Monthly Archives: August 2010

EPA Wants Your Input

In the EPA Office of Air, my staff and I spend a lot of time working toward practical solutions that improve the quality of the air we breathe and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. This includes providing you with the information you need to make decisions that help with this effort — decisions like what kind of car to buy.

That’s why we, along with the Department of Transportation, are asking you what information you need to make better informed economic and environmental decisions when buying a new car. We’ve proposed changes to the fuel economy labels you see on the window of every new vehicle in dealer showrooms.

New technologies, such as battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, are becoming more widely available in the American market. The new labels are designed to provide car buyers with simple, straightforward energy and environmental information for all types of vehicles, including conventional gas-powered vehicles.

For more information, and to find out how you can view the proposed changes and offer your feedback, see the news release.

About the author: Gina McCarthy is Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and has been a leading advocate for comprehensive strategies to confront climate change and strengthen our green economy.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Expedition Day 1: Paddle, Listen, Learn

By Robert Courtnage

ELN Members with kayaks

ELN Members with kayaks

A 4:30 AM wake-up is rough. But on the first day of our 4-day Chesapeake Bay Expedition, it didn’t feel so bad as the excitement had me extra motivated to be up and ready to go. Eighteen dedicated EPA Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) athletes trained for months to physically prepare, while ELN volunteers and Georgetown University Outdoor Education guides spent months planning logistics and outreach activities. As we stood on the dock in Ft. Washington, MD getting ready for the first leg of the journey, the calm water and sunrise rendered the scene breathtaking. An osprey let out its distinctive call and drifted overhead as folks readied their kayaks.

As a volunteer for our 4-Day Expedition, I helped setup listening sessions with local Bay experts and the public, and keep our athletes safe, well fed, and in good spirits. Judy Lathrop with Atlantic Kayaks led and educated the Team down a beautiful stretch of the Potomac, just south of Colonial Farm, MD. After helping to fix a flat tire on the kayak trailer, I shuttled the athletes back to our campsite to hear from members of the Accokeek Foundation, Mattawoman Watershed Society, and the public.

I always try to buy organic, locally grown foods, so I was really excited for the first part of the listening session which featured a tour of Accokeek’s Ecosystem Farm. The team learned about community-supported-agriculture operations and its benefits to our health, the environment, and the community.

ELN members listening to presentation

ELN members listening to presentation

Next we listened to a presentation by Jim Long, President of the Mattawoman Watershed Society, and his passion for the Mattawoman Creek, a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. Our session was open to the public and we were joined by a young family concerned about the role of government in protecting the Bay. I gained a lot from this form of public engagement as it’s a great way for the Agency to actively connect with people knowledgeable about the problems facing their community.

It felt great to be a part of the Expedition and its three purposes: the outdoor athletic challenge, fellowship among EPA employees, and a unique opportunity for our emerging leaders to meet with folks challenged with environmental issues at the local level.

About the author: Robert Courtnage works for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention on toxics issues including asbestos management in buildings and the phase-out of mercury in products. Robert loves fly-fishing and helping to increase awareness about the need to improve the declined health of the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers that feed it.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

From Teen Driver to Green Driver

By Wendy Dew

Everyone is talking about how best to educate students about the environment. It seems to me one of the best ways is to let students take what they have learned and pass it on. Only teens can grasp the best way to reach out to each other and one amazing teenager did it through video!

Katherine Schultz, a newly-licensed seventeen year old driver, saw an opportunity to help a new generation of drivers become more environmentally responsible drivers. She created a video with the help of family and friends entitled “From Teen Driver to Green Driver.” She also stars in the video! The four minute video provides important tips for drivers to lower their fuel consumption and emissions. The video was done with the support and guidance of the State of Connecticut’s Department of Motor Vehicles. She has reached out to driver education schools in Connecticut and offered them a free DVD of the video if they commit to using it with their students. Katherine has even been getting involved with promoting the green driver message in Connecticut state politics with her State Representative. Go Katherine!

