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The Green Blog

Emissions rules still stalled

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June 30, 2008

Excerpts from the Globe's environmental blog.

In April, Massachusetts and 17 other states filed an unusual legal petition in federal court to pressure the US Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the gases from cars and trucks. Last week, a federal court rejected the petition.

"We are obviously disappointed by today's ruling," Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said Thursday. "The Bush administration has for several months shamelessly made it clear that it will not take any regulatory action toward addressing global climate change but that it will instead simply 'run out the clock.' "

The Supreme Court last year ordered the EPA to formally declare whether carbon dioxide and other global warming gases from motor vehicles could harm human health and, if so, to regulate them under the Clean Air Act. But the court did not set a deadline for the agency, though EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson had set his own timeline for release by the end of 2007. That has still not happened.

Solar panels go to college
You may not remember this, but in 1979, President Jimmy Carter (below) installed solar panels on the roof of the White House West Wing.

The panels, which were used to heat water for the staff eating area, were a symbol of a new solar strategy, but in 1986, when the White House roof was being repaired, the panels were taken down. In 1990, the panels were retrieved from storage and brought to the environmentally minded Unity College in Maine. There, with help from Academy Award winning actress Glenn Close, the panels were refurbished and used to heat water in the cafeteria until they stopped working in 2005.

Now, a documentary film has been made about the panels, using them as a backdrop to explore American oil dependency and the political lack of will to pursue alternative energy. Swiss directors Christina Hemaner and Roman Keller follow the route of the panels in the hour-long film "A Road Not Taken."

Delegates go green
Massachusetts delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Colorado - billed as trying to be the most environmentally sustainable convention in history - are being asked to offset the pollution created by their travel, hotel, and food by replacing incandescent light bulbs in local low-income homes with far more efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. The program cuts down on carbon dioxide, the key global warming gas - and saves families money.

The program, announced last week, allows delegates to buy offsets from the local nonprofit company LiveCooler which then will team up with nonprofits in the delegate's community that work with low-income families in Worcester, Lowell, and Boston.

Each ton of offsets purchased for $15 allows the nonprofits to then buy about five long-lasting compact fluorescent lights to distribute to low-income families.

BETH DALEY

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