Wednesday, December 23, 2009

EPA Releases Annual Enforcement Results & Mapping Tool

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released enforcement results for fiscal year 2009, and has developed a new Web-based tool and interactive map that allows the public to get detailed information by location about the enforcement actions taken at approximately 4,600 facilities.

In FY2009, EPA concluded enforcement actions requiring polluters to invest more than $5 billion on pollution controls, cleanup, and environmental projects. Civil and criminal defendants committed to install controls and take other measures to reduce pollution by approximately 580 million pounds annually once all required controls are fully implemented.

The new mapping tool allows the public to view the locations of facilities that were the subject of those enforcement actions on interactive maps of the U.S. and territories. The maps show facilities where civil enforcement actions were taken for environmental laws for air, water, and land pollution, and a separate map shows criminal enforcement actions.

Viewers can click on specific facilities to find historical information about specific enforcement actions, such as violations and monetary penalties. In addition, viewers can use the zoom function to find out which facilities are located near water bodies that are listed as "impaired” because they do not meet federal water quality standards.

EPA mapped the locations of more than 90 percent of the facilities that were the subject of enforcement actions last year. EPA did not map the locations of drinking water treatment plants due to potential security concerns.

For the past 10 years, EPA has described annual enforcement results by focusing primarily on two measures, the estimated pounds of pollutants reduced and estimated cost of commitments made by defendants to control or reduce pollution. These measures vary significantly from year to year and are dependent upon the number of large cases that settle in a given year.

While these large cases are a vital part of our work to protect public health and improve compliance, they do not reflect the totality of the annual environmental enforcement activities, and do not capture the number and variety of enforcement actions taken to help clean up local communities. The new mapping tool will help increase transparency, improve access to data, and provide the public with the bigger picture of enforcement activity occurring in communities around the country.

More information

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sustain Magazine Promotes Green Urbanism

The latest issue of Sustain Magazine reflects current thinking in the area of green urbanism and urban sustainability in our cities. The issue features seven perspectives on the ideal city in terms of policy and planning. This publication (co-edited by John Gilderbloom and Matt Hanka) presents American and Dutch analysis on a range of topics including: equitable development; downtown revitalization; the benefits of bicycling; neighborhood planning; urban morphology; creating aculture of tolerance; and reducing carbon emissions.

Sustain Magazine is a peer reviewed publication, and it is produced by the Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development (KIESD). Formed by the University of Louisville in 1992, KIESD provides thegeneral public and the research community statewide with the tools andthe space to work towards a brighter future. The Institute if a forum for conducting interdisciplinary research, applied scholarly analysis, public service and educational outreach on environmental and sustainabledevelopment issues at the local, state, national and internationallevels.

Sustain Magazine of KIESD

Sustainable Communities Issue

Monday, November 23, 2009

Professor Taylor Explores History of Environmental Justice in American Cities in New Book

A new book from a University of Michigan professor explores how the centuries-old connections between racism and the environment in American cities.

"The Environment and the People in American Cities, 1600s-1900s: Disorder, Inequality, and Social Change" was written by Dorceta Taylor, left, a professor at the School of Natural Resources and Environment and director of an institute studying the issue of environmental justice its modern context. Duke University Press plans to release the book this month.

"The Environment and the People in American Cities" provides a sweeping and detailed examination of the evolution of American cities from Colonial New York and Boston to recent urban planning and labor reform efforts, outlining the rise of problems like overcrowding, pollution, poverty and epidemics and connecting them to systemic environmental racism and other forms of environmental inequities.

In its coverage of race, class and gender inequalities, the book includes a dimension missing from other academic books on environmental history. Professor Taylor adds to current research on the subject by exploring the emergence of elite reformers, the framing of environmental problems and the responses to perceived breakdowns in social order. By focusing specifically on cities, she offers important clues to understanding the evolution of American environmental activism.

Beyond the contribution to historical literature on the subject, Professor Taylor connects her findings to current issues in environmental policy. The book grew out of an undergraduate class on environmental politics Professor Taylor taught more than a decade ago. After finding no books or articles examining race, class or gender and the environment in a historical context, she decided to write her own. The project eventually grew into two books.

While all-male expeditions and solitary males who retreat to the woods for months or years at a time are idealized in many environmental history accounts, the urban activists receive no such acclaim or glory," she said, noting that female, working class and ethnic minorities were active in environmental activism and affairs. "In the city, the classes, races and genders interacted with each other to create a kind of environmentalism that was very fluid and dynamic.

Throughout her analysis, she connects social and environmental conflicts of the past to those of the present. She describes the displacement of people of color for the production of natural open space for the white and wealthy; the close proximity between garbage and communities of color in early America; the "cozy" relationship between middle-class environmentalists and the business community; and resistance to environmental inequalities from residents of marginal communities.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Official First Family Photograph

The Obamas in the Green Room, Sept. 1, 2009, with Sasha, second from left, and Malia, right. (Annie Leibovitz for the White House)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Illinois River Is Heavily Polluted According To New Report

According to a new report published by the Sierra Club, "Wasting Our Waterways," the Illinois River ranked 11th in the country for most toxin chemicals released. The report used the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to analyze the impact on U.S. waterways.

According to TRI, more than 230 million pounds of toxins were discharged into American water in 2007. That includes 8.8 million pounds in all of Illinois, and 3.9 million pounds in the Illinois River. Four of the 12 highest-ranked rivers are in this state, although several of them travel through other states as well. And TRI does not include agricultural uses or sewage treatment plants. (, 10/21/09)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

AAEA Opens Chicago Office

AAEA has reestablished its presence in Chicago, Illinois.

The Chicago Office for the Midwest Region will not only cover issues in the city and surrounding areas, it will also address regional environmental and energy issues.

We are excited about reestablishing in the hometown of Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama.

We look forward to a productive future as we work to mitigate environmental issues in this region.

Sandrea O'Dette McDonald upper right, is Director of the Chicago Office.