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[1THING] Blog: Archive for May, 2014

[ EPA and Reckitt Benckiser Inc. Reach Agreement to Cancel Certain Rodenticide Products ]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached agreement with Reckitt Benckiser Inc. to cancel 12 d-CON mouse and rat poison products that do not currently comply with EPA safety standards.

“Millions of households use mouse and rat poison products each year. Canceling these products will help prevent risks to children, pets and wildlife,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This voluntary move will get us far faster results than would otherwise be achieved through an administrative process.” 

Before EPA tightened the safety standards for household rat and mouse poison products, more than 10,000 children a year were accidentally exposed. Since the new standard took effect, the number of children exposed has decreased. The agency worked with a number of companies to develop safer mouse and rat poison products that are effective, affordable and widely available.

The cancellation of these 12 d-CON products that do not comply with current standards will continue the trend of reduced exposure to children, pets and wildlife. The company has agreed to stop production by the end of the year and stop distribution to retailers by March 31, 2015. The new standards require consumer mouse and rat poison products to be housed in protective bait stations.

Pellets and other bait forms that cannot be secured in bait stations are prohibited.  EPA also prohibits the sale of products containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum to residential consumers because of their greater risk to wildlife such as mountain lions, eagles, wolves and foxes. 

For more information, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/rodenticides/canceling-some-d-con-mouse-and-rat-control-products

For a complete list of the homeowner use rat and mouse products that meet EPA’s safety standards, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/rodenticides/choosing-bait-station-household-use

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[ Dedication Ceremony Highlights Wilderness Leadership by Rep. Benishek and Sen. Levin on Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan ]

Michael Reinemer

As the Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness is officially dedicated today, The Wilderness Society praised Michigan Representative Dan Benishek and Senator Carl Levin for championing the bipartisan legislation that now protects this incredible place – the first wilderness area to be approved by C

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[ A win for wilderness: Sleeping Bear Dunes is now official! ]

The bipartisan bill to designate more than 32,500 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as wilderness passed the House of Representatives in March 2014, conferring the highest possible level of public land protection on an area known as “

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[ Photo: Einstein tours fossilized trees at Petrified Forest National Park ]

This particular photo was taken on a trip in 1931.

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[ EPA Report Shows Impact of Changing Climate on Americans’ Health and Environment ]

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the third edition of a report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States. The report pulls together observed data on key measures of our environment, including U.S. and global temperature and precipitation, ocean heat and ocean acidity, sea level, length of growing season, and many others. With 30 indicators that include over 80 maps and graphs showing long-term trends, the report demonstrates that climate change is already affecting our environment and our society.   “These indicators make it clear that climate change is a serious problem and is happening now here in the U.S. and around the world,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Everything we do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the changes that are already underway will help us safeguard our children’s future.”

The third edition of the Indicators report, which was last published in 2012, adds additional years of data and four new indicators: Lyme disease, heating and cooling degree days, wildfires, and water level and temperature in the Great Lakes. In addition, the report adds four new features that connect observed data records to local communities and areas of interest, including cherry blossom bloom dates in Washington D.C., timing of ice breakup in two Alaskan rivers, temperature and drought in the Southwest, and land loss along the mid-Atlantic coast.

Consistent with the recently released National Climate Assessment, this report presents clear evidence that the impacts of climate change are already occurring across the United States. The report shows evidence that:  

  • Average temperatures have risen across the contiguous 48 states since 1901, with an increased rate of warming over the past 30 years. Seven of the top 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.
  • Tropical storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico has increased during the past 20 years.
  • Along the U.S. coastline, sea level has risen the most along the Mid-Atlantic coast and parts of the Gulf Coast, where some stations registered increases of more than 8 inches between 1960 and 2013.
  • Glaciers have been melting at an accelerated rate over the past decade. The resulting loss of ice has contributed to the observed rise in sea level.
  • Every part of the Southwest experienced higher average temperatures between 2000 and 2013 than the long-term average dating back to 1895. Some areas were nearly 2 degrees F warmer than average.
  • Since 1983, the United States has had an average of 72,000 recorded wildfires per year. Of the 10 years with the largest acreage burned, nine have occurred since 2000, with many of the largest increases occurring in western states.
  • Water levels in most of the Great Lakes have declined in the last few decades.

The report also looks at some of the ways that climate change may affect human health and society using key indicators related to Lyme disease incidence, heat-related deaths, and ragweed pollen season. For example, unusually hot summer temperatures have become more common which can lead to increased risk of heat-related deaths and illness. Warmer temperatures and later fall frosts also allow ragweed plants to produce pollen later into the year, potentially prolonging allergy season for millions of people.

EPA compiles decades of observed data in cooperation with a range of federal government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, universities, and other institutions. The Indicators report focuses on long-term trends for key measures of our environment for which high-quality data exist. Each indicator and the report itself were peer-reviewed by independent experts, and extensive technical documentation accompanies the report.

