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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