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[1THING] Blog: Archive for September, 2015

[ Wilderness Society Commends BLM on New State Directors for Nevada, New Mexico and California ]

Michael Reinemer

“The Wilderness Society is glad to see these key positions being filled,” said Nada Culver, Director of The Wilderness Society’s BLM Action Center.



[ Extreme Anti-Conservationists in Congress Sever Funding for America’s Treasured Parks ]

Michael Reinemer

The Wilderness Society issued the following statement today regarding expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, America’s most important conservation and recreation program that has enhanced and created parks and outdoor opportunities for more than 50 years:  



[ A few members of Congress are about to erase a 50-year-old promise ]

On Sept. 30, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will expire—the shameful end of a popular, effective conservation program thanks to congressional dysfunction and radical ideology.



[ Air Pollution Is Responsible For 3.3 Million Deaths Every Year ]

The Huffington Post recently reported that, according to a new study, air pollution is killing 3.3 million people a year worldwide.  Surprisingly, farming plays a large role in smog and soot deaths in industrial nations.

Scientists in Germany, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia and Harvard University calculated the most detailed estimates yet of the toll of air pollution, looking at what caused it. The study also projects that if trends don’t change, the yearly death total will double to about 6.6 million a year by 2050.

The study, published in the journal Nature, used health statistics and computer models. About three quarters of the deaths are from strokes and heart attacks, said lead author Jos Lelieveld at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany.

The findings are similar to other less detailed pollution death estimates, outside experts said.

“About 6 percent of all global deaths each year occur prematurely due to exposure to ambient air pollution. This number is higher than most experts would have expected, say, 10 years ago,” said Jason West, a University of North Carolina environmental sciences professor who wasn’t part of the study but praised it.

Air pollution kills more than HIV and malaria combined, Lelieveld said.

Get the full story from The Huffington Post here.


[ Enviromentalists to EPA: Expand Methane Emission Rules ]

Proposed rules on methane emissions are a good start, but don’t go far enough. That’s the message from environmentalists to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In comments to the agency at a public hearing in Pittsburgh today, advocates say the rules as written would not apply to existing sources of methane. Rob Altenburg, director of PennFuture Energy Center, says Pennsylvania has thousands of gas wells in operation now.

“These new rules target only new and modified sources, so the vast majority of the wells in the state are not likely to be covered by these rules in the near future,” he says.

Pennsylvania is currently the second-largest gas producing state in the country.

Jim Murphy, senior counsel with the National Wildlife Federation, says reducing methane emissions would do more than slow global climate change – it would also reduce ozone and other ground level pollution.

“You really get a two for one, you cut carbon emissions to help the climate, and then you also reduce localized pollution that harms wildlife and people who want to enjoy outdoor areas,” he says.

In 2012 the federal government initiated measures to reduce methane emissions during the drilling process. Altenburg says the state can step in to control emissions the federal rules may miss.

“What we would like to see is the governor act aggressively to cover the thousands of wells and the thousands of sources that aren’t being covered by these rules,” says Altenburg.

The EPA has also held hearings on the proposed methane rules in Denver and in Dallas.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection


[ Today is National Coffee Day ]

coffeeToday is National Coffee Day and it’s the perfect day to make a few small earth-friendly changes to your coffee routine!   Whether you prefer your java in the morning, at noon or at night, small changes in our coffee routines can add up to a lot less waste and a healthier planet!

Here are some easy steps you can take to make your next brew tasty, healthy, and eco-friendly: 

  • Invest in the perfect reusable mug and kick the disposable cup habit. Polystyrene isn’t biodegradable, and after just one use most cups will end up lingering in a landfill for centuries. Many coffee shops will also pour your brew in a ceramic mug if you request it.
  • Support local brewers and cafes. Keeping your dollars local supports small businesses in your community.
  • Resist the temptation to use individually packaged coffee shots, sugars, creamers, and throwaway stirrers. If your favorite coffee shop doesn’t offer alternatives, consider politely asking them to change their ways.
  • Check for Fair Trade certification. Buying fair trade ensures safe working conditions and fair compensation for farm workers. Look for for the Fair Trade Certified label when you shop.
  • Go organic and shade-grown. Certified Organic coffee is grown and processed without toxic chemicals, and shade-grown or bird-friendly coffees conserve forests on coffee plantations. Rainforest Alliance’s certification promotes sustainable farming practices like these.
  • Be your own barista. If you’re in the market for a new coffee maker, try a French press or ceramic coffee dripper. Unlike most coffee makers, they don’t require electricity, give a more “pure” taste, and are really easy to use.
  • Give your coffee grounds a second life. Keep grounds handy in the kitchen to scrub grease off pots and pans or try placing them in the refrigerator to absorb odors. Used coffee grounds also make great plant fertilizer! Toss them in your compost heap or tumbler to add a natural nitrogen boost.
  • Fight climate change. Coffee only grows in a very specific climate, so global warming poses a serious threat to your morning cup. Producers are already seeing lower yields around the world, sending up prices. Visit the Union of Concerned Scientists to learn about the coffee-climate connection and how you can take action.

Source:  EarthShare


[ Shell abandons Alaska Arctic drilling ]

According to the Guardian, oil giant Shell’s hugely controversial drilling operations off Alaska will stop for ‘foreseeable future’ as drilling finds little oil and gas.

Shell has abandoned its controversial drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic in the face of mounting opposition in what jubilant environmentalists described as “an unmitigated defeat” for big oil.

The Anglo-Dutch company had repeatedly stressed the enormous hydrocarbon potential of the far north region in public, but in private began to admit it had been surprised by the popular opposition it faced.

Shell said today it had made a marginal discovery of oil and gas with its summer exploration in the Chukchi Sea but not enough to continue to the search for the “foreseeable” future.

Shell has spent over $7bn (£4.6bn) on its failed hunt for oil which critics said could only endanger one of the world’s last pristine environments and produce expensive hydrocarbons that were no longer needed.

Read the full story from the Guardian here.



[ Shell loses big gamble in Arctic Ocean ]

Anastasia Greene

Shell’s announcement today that it will abandon oil exploration in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean for the foreseeable future means the state’s northern coastal villages and marine mammals will be safe from major offshore oil spills and other oil development-related impacts.


[ EPA Update on Recent Volkswagen Announcement ]

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a letter sent to vehicle manufacturers notifying them that the agency is adding to its confirmatory testing additional evaluations designed to look for potential defeat devices.

View the letter here:  http://www3.epa.gov/otaq/cert/violations.htm

Last Friday, EPA sent a Notice of Violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. alleging that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software that circumvents EPA emissions standards.

These cars contain software that turns off emissions controls when driving normally, and turns them on when the car is undergoing an emission test.  Known as a “defeat device,” this design feature results in the cars emitting up to 40 times the amount of NOx emissions that the standards allow.  NOx standards are in place to ensure public health is protected.

EPA’s notice of violation, along with an In-Use Compliance Letter that the California Air Resources Board issued, provide information and details relating to the VW violations:

View a pdf of the Notice of Violation here:


View the California Air Resources Board’s In-Use Compliance Letter here:


For more information on EPA’s recent action, as well as information for owners of the affected vehicles, visit: http://www3.epa.gov/otaq/cert/violations.htm


[ Sen. Daines Supports Top-Down Forest Reform, Once Again Ignoring Montana-Based Solutions ]

Michael Reinemer

A group of sportsmen, outfitters, business owners, and conservationists are extremely disappointed in Montana Senator Steve Daines’ decision to support the Resilient Federal Forest Act of 2015.