The Environmental Protection Agency has been kind enough to begin sending out regular e-mail updates with press releases about actions difference agencies in the administration are doing to move us forward on sustainability. Below are a few highlights from the e-mail.
Climate Change Adaptation Task Force
On October 14, 2010, the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, co-chaired by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released its interagency report outlining recommendations to President Obama for how Federal Agency policies and programs can better prepare the United States to respond to the impacts of climate change. The report recommends that the Federal Government implement actions to expand and strengthen the Nation’s capacity to better understand, prepare for, and respond to climate change. These recommended actions include:
- Make adaptation a standard part of Agency planning to ensure that resources are invested wisely and services and operations remain effective in a changing climate.
- Ensure scientific information about the impacts of climate change is easily accessible so public and private sector decision-makers can build adaptive capacity into their plans and activities.
- Align Federal efforts to respond to climate impacts that cut across jurisdictions and missions, such as those that threaten water resources, public health, oceans and coasts, and communities.
- Develop a U.S. strategy to support international adaptation that leverages resources across the Federal Governmentto help developing countries reduce their vulnerability to climate change through programs that are consistent with the core principles and objectives of the President’s new Global Development Policy.
- Build strong partnerships to support local, state, and tribal decision makers in improving management of places and infrastructure most likely to be affected by climate change.
The Task Force’s work has been guided by a strategic vision of a resilient, healthy, and prosperous Nation in the face of a changing climate. To achieve this vision, the Task Force identified a set of guiding principles that public and private decision-makers should consider in designing and implementing adaptation strategies. They include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Adopt Integrated Approaches: Adaptation should be incorporated into core policies, planning, practices, and programs whenever possible.
- Prioritize the Most Vulnerable: Adaptation strategies should help people, places, and infrastructure that are most vulnerable to climate impacts and be designed and implemented with meaningful involvement from all parts of society.
- Use Best-Available Science: Adaptation should be grounded in the best-available scientific understanding of climate change risks, impacts, and vulnerabilities.
- Apply Risk-Management Methods and Tools: Adaptation planning should incorporate risk-management methods and tools to help identify, assess, and prioritize options to reduce vulnerability to potential environmental, social, and economic implications of climate change.
- Apply Ecosystem-based Approaches: Adaptation should, where appropriate, take into account strategies to increase ecosystem resilience and protect critical ecosystem services on which humans depend, to reduce vulnerability of human and natural systems to climate change.
The Task Force will continue to meet over the next year as an interagency forum for discussing the Federal Government’s adaptation approach and to support and monitor the implementation of recommended actions in the Progress Report. It will prepare another report in October 2011 that documents progress toward implementing its recommendations and provides additional recommendations for refining the Federal approach to adaptation, as appropriate.
Department of Energy Offers Conditional Commitment for a Loan Guarantee to Support World’s Largest Wind Project
Recovery Act-Supported Loan Will Create Jobs and Avoid Over 1.2 Million Tons of Carbon Pollution Annually
Washington – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced a conditional commitment to provide a partial guarantee for a $1.3 billion loan in support of the world’s largest wind farm to date. The loan will finance the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project, an 845 megawatt wind-powered electrical generating facility in eastern Oregon sponsored by Caithness Energy LLC and General Electric (GE) Energy Financial Services.
“Thanks to the Recovery Act, we are creating the clean energy jobs of the future while positioning the U.S. as a world leader in the production of renewable energy,” said Secretary Chu. “This project is part of the Administration’s commitment to doubling our renewable energy generation by 2012 while putting Americans to work in communities across the country.”
The Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project consists of 338 wind turbines supplied by GE. The project will use GE’s 2.5xl turbines, which are designed to provide high efficiency and increased reliability, maintainability and grid integration. The wind farm is the first in North America to deploy these turbines, which have been used in Europe and Asia. Once completed, the project will sell 100 percent of the power generated to Southern California Edison through 20-year fixed price power purchase agreements. The wind facility will avoid 1,215,991 tons of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 212,141 passenger vehicles. According to Caithness, the project will directly create 400 construction jobs, followed by 35 permanent jobs on site.
