Tag Archive for 'National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Now here’s something you don’t hear too much about anymore: Ozone, you know – O3, the weird molecule that includes 3 oxygen atoms and was the primary focus of air pollution policy for, oh, I don’t know, 45 years?  (Not to be confused with Ozone Park, in Queens, where “Ozone” was used in the neighborhood’s name to refer “to a park-like area with cool ocean breezes, an archaic definition” ((Ohhh…Ya think?)).  Ozone is the primary component in urban smog, summertime haze that plagued America’s urban areas for decades, and still does in LA and some other cities.  Ozone is a major regulatory focus for US and state EPAs.  The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) and the MidAtlantic Northeast Visibility Union (MANE–VU) will hold their spring meeting on June 11, in Wilmington, DE.  The purpose of the OTC is to address ground-level ozone formation, transport, and control within the Ozone Transport Region, which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, parts of Virginia and the District of Columbia.  Ozone policy is linked to every commercial and industrial activity in the modern world – from fuels to combustion to coatings to forest fires to transportation to manufacturing.  But still, not in the news too much anymore.
*  NOAA’s Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES) meets June 4 in Washington.  ACCRES was established in 2002, to advise the Secretary of Commerce “on matters relating to the U.S. commercial remote sensing space industry and on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s activities to carry out the responsibilities of the Department of Commerce set forth in the National and Commercial Space Programs Act of 2010.”  The agenda includes a report on regulatory affairs and a Nanoracks overview.  Nanoracks, of course, is the deployment system for launching CubeSats, miniaturized satellites used for space research which can be launched really by anyone who has the money – and the smarts, of course!
*  National Marine Fisheries announced the availability of the “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group Draft Restoration Plan 2 and Environmental Assessment: Fish, Sea Turtles, Marine Mammals, and Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities.”  The draft describes and proposes restoration project alternatives considered by the Open Ocean TIG (Trustee Implementation Group) to restore natural resources and ecological services injured or lost as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which occurred, of course, 9 years ago on April 20, 2010, discharging millions of barrels of oil for a period of 87 days.  The Deepwater Trustees include nine state and federal agencies.  NMFS wants public comments on the plan; comments are due by July 1.
Tom Ewing

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Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Last June 26 EPA posted a call for information asking interested parties to submit information on any “adverse public health, welfare, social, economic, or energy effects which may result from various strategies for attainment and maintenance of existing, new, or revised NAAQS” (National Ambient Air Quality Standards, e.g., ozone, particulates, NOx, etc.).  The comment period closed on October 24.  It’s an important inquiry because some people could cite significant adverse effects, ranging from unrealistic and imbalanced predictions about health benefits to increases in costs from regulatory demands to plant closures to sclerotic, slow and stilted permitting processes with no connection to market demands and business practices.  Of course, 40 years ago making steel and aluminum presented in-your-face environmental impacts.  Now, importing steel but exporting natural gas presents far different issues.  Critical questions, and opportunities, as the US economy heats up and rebuilds.
*  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is seeking nominations of 11 people for membership on the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Federal Advisory Committee which advises the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior on “strategies and priorities for the design, monitoring and adaptive management of effective MPAs in U.S. waters.”  The Committee’s purview includes the Great Lakes.  NOAA also announced a Committee meeting early in November, a meeting at which the Committee will “finalize and vote on three products for submission to the U.S. Departments of Commerce and the Interior.”  These “products” include (1) Sustaining MPA Benefits in a Changing Ocean; (2) Factors Influencing Resilience in MPAs (a Supplementary Report); and, (3) revisions and updates to the MPA Center’s existing Cultural Heritage Resources Tool Kit.
*   If you’re in Washington Friday, November 9 through Tuesday, November 13, 2018, you might want to stop by the free Fourth Wood Stove Competition to focus on automation and electricity generation.  It will be on the National Mall.  Twelve teams will compete for modest cash prizes but, of course, much greater glory.  Wood stoves are still used by 30 – 60% of homes in hundreds of rural and suburban counties.  Participants will compete in two events:  One is to automate the wood stove with 21st-century technology like sensors and WIFI-enabled controls that improve combustion efficiency, reduce air pollution and improve ease of use.   The second competition focuses on thermoelectric wood stoves that generate electricity to power lights, cell phones, and WIFI-enabled controls.  The event includes rigorous testing of the next generation of technology that can make wood stoves consistently cleaner, more efficient, easier to use and, like solar energy, a renewable source of electricity.  And, of course, still pretty nice to sit next to on a freezing day, soaking in that heat, finally getting the chance to read one of those tightly bound, covered stacks of paper; you know, what some people call “a book.”
Tom Ewing
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513-379-5526 voice/text