Information of Interest, Oct 2011
1. Wireless Safety Summit in Washington, D.C., October 5 and 6, 2011
(www.centerforsaferwireless.org) – The Center for Safer Wireless, a VA-based EMF advocacy group, is hosting a Wireless Safety Summit in Washington, D.C. at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church from 8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 5 and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST on Oct 6. The program is open to the public, and attendees are expected to convene in Washington, D.C., from throughout the United States.
The Wireless Safety Summit is sponsored by 24 advocacy groups from nine states and three countries including Electromagnetichealth.org (CO), EMF Safety Network (CA), Stop Smart Meters! (CA), Santa Fe Doctors W.A.R.N. (Wireless and Radiation Network) (NM), Electromagnetic Safety Alliance (AZ), Arizonans for Safer Utility Infrastructure (AZ), Doctors for Safe Schools, California Brain Tumor Association (CA), Center for Electrosmog Prevention (CA), Smart Meter Safety Coalition (ME), Emrstop.org (Australia), Naperville Smart Meter Awareness (IL), American Coalition Against Smart Meters (CA), American Association for Cell Phone Safety (CA), Citizens for Safe Technology (BC), Maryland Residents Against Smart Meters (MD), The Galileo Project (VA), Citizens Against Unsafe Emissions (BC), Moms of Merrick (NY), Re shelter (AZ), Wireless Radiation Safety Council (BC), Wireless-Precaution.com (NJ), CLOUT (OR) and the Peoples Initiative Foundation (CA).
The forum will present scientific research demonstrating the biological effects of electromagnetic fields from wireless technologies, including effects on many of the body’s regulatory systems as well as on DNA and fertility. It will also include a program on the hazards of the new utility “smart” meters. An appeal to Congress to request the FCC update its wireless safety guidelines based on a mounting body of science showing biological effects was recommended by a consortium of ElectromagneticHealth.org, Citizens for Health and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine in July 2011 (Read more here).
The Wireless Safety Summit’s keynote presentation will be made by Martin Blank, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center and one of the leading EMF researchers in the U.S. Blank spoke last year at ElectromagneticHealth.org’s forum (View Video) emphasizing the known risks to the genetic code from wireless technologies.
Wireless safety is increasingly understood as a major public health issue as well as a potential major economic issue. Read the Money Week article regarding potential for greater awareness of the health risks to impact the global economy. For those not able to attend this event, the Wireless Safety Summit will be available online in real-time with the ability to ask questions and participate in group discussions. To register for the Wireless Safety Summit, please go here. Please click here to read the announcement.
2. Mining and Burning of Coal and Metal Ores Causing Earth Acidity
(www.usgs.gov) – Human use of Earth’s natural resources is making the air, oceans, freshwaters and soils more acidic, according to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) – University of Virginia study available online in the journal, Applied Geochemistry. This comprehensive review, the first on this topic to date, found the mining and burning of coal, the mining and smelting of metal ores, and the use of nitrogen fertilizer to be the major causes of chemical oxidation processes generating acid in the Earth-surface environment.
These widespread activities have increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These, in turn, have increased ocean acidity; produced acid rain that has increased acidity of freshwater bodies and soils; produced drainage from mines, which has increased acidity of freshwater streams and groundwater; and added nitrogen to crop lands that has increased soil acidity.
Previous studies have linked increased acidity in oceans to damage to ocean food webs while increased acidity in soils has potential to affect their ability to sustain crop growth. “We believe this study is the first attempt to assess all major human activities making Earth more acidic,” said USGS scientist Karen Rice, who led the study. “We hope others will use this as a starting point for making scientific and management progress to preserve the atmosphere, waters and soils that support human life.”
To examine the global impact of acidification, the researchers developed a series of world maps to show current coal use, nutrient consumption, and copper production and smelting by country. By combining this information with anticipated population growth through 2050 and the impact of changing technology, regulations and other factors, the researchers address shifting trends in acidification.
“Looking at these maps can help identify where current hotspots are for producing acidity,” said Rice. “The population increase map can help guide policymakers on possible future trends and areas to watch for the development of new hotspots.”
To look at the impact of the acid producing activities, the researchers characterized the scale of environmental damage from major activities and their components as local, regional, global or some combination of the three. Generating power by burning coal, for instance, can have local, regional and global impacts. Locally, it can cause acid mine drainage where the coal is mined; regionally, burning it can cause acid rain; globally, the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases the acidity of the ocean.
The study, “Acidification of Earth: An Assessment across Mechanisms and Scales,” is available online.
3. Marine Corps Celebrates Navy’s First Landfill Gas Power Plant
(www.marines.mil/unit/mclbalbany) – Chevron Energy Solutions and the Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany celebrated completion of the Department of the Navy’s first landfill gas cogeneration plant. The plant produces 1.9 megawatts of renewable electric power and steam by burning landfill gas collected from a nearby landfill. Chevron Energy Solutions also completed industrial lighting retrofits in 82 buildings and expanded the existing energy management control system. When combined with the cogeneration project, these measures reduce the base’s purchase of utility power and reduce its carbon emissions by 19,300 tons annually, equivalent to removing 16,000 cars from the road.
