New National air Quality Standards Protect American Families
By Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Last December, EPA finalized the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). These standards, required by the Clean Air Act, are the first national standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollution such as arsenic, acid gases, nickel, selenium, and cyanide. These long overdue standards will help make our children and our communities healthier.
- MATS will eliminate 20 tons of mercury emissions and hundreds of thousands of tons of acid gas and toxic pollutants each year.
- The control equipment that reduces these toxic emissions also will reduce fine particle pollution.
- As a result, MATS will help protect children and adults from the effects of exposure to toxic air pollutants, save thousands of lives, and prevent more than 100,000 heart and asthma attacks each year.
- EPA projects that the annual public health benefits from MATS are $37 to $90 billion, far outweighing the annual projected costs of $9.6 billion.
Technologically, we know how to achieve these reductions. MATS relies on widely available, proven pollution controls that are already in use at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants.
It's Spring in Washington!
Why Not Bike to Work?
By Julie Simon, Office of Energy Policy and Innovation, FERC
If I can do it, you can do it! I am a 50-something, overweight, federal bureaucrat with three grown children. Almost all year round I ride my bike to work at least a few times a week. Why? Last week there was a group of six deer, including a nursing fawn that barely moved as I rode through Rock Creek Park. Monday there were two single shells gliding across the Potomac as I cycled into Georgetown. A few days ago I stopped for a Presidential motorcade at 17th and Penn after sailing past the White House on my way home. Riding to work is a fabulous way to start the day and a great way to decompress at the end of the day. If I can do it, you can do it!
Small and Community-based Wind Power is
Ready for Prime Time
By Laura Taylor, Owner, Gaia Group, a sustainability communications firm, and a member of the Current staff
Last week representatives from dozens of wind companies stormed the Hill with visits to over 50 offices during Distributed Wind 2012, the industry’s annual conference. Headlining the event were Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) who addressed the importance of renewable energy, small and community wind and pressing issues such as the Production and Investment Tax Credits.
Distributed wind is the use of wind turbines at homes, farms, businesses and public facilities to offset all or a portion of on-site energy consumption. This year’s conference was focused on building awareness of these alternative resources among members of the Congressional leadership in a year critical to the Investment Tax Credit and Production Tax Credits. According to AWEA, America’s small wind industry experienced "substantial growth” in the overall wind market, with $139 million in sales during 2010 and continual expansion expected in the years to come. The industry is relying on Congressional leadership to ensure growth continues.
Woman of the Year Gala Honors
Dr. Jane Lubchenco and Clinton Vince
By Pat McMurray, Communications Consultant, and
Jayne Brady, Public Relations Consultant; both are members of the WCEE Current staff
Dr. Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administrator, was recognized as WCEE Woman of the Year, on March 8, at the Capital Hilton.
Nominated by President Obama in December 2008 to be part of his "Science Team," Lubchenco is a marine ecologist and environmental scientist by training, with expertise in oceans, climate change, and the effect of environmental changes on human well-being.
International Finance Corporation
By Maureen Shields Lorenzetti, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Climate Business Group
My name is Maureen Shields Lorenzetti and I am the Senior Communications officer at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Climate Business Group. I promote and market the new Climate Business practice and its related activities within IFC and the World Bank Group and among external stakeholders. This includes planning, developing, and implementing effective communications strategies for all the climate-related work spanning IFC’s investment and advisory businesses.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion.
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