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June 2010 Archives

June 1, 2010

New York City Panel on Climate Change Releases Report Concerning Adaptation

On May 27, 2010, the New York City Panel on Climate Change released a report recommending a series of steps and best practices for the city to safeguard its infrastructure and adapt to new conditions brought by climate change.

According to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the panel’s report, “Climate Change Adaptation in New York City: Building a Risk Management Response,” is one of the most comprehensive adaptation studies undertaken by a municipality. It outlines measures to help identify climate vulnerabilities, develop response strategies, and foster an effective “climate resilience” program. Modeled on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the New York City Panel on Climate Change was appointed in August 2008 as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC long-term sustainability project. It issued its first report, an assessment of climate risk to the city, in February 2010.

In its latest report, the panel found that, while climate change poses “real and significant risks,” the City has many tools in place to facilitate adaptation. It recommends planning that encourages flexible strategies that can be implemented over time as the risks increase and climate change is better understood. The recommendations include adopting a risk-based approach to building climate change resilience; soliciting advice from a body of experts on climate change issues; monitoring climate change and impacts over time; and including multiple layers of government and the private sector in adaptation planning. Other steps include reviewing standards and codes to determine their ability to withstand changes in the City’s environment; working with the insurance industry; developing strategies for near-term, mid-term, and long-term impacts; and focusing on early strategies that offer benefits in the near term or meet multiple goals. The report was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and has been published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

June 14, 2010

New York State Enacts Law Requiring Electronics Manufacturers to Accept E-Waste

On May 28, 2010, New York State Governor David A. Paterson signed legislation requiring electronic equipment manufacturers to accept electronic waste for reuse or recycling beginning in April 2011.

The Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act prohibits the disposal of electronic waste by 2015 and establishes a program that will allow manufacturers to bank, trade, and sell credits beginning in 2014 for any e-waste collected in excess of their annual obligations.

The e-waste bill was enacted as part of a larger measure to fund state parks, to increase fees on hazardous waste generators, and to reduce funding for the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. Under the law, manufacturers must accept one piece of electronic waste from consumers with the purchase of a similar piece of electronic equipment, effective April 1, 2011. Manufacturers are also required to take back their market share of e-waste, based on a formula developed by DEC. Manufacturers who fail to comply with the recycling requirements will be subject to a recycling surcharge. All electronics manufacturers must register with the state by Jan. 1, 2011, and pay a $5,000 registration fee.

The bill will phase out the disposal of e-waste in solid or hazardous waste facilities beginning in January 2012. By Jan. 1, 2015, no e-waste may be disposed of in a hazardous or solid waste facility.

New York State Pollution Prevention Institute to Conduct Workshop Regarding Environmentally Preferable Practices and Purchasing

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is conducting a workshop this month in Yonkers, NY. This workshop, which will take place on Tuesday, June 29, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Hampton Inn and Suites at 160 Corporate Blvd. in Yonkers, will present environmentally preferable practices and purchasing, targeting the legal services, banking, real estate, and insurance industries.

It is free to attend, however registration is required. Additional information regarding the Institute is available at www.nysp2i.rit.edu.

June 21, 2010

Report Finds that Greenhouse Gas Emissions of RGGI States Fell Sharply

On June 16, 2010, a report by the nonprofit group Environment Northeast of RGGI’s most recent auction in June 2010 showed that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the 10 RGGI states fell sharply in the steep economic recession and lowered the region’s GHG footprint far below the cap established under RGGI.

The repiort showed that, from 2008 to 2009, aggregate emissions from the 10 state members of RGGI fell 9 percent below levels reported for the previous year. Overall, the economic downturn lowered the states’ GHG to 34 percent below what is mandated by the RGGI cap, suggesting an enormous oversupply of allowances in the market. The huge overhang in authorized emission levels explains the low prices that RGGI allowances are netting at auction and the slack levels of trading in the secondary markets.

Prices for RGGI allowances for the current commitment period fell to $1.88 and are nearing the $1.86 price floor established under the cap-and-trade scheme. That is down from a clearing price of $3.51 per short ton netted at an auction held in March 2009. The report says that record low natural gas prices are behind the fall. According to the report, low natural gas prices helped push fuel oil generation down 38 percent lower in 2009 than the prior year, while coal generation decreased 24 percent. And new renewable energy capacity, primarily hydropower and wind, also seems to be gradually displacing coal as a dominant fuel source for New England and the Northeast’s urban corridor, the report concludes.

June 30, 2010

EPA Releases 2010 List of Impaired or Threatened Waters in New York State

On June 29, 2010, EPA announced that it had released the 2010 list of waters in New York State that are considered either impaired or threatened by pollutants.

An impaired water body is one that does not meet water quality standards even after pollution controls have been put in place. A threatened water body is one that is expected to be impaired within two years. The list helps to set priorities for addressing current water pollution threats.

The Clean Water Act requires states to assess the quality of their waters and to report their findings every two years to EPA. The list is compiled by DEC and is a valuable tool for reaching the Clean Water Act goal of “fishable and swimmable” waters for all of New York State. The list specifically includes impaired waters for which the development of a total maximum daily load (TMDL), a budget for water pollution, is necessary. TMDLs define the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards. They are developed by states and approved by EPA once the agency determines that the TMDL will allow the water body to achieve water quality standards.

New York’s 2010 list identifies 828 instances in which a pollutant is causing an impairment of a water body that keeps it from supporting its “designated use” for drinking water, swimming and recreation, fishing or other activities specified by the state. The most common pollutants causing impairment include pH (21% of impairments), PCBs (14%), dissolved oxygen (13%), phosphorus (13%) and pathogens (11.5%).

The list also notes the most common sources of water pollutants, including urban/stormwater runoff (255 impairments), contaminated sediment (222), air pollution, including acid rain (183), municipal sources (100), and combined sewer overflows from systems that capture both domestic sewage and stormwater (75). A pollutant may come from more than one source.

New additions on the 2010 list include waters in Long Island’s South Shore Estuary, shore areas of Lake Ontario, and water bodies contiguous with the lands of several Native American Nations, including the Onondaga, Tonawanda Seneca, and St. Regis Mohawk. EPA will work with state and local governments to ensure that impaired waters are cleaned up.

About June 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Envirosphere in June 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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