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Fresh Kills Park: A Kayaking Adventure

2013 September 11

By Maureen Krudner

Fresh Kills Park launch site

Fresh Kills Park launch site

What do a great blue heron, Victory Boulevard, mussels anchored in mud below the high tide line and an apartment building have in common?  They can all be seen from a kayak in the waterways of Fresh Kills Park. The tour, organized through NY/NJ Baykeeper and led by the NYC Parks Department,  was an amazing three hour trip through the wetlands, surrounded by rolling hills of former trash, now covered with lush greenery and not a foul odor in the air. We passed a 2.1 acre wetland restoration in progress, where goats were used to clear phragmites and native wetland plantings will soon begin. We spotted an osprey nest; two babies were visible in the nest, but so was blue frayed roped and netting material. Several other birds were seen, including at least 15 snowy egrets and as a special treat, a great blue heron swooped down to grab a bite to eat.

For many years, Fresh Kills was probably the most well known location on Staten Island, housing the largest landfill in the world. In March 2001, the last barge delivered trash to the landfill and an amazing transformation began.

Paddling in Richmond Creek

Paddling in Richmond Creek

The New York City Parks Department now has responsibility for implementing the plan to develop the 2,200 acre park. The new Fresh Kills Park will provide many opportunities for outdoor recreation including kayaking, biking, skating and birding. The park has also been designed to accommodate cultural and educational programs. While completion of the park is expected to take 30 years, some sections are currently open and others will be opened in phases over the coming years. A Sneak Peak is scheduled for September 29, 2013. This promises to be a great event.

For more info visit: http://www.nycgovparks.org/park-features/freshkills-park.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Waters that Speak in Color (A Post-Trip Blog Part II)

2013 September 9

By Elias Rodriguez

Azure announces another astonishing attractive day at Bermuda’s King’s Wharf

Azure announces another astonishing attractive day at Bermuda’s King’s Wharf

How many colors can water reflect? As a native New Yorker, I’ve spent many a day gazing into Manhattan’s East River and its companion Hudson River. The river view offers a change of perspective and a connection with the tug boats, ocean liners and commercial vessels passing by.  This summer my family and I had the pleasure of taking our first cruise and I had time to reflect on the river. We sailed from Manhattan’s West Side across the Sargasso Sea to the Royal Naval Dockyard in majestic Bermuda. Our ship was the Norwegian Breakaway, a state-of-the-art vessel inaugurated in 2013 with New York City as its homeport. You can read about the ship’s eco-friendly design and technology in my previous blogs.

One striking visage throughout our voyage was the changing color of the water beneath our balcony view. Water color is affected by light and by what is dissolved and suspended within it. The sky and other factors impact the colors we see. While docked in Manhattan, the river was a shadowy miasma of green~brown~black – a living testimony to the city’s liquid legacy of combined sewer overflows. If you don’t know what a floatable is then you can catch up by perusing our annual report.

The view from Breakaway on our second day displays how light and water collaborate on a stunning panorama.

The view from Breakaway on our second day displays how light and water collaborate on a stunning panorama.

Once under way, we glided under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge on the strait that connects New York’s upper and lower bays and functions as a thoroughfare for ships to travel from the Hudson River into the Atlantic Ocean. Here the water gradually gathered a hopeful grey tint.

Somewhere along the New York Bight, the waters became liberated and danced into an authentic blue. As dusk approached, my water color observations became elusive, but upon the enchanting sunrise the water had transformed into a regal violet blue. Indeed, on day two, well into our heading for Bermuda, the ocean was resplendent in its mantle of aqua, ultramarine, midnight and navy.  A wondrous diversity of shades performed a ballet of sways and swells. As my mind’s eye wandered across sailor and pirate stories, the ship’s bow formed a buoyant bouquet of folds and foam. 673 nautical miles later, the clear waters and pink sands of Bermuda offered a welcome respite from the chaotic cacophony of city life.

