperils Virginia’s coast during his single term as the Commonwealth’s Governor.

Earth and North America from Space

Obama to press climate change agenda with trip to Everglades on Earth Day

In his weekly radio address Saturday, Obama said there is “no greater threat to our planet than climate change. This is the only planet we’ve got. And years from now, I want to be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we did everything we could to protect it.”

Are we doing better today than on the first Earth Day?

Hard to believe it, but we’re now at the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. The question is: Are we doing better today than on the first Earth Day 45 years ago? This is particularly important as, according to The Hill, the House begins working on an energy bill this week. The Senate is busy as well, holding hearings next week on the administration’s Quadrennial Energy Reviewand several proposed energy efficiency bills.


Environmental News Roundup – Apr. 15, 2015


World’s Last Male Northern White Rhino Placed Under 24-Hour Armed Guard In Kenya

After the decimation of his species by poachers, Sudan the rhino finds himself in a extremely precarious position: He is the last male northern white rhinoceros on the planet.

In 1960, there were more than 2,000 northern white rhinos roaming the earth, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. Poaching, however, reduced this number to 15 by 1984. Poachers aren’t just dangerous to rhinos, whose horns can reportedly fetch prices of $75,000 per kilogram or more, but also to the people who try to protect them.

 Lowe’s to eliminate pesticides that hurt crop pollinating honeybees

Scientists, consumer groups, beekeepers and others say bee deaths are linked to neonic pesticides. The bee die-off is worrisome for agriculture because honeybees pollinate plants that produce about a fourth of the food consumed by Americans. Lowe’s said it will phase out neonics in shelf products and plants by the spring of 2019, as suitable alternatives become available.


Economies that go 100% renewable could save $520 billion a year

Adopting targets to go 100% renewable could save the world’s biggest economies a combined US$520 billion each year according to a new report, a fact which is reflected in the growing number of businesses going 100% renewable in the US. The finding comes from the New Climate Institute and Climate Action Network, which assessed the “missed benefits of countries’ national contributions” – the so-called INDCs – for the major economies China, US and Europe.

As well as sidestepping the high costs associated with imported fossil fuels by shifting to 100% renewable energy by the year 2050, these economies will also avoid the “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” the International Panel on Climate Change forecasts will happen if we increase global warming 2 Celsius degree above preindustrial levels.

 House panel releases $35 billion spending bill for energy, water

The 56-page bill, which is $1.2 billion above the level Congress enacted for 2015, funds Energy Department programs, the Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains and develops the nation’s water systems, and other related agencies. Science research programs would get $5.1 billion, up $29 million from 2015. The bill would also fund research and development to advance natural gas, oil, coal and other fossil technologies. Renewable energy programs would get $1.7 billion, down $279 million from 2015 levels.


Environmental News Roundup – Apr. 8, 2015


ADM Announces Plan to Fight Deforestation

Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest commodities suppliers, has joined the growing number of major agriculture and food companies promising to take steps to conserve forests that are threatened by the global demand for commodities like palm oil and soy.

Many big companies have learned that incorporating conservation into their business plans can reduce costs — and they also are keenly aware that consumers are increasingly interested in how food ingredients are produced.

Duke Energy to pay Virginia $2.5 million for Dan River spill

Duke Energy has agreed to pay Virginia a $2.5 million settlement for its February 2014 coal ash spill into the Dan River. The spill at a retired power plant in Eden dumped up to 39,000 tons of ash into the river, which flows north into Virginia. Ash flowed 80 miles downstream to Virginia’s Kerr Reservoir.


The Arctic climate threat that nobody’s even talking about yet

Rapid Arctic warming is expected to lead to the thawing of a great deal of frozen soil or permafrost, which, as it thaws, will begin to emit carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere. And if this occurs in the amounts that some scientists are predicting, it could significantly undermine efforts to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Indeed, scientists have discovered a simple statistic that underscores the scale of the potential problem: There may be more than twice as much carbon contained in northern permafrost as there is in the atmosphere itself. That’s a staggering thought.

Sierra Club targets half of US coal-fired plants

The Sierra Club set a new, ambitious goal Wednesday to close half of the country’s coal-fired power plants by 2017. The target, based on a starting point in 2010 when there were 1,000 such plants, goes beyond the group’s initial goal to close a third of them by 2020.

Sierra Club leaders announced the goal at the same time they accepted $30 million from media mogul Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic operation for their Beyond Coal campaign. More than a dozen donors pledged to match Bloomberg’s contribution, doubling it to $60 million.


Environmental News Roundup – Apr. 1, 2015


New U.S. Climate Target Is Achievable and Sends an Important Signal to the World

The U.S. formally proposed that it would cut its emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. This emissions reduction target shows a commitment to strong action from the U.S. to cut its carbon pollution and sends a powerful signal to the world.

The new commitment to cut total national emissions to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 is achievable with strong, sustained actions.The U.S. can meet both its 2020 and 2025 targets using existing laws like the Clean Air Act, energy efficiency laws, and protecting our public lands and waters.

Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency Key to Growing Economy and Fighting Climate Change in Virginia

A new issue brief from NRDC shows, Virginia can fight back simply by meeting existing state goals to ramp up clean energy, improving its energy efficiency, and in the process reducing dangerous carbon pollution that is the single largest driver of climate chaos.

In fact, the new brief shows that if the Old Dominion were to meet its already existing voluntary energy goals, the state would actually beat the carbon emission targets in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan by 20 percent.


Texas Town Going All in on Solar and Wind

Georgetown, Texas, a city of about 48,000 people 25 miles north of Austin, has long been known as the Red Poppy Capital of Texas. But now Georgetown will have another distinction. It’s the biggest community in the nation to get 100 percent of its electricity from solar panels and wind turbines.

EPA will require weed-resistance restrictions on glyphosate herbicide

At least 14 weed species and biotypes in the United States have developed glyphosate resistance, affecting more than 60 million acres of U.S. farmland, according to data gathered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. weed scientists. The herbicide-resistant weeds hinder crop production and make farming more difficult and expensive.

The EPA’s action comes in the wake of a finding by the World Health Organization’s cancer research unit this month that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” a conclusion the working group said was based on a review of years of scientific research.