Here at EPA, we’re not teen drivers anymore, but we have some green tips for all drivers.

Tips for Driving the Smartway®:

  • Buy smart

Use our Green Vehicle Guide as a resource in selecting your next vehicle.

  • Drive smart
  1. Be aware of your speed – obeying highway speed limits can save fuel, as well as prevent pollution.
  2. Avoid rapid accelerations and braking, which burns more fuel.
  3. Use cruise control and overdrive gears.
  4. When you aren’t in traffic, turn off the engine rather than idle for more than 30 seconds.
  5. Remove excess weight from your trunk, and if you have a removable roof rack and aren’t using it, take it off.
  • Take care of your vehicle
  1. Your vehicle is designed to perform best when maintained according to the instructions found in the owner’s manual. A poorly maintained vehicle can be more polluting and less fuel efficient than one that’s well-maintained. If the “Service Engine Soon” light comes on, you may have an emissions problem, so have your vehicle checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.
  2. Keep your tires properly inflated. Low tire pressure means lower fuel economy.
  3. Replace your air filter regularly. A clogged air filter can reduce fuel economy significantly.
  • Use your vehicle less
  1. Whenever possible, combine activities and errands into one trip.
  2. Take advantage of public transportation and carpooling.
  3. Bicycling or even walking can be suitable (and healthy) transportation alternatives.
  • Take care when filling up

Gas fumes are harmful to you and the environment. Topping off your tank beyond the automatic shutoff point will cause fuel spills as well as emit more toxic fumes into the air. In very hot weather, try to refuel early in the morning or late in the evening when less fumes evaporate. And if you live in an area that has Ozone Action Days, try to avoid filling up on those days.

  • Use Alternative Fuels

If you own a Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV), you can fill your tank up with a fuel blend containing 85% ethanol or with traditional gasoline. Ethanol is produced from renewable crops such as corn, and has lower greenhouse gas emissions. To find out if you own a FFV, go to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. Their Alternative Fueling Station Locator will help you locate alternative fuel stations in your area.

About the author: Wendy Dew has been with EPA for 13 years and is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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My Property Info

By Wendy Schumacher

Prior to relocating to Washington in 2007, I had to sell my home in Fort Collins, Colorado. The biggest challenge to marketing the property wasn’t the original1962 kitchen cabinets or the three feet of snow covering the beautiful drought tolerant garden, it was determining if radon was present and, if so, if the level was above acceptable limits.

In many states, sales contracts require that people selling property certify if the property is located in a flood plain or free from a variety of environmental hazards ranging from radon to lead paint. On the other hand, today’s buyers and their lenders want to know more. In fact, a large number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted to EPA ask for records about a single property someone is considering buying or financing or because some states require certification that EPA does not have any information on the property. The FOIA process gives federal agencies 20 working days to respond. For this type of request, most of the time EPA does not have any record of the requestor’s potential new home or small business. That’s always good news!

To reduce the amount of time for requestors to obtain a response from days to minutes, on June 25, 2010, EPA released a web-based tool where it will be possible to search EPA’s databases for environmental information by an individual address and print it in a single report. The tool is called MyPropertyInfo.

The tool’s primary audience is expected to be real estate agents, mortgage banks and engineering and environmental consulting firms. That said, everyone around the office who has helped with testing this new tool has looked up their own and their Mom’s address, too.

Wouldn’t MyPropertyInfo have been useful during my time as the FOIA Officer in EPA’s Regional Office in Chicago! I’ll never forget being seated at a formal dinner next to a real estate attorney who wanted to know the status of his client’s proposed purchase of a former gas station before we even finished our salads.

About the author: Wendy Schumacher is on detail to the National FOIA Office from the Office of Water. Between assignments in EPA Region 5 and Headquarters, she spent six years with the National Park Service’s Natural Resource Program Center in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Remembering Katrina

Lisa P. Jackson
Administrator
I was in New Orleans visiting my mother in the days before Hurricane Katrina struck. As the warnings grew more dire, we packed a car and drove out of the city, escaping the destructive force of the storm and the water that flooded the home where I grew up.

While my mother and I escaped to safety, in the aftermath of the storm hundreds of EPA personnel and emergency response volunteers traveled into the area. Their mission was to assess the environmental impact of the event and uncover any immediate health threats. As EPA responders deployed throughout the city, they ended up rescuing more than 800 people.

2010 marks the fifth year since Hurricane Katrina struck, and we have asked some of the responders on the scene in 2005 to tell their stories. Today we are sharing those stories with you, and providing a glimpse into an unprecedented response effort. I invite you to read their accounts below,  learn about the events on the ground and in the water five years ago, and share your remembrances.

More about EPA activities in response to Katrina.


Dave Deegan
Boston, MA Regional Office

It’s hard to believe that we now are reflecting on the fifth anniversary of Katrina and the devastation it left. The lessons and experiences of responding in the Hurricane’s aftermath simultaneously feels much more recent and ancient.

All of us – EPA responders and citizens alike – recall images from the terrible flood: displaced families and individuals who symbolized an entire city, and their abandoned homes and businesses. Utter, heartbreaking devastation.

What I recall most strongly at this point, however, is more positive and hopeful. I spent two weeks or so in Louisiana, only a few weeks after the storm had hit. While I wasn’t in the first wave of responders who helped pull victims from the flood waters, I was there pretty early in the response effort. And within just those few weeks, I was incredibly impressed with how EPA staff from all across the country responded.

I remember someone saying while I was there, that there were something like 1,000 EPA employees volunteering at that moment to help the people of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast cope with the disaster. This amount of people represented a new EPA regional office – and a larger office than any of the existing ten – which had been pulled together in one month’s time. This represented a thousand families across the country where a mom or dad, a son or daughter, a sibling or loved one, had dropped every other important thing in their life, to respond to a call of duty and try to help our fellow American’s cope with a dreadful situation.

The hours were long and exhausting, the comforts nonexistent, the suffering we all witnessed was terribly disturbing. But nonetheless, responding during that emergency was probably the proudest moment I have ever had working at EPA during a 19 year career. It wasn’t about us, and it still isn’t. It’s about pitching in when there is a need and you are able to do something to help.


David Kluesner
New York, NY Regional Office

Being a part of EPA’s cleanup efforts in Louisiana reinforced my belief in the strength of the human spirit and our ability to live, fight and even thrive in the face of loss and destruction. In late September 2005 I reported to EPA’s Incident Command Post in Baton Rouge as an Assistant Public Information Officer (PIO). Shortly after arriving I had an opportunity to drive out to Slidell, Louisiana with the outgoing Assistant PIO.

Like many other communities, Slidell was hit hard from flooding. Nothing prepared me for the emotions of what I was about to see and experience. Homes toppled over in canals. Sofas perched in trees 20 feet above us. The inescapable smell of decaying animals. My nature is that I often absorb the feelings of those around me. I remembered feeling sick, overwhelmed and sad after a couple of hours of meeting folks in Slidell and witnessing their loss. I had nothing tangible to give the hurricane victims other than my time helping out with EPA’s household hazardous waste cleanup efforts. The folks in Slidell, and in particular the last resident that I met, reminded me of the value of listening and the importance of being there, the need for humans to feel connected.

A man in his late 60’s stood near his flooded home on a rural road just outside Slidell. It was almost completely destroyed, definitely uninhabitable. We stopped our car, and he invited us to look inside his home and walk around. Flooded and too dangerous to go into, we stood outside, under a tree with that sofa high above our heads. We listened as he told us of his losses and that his wife of 40 years had kidney disease and had to be taken to a hospital in Baton Rouge shortly before Katrina hit. She had only a few months to live he told us. Their home was an anchor to so many of their memories, and now that was pretty much destroyed. My heart was at its lowest as I thought we really had nothing to offer him. We had no check to give him. No promises of getting him into that home any time soon. I remember I felt embarrassed for “wasting his time”. As we said good bye and walked to our car, he yelled out “Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for listening and just letting us know that someone is out there trying to help us!” He had the biggest smile on his face. And that smile, and his words of thanks, gave me such strength and reinvigorated my own determination in the days and weeks that followed. Five years later, recalling that moment, I can see his smile like it was yesterday and it still lifts me.


