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Climate Leaders Collaboration

2014 May 23
Curt Spalding


May 23, 2014
12:00 pm EDT

Understanding Climate Change impacts in the New England region is one thing, and actually working to improve vision, capability and capacity to confront climate change and make our communities more resilient is an even bigger challenge. It is a challenge that the New England states are focused on because the vulnerabilities we are facing are real. We have seen a 74 percent increase in extreme precipitation events between 1958 and 2011. Hurricanes and tropical storms are increasing in intensity and that is expected to continue. We saw our vulnerabilities come to life in our inland states after Tropical Storm Irene. We saw the coast get slammed after Hurricane Sandy. Fifty percent of New Englanders live in coastal counties, and depend on critical infrastructure there. With sea level rise, and increased extreme precipitation events, these areas are vulnerable to flooding and storm surge in ways that they have never been before.

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Acting on Climate: Asthma in the Latino Community

2014 May 23
Gina McCarthy


May 23, 2014
9:30 am EDT

Leading up to Asthma awareness month I participated in a #LatinoHealth Twitter chat with League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).  We were excited to expand the virtual conversation about air pollution and asthma, issues that seriously affect Latino health. It is scary that so many forms of pollution are hidden in plain sight, such as air pollution and toxic chemicals, which are often part of our everyday lives. But it was also inspiring to be part of such an enthusiastic conversation with concerned community members from Utah to North Carolina, Georgia to New Jersey.

Many of the questions raised in the chat were concerned with the direct link between air quality and asthma. The truth is, lots of chemicals found at home or in the workplace have been linked to the development of asthma. And common outdoor pollutants, like smog and ozone, also contribute to the development of asthma or more severe symptoms. Today, over 3.6 million Latinos in the US are living with this condition, including one in every ten Latino children. read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Advancing Chemical Testing by the Thousands

2014 May 22
Bob Kavlock


May 22, 2014
9:30 am EDT

Studying thousands of chemicals at a time with the use of high-tech computer screening models and automated, often robot-assisted processes sounds like science fiction. But it’s not. EPA scientists are doing just that, leading the advancement of “high-throughput screening,” fast, efficient processes used to expose hundreds of living cells or isolated proteins to chemicals and then screen them for changes in biological activity—clues to potential adverse health effects related to chemical exposure.

This scientific advance is positioned to transform how we understand the safety of chemicals going forward. Twenty years ago, using high-throughput screening to test chemicals for potential human health risks seemed like technology that belonged in a science fiction television series rather than in real life. read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Environmental Achievements

2014 May 21
Charles Lee


May 21, 2014
9:54 am EDT

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy presenting Charles Lee with the EJ Pioneer Award at the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) meeting on February 11, 2014

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy presenting Charles Lee with the EJ Pioneer Award at the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) meeting on February 11, 2014

 

As a Chinese-American and one of the individuals who played an instrumental role in our nation’s environmental justice movement, I believe that it is especially fitting that we use this year’s Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month to salute the many environmental contributions of the AAPI community. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Presidential Executive Order on environmental justice. Members of the AAPI community have contributed significantly to safeguarding our environment and promoting health and sustainability for our citizens.

As an advocate for environmental justice, I am excited about the various grassroots initiatives led by AAPI organizers over the last several decades that have aided traditionally underserved neighborhoods and communities of color. For example, AAPI community members in Richmond, California played a pivotal role in securing a multilingual warning system for local residents living in close proximity to a nearby oil refinery. Several years ago, Native Hawaiians organized a successful campaign to prevent polluters from continuing to dump waste in the Wai’nae coastal community. More recently, the Vietnamese-American community in East New Orleans, which is still rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon disaster, initiated a sustainable aquaculture system that is contributing to the Gulf Coast’s economic development efforts.
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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Giving People and Land a Second Chance

2014 May 15
Mathy Stanislaus


May 15, 2014
11:15 am EDT

Revitalizing brownfields returns idle, dilapidated and often contaminated properties to productive use. This boosts the local economy, improves property values and aesthetics and enhances public health, safety and quality of life. To do this, our competitive Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grants provide non-profit organizations and governmental entities funding to recruit, train and place unemployed residents. Trainees are recruited from solid and hazardous waste-impacted communities for entry-level careers in the environmental field.

These training programs provide hope for many unemployed and under-employed individuals striving to make a livable wage and to enter the growing environmental field, including dislocated workers ex-offenders, and veterans. Graduates of the program gain comprehensive training in areas such as wastewater treatment, stormwater management, hazardous waste remediation, leaking underground storage tank removal, emergency response, solar installation, and mine-scarred land remediation. read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Do You Know Who Grows Your Food?

2014 May 14
Jim Jones


May 14, 2014
2:30 pm EDT

 

Two million farmworkers help grow, tend and harvest the food that we put on our tables every day.  They are the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers whose hard work and long days enable us to have healthy, plentiful food.  They are often exposed to hazards from pesticide exposures and need the same workplace protection that other industry workers have had for decades.

It’s been 20 years since the rules providing protections to farmworkers were updated.  In February of this year, the agency proposed for public comment on a revised Worker Protection Standard.  The proposal is the result of numerous discussions across the country with farm workers, farm owners, states and others on what is working, what is not, and what needs to be improved when it comes to the current rule. read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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The Sweet Spot: Riding to Work

2014 May 14
Lek Kadeli


May 14, 2014
9:00 am EDT

By Lek Kadeli

There are times in life when everything seems to align. When you know you are in the right place at the right time, doing something that is at once productive and satisfying. I’ve found a regular activity that fits the bill: bicycle commuting.

I began making the switch to two-wheeled commuting over time. At first I was primarily looking for a way to build a bit more physical activity into my weekly routine. I began leaving the car at home from time to time in favor of riding. It turned out to be an easy transition. read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Design for the Environment Teams up with Business Leaders

2014 May 12
Jim Jones


May 12, 2014
4:09 pm EDT

It’s always exciting and encouraging to see companies across the country recognize the benefits of sustainability goals and expand the availability of products with improved environmental characteristics. At the 2014 Walmart Sustainable Product Expo, dozens of leaders and thousands of attendees came together with non-governmental organizations and EPA representatives to learn about sustainability initiatives, share information, and build a network for constructive collaboration and leadership. read more…

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Service to America

2014 May 8
Bob Perciasepe


May 8, 2014
11:00 am EDT

By Bob Perciasepe

The mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—to safeguard the natural environment and protect human health—is one that I find easy to embrace. And as you might expect in a workplace like EPA, I’m not alone.

Everyday (and sometimes late into the evenings), I’m surrounded by colleagues who have devoted themselves to public service in pursuit of clean air, safe and sustainable water, vibrant ecosystems, and healthy communities.

And even in that atmosphere, there are still a handful of individuals who manage to inspire us all: true leaders who blaze career paths marked by sustained achievement and tireless advocacy on behalf of the American people.

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Along the Road to Sustainability

2014 May 7
Bob Perciasepe


May 7, 2014
11:00 am EDT

By Bob Perciasepe

Technology and open access to data and tools have ended the excruciating choice that generations of unsure car travelers have sometimes faced: forge ahead just a few more miles, or stop and ask for directions? Such stress has largely faded with the advent of dashboard-mounted, satellite-enabled navigation systems and readily available smartphone applications.

Getting to your desired destination is always easier when you have the right information at your disposal. That’s why today I’m excited to announce that EPA has released a tool to help environmental decision makers and local communities navigate toward a more sustainable future: EnviroAtlas.

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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