Information about the Climate Change Indicators report: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/indicators.html

Information about climate change: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange

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[ Top 10 Money & Energy Saving Laundry Tips ]

 laundry

Want to save money and energy?  Who doesn’t, right?!  Well, seventh generation has put together a list of the top 10 money and energy saving laundry tips.  Here are just a few: 

    • Wash Full Loads. Sort clothes and schedule laundering so you can wash only full loads. It takes almost as much electricity to run a small load as it does a full one, and it is better for the machine to have a full load during the spin cycle so it doesn’t fly off balance.
    • Wash in Cold Water. Every once in a while you may have a load that requires warm water, but tests show that cold water detergents are very effective for cleaning fabric in cold water. Washing just 80% of your laundry in cold water for a year could save you more than $60 in energy costs — and up to $100 if you live in an area with high electric rates. (Find out how much you could save with our Get Out of Hot Water calculator.)
    • Follow Directions. Use the amount of laundry detergent that the manufacturer recommends. Using more detergent than necessary actually gets in the way of effective cleansing of the fabrics, which will then require an extra rinse cycle, which uses more energy and water.
    • Line Dry. You can save on energy costs by line-drying, and even when the sun isn’t shining or the weather’s too cold, you can use clothing racks indoors in place of a clothes dryer.
    • Wash Less. Your clothes will last longer. Some clothing belongs in the wash after only one use, but many garments can stand two or even three wearings before they need washing.

You can view seventh generation’s full list here.

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[ Pennsylvania Continues to Reduce Water Pollution in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed ]

CBFThe Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that efforts to reduce pollution in Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed continue to yield progress. The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) released its annual Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model progress run results for 2013. These numbers represent the estimated amounts of phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment conveyed to the Chesapeake Bay.

Pennsylvania has continued to successfully reduce nutrient and sediment loading into the bay watershed. DEP efforts include updating nitrogen and phosphorous limits in permits for wastewater treatment plants, issuing municipal stormwater system permits with nutrient planning requirements, fostering a successful nutrient credit trading program that incentivizes best management practices (BMPs) and conducting 10,842 farm visits in the bay watershed from July 2011 through December 2013.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model analyzes three main pollutants: phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment. According to the model results released today, Pennsylvania has exceeded the Watershed Model Milestone for phosphorous reductions by approximately 5.1 percent. Although continued reductions have been achieved, the results also indicate that the state narrowly missed 2013 milestones for nitrogen by 1.8 percent and sediment by 4.8 percent.

Also according to the results, Pennsylvania has continued to see a downward trend for all three pollutants. Since 1985, the watershed model indicates that Pennsylvania has reduced phosphorous loadings by 25 percent, nitrogen by 10 percent and sediment by 15 percent, while experiencing significant growth in the Chesapeake Basin.

This trend is supported by data like the long-term monitoring conducted by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, which indicates positive, downward trends in phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment at Pennsylvania monitoring stations in the bay watershed.

Pennsylvania’s 40,000 farmers and 1,200 municipalities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have continued to voluntarily install BMPs such as riparian buffers, green infrastructure and cover crops. However, many of these voluntary BMPs can be difficult to track and are sometimes not taken into account when examining Pennsylvania’s efforts to reduce pollution in the bay watershed. DEP continues to work to improve data collection for BMPs, particularly in the rural and urban sectors, so that these important voluntary efforts are accounted for when submitting progress data to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Similar local watershed projects have been made possible by funding from the Marcellus Legacy Fund and Growing Greener Grants. Signed by Governor Tom Corbett, Act 13 of 2012 provided a natural gas impact fee which funds the Marcellus Legacy Fund and provided the first infusion of new money into the Growing Greener Grant Program in over a decade.

Milestones are pollution reduction goals based on EPA-mandated 2017 and 2025 targets for the Chesapeake Bay. Every two years, states in the bay watershed reevaluate to meet their milestones to help ensure continued progress in reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

For more information, or to view the milestones visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword “Chesapeake Bay Program,” or call 717-772-4785.

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[ New bill seeks to connect kids with nature ]

Kids don’t spend as much time outside as they used to, to the detriment of their health, happiness and overall connection with nature. Now, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Sen.

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[ Hiking Week 2014 ]

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has teamed with the Keystone Trails Association (KTA) to offer nearly 100 organized hikes and walks available throughout Pennsylvania during the nine-day event.

This year’s hiking week will be Saturday, May 24, 2014 through Sunday, June 01, 2014.

All of the scheduled hikes have leaders. Most hikes are on the two weekends of the event, but several weekday and evening hikes also are offered. Special hikes include night hikes; wildflower walks; hikes for people with disabilities; pet walks; geology walks and much more.

Most hikes will take place in state parks and state forests, with some hikes scheduled on the Appalachian Trail, in Allegheny National Forest, and in city and community parks.

View Hiking Week Events

 

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[ Oil Drillers’ Burning of Natural Gas Costs U.S. Millions in Revenue ]

The flaring of waste natural gas from drilling operations is costing taxpayers millions every year.

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