Bonnie Bellow
New York, NY Regional Office

Nothing teaches you more about what EPA does and why we do it than taking part in a response to an emergency. I had the privilege of serving as a public information officer during the response to Hurricane Katrina, a chilling experience that taught me lessons and provided memories still very much alive to this day.

I arrived at the Incident Command Post in Metairie, Louisiana about six weeks after the storm, and will never forget the silent ride from the airport as I looked over the devastation left by the receding waters. While the pictures on TV were shocking, seeing the watermarks well above the doors of home after home with my own eyes was much more compelling and disturbing. The city was deserted and quiet. But the Command Post, in which staff from EPA, the Coast Guard and the state environmental agency were working side by side, was cookin’. It was like a small city, completely organized to cover every needed function, from the operation itself – largely focused at that point on the identification and retrieval of hazardous materials – to the planning and logistics required to manage such a huge operation, to the simple needs of food and shelter for more than 100 people. If you needed bug spray, or a map to provide to a reporter, or an update on the exact number of electronic devices we had collected, there was a place to find it, and find it quickly.

The scope of the operation was simply mind boggling. One image etched in my memory is the sight of thousands of refrigerators lined up in neat rows in a huge field waiting to have their Freon removed so they could be crushed and recycled. It was a giant refrigerator graveyard. As I walked up and down the aisles with reporters in tow, I kept thinking how each refrigerator – a mundane part of daily life – had come from someone’s home that was now destroyed.

Looking back, I sometimes think about the 7:00 am mandatory meeting for the whole team – over a hundred bleary-eyed people, some who had been up half the night planning the next day’s work, getting their marching orders. One of my jobs was to report the results of the previous night’s sports scores, information critical to team morale. We got our assignments, the safety brief, and were sent off for our 12-hour shifts, exhorted by the burly and boisterous state Incident Commander to “Plan your play, and play your plan.” That’s what EPA does, even in the toughest situations, and does it best.


David Eppler
Dallas, TX Regional Office
IMT Safety Officer and Enforcement Officer in the Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division

In early October, 2005, I was driving through the Ninth Ward on the way to do an inspection, and came upon two women in the front yard of the remains of a house knocked down by the floodwater. They looked haggard and exhausted. I stopped and asked them if they had food and water. They told me they had just come back to their home from Baton Rouge, where they went to escape the disaster. They were an elderly mother and her young granddaughter, sifting through the remains of their lives. looking for whatever they could find. “We were both born and raised in this house” the grandmother said. “Now it’s all gone. But at least we have food and water for today. We’ll be all right. Thanks for asking.” I drove on, knowing I would forever remember their tired faces as they searched for future meaning in the disaster of the past.

The storm surge from Hurricane Rita had lifted the house of an elderly couple off its foundation and set it back several feet, resulting in a demolition order. Rural, somewhat isolated, the Calcasieu Parrish agricultural area south of Lake Charles had been ruined for years by the salty water that flooded the rice fields to a depth of nearly thirty feet. It was February, 2006, and as I stood in their front yard, observing the demolition of the more than fifty year old house, I watched tears form in the eyes of the couple, standing a few feet away, as they watched their home since the 1950s’ being torn apart like it was garbage. I walked up to them and asked if I could get them a cup of coffee or something. “Oh, we’ll be alright”. the wife said. “We built this house in 1952, and we’ve been raising rice and beef cattle here ever since, and it’s just a little hard to say good-bye.” “Our neighbor had it pretty hard though.” said the husband. “How so?” I asked. “Well” said the husband, “as the flood water began to rise to a foot high in his house, he finally decided he had better get out, so he got in his brand new pickup and headed down the road. He made it as far as our old oak tree, here in the front yard..” The husband pointed to a gnarled old tree in the southwest corner of their property, near the two lane blacktop farm road. “The force of the incoming floodwater shoved his pickup off the road and into the tree, where it lodged. He climbed out of the truck into the tree, and kept climbing as the water rose higher and higher. He spent more than forty eight hours in the top of that old tree, kicking back snakes and ‘gators, till the Coast Guard came by in a boat and got him out. He still doesn’t know where his truck ended up, but he’s alive. We left before the surge came in. We’ve got our pickup and clothes, and each other. We don’t really need nothin’ else.”


