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In the News : Hypoxia Training with the Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Tue, Aug 01, 2017 @ 11:24 AM

Several Air Force bases in the United States have recently unveiled their new Reduced Oxygen Breathing Devices (ROBD). The ROBD simulates altitude exposure and can be utilized for both research and training purposes. The U. S. Armed Forces use the ROBD 2 to train aircrew to recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoxia and to perform the appropriate emergency procedures. Congratulations to these sites on their new facilities!

Scott Air Force Base

"The ROBD will be used by Airmen assigned to 375th Air Mobility Wing, 932nd Airlift Wing, and 126th Air Refueling Wing who routinely fly at altitudes requiring supplemental oxygen."

(375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs; U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Daniel Garcia)

 

Tags: USA Emissions, EPA, Air Pollution, Emission Standards

This Week in the News : Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 @ 08:31 AM

This week, the US House of Representative's Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee discussed H.R. 806, known as the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017. HR 806 was introduced on February 1, 2017 by Pete Olson, the Representative for Texas's 22nd congressional district and cosponsored by Mr. Flores, Mr. Latta, Mr. Bishop of Georgia, Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Cuellar, Mr. Scalise, Mr. Costa, Mr. Cramer, Mr. Long, Mr. Jenkins of West Virginia, Mr. Burgess, Mr. Renacci, Mr. Hensarling, Mr. McKinley, Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Bucshon, Mr. Johnson of Ohio, Mr. Weber of Texas, and Mr. Babin. CT AT.jpg

According to the bill, the goal is "to facilitate efficient State implementation of ground-level ozone standards, and for other purposes." One of the key changes is in the timeline for review the guidelines for all criteria air pollutants of the national ambient air quality standards. Currently, the standard must be reviewed every 5 years. This bill aims to change this to every 10 years. Another change which reflects the overall theme heard from EPA Administroator Pruitt is within the "plan submissions and requirements for ozone non attainment areas" section. The phrase "and economic feasibility" is proposed to be added. This parallel's the new administration's statements that they want to remove the burden on businesses to meet regulation standards.

The Senate is considering a bill in parallel that states the same changes. This is S. 263: Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, introduced by ShelleyMr. Flake, Mr. Manchin, Mrs. Fischer, Mr. Cornyn, and Mr. Inhofe. Also introduced on February 1, the bill was considered by Clean Air and Nuclear Safety on May 23rd.

To learn more about the health effects of ozone, check out the US EPA's ozone page or the Health Effects of Ozone published by the European Environment Agency. To follow these bills, you can request email alerts for either HR 806 or S263.

 

Tags: USA Emissions, EPA, Air Pollution, Emission Standards

This Week in the News : US EPA Budget Hearings

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 @ 09:14 AM

This week, the US House of Representative's Appropriations Subcommittee held hearings to discuss President Trump’s 2018 budget request for the EPA. Newly appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruit testified before the subcommittee regarding the proposed 30% cut to the EPA budget and the impact this might have both in terms of funding for various projects as well as the workforce reduction. The hearing lasted about two hours, with Representatives from both parties asking Administrator Pruitt questions about the cut. The main focus was the impact such cuts would have on the local and regional air, water and land pollution protection/cleanup programs that exist within their districts.

What are your thoughts?

Tags: USA Emissions, EPA, Air Pollution, Emission Standards

US EPA Released Sixth Year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program Data

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Tue, Oct 04, 2016 @ 01:10 PM


Today, the US EPA released the 2015 data under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. The report details the sixth year of greenhouse gas pollution trends from large industrial sources.

Overall, reported emissions decreased by almost 5% percent from 2014, and 8.2 percent from 2011.  The more than 8,000 large sector facilities contribute about half of the total Greenhouse Gas emissions annually.

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  • Power plants accounted for approximately 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, which accounts for 30 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in 2015. This is a declined of 6.2 percent as compared to 2014, and 11.3 percent since 2011. These ~1,500 plants are the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
     
  • Second to power plants, petroleum and natural gas systems reported 231 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, down 1.6 percent from than 2014. Overall, however, this sector is actually up over 4% from the 2011 figures.
     
  • Most other sectors reported emissions reductions. The most significant declines were reported by the iron and steel sector and the production of fluorinated chemicals.  

