Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Massachusetts || Smart Growth Projects Receive $1.5 Millio

Five projects that support dense urban development oriented around mass transit have been chosen by the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance to receive $1.5 million in aid. The projects include two in Boston, and one each in Lawrence, Somerville, and Winchester.

Article courtesy of Smart Growth

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Los Alamos evacuation ordered because of wildfire

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) -- Authorities ordered Los Alamos evacuated Monday as a fast-growing and unpredictable wildfire bore down on the northern New Mexico town and its sprawling nuclear laboratory.

The blaze that began Sunday already had destroyed a number of homes south of the town, which is home to some 12,000 residents. It also forced closure of the nation's pre-eminent nuclear lab while stirring memories of a devastating blaze more than a decade ago that destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings in the area.

Read more:

Article courtesy of by Associated Press

Cooking oil to fuel KLM flights

AMSTERDAM — Dutch airline KLM plans to use recycled cooking oil as biofuel to power flights to and from France in a move aimed at cutting carbon emissions.

Starting in September, KLM will begin more than 200 flights between Paris and Amsterdam using the biofuel. KLM managing director Camiel Eurlings said the airline does not have to make any changes to its aircraft engines to use the new biofuel.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by The Associated Press



T rolls out 'quiet cars' on all commuter lines

After a successful test run of a proposed “quiet car’’ program earlier this year, the MBTA and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. began implementing quiet zones on all 13 commuter rail lines yesterday.

The quiet cars, where passengers are asked to refrain from cellphone use or conversations above a whisper, are located nearest the locomotive. The mandatory quiet will be imposed during peak commuting hours, from 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Martine Powers



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bill to reveal what chemicals used in "fracking" process

A bill forcing oil and gas companies to reveal what chemicals they use when using hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to extract natural gas in California passed the California Senate Natural Resources Committee earlier this month and is set to go before the Environmental Quality Committee next week.

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting rock formations with high-pressure water, sand and a combination of chemicals, to release tightly-packed hydrocarbons. It is used in the Monterey Shale Formation, which extends from Northern California to the Los Angeles area, including Kern, Ventura, Orange and Santa Barbara counties; it is also used in the Rocky Mountain West, Midwest, East Coast, Texas and Louisiana.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Greenspace Posted by Ashlie Rodriguez

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

AAA to launch fast-charging trucks for stranded electric vehicles, Edmunds says

To combat range anxiety among electric vehicle drivers, AAA plans to launch trucks equipped with fast charger units to rescue battery-powered cars in need of rejuicing.

The motorist group, which provides emergency services to drivers around the country, will unveil the first system at a North Carolina conference in July, according to the AutoObserver blog at

Later this summer, the fleet of trucks will start rolling out in selected cities.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

High court says emissions case a matter for EPA

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court yesterday unanimously rejected a lawsuit that had sought to force major electric utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions without waiting for federal regulators to act.

The suit was brought by six states, New York City, and several land trusts. Its central contention was that carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants belonging to four private companies and the Tennessee Valley Authority amounted to a public nuisance. The suit asked a federal court in New York to order the defendants to reduce their emissions.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Adam Liptak New York Times

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Study reveals long-term rise in sea level

WASHINGTON — Sea level has been rising significantly over the past century of global warming, according to a study that offers the most detailed look yet at the changes in ocean levels during the last 2,100 years.

The researchers found that since the late 19th century — as the world became industrialized — sea level has risen more than 2 millimeters per year, on average. That’s a bit less than one-tenth of an inch, but it adds up over time

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Randolph E. Schmid/Associated Press

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rocky mountain flowers dwindle, as climate warms

New research finds that the brilliant flowers that bloom in Rocky Mountain meadows during midsummer are dwindling, and likely to fade even more as climate change warms the high country.

Wildflower season once extended summer-long in the Rockies, but the five researchers found that the number of flowers had started to drop significantly during midsummer. There are a variety of reasons, including a warmer climate.

The implications are worrisome, not just for those who enjoy the scenic splashes of color. Pollinators such as bees and other animals such as humming birds depend on a healthy flower system. Their numbers could also drop should temperatures continue to rise and flower populations fall.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times-Greenspace Posted by Nicholas Riccardi

When breakthroughs follow failure

Letting scientists fail may be key to motivating the kind of exploration that ultimately leads to big breakthroughs and innovation, according to new research by MIT economists.

Each year, the federal government, nonprofit organizations, and companies funnel billions of dollars into scientific and biomedical research, but the new findings suggest that something as subtle as how grants are structured may influence the type of scientific output: incremental progress or a transformative new idea.

Biologists who were given more time and latitude in their research — as well as the freedom to fail — before they were evaluated produced more hit papers and more duds, according to the new study, to be published in the RAND Journal of Economics

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Carolyn Y. Johnson/Globe Staff

Taking windmill blades to the edge

$30m Charlestown test center puts gear for a growing industry through the paces

Max Eliot stopped just inside the door at the state’s new Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, eyes wide at the nearly 160-foot fiberglass blade bolted to a far wall, left hand tight around a set of model wind blades he made for his sixth-grade graduation project.