Jeffrey Levy
Headquarters
Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education

In my 17 years at EPA, leading the Web response to Hurricane Katrina was one of my proudest, most meaningful experiences. I wasn’t on the front lines, but coordinating online communications across several offices required quick thinking and long hours under intense pressure. And let me tell you, we’re all lucky to have my colleagues who work in the headquarters Emergency Operations Center.

Our Web effort actually started a few days before landfall. I was at a picnic over the weekend and my boss called. Thirty minutes later, I was downtown, prepping materials and planning the opening days of Web development. One of the first pieces we published helped drinking water companies prepare.

I had two young daughters then, and they missed having Daddy to play with while I worked long hours. But we discussed how our family could help people hurt by the storm. My girls didn’t have money to donate, and they couldn’t physically go clean up. But what they could do was to let me work the hours I needed to work. It was a small sacrifice compared to what people lost, but I was proud to have passed on my dedication to public service. When people ask me why I work in government, I respond that I have the privilege of serving people as we did after Katrina.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Cleaning Up the River, Cleaning Up Lives

By Kiri Kroner
This week I joined several other members from EPA’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) to participate in the kickoff of our Chesapeake Bay Expedition. We volunteered at the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) located in southeast DC and helped clean up a little trash along the Anacostia River. And by “a little” I mean we filled upwards of a dozen large bags with trash in the span of just two hours! We picked up garbage by land and by sea (I got to wear a pair of waders), and a few of us got a little wet in the process. One ELNer said that he’s now going to think twice before using a disposable plastic bottle since that was the most common item we saw during the cleanup. We were told that more garbage would end up in the same location after the next rain storm, but I felt our efforts were not futile. We made a difference that day improving the wetlands in our Nation’s capital, and if that feat were replicated many times here and in other places, well we’d be a lot better off.

I am passionate about ECC’s mission to help inner city kids rebuild their lives by cleaning up the Anacostia River. The thing about ECC that impressed me the most was that this is a community based organization. The at-risk youths are from the neighborhood – one of the toughest in the nation – working to clean up their neighborhood. Many then move on to fulfilling jobs armed with new skills to improve their lives. Not only is ECC empowering youth by cleaning up a river, they are in essence training the trainers, so these kids can help their peers learn too.

After we finished pulling as much trash out of the river as we could (I even found a baseball, possibly from the nearby National’s ballpark) we were joined by Bob Perciasepe, the Deputy Administrator of EPA, who came to wish us well on our Chesapeake Bay Expedition! I was thrilled at the chance to meet with him and discuss issues surrounding the Chesapeake Bay and the future of EPA. Bob is very interested in hearing about what we learn during our Expedition, so we better take good notes!

Follow the Expedition on:

About the author: Kiri Kroner is an Environmental Protection Specialist on the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Team in the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water. She enjoys spending as much time as she can outside. In her remaining spare time, Kiri volunteers to help people in the developing world gain access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and hygiene education.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Car Maintenance is a Must!

By Lina Younes

During last week’s blog on “do-it-yourselfers” and the environment, I mentioned how proper maintenance of cooling/heating equipment and household appliances will help you save money and protect the environment. Well, the same thing applies to cars. Taking care of your car means more than just filling it with gas or changing the oil from time to time. Treating your car well will extend the life of your vehicle, saving you money, and helping to keep the air clean.