As a first-time mariner, my Norwegian cruise granted me a renewed appreciation for how the color of the water is a vivid reflection of our care for planet Earth. The North Atlantic’s deep blue speaks volumes about our responsibility for a priceless, but limited resource. Conversely, the waters around most of Manhattan possesses an opaque hue which serves as a pungent wake-up call that human waste does not escape into some nameless vacuum. The enduring murk embracing the pier relegates any obscurity one might harbor about the impacts of waste water and our failure to address it. The psalmist wrote, “Deep calls to deep,” and surely judgment on our stewardship of the water is pronounced in living colors.

About the Author: Elias serves as EPA Region 2’s bilingual public information officer. Prior to joining EPA, the proud Nuyorican worked at Time Inc. conducting research for TIME, LIFE, FORTUNE and PEOPLE magazines. He is a graduate of Hunter College, Baruch College and the Theological Institute of the Assembly of Christian Churches in NYC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

A Cruise with an Environmental Wave (A Post-Trip Blog Part I)

2013 September 4

By Elias Rodriguez

At Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay I met a small friend who became camera shy. Hint: Find the crab!

At Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay I met a small friend who became camera shy. Hint: Find the crab!

As noted in my earlier blog, my family and I just enjoyed our first cruise ever and chose the Norwegian Breakaway as our vacation getaway this summer. This brand new ship was inaugurated in 2013 and Manhattan is its homeport.

The Breakaway was a spectacular success with the Rodriguez tribe. Our highlights included succulent lobster at Le Bistro, pulse-pounding dancing by Burn the Floor and exceptional jazz with Slam Allen at Fat Cats.  However, the eminent question for me was, “Could one sail on the high seas with minimal impact to the planet?”  The Norwegian Cruise Line is mindful of an Eco-Smart Cruising philosophy, which was evident throughout the ship. The vessel relies on emission reduction technology in the navigation system, efficient water management systems, heat recovery features, an optimized hull, and a host of environmentally-friendly gear and protocols onboard.

One particularly nifty piece of handiwork was the remote control system in our stateroom. In order for the air conditioning and lighting in the room to work, you must deliberately insert your cruise identification card or Sea Pass into a slot inside your room. If no card is in the slot, the air conditioning and lighting are not activated. (Don’t worry, the small refrigerator is unaffected.) The concept is about personal responsibility, awareness of your personal use of power and the benefits of saving energy. Each guest becomes acutely aware that their card is in use to power the room for their personal benefit. This paradigm works especially well since the card is utilized for just about everything onboard and people become keenly aware of where their card is at all times. My family never wondered if, as we do at home, we had accidently left the lights on because that would mean that someone from our party would be without their Sea Pass.

The stateroom card mechanism also discouraged Energy Hogs from blasting the AC to keep the temperature icy upon their return – a wasteful habit that is worthy of elimination.  Another plus for energy conservation was the fact that the AC would not activate unless the balcony door was both closed and locked thereby ensuring that any drafts were properly addressed. This room design might seem insignificant or annoying to power hungry types, but when you multiple the energy savings by 4,000+ passengers onboard, the cumulative benefits are remarkable. My kids became more aware of their energy use each time they retreated to the room. I soon noticed them enjoying the ocean breeze from our balcony and relaxing by sunlight without even inserting their cards at all.

Norwegian Cruise Line should be applauded for their environmental stewardship and visionary new ship. There is something pleasantly other-worldly about eating a Sabrett’s NY hot dog while you watch the Sargasso Sea coast by beneath you. Our cruise was a memorable trip with an eco-friendly vibe that respected the excursion’s main attraction: the big blue ocean. May all who sail it convey a message of conservation and responsibility.

About the Author: Elias serves as EPA Region 2’s bilingual public information officer. Prior to joining EPA, the proud Nuyorican worked at Time Inc. conducting research for TIME, LIFE, FORTUNE and PEOPLE magazines. He is a graduate of Hunter College, Baruch College and the Theological Institute of the Assembly of Christian Churches in NYC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Imaging the Sun During Solar Maximum

2013 September 3

By Jim Haklar

This image of the Sun was taken by the author from EPA’s Edison NJ Environmental Center. The long, ribbon-like structure in the lower part of the Sun is called a filament, and was more than 300,000 kilometers long (or 75 percent of the distance from the Earth to the Moon).

This image of the Sun was taken by the author from EPA’s Edison NJ Environmental Center. The long, ribbon-like structure in the lower part of the Sun is called a filament, and was more than 300,000 kilometers long (or 75 percent of the distance from the Earth to the Moon).

2013 is an exciting year for astronomers who study the Sun. It is the point in the Sun’s 11-year cycle when it should be the most active, and this is called Solar Maximum. During Solar Maximum there should be many sunspots. Sunspots are cooler areas of the Sun (that’s why they look like spots) where there is a lot of magnetic activity. There could also be eruptions of gas that are called solar flares.

But something strange is happening, since the Sun is less active than scientists predicted. No one knows exactly why this is happening, but it has happened in the past. And we probably should consider ourselves lucky, since a very active Sun could send electrically-charged particles toward the Earth in what is called the solar wind. These particles could potentially disrupt communications, interfere with the power grids, and damage satellites. But they also cause the beautiful Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. So, depending on your point of view, Solar Maximum can either be a good thing or a bad thing.

Since January I have been taking images of the Sun every clear day through special telescopes called solar telescopes. These telescopes have special filters that allow me to safely see and image solar activity (please do NOT stare at the Sun or try to view the Sun through an unfiltered telescope or binoculars, since this can cause permanent blindness). It’s amazing to see the Sun’s activity change from day to day. If you have an interest in the Solar Maximum, just contact a local astronomy club and they will be more than happy to safely show you the Sun. And you’d better hurry or else you may have to wait for the next Solar Maximum!

About the Author: Jim is an environmental engineer at EPA’s Edison, New Jersey Environmental Center.  In his 28 years with the Agency he has worked in a variety of programs including Superfund, Water Management, Public Affairs, and Toxic Substances.  He has been an amateur astronomer since he was a teenager, and can often be found after work in the back of the Edison facility with one of his telescopes.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Rain Barrel Workshop Provides Educational Fun

2013 August 26

By Kevin Kubik

Painted Rain Barrel

Painted Rain Barrel

My wife and I attended a rain barrel workshop in Eatontown, NJ.  The workshop was on teaching people about water conservation and reducing storm water runoff in our communities and making rain barrels. The best part of the workshop was that they gave us everything we needed to make our own rain barrel including the barrel, a spigot and all the fittings.

It was a lot of fun hearing about the program and making the rain barrel. Special instructions were given on how to connect two or more rain barrels in a series to make greater use of big rain events, what to water with the collected water (lawn and garden watering) and what to avoid (consumption). Everyone was also shown a couple of ways to avoiding mosquito breeding in the rain barrel.

I was so impressed with the presentation that I asked the instructor, Sara Mellor, if she could come to our next divisional “All Hands” meeting to give us a short presentation. She even gave us our own rain barrel that we will use in our Edison rain garden.

Rain Barrel Class

Rain Barrel Class

The workshop was provided by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, Water Conservation Program, which is a collaborative initiative between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection via funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The link to the rain barrel program is http://water.rutgers.edu/Stormwater_Management/rainbarrels.html. Check it out.

Every year, as part of “Rutgers Day,” a contest is held for the best painted rain barrel. There’s even a video on how to paint a rain barrel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVtLTkGO3zs&feature=youtu.be.