The Caithness Shepherds Flat project is the largest project to date to receive an offer of a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP), a Department of Energy program supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In a FIPP financing, the Department of Energy guarantees up to 80 percent of a loan provided to a renewable energy project by qualified financial institutions. The $1.3 billion loan is expected to be funded by a group of institutional investors and commercial banks led by Citi, as lender-applicant and joint lead arranger, and three other joint lead arrangers, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., RBS Securities and WestLB Securities Inc.
For more information, please visit http://www.lgprogram.energy.gov.
EPA Awards $1.5 Million in Environmental Education Grants
WASHINGTON – In an effort to improve environmental literacy and stewardship across the country, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to 14 organizations in 11 states and the District of Columbia. The organizations will use the money to fund environmental education efforts, which work to inform the public of environmental issues and help them make educated choices on actions they can take to reduce negative environmental impacts.
“Every American community relies on clean air, water and land for their environmental and economic health. We want to help expand awareness on how they can get involved in environmental protection,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. ”These grants will help communities across the country show how a clean environment starts at home.”
The grants help EPA expand the conversation on environmentalism by increasing the number of underserved audiences that participate in the agency’s programs and activities. This year, some of the grant money went toward helping tribal communities set up leadership programs, letting students step outside the classroom in order to learn about the environment, and working to help students understand the importance of water quality, among many other projects. Highlights from this year’s recipients include:
- The Native Wellness Institute of Portland, Ore. received $102,000 to implement the “Native Youth Environment Warriors” project, which will provide environmental education and leadership training and support to native youth and their community mentors to design and implement environmental projects in their tribal communities.
- The Island Institute of Rockland, Maine received nearly $124,000 for the “Energy for Maine” project, which includes community discussions and analysis of renewable energy sources. The project is aiming to increase home and school energy efficiency through student/teacher, and family-generated solutions for reducing energy consumption.
The annual awards are given to nonprofit organizations, government agencies, community groups, schools and universities. The recipients of the 2010 competition represent a mix of organizations addressing a variety of environmental issues from climate change to water quality, and dealing with local, regional, or national issues.
EPA awards the funds under the 1990 National Environmental Education Act, which gives the agency the authority to support and create environmental education programs nationwide.
More information about EPA’s environmental education grants recipients: http://www.epa.gov/education/grants.html
EPA Awards $1.9 Million in Environmental Justice Grants
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $1.9 million in environmental justice grants to 76 non-profit organizations and local governments working on environmental justice issues nationwide. The grants are designed to help communities understand and address environmental challenges and create self-sustaining, community-based partnerships focused on improving human health and the environment at the local level. The grant program supports Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priority to expand the conversation on environmentalism and work for environmental justice.
“Through our efforts to support local environmental justice projects, we are advancing EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment in communities overburdened by pollution,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Providing training to develop a skilled green workforce will help communities become more resilient in the face of economic and environmental changes and help build healthy and sustainable communities.”
The principles of environmental justice uphold the idea that all communities overburdened by pollution – particularly minority, low income and indigenous communities – deserve the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, equal access to the decision-making process and a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
In addition to the traditional criteria, EPA encouraged applications focused on addressing the disproportionate impacts of climate change in communities by emphasizing climate equity, energy efficiency, renewable energy, local green economy, and green jobs capacity building. Grantee projects include trainings for local residents to increase recycling, avoiding heat stroke, improving indoor air quality, reducing carbon emissions through weatherization, and green jobs training programs.
Since 1994, the Environmental Justice Small Grants program has provided more than $21 million in funding to community-based nonprofit organizations and local governments working to address environmental justice issues in more than 1,200 communities. The $1.9 million in grant funding announced today is the largest amount of total funding in one year for environmental justice grants in more than a decade. The grant awards represent EPA’s commitment to promoting community-based actions to address environmental justice issues.
More information on the Environmental Justice Small Grants program and a list of grantees: