|The Fair Climate Connection|
May 5, 2011
Welcome back (and happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!)
We use this newsletter as a means to communicate news, events, best practices and upcoming opportunities related to fair climate solutions.
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The goal of NWF's Fair Climate Project is to build and engage a national network of leaders representing underserved communities to advance equitable and just solutions to climate change. We work to forge connections between community leaders and decision makers to jumpstart local projects and national initiatives that promote green communities, clean energy, and green jobs.
Clean air, clean water and abundant wildlife sustain Americans from all walks of life. We all have a shared responsibility to protect these resources for our children's future. At NWF, we are working to bring together diverse voices to affect decisions that will create safe and healthy communities for all.
National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC)Public Meeting
· May 10-12
· Brooklyn, New York
Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference
· Opportunity to showcase
climate and energy programs
· Abstracts invited until May
· Conference date: November
29-December 2, 2011
· Washington, DC
2nd Symposium on Sustainable Environmental Practices at Colleges and Universities in the Southeast: Greening Your Campus and Curriculum
· June 6-7, 2011
· Spelman College in Atlanta,
· The value of collaborating between EPA and academic institutions in the Southeast
· Campus sustainability efforts at Minority Academic Institutions (MAIs)
· Local food access for urban and community gardens
· Marketing your expertise to the public
· Guidance on securing funding
· Shaping tomorrow's environmental leaders
National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials (NALEO) Annual Conference
· June 23 -25, 2011
· San Antonio, TX
Bridging the Gap: Expanding the Latino Agenda Into New Frontiers
· League of United Latin
American Citizens (LULAC)
National Convention & Expo
· June 27 - July 2, 2011
· Cincinnati, OH
America's Climate Choices
· Hosted by the Union for Concerned Scientists and accessible at any time
Climate Resilient Cities Program: Coastal Climate Adaptation in the Southeast
(Available any time)
· Presented by SACE (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy) and ICLEI's (Local Governments for Sustainability) Climate Adaptation Webinar series
· The Climate Resilient Cities Program was designed specifically to help communities be informed and engaged in climate change adaptation. It offers invaluable tools and free resources to help communities through the process of assessing vulnerabilities, setting goals for resilience, and developing adaptation strategies that integrate with existing hazard and comprehensive planning efforts.
This Mother's Day, Help Give Moms the Gift of Cleaner Air
by Tony Iallonardo, NWF
In the wake of the American Lung Association's report that 155 million American people live in polluted areas, this Mothers' Day we can help give young moms, future moms, babies and youngsters cleaner air and good health by supporting the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to cut toxic air pollution.
Clean Air Act Protects Health
The Clean Air Act protects our health by reducing harmful air pollution like ozone (smog) and particulates (soot) that affect many areas of the country. The Act addresses a more dangerous set of pollutants, toxic or hazardous air pollutants, such as benzene, found in gasoline; perchlorethlyene, emitted from some dry cleaners; and methylene chloride, used in paint strippers. The agency has identified 188 toxic air pollutants that threaten public health, including dioxin, asbestos and arsenic and metals like cadmium and mercury.
At certain concentrations and durations, people exposed to toxic pollutants are at increased risk of getting cancer or other serious health effects, like damage to the neurological, reproductive and respiratory systems. Most air toxics come from manmade sources like power plants, refineries and vehicles.
Tougher, New Limits
The Environmental Protection Agency this week announced proposed limits to reduce mercury, arsenic, dioxin and other toxic air pollutants spewing from the nation's coal- and oil-fired power plants. Twenty years in the making, these limits will reduce 91% of the mercury released from coal-burning. Coal- and oil-fired power plants are responsible for over 50% of U.S. mercury and acid gas pollution.
People are exposed to mercury by eating contaminated fish. Mercury released from smokestacks ends up in our waters where microorganisms change it into highly-toxic methylmercury that builds up in fish and works its way up the food chain to our dinner plates.
Mercury's Harm to Mothers and Children
Once ingested, mercury can harm neurological development in unborn babies, infants and children. Because of this risk, the FDA warns pregnant women to curtail consumption of certain fish and shellfish because high levels of methylmercury can adversely affect a baby's growing brain and nervous system. EPA has documented mercury's harmful impacts on children's cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language and fine motor and visual spatial skills.
The new EPA toxics reduction proposal will have many health benefits. EPA's proposal can -
- prevent as many as 17,000 premature deaths and 11,000 heart attacks a year;
- prevent 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and 11,000 cases of acute bronchitis each year; and
- avoid more than 12,000 emergency room and hospital visits and 850,000 missed work days due to illness.
Speak Out, Speak Up
This Mothers' Day, speak out and speak up for cleaner air for mothers and children.
Tell the Environmental Protection Agency that you support the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards that would limit mercury, arsenic, dioxin, and other toxic emissions from power plants.
Submit your prublic comment now.
Greenforce Initiative: Transitioning to a Green Economy
by Kevin Coyle, Vice-President of Education at NWF
One way to protect public health and wildlife from the adverse effects of climate change is to support a faster transition to a green economy through job and career training.
The Greenforce Initiative, a partnership between the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Jobs for the Future (JFF) is strengthening the capacity of community colleges to implement or refine quality pathways that lead to careers in the green sector.
Building on the combined experience of NWF and JFF in environmental sustainability and workforce development and education, respectively, this initiative is providing high-impact assistance to community colleges in targeted regions across the U.S.
The learning community that will emerge, will provide valuable tools in advancing green career pathways and sustainability work at area community colleges. Summit participants will come away with more and stronger connections to peers in the region, information about local green workforce trends and potential, and knowledge of resources, opportunities, models, and strategies to help every campus strengthen education and workforce development efforts in green sectors.
Participating campuses and organizations include:
- Bellevue Community College
- Cascadia Community College
- Clover Park Community College
- Highline Community College
- North Seattle Community College
- Seattle Central Community College
- Shoreline Community College
- South Seattle Community College
- Tacoma Community College
To learn more about the Greenforce Initiative and how you can attend a Greenforce Summit, visit the Greenforce Initiative website.
Viewpoint: Baby Care, Courtesy of the EPA
By Carol Capó, Editor of the Editorial Page at the Daily Press, as featured on their website
I never let my daughter have a tuna fish sandwich.
It's not that I'm a food purist. She had her share of peanut butter sandwiches larded with fat and ham laced with nitrate. But I drew the line at tuna fish.
That's because I was thinking ahead, to the possibility that one day there might be grandbabies. And when you think about babies, you don't want to have to think about neurological damage.
That's why I'm glad the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing rules that would slash the amount of mercury - and it is way too much - that comes out of coal-fired power plants. Because mercury exposure can mess with developing nervous systems in ways that interfere with thinking, learning and memory.
We've already tackled many of the major sources of mercury. The biggest single source that remains is the power plants that burn coal and spew the by-products, including mercury, into the air. It ends up deposited in rivers, streams and lakes and on the land, where it can run off into water.
Once mercury gets into the water, little fish take it in, and bigger fish take them in, and so on up the food chain until the fish near the top accumulate problematic amounts in their tissues.
When people eat them, the mercury accumulates in their bodies. High levels in the bodies of women can interfere with the neurological development of their babies, and in children can cause impairment. Hence no tuna in the lunchbox.
Not all tuna is equally problematic. It depends on how much you eat, of course. And the cheaper chunk light tuna is apparently not as likely to have mercury as albacore. But I figure, why take chances?
The EPA tried several years ago to make power plants clean mercury out of their emissions, but the effort petered out in courts and Bush-era policy. Currently, there's no limit on how much of this substance they spit out on us. Now, the EPA's trying again, with a rule that targets not only mercury but also emissions of other heavy metals, including arsenic, which cause cancer, and toxic gases, which cause heart and lung problems.
The industry, of course, will balk, and so will big electricity consumers. Installing equipment and changing processes to cut toxic emissions will cost $11 billion a year in 2016, the EPA estimates.
Break it down to what it will cost a typical household in a typical month, and it's not so much: $3 or $4, the EPA says. A lot of households spend that in a month on fast food meals for their kids - they'd be better off spending it on a healthier environment. It'll cost many families less than their latté habit. They'd be better off with cleaner air.
The EPA hasn't put a number on the savings from regulating mercury. But it did look at the benefits of its combined rule, cutting mercury and other toxic metals and gases, and figures it will prevent as many as 17,000 premature deaths a year. Surely that's worth doing.
Read more here.
Tell the EPA: Fight mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollution.
US Congress rejects efforts to repeal big tax breaks given to Big Oil
By Amanda Stone, Communications Intern at NWF
As energy prices soar, and large oil and gas companies announce billions in first quarter profits, efforts to repeal tax breaks given to Big Oil have become the hot topic on the Hill. After House Speaker John Boehner's gaffe admitting that Congress should consider stopping the subsidies that fuel our addiction to dirty oil, he then spent the week backpedaling and clarifying that he opposes efforts to increase taxes on oil companies.
Boehner is now rejecting leadership requests for a vote on the recommended legislation to rollback these subsidies. Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced in a town hall that he supports eliminating 'corporate welfare' and ending subsidies for the oil industry, although his 2012 budget proposal leaves intact $40 billion in subsidies that could instead be directed to clean energy development.
While the recent announcement of Osama bin Laden's death may have distracted both parties long enough to issue press statements on the strength of America, it also sparked questions about the impact on the world oil market, prices at the pump, and the deficit.
Its time we demand ethical leadership from our representatives in Congress and less bidding on behalf of Big Oil camapign contributions.
For a listing of many available grants, please check out this page on the Environmental Protection Agency website. The majority of grants listed there are open to non-profits, tribal oganizations, and institutions of high education.
DOC Green Economies - $6 million
Application Due: May 26, 2011
Eligible Applications: District organizations, federally recognized tribes, state or local governments, institutes of higher education, nonprofits, or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a state
The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, requests proposals for i6 Green. This multi-agency competition focuses on the nexus between economic development and environmental quality, spotlighting the best ideas that contribute to a vibrant, innovative, clean economy. Applicants must address a persistent problem or an unaddressed opportunity with a sense of urgency and demonstrate how an i6 Green Proof of Concept Center will avoid duplication of existing efforts, remove road blocks, and spark sustainable economic opportunities in the applicant's region. Letters of Intent are required, and are due 5/2/11, final proposals due 5/26/11. For more info, including regional contacts, go to: http://www.eda.gov/i6. Refer to Sol# I6GREENEDA031011.
DOC Economic Development Administration Public Works, Economic Adjustment, and Global Climate Change Mitigation Programs Opportunity - ~$25 million
Application Due: June 10, 2011
Eligible Applications: State and local governments, federally recognized tribes, nonprofits, private institutes of higher education
DOC's Economic Development Administration (EDA) helps distressed communities establish a foundation for durable regional economies throughout the United States. EDA generally allocates funds for the Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund (GCCMIF) to support projects that foster economic competitiveness while enhancing environmental quality. EDA anticipates that these funds will be used to advance the green economy by supporting projects that create jobs through and increase private capital investment in initiatives to limit the nation's dependence on fossil fuels, enhance energy efficiency, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and protect natural systems.
DOE Weatherization Formula Grants- Likely to be approximately $210 million
Application Due: Varies by program year
Eligible Applications: Agencies that administer the WAP program
DOE requests proposals for the Weatherization Assistance Program Formula Grant. The purpose of WAP is to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings owned or occupied by low-income persons, reduce residential expenditures, and improve health and safety. Lead applicants must be agencies that administer the WAP program. Proposals due date varies by prime applicant's program year. Grantees will be notified as soon as an update on FY 2011 funding becomes available. For planning purposes, until a final budget is passed and signed by the President, grantees should proceed with their respective plans using the same funding level as the DOE 2010 appropriated funds. For more info, contact Meghaan Hampton at Meghaan.Hampton@netl.doe.gov or go to: https://www.fedconnect.net/FedConnect/?doc=DE-FOA-0000446&agency=DOE.
Currently, the Fair Climate Project is working to create an online resource for funding updates. Stay tuned on this development!