About the Author: Kevin Kubik is the region’s Deputy Director for the Division of Environmental Science and Assessment out of EPA’s Edison Environmental Center. He has worked as a chemist for the region for more than 31 years in the laboratory and in the quality assurance program.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Upcoming Weekend Activities in NYC

2013 August 22

The rain is scheduled to clear, so get out and enjoy one of the last weekends of the summer!

Alley Pond Park Adventure Course:   The second-largest park in Queens is also home to NYC’s first public high/low ropes adventure course, which features a zip-line, climbing walls, swings, and a trust fall station.  Free programs are offered Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. through November on a first-come, first served basis.

Battle of Brooklyn Day:  On the 237th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn, Green-Wood hosts a day of commemoration ceremonies, trolley tours, and reenactments of the first Revolutionary War battle waged after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Sunday August 25 starting at 10 a.m.

Design(in) the New Heart of New York: Get a behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of Hudson Yards, the 26-acre redevelopment effort currently reshaping Manhattan’s West Side at the AIA Center for Architecture in the exhibition’s final weeks.  Thursday August 22 through Monday September 2 (Closed Sundays).

Free Kayaking: Take advantage of the few remaining weekends for free kayaking at many NYC boathouses.  The NYC Downtown Boathouse, Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, Long Island City Community Boathouse, Red Hook Boaters, and Kayak Staten Island all offer free weekend summer programs.  See organization websites for more details.

Hudson River Park Wild: Learn about the Hudson River Park’s wildlife in a free guided nature walk along the park’s esplanade.  The walk is 1.5-2 miles along the waterfront with views of the park’s flora and fauna, including some of the 85 species of birds identified within the park’s boundaries.  Sundays from 9-10 a.m. through October 28.

The Newsstand: ALLDAYEVERYDAY brings a pop-up shop underground between the Lorimer St. L and Metropolitan Ave G subway stations in Brooklyn, where you can find a curated and rotating selection of zines, indie publications, and vinyl for sale.  Daily until August 31.

See Change Events at the South Street Seaport:  The Seaport has a ton of free events this weekend to take advantage of the last few days of summer.  Jazz guitarist Darren Wallis and his Quartet play a free show at the Front/Row Stage on Friday August 23 (6:30-8 p.m.).  On Saturday August 24, YogaPeel is offering a free yoga class at 9 a.m. on the Front/Row lawn, and stick around later for an outdoor film Gigi at the Front/Row Cinema starting at 8 p.m.

Wave Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center:  The early bird gets free admission on Saturdays at the Wave Hill House.  This city-owned garden in the Riverdale section of the Bronx is a spectacular 28-acre public garden and cultural center with sweeping views of the Hudson River and Palisades.  Open daily, free admission Saturdays 9 a.m.-noon.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Advantage: Environment

2013 August 19

By Jennie Saxe

US Open

US Open

It’s late August, and that means I’m getting ready for one of my favorite traditions: my annual trip to the US Open Tennis Championship in Flushing, Queens.

After a decade of attending the US Open, my first impression when I walk through the gate is still: everything about this place is so BIG. Huge stadiums. Jumbotrons. Giant banks of lights. Lots of people.

And possibly…lots of waste.

An event of this size has to accommodate the needs of hundreds of thousands of fans. Transportation, food service, groundskeeping, lighting, and waste management are all needed to make the event run smoothly. Those needs are enormous, and they could result in a tremendous impact on our natural resources. The good news is the United States Tennis Association (better known as the USTA) recognizes that this event – the largest attended annual sporting event in the world – can also make a huge difference.

The USTA’s environmental pledge – “Our courts may be blue, but we’re thinking green” – will be on full display during the US Open. Continuing efforts which began in 2008, this year’s US Open will feature a one-to-one ratio of recycling and waste receptacles, composting, encouragement of public transit, recycled content in paper products, conversion of food grease to biodiesel, local sourcing of food, and purchase of renewable energy credits, among other initiatives. All of these efforts reduce the impact of the event on our air, water, and land.

