TipSheet

Dept. of Energy Focuses on Critical 'Rare Earth' Minerals

The new Critical Materials Strategy lays out the issues for 16 key materials used in the manufacture of components for electric vehicles, electronics, wind, solar, and lighting equipment — such as current and projected supply and demand, options for reducing supply and demand problems, alternative materials and product designs to explore, and implications for various international relationships.

Winter Farmers Markets Provide Hook for Many Ag Issues

The USDA says the number of winter farmers markets rose 38% from 2010 to 2011; 17% the year before. Coverage can include local foods, family-owned vs. corporate enterprises, validity of claims about being family-owned and/or local, food inspections, quality control, state, FDA and USDA regulations, immigration, unemployment, and career changes.

Feds Issue Regional Plans for Recreational Saltwater Fishing

NOAA Fisheries Service has developed an action plan for 6 coastal regions, plus a plan for highly migratory Atlantic species. Projects outlined in the plans will include a wide range of education and communication efforts, targeted fisheries improvements, altered management approaches, scientific studies, and improvements in social and economic data.

Long-Delayed Power Plant Toxics Regulations Due by Dec. 16

The EPA says the proposed rule would prevent about 17,000 premature deaths each year and hundreds of thousands of illnesses, and avoid substantial environmental damage. The agency estimates that for every $1 spent preventing the targeted pollution there would be health benefits ranging from $5 to $13, and additional environmental benefits.

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