Overhead, a large blade from Clipper Windpower of California undulated as workers in a control room used remote controls to replicate the stress a working turbine would endure in its lifetime. It’s here that turbine manufacturers like Clipper, or blade makers like TPI Composites in Fall River, send the blades they have designed to be checked for efficiency, strength, anddurability.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Erin Ailworth/Globe Staff

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The locavore's dilemma

Urban farms do more harm than good to the environment

All That is grassy is not green. There are many good reasons to like local food, but any large-scale metropolitan farming will do more harm than good to te environment. Devoting scarce metropolican land to agriculture means lower denisty levels, longer drives, and carbon emission increases which easily offset the modest greenhouse gas reductions associated with less shipping.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe -Green Blog by Edward L. Glaeser

T announces real-time commuter rail app

The first user-friendly app launched today to make updated MBTA information on train departures and arrivals available to users, officials said.
Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pesticide-laden produce: Apples and celery top the list

They may be red and shiny, but apples are the most pesticide-laden fruit, according to the "2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce" released Monday by the Washington-based Environmental Working Group. Of  700 apple samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 98% contained pesticides, moving the fruit to the top of the group’s “dirty dozen” list, it said.

The guide was the seventh annual report by the nonprofit organization, which compares pesticide loads on 53 fruits and vegetables. It lists the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest levels, and also publishes a “clean 15” list of the least affected produce.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Greenspace





Joplin toll rises to 151; some suffer from fungus

JOPLIN, Mo.—The death toll from the tornado that destroyed much of Joplin has risen to 151, and three of the latest victims suffered from a rare fungal infection that can occur when dirt becomes embedded under the skin, authorities said Friday.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Associated Press from Springfield News-Leader,


Hess withdraws controversial LNG Fall River proposal

The Hess LNG energy company has withdrawn a controversial proposal to locate a liquefied natural gas plant in Fall River, welcome news for residents and political leaders who have spent almost a decade trying to prevent the terminal from being built in the crowded Southeastern Massachusetts city.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog -posted by Beth Daley

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mattel, under siege, promises new rain forest packaging policy

Greenpeace this week released a report, "Toying with Extinction," including laboratory analyses of packaging for Barbie dolls and other toys containing fiber from Indonesian rain forests. The group also unveiled documents tracing the supply chain from Mattel to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), a Singapore company that has clear-cut vast swaths of the archipelago’s wildlife-rich forests Read more:
Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times/ Greenspace

Friday, June 10, 2011

Group OK's biofuel blend for airlines


LONDON — Airlines have won the backing of a US-based technical standards group to power their planes with a blend of traditional fuel and biofuel from inedible plants, the Air Transport Association said yesterday.

Fuel processed from organic waste or nonfood materials, such as algae or wood chips, may comprise up to 50 percent of the total fuel burned to power passenger flights, ATA spokesman Steve Lott and a Boeing official told Bloomberg. Read more:

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe –Green Blog by By Bloomberg News



Ford to build hybrid-only minivan

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich.—Ford Motor Co. will sell a hybrid-only minivan in the U.S. next year in a bid to challenge Toyota's hybrid dominance.

The five-passenger van will come in two versions: A gas-electric hybrid, like Toyota's Prius, that gets more than 41 miles per gallon, and a plug-in hybrid, like the Chevrolet Volt, which will run on electric power but have a backup gas engine that kicks in when the power runs low. Read more:

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe Green Blog by Dee-Ann Durbin AP Auto Writer



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Markey says Seabrook nuclear plant asking too soon for license extension

Congressman Edward J. Markey wants the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny Seabrook Station – and other nuclear power plants - license extensions if they are asked for too early in the plant’s operating life.

In a letter sent to NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko this morning, Markey noted that inspections at Seabrook uncovered structural weaknesses in concrete surrounding a safety-related tunnel only two decades into the plant’s 40-year license. Seabrook applied for relicensing last year and is hoping to receive approval soon to operate another two decades once its license expires in 2030.  Read more:

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe -Green Blog posted by Beth Daley -Globe Staff


Japan cites 'lessons' of nuclear accident

TOKYO — Japan admitted yesterday that it was unprepared for a severe nuclear accident like the tsunami-caused Fukushima disaster, and said damage to the reactors and radiation leakage were worse than it previously thought.

In a report being submitted to the UN nuclear agency, the government also acknowledged reactor design flaws and a need for greater independence for the country’s nuclear regulators. Read more:

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe -Green Blog by Associated Press

Monday, June 6, 2011

Diving into the car pool

Workplace perks, high gas prices drive hike in ride sharing

While many of his co-workers walk as far as a half-mile from parking lot to office, Manish Puri pulls his Honda Accord into a spot about 50 yards from his desk in the IT department at Boston College. The reason for this rock-star treatment is sitting in the passenger seat: a colleague who carpools with him from Malden five days a week.

Puri is among the growing number of local drivers who have taken up carpooling. But, as his experience shows, it’s more than just gas prices getting commuters out of single-occupancy vehicles. In the 21st-century version of ride sharing — driven by climate concerns as well as gas prices — government programs and environmentally conscious employers are providing extra incentives, while Internet technology makes it easier than ever to match riders with drivers. Read more:
Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by Kathleen Pierce/ Globe Correspondent

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Massachusetts || Ordinance May Restrict Banks from Street Levels of Retail Areas

Aldermen and planners in the city of Newton have been reviewing the findings of a local task force, which called for special retail overlay districts to promote smart growth. "One problem we will address," said Newton Alderman Ted Hess-Mahan, "is banks on the first floor in high-traffic areas. Banks can afford to pay higher rents, which can drive out the kind of mom-and-pop businesses we want to foster. And banks close at five, meaning they're not really contributing to the neighborhood after hours."

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online Newsletter June 2011