The event also provides a unique opportunity to educate tennis fans in attendance and those at home: sustainability initiatives are printed on draw sheets and shared through social media.

EPA’s sustainability-related programs support activities like those in place at the US Open. EPA also happens to be a founding partner of the Green Sports Alliance, which is meeting just a stone’s throw from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. This group brings together sports teams, venues, and leagues that want to minimize their environmental impacts.  Participants in the Green Sports Alliance Summit have the opportunity to tour the venue to see first-hand how the USTA’s sustainability initiative at the US Open is making a difference.

I’m looking forward to some great tennis and seeing first-hand the USTA’s sustainability efforts in action. If you’ve never been to the US Open, you should check it out!

Dr. Jennie Saxe joined EPA in 2003 and is currently a Water Policy Analyst in the Water Protection Division of EPA Region 3 in Philadelphia. When not in the office, Jennie enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 children, cheering for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, and attempting to grow a vegetable garden.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

All Aboard for a Green on Blue Vacation (A Pre-Trip Blog)

2013 August 6

By Elias Rodriguez

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway

All aboard! My family and I are totally psyched about going on our first cruise ever! The Norwegian Cruise (NCLH) Line’s newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, departs from Manhattan’s Westside and will serve as our vacation getaway this summer. The idea of a vacation without back seat interrogations, (“Are we there yet?”), amusement park purgatory or speeding ticket torture (“Thanks Tampa, I owe you one!”) is immensely appealing to this working dad. As a native New Yorker, I should feel right at home since the Breakaway’s creators partnered with such New York icons as the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and the artist Peter Max to give the ship a New York look and feel.

The Rodriguez clan is excited about the many eating venues, top deck aqua park and shows onboard, but I am looking forward to getting a firsthand view of the innovative green technology touted by the cruise line. Apparently, the company is an environmental innovator. They tout a so-called Eco-Smart Cruising philosophy, so choosing them for our maiden voyage on the high seas seemed like a natural fit.

Emission reduction technology in the navigation system, a myriad of energy efficiency features and fuel oil recovery are among the many environmentally-friendly designs onboard. During my research on the Internet, many message boards note that the staterooms have a built in system that remotely turns off the in-room air conditioning and lighting when unoccupied. A few posts noted it as an annoyance, but one could easily see the cumulative benefits of such a system in terms of saving energy.

Norwegian’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Sheehan, has stated that, “Being environmentally conscious is of the utmost importance” to the firm.  Well, I will experience first-hand what that means on their brand new ship.  My wife, kids and I are all hoping for a relaxing, entertaining and earth-friendly trip. If you have any tips for us first-time mariners, feel free to post. I will be sure to report back after we, eh, Breakaway.

About the Author: Elias serves as EPA Region 2’s bilingual public information officer. Prior to joining EPA, the proud Nuyorican worked at Time Inc. conducting research for TIME, LIFE, FORTUNE and PEOPLE magazines. He is a graduate of Hunter College, Baruch College and the Theological Institute of the Assembly of Christian Churches in NYC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Spotted: a Big Belly….

2013 July 30

By Mike McGowan

Big Belly Compactor

Big Belly Compactor

No, it wasn’t that long beaked bird with the big appetite…nor was it that fellow on the train, but rather an innovative trash bin system. It’s a Big Belly Solar Waste Compactor system on the corner of West Broadway and Barclay, just up the block from the World Trade Center Path Station. It showed up with little or no fanfare and it doesn’t carry much in the way of information. So, we did a little digging.

It turns out that Mayor Bloomberg announced the arrival of 30 Big Belly units with three bins – one each for cans and bottles, garbage and paper – this past March. At the launch, the Mayor promised that there would be more than 1,000 units in place in all five boroughs by year’s end. The first 30 Big Bellys were scattered around Times Square, replacing 53 standard trash cans.