The data can be used by businesses and communities to find opportunies to reduce pollution and wasted energy and to enjoy cost savings. The report can also be used to aid in the development of climate policies

To learn more, check out the GHG Emmissions page. You can also utilize the EPA's FLIGHT ( Facility Level Information on GreenHouse gases Tool), to "quickly and easily filter GHG data in a variety of ways, including by facility, industry, location, or gas." 


 

Tags: EPA, Air Pollution, air quality

Air Quality and the Paris Agreement

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Sep 09, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

800px-Beijing_smog_comparison_August_2005-resized-600.png

As we end the summer, this year is expected to be the hottest on record for the second year in a row. Climate change is on the forefront of President Obama's mind in his final months in office. Last week, he delivered paperwork commiting the US to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gas pollution to about a quarter below the levels from 2005 by 2025. Likewise, China , the leading producer of greenhouse gas, has committed to a halt in emissions by 2030. A large part of this decrease has been attributed to the reduction in coal consumption.

The Paris agreement now has been signed by 55 countries, responsible for over 55% of the global pollution, and it is expected to take effect this November. It remains to be determined how the agreement will be implemented. Clinton is likely to follow the lead of President Obama. It is less likely that Trump would continue on this path since he has voiced his opinion that global warming is not real.

Once it takes effect, countries are expected to self-regulate. This would include reporting levels as well as actions and activities that are being conducted to meet the agreed upon levels. While the UN is unable to enforce commitment to the agreement, countries that fail to live up to the standards could leave themselves open to embargoes or other trade related sanctions. In the end, following through on the agreement is entirely voluntary.

With the Paris agreement in the news, air quality monitoring will continue to be a key issue going forward.

 

To Learn More About the Environics Ambient Monitor Calibration Systems, click here.

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Tags: USA Emissions, EPA, Air Pollution, ambient air calibrator, Emission Standards, European Union Emissions

EPA and CARB Crack Down on Clean Air Violation by Volkswagen

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 @ 03:02 PM

The US EPA announced on Monday that a notice of violation, or NOV, of the Clean Air Act was issued to Volkswagen. The EPA states that the model years 2009-2015 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles (4-cylinder diesels) included software that allowed the cars to evade some emissions standards.

epa_logo-resized-600Cynthia Giles, the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, stated, “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.”

The NOV explains that these vehicles had software that turns on "full emissions control" only during automotive emissions testing and not during everyday use. This allowed the cars to pass the test but to emit NOx (nitrogen oxides) at up to 40 times the permitted allowance. The EPA defines this as a "defeat device" as it was designed specifically to evade testing.

This follows a 1.1 million dollar fine that Volkswagen paid back in 2005 when they failed to report the defect oxygen sensor that affected 199-2001 vehicles. These vehicles produced "thousands of tons of harmful pollutants including nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHC) and carbon monoxide (CO). NMHC are key reactants in the production of ozone, a major contributor to cancer-causing smog." (Volkswagen of America, Inc., Agrees to Pay More Than $1 Million for Clean Air Act Violation, Release Date: 06/15/2005)

To read the full NOV, check out the full post on the EPA site.

Tags: EPA

In the News - US EPA Presents Clean Power Plan

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 @ 12:09 PM

in the newsOn June 2, following an announcement by President Obama, the US EPA presented the Clean Power Plan, "a commonsense plan to cut carbon pollution from power plant" with the stated goal of maintaining "an affordable, reliable energy system" while reducing pollutants that are harmful to people as well as the environment."

Throughout the US, power plant emissions account for roughly one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, there are no national guidelines to limit carbon pollution levels, though the levels of other toxins, including arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particles, are restricted.  In the US, CO2 emissions account for 82% of all green house gas emisions, according to data reported by the EPA from 1990-2012.

us epaAlthough the mandate is set at the federal level, the guidelines give states the ability to establish their own internal goals and to design a program based on their specific needs and capabilities.  These plans must be submitted to the EPA by June 2016. Each state's plan must have enforceable limits, and must include how the levels will be reported and monitored.  There must also be a method for corrective actions for those who fall short. The EPA will require biannual reporting of the state's progress.

Once the plan is accepted, states have to reach interim goals by 2020 and have until 2030 to meet the final goal of a 30% decrease in carbon emissions from the levels reported in 2005. To put that in perspective, that is equal to the emissions from powering 65 million homes, roughly half of the homes in America.

