TipSheet

Refrigerant Chemicals Can Be Good for Ozone Layer, Bad for Climate

A new United Nations Environment Programme report offers recommendations to help make refrigerants less of a greenhouse gas problem, while still addressing ozone concerns. Get tips here on how your reporting on this issue can range from the local to the global scale.

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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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BLM Says 9 Western States Have Worthy Wilderness Areas

Designating lands as wilderness or some other highly protected status always is contentious, but the BLM has identified 24 areas in 9 western states the agency says have significant local support for this idea: CA (9 areas), CO (3), ID (1), MT (1), NM (2), NV (2), OR (2), UT (3), and WA (1).

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Feds Announce Offshore Oil and Gas Target Areas

Offshore oil and gas drilling from 2012-2017 would be focused in the western and central Gulf of Mexico and off the shores of northern and southern Alaska, if the Dept. of Interior's proposed plan and draft programmatic environmental impact statement, released Nov. 8, 2011, are accepted as is. A 60-day public comment period ends Jan. 9, 2012.

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Deadlines for Plans To Reduce Regional Haze Finally Established

On Nov. 9, 2011, EPA signed a consent decree that requires the agency to receive from and approve a State Implementation Plan for DC, VI, and 43 states that don't have a fully approved one. Each state can determine how it wants to reduce haze. In some cases, the plan will rely on actions already taken, such as reductions in emissions from power plants or vehicles.

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Feds Try To Nudge 100 "Great Outdoors" Projects Toward Completion

The chosen include 24 improving recreational access to rivers and waterways; 23 to construct new trails or improve recreation sites; 20 to create and enhance urban parks; 13 to conserve significant landscapes; and 11 to establish new national wildlife refuges; national park units, etc.

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BLM Releases Supplement to Draft PEIS for Large-Scale Solar

The agency says the remaining 17 sites covering ~285,000 acres in six states have the best solar gain and energy transmission traits, the fewest conflicts with environmental, cultural, and historic resources, and the best compatibility with each state's efforts. Public meetings commence Nov 30 and a 90-day public comment period ends Jan. 27, 2012. A variance process could be used to approve additional solar development elsewhere.

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