Trash Overflow

Trash Overflow

Tested in other American and European cities, the system promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent through a combination of compacting trash (each bin can hold five times the amount of trash than the standard bin), reducing pick-ups and increasing recycling. The quantity of material in each bin can also be remotely monitored.

Rumor has it, there are some Big Bellys in Union Square. If they’ve made it to your New York neighborhood, let us know and we can help spread the word. For more information on the organization behind Big Belly go to www.bigbelly.com.

About the Author: Mike is Chief of the R2 Intergovernmental and Community Affairs Branch in Public Affairs. He is a nine-year veteran of EPA and travels thru the World Trade Center station as part of daily his commute.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Switzerland – The Land of Alps, Watches, Chocolate and …. Extreme Recycling

2013 July 23

By Paula Zevin

Garbage Ball Geneva

Garbage Ball Geneva

Everyone knows how serious we are about recycling and its benefits at EPA. The past decade has shown that we can change our mindset and adapt to change: throwing things away without a second thought is a thing of the past. If you need a reminder, check out the EPA community website, which contains so much valuable information on helping to protect our environment and our recycling resource page.

We also have heard or even seen how much more serious Europe in general is about the 3-R mantra. “Reduce, reuse and recycle” is not just a buzz phrase; it is a way of life in the Old World, which in many cases is way ahead of the United States. Switzerland was one of these revelations. The occasion to visit this beautiful country came about almost as an afterthought to attending my 40th high school reunion in Heidelberg, Germany in June of this year. Reunions can be fun, but also stressful, so a little R&R in the beautiful cities of Zurich and Geneva seemed just what the doctor ordered. And it was! Past and present blend seamlessly, the scenery is truly breathtaking, the friendly locals made us feel welcome and it didn’t hurt to be able to sample delicious chocolate, raclette and Movenpick ice cream!

As an EPAer, I never quite leave the environmentalist behind. The sight of so many distinctive bags all over Zurich piqued my curiosity. So I asked at our hotel. The answer, “Oh, they are our special waste/recycling bags” led to some investigating and some illuminating answers. They’re called “Züri-Säcke” or “Zuri-Bags” and according to the city’s website, about 30,000 are picked up daily. What Zurichers don’t recycle at the ubiquitous drop-off points for plastic, glass, etc, must go into these special bags. The catch is that they are quite expensive. The bigger the bag, the more you pay. If you’re not already so inclined, the incentive to reduce, reuse and recycle becomes purely economic. In addition to familiar advice, such as dropping off your electronics, textiles and other household items at recycling centers, such as we have in my home county of Somerset, NJ, you are encouraged to take all your outdated or broken electrical appliances back to the store where you bought them – they are obligated to accept them at no charge to you! The advice is given in a gentle, yet firm way. Check out the English website for how to deal with modern life’s trappings.

Recycling Advertisement

Recycling Advertisement

Geneva does things in a similar manner, noting with pride that “Genevans recycled 45% of their waste in 2011 up from 37% in 2003 (recycling in the city of Geneva is lower, at only 36.2% in 2011).” For more information on this and on Geneva’s recycling programs visit the English language website.

Geneva took the visual impact of being environmentally responsible to a different level. They are displaying a ball of garbage weighing 35 tons at Place du Plainpalais in Geneva. This was after officials started a campaign to encourage citizens to dispose of their garbage responsibly. The 35-tons of garbage represent the amount of waste that is collected from public trash cans over a period of three days.

We are doing so much already in New York City and in the surrounding areas to reduce, reuse and recycle. These glimpses into another culture remind us that the work is never done and that it is upon us to do it.

About the Author: Paula Zevin is currently an Environmental Engineer in the Division of Environmental Science and Assessment at the Edison Environmental Center. Her work is centered on the technical and programmatic aspects of ambient water monitoring. She is also the volunteer water monitoring coordinator for EPA Region 2. Paula has been with EPA since 1991, and has worked in the chemical, pharmaceutical, textile and cosmetic industries prior to joining EPA. 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.