In addition to the 30% reduction in carbon emissions, the Clean Power Plan will also result in the reduction of particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent.  Consumers should also benefit from a roughly 8 percent decrease in their electric bills due to increased energy efficiency and reduced demand in the electricity system.

 

 

To read the plan or to learn more, visit the US EPA's Clean Power Plan sitePublic Hearings are to be held during the last week of July. 

Share your thoughts on the new plan below.

Tags: USA Emissions, EPA, Air Pollution, air quality, Emission Standards

News - EPA releases a series of PSAs on Climate Change

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Mon, Sep 16, 2013 @ 10:56 AM

The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States (US EPA) recently released a series of 30 sec US EPA ambient and 1 minute public service videos on climate change. The videos discuss small changes people can make to their daily lives that have an impact on emissions. Citizens are encouraged to reduce the amount of energy they use to both cut their own utility costs and protect their health.  The cumultive effect of these small changes to the economy and environment are stressed. The series was developed in support of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, released in June.  In his plan, the President stressed the importance of reducing carbon pollution while simultaneously prepareing for the impacts of changes to the climate.

What do you think?  Do you give thought to how your actions may impact the climate?  What things do you do at work and home to minimize your carbon "footprint."

You can watch the videos here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBhfkkujnoRAgTFtLreccWDfpxBIspCGv

Tags: USA Emissions, ozone, EPA, Air Pollution, air quality, Ambient Air calibration, Emission Standards

EPA Extends Comment Period for new Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 @ 09:49 AM

epaLast week, the EPA announced an extension of the public comment period for "Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program: Proposed Amendments and Confidentiality Determinations for Subpart I."  The initial deadline for comment  was December 17, 2012 and has been extended to January 16, 2013.  In their announcement, the EPA stated that the reason for the extended comment period is the inclusion of two additional pieces of information.  First, the summarization of a conference call the EPA held with the Semiconductor Industry Association in late October.  The second is the EPA response to questions raised during that call about the calculation of Tier 2A emissions factors.

Environics PhotoVoltaic Project PanelIn brief, the amendment proposes changes to some of the calculation methods being utilized, provides some clarification of terms/definitions and adjusts the requirements for reporting.  The amendments affect all manufacturers of electronics including semiconductors, LEDs, MEMS, LCDs and photovoltaic cells.  The full proposal can be viewed here, and you can add your comments to the public record.

The EPA also has a fact sheet, which summarizes the proposal and can be viewed on the EPA site.

Tags: EPA, State of the Air, Air Pollution, air quality, Ambient Air calibration, ambient air calibrator, Emission Standards

American Lung Association Releases "State of the Air" App

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 @ 10:40 AM

Here in CT, we are entering the months where unhealthy air quality emerges with the heat levels this summer.  The American Lung Association has released an new advertising campaign featuring TV, online and billboard ads announcing the new State of the Air® smartphone application.  The app, available for iPhone and Android, allows users to view EPA collected data on the air quality at their current location or at any other location of choice.  Read this post to learn more about this data.  The app is being praises as a user-friendly resource for people for low air quality affects most profoundly, those living with lung disease (such as asthma, people with heart disease or diabetes and the elderly and children.

ALA of the Northeast President and CEO, Jeff Seyler, was quoted to say, “We are excited to be able to provide this innovative tool so those with lung disease, and without, can effectively monitor their local air quality and limit their exposure to dangerous levels of pollution.”

The State of the Air app provides both the current and next-day air quality forecasts.  Users can set alerts to notify them when the local air quality fails to a code orange, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups.  Along with the quality information, the app provides tips on what activities are to be avoided depending on the current conditions.State of the Air ALA

The television and online messages are aimed at young people.  They feature Alvin Grimes, an air collector, who collects air samples in glass jars.  The promos tie into the ALA tagline "What are your lungs collecting?"  "Alvin" has his own, twitter account and facebook page where he shares tips and information on air and air pollution.  The TV spots can be viewed on his youtube page (one example below).


To learn more about Ozone and how it is generated at ground level, check out this story and its follow-up piece!

Image and Video - courtesy of the American Lung Association

Tags: USA Emissions, Environics Inc, ozone, EPA, State of the Air, Air Pollution, air quality