Some of the useful tips on car maintenance include:

  • Keeping your tires inflated to the recommended level. When tires are not inflated properly they increase the wear-and-tear of the tire and fuel costs.
  • Getting regular tune-ups will go a long way to increasing fuel efficiency and improving the lifespan of your vehicle.
  • Changing the oil regularly will contribute to a cleaner engine and lower vehicle emissions.
  • Keeping your air filter clean will also protect the environment.

In addition to giving your car the proper maintenance, there are simple steps to contribute to pollution reduction. How can you keep emissions as low as possible? Here are some tips:

  • Don’t top off.  Don’t fill up the car with gas after you hear the click at the pump! Continuing to fill the gas tank after you hear the click is a total waste of money and actually sends harmful gasoline vapors into the air.
  • Whenever you can, combine errands in order to reduce unnecessary driving.
  • Don’t drive aggressively.
  • Avoid stop and go traffic. I know this is easier said than done, but with some planning you can avoid abrupt changes in speed which waste gas, generate emissions, and cause greater wear-and-tear on your car.

For those interested in adopting greener behaviors to reduce their carbon footprint even further, changing your means of transportation might be a good start. How about leaving the car at home at least one day a week for starters? Carpooling, using mass transportation, biking are greener transportation alternatives. And how about good old fashioned walking?

You know, I was actually writing this blog while I was waiting at the service station. These were just some of the green ideas I came up with. As always, I would like to hear your suggestions.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force.  Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

El mantenimiento de su auto es esencial

Por Lina Younes

En el blog de la semana pasada, mencioné la importancia de mantener adecuadamente los equipos de aire acondicionado, calefacción y enseres eléctricos caseros para ahorrar dinero y proteger el medio ambiente. Lo mismo aplica a los autos. El cuidar su auto debidamente significa mucho más que echarle gasolina y cambiar el aceite de motor de vez en cuando. El buen mantenimiento extiende la vida de su vehículo, le ahorra dinero y le ayuda a mantener el aire limpio.

Algunos consejos sobre el mantenimiento de su vehículo incluyen:

  • Infle las llantas al nivel de presión recomendado. Si no las infla adecuadamente, las llantas se gastan excesivamente y su auto consume más gasolina.
  • Afine el motor con regularidad. La buena afinación aumenta la eficiencia de combustible y le da más años de vida a su vehículo.
  • Cambie el aceite regularmente. El cambio de aceite contribuye a la limpieza del motor y menores emisiones de su vehículo.
  • Limpie el filtro de aire de su auto para también proteger el medio ambiente.

Además de darle buen mantenimiento a su auto, hay otros pasos que puede tomar que también contribuyen a la reducción de la contaminación. ¿Cómo puede reducir las emisiones lo mejor posible? He aquí algunos consejos:

  • No llene excesivamente su auto con combustible. Debe dejar de echarle gasolina tan pronto escuche que el tanque de gasolina haga “clic”. El continuar llenando el tanque tan sólo desperdicia dinero y echa vapores peligrosos de gasolina a la atmósfera.
  • Cuando pueda, combine sus diligencias a fin de minimizar su tiempo conduciendo.
  • No guíe agresivamente.
  • Evite el tránsito donde tenga que frenar y seguir intermitentemente. Sé que es más fácil decirlo que hacerlo, pero si planifica su viaje, puede minimizar esos cambios abruptos en la velocidad que sólo gastan gasolina, generan emisiones y desgastan su vehículo.

Para aquellos interesados en reducir su huella de carbono,  el cambiar su método de transporte sería un buen comienzo. ¿Qué le parece dejar su auto en casa al menos una vez a la semana? El hacer carpool, usar transporte público, correr bicicleta son alternativas de transporte más verdes. ¿Y qué le parece el concepto tradicional de caminar?