“This project offers significant benefits to the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps and Dougherty County,” said Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, MCLB Albany. “Chevron Energy Solutions has helped us surpass Federal renewable energy goals in our pursuit of becoming the ‘greenest’ Marine Corps installation in the nation. Not only does the use of this renewable power improve the base’s energy security and reliability, it also creates a valuable long-term source of revenue for the County. This is a win-win-win.”
Chevron Energy Solutions developed, designed and managed construction of the plant; and will maintain the landfill gas-to-energy facility, pipeline and processing equipment. The facility houses a dual-fuel engine generator, a stack heat recovery steam generator and two dual-fuel boilers. The primary equipment can operate on landfill gas or natural gas, which provides energy security benefits. With the addition of the plant, MCLB’s power portfolio now contains 19 percent renewable power, exceeding guidelines in the EPAct of 2005 and Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
Chevron Energy Solutions and MCLB will co-operate the generator and steam-producing equipment. Through an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC), Chevron Energy Solutions arranged financing for the project, which is repaid through the MCLB’s avoided energy costs. The company also guarantees system performance for 22 years. Chevron Energy Solutions has been actively involved with MCLB Albany’s energy program since 2002, and the base recently won the 2011 Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management Award.
4. EPA Launches Green Products Web Portal
(www.epa.gov) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) observed Pollution Prevention (P2) Week (September 19-25, 2011) by launching a new tool designed to provide Americans easy access to information about everyday products like home appliances, electronics and cleaning products that can save money, prevent pollution and protect people’s health. The new green products web portal is available at www.epa.gov/greenerproducts.
Using the new tool, consumers can find electronics and appliances that have earned EPA’s Energy Star label and can browse WaterSense products, which help save energy and water. Additionally, consumers can find information about cleaning products that are safer for the environment and people’s health. These products bear the EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) label. The website will also help manufacturers and institutional purchasers with information on standards and criteria for designing greener products.
“By purchasing greener products, consumers can help reduce air pollution, conserve water and energy, minimize waste and protect their children and families from exposure to toxic chemicals while also creating green jobs,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. More information on pollution prevention, P2 Week and EPA’s P2 programs is available at http://epa.gov/p2/.
5. FEMA’s Risk MAP, the Game, Educates Stakeholders
(http://www.atkinsglobal.com/northamerica) – Risk MAP, the game, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), STARR (a joint venture consisting of Atkins, CDM, Greenhorne & O’Mara and Stantec) and Outreach Process Partners – has received multiple awards for creativity and marketing excellence since its premier at the December 2010 FEMA Risk Analysis Conference in Chicago.
“The goal of developing ‘Risk MAP, the Game’ was to create an educational yet fun group activity that easily illustrates the potentially complicated aspects of Risk MAP for those who are new to the process,” explains Atkins project manager Jennifer Marcy, CFM. The game targets stakeholders who are responsible for environmental and flood risk management within a watershed, especially local planning/zoning and emergency management officials. While communicating critical public safety information, the game also reinforces how FEMA must depend on communities to be part of the flood risk reduction process.
The goal of the FEMA Risk MAP (Mapping, Assessment and Planning) process is to provide reliable, easy-to-access digital flood risk data that can be used by communities to better assess and plan for flood damage throughout the United States. The program requires support from local, state, regional, tribal, national and other Federal partners in an effort to collaboratively develop scientifically sound risk analysis tools that are trusted and owned by those most affected by the risk. Stakeholders help communicate this risk to citizens and state/local leadership along with recommended actions, which can be taken to reduce loss of life and property from floods.
6. Naval Academy Saves $6.8 Million in Energy Costs
(www.usna.edu) – The U.S. Naval Academy and Naval Support Activity (NSA) Annapolis Public Works Department responded to the Navy’s increased focus on energy conservation with initiatives that saved $6.8 million in utility costs in the 2010 fiscal year, more than 20 percent of the annual bill for both installations. These initiatives include installing geothermal heating and cooling systems in several buildings hosting computer data centers, designing efficient LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) construction projects and instilling a culture of energy conservation of all Naval Academy employees and Midshipmen.
“Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus recently addressed energy leaders at the National Clean Energy Summit 4.0 in Las Vegas, and he was very clear that energy efficiency was a priority for the U.S. Navy,” said Vice Adm. Michael M. Miller, Naval Academy Superintendent. “We’re taking that challenge head on.”
Utilities Director Tim Rath , along with Energy Manager Chi Chiu and Production Division Director Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Lampert, led the various projects that have produced these significant savings. All new construction projects at the Academy and NSA Annapolis must meet LEED certification standards, said Lampert. He commented that “those standards have built-in renewable, energy efficiency and sustainable construction requirements that lead to the construction of an energy-responsible building.”
The Department monitors 100 percent of the energy use in each building and compares that to how much the building should be consuming, based on its construction and efficiency factors. If the building appears to be using more than it should, they conduct an energy audit to determine the cause. Even the simplest projects, such as replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and balancing air conditioning and heating systems can make a difference in energy savings, said Rath.
“A large part of energy efficiency and being a good steward is the culture and being aware. We do a lot of coordination with the Naval Academy through the building managers, which results in big savings. Changing the culture is probably one of top things you can do to create that cost savings,” commented Lampert.