Quería compartir el hecho de que escribí este blog cuando estaba esperando en el taller a que afinaran mi auto. Estas son tan sólo algunas de las ideas favorables al medio ambiente que se me ocurrieron. Como siempre, quisiera escuchar sus sugerencias.

Sobre la autor: Lina M. F. Younes ha trabajado en la EPA desde el 2002 y está a cargo del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Comunicaciones Multilingües. Como periodista, dirigió la oficina en Washington de dos periódicos puertorriqueños y ha laborado en varias agencias gubernamentales.

Nota del editor: Las opiniones expresadas en Greenversations son del autor del blog. No reflejan la política, respaldo, o acción de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE.UU. (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés). EPA no verifica la exactitud ni la ciencia en el contenido del blog.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Extreme Makeover-Land Edition

Completed Roberto Clemente ParkYou’d never know that this now-bucolic property on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County with an occasional bald eagle soaring through had been a century-old abandoned site used for illegal dumping.

It took our EPA brownfields program to jump-start the cleanup and launch a promising future for this 25-acre riverside land.

So how did we do it? With a lot of help from our friends.(see link at http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/bf-lr/newsletter/2007-Spring/Lorax.html)

We provided a brownfields grant in 2005 to assess the site and check its history. The thumbs-up results got people interested in managing the property, and leveraged a quarter million dollars for cleanup and redevelopment.

The Lancaster County Conservancy took it from there, buying the property with grand plans to make it a natural wonder for people, wildlife and migratory birds alike.

Are you aware of other properties that could use similar makeovers? Let us know.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Science Wednesday: Saving the Bay Means Getting Your Hands Dirty!

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.

By Kerry Hamilton

How would you prepare for a 100+ mile triathlon across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed? If you’re like me, your training regimen is not exactly running 10 miles a day. (Does switching from cookies and cream to strawberry ice cream count? It’s fruit!) Instead, I’m preparing for the Chesapeake Bay Expedition by attending pre-expedition events to lend a hand cleaning up and learning more about the Bay.

The expedition is being led by EPA’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN), a group of young professionals from across the Agency who are volunteering their time to learn and promote awareness about Chesapeake Bay environmental issues.

ELN members on cleanupTo prove I am not a cubicle environ- mentalist, I joined fellow ELNers on July 31st for a cleanup event at Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary. There’s nothing quite like digging my hands into piles of garbage to remind me how important it is for communities to take a role in protecting their backyard! It also humbles me to know that as a researcher and former lab junkie, I’m only a piece of the puzzle in tackling these environmental issues—just one of the reasons I’m most excited to get out there to see the Bay and the people it affects firsthand!

To prepare the Expedition Team, I helped organize a discussion panel with several Bay experts. The panel members were Lee Paddock, an environmental lawyer from the George Washington University faculty; Michael Haire, the EPA headquarters TMDL (a measure of water pollution) guru; Joel Dunne, co-editor of A Sustainable Chesapeake: Better Models for Conservation; and Travis Loop, Public Affairs Director from the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program in Annapolis, MD. This Bay “dream team” painted a picture of the complex factors that affect the health of Chesapeake Bay. Communities, businesses, farmers, scientists, and government agencies all have important roles to play, and we hope to interact with many of these groups along our journey.

Armed with some more knowledge of the issues, I’m ready to get my hands dirty again and participate in the Expedition’s kick-off cleanup on the Anacostia wetlands—part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed right here in DC. ELN will be joining forces with Earth Conservation Corps this Wednesday, August 25th from 9am – 12pm for the cleanup of this neglected treasure right in our own backyard. Consider this your invitation to join! Stay tuned for more lessons learned from the road…we’re just getting started.

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About the author: Kerry Hamilton is a public health fellow in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. As a former soccer player, she is psyched to be watching ELN athletes suffer through the running, biking, and kayaking. She also can’t wait to share lessons learned on the Expedition with others!

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.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.