E.P.A. to Regulate Climate Changing Gases

I had the privilege of working with Mr. Ruckelshaus many years ago when I was BFI…It was my pleasure to spend time with him on a project in New Jersey and listen to his presentation at Princeton University on Sustainability.

First, let me make it clear that neither Mr. Ruckelshaus or Mr. Reilly are, in our modern decisive parlance, left wing environmentalists…whatever that really means. Both are serious environmental policy experts. One I knew personally (albeit for a short time) and the other I know by reputation.

Clean Air ActI think that their comments on Climate Change, and their agreement with President Obama on this issue are best summed up with this line from their recent OP-ED piece in the New York Times.

“Congress’s failure to take any meaningful action requires the E.P.A. to act with the only tool it has – the Clean Air Act. Once the agency determined that carbon dioxide posed a risk to public health, as it did in 2009, the agency was required to act to reduce that risk, under a 2007 Supreme Court ruling.”

The facts in the matter of air pollution controls continuously support action to reduce pollution. These actions have been shown time and again to be more than cost effective in both narrowly defined economic terms and broadly viewed economic terms.

Read the full article:
Why Obama Is Right on Clean Energy
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.


Yet Another Example of Fiscal and Environmental Mis-Management

As noted, we each pay a fee of $1.50 per tire to help pay for the proper disposal of old tire. Each year, this fee generates $9.2 million according to The Record.

You would think that this would be more than enough money to clean up the now new and growing tire problem. But, it seems that both prior and current administrations haven’t seen a pot of money that it does not like for whatever purpose it deems necessary…In this case, almost all of the money generated from 2005-2015 went for snow removal.

Now, as a matter of public policy, I generally agree with the proposition that the administration should have flexibility to move money in emergencies based on public need. However, hit seems that in this matter (and others as I have written), money is moved as a matter of convenience.

Here is the sequence…

  1. The money is dedicated to a fund to clean up tire.
  2. The administration does not allow the money to be spent on the dedicated program.
  3. The administration declares the money unused and allows it to be transferred to the general fund.

The result? tire piles growing and no money to pay for the clean up.


This is simply poor public policy.

Read the full article:
N.J. losing ground in fight against dumping of tire


Synthetic Turf; Safe or Unsafe?

There have been a number of concerns raised about synthetic turf on athletic fields as to its impact on the health of the user. As we are in football season, it seems timely that we should look at this again.

First, understand that there is no absolute proof based on any known studies that can link any dangerous health effects to playing on synthetic turf. Also, it is true that synthetic turf does allow us to use recycled tires in the form of crumb rubber in the cushioning of the fields. But, the lingering questions of health must trump recycling.

Synthetic Turf

Notwithstanding which facts are correct, I still cannot understand why we rip up natural grass to put down artificial turf in our colleges, high schools and playing fields. Oh, I understand the cost elements and the durability arguments…I just don’t agree with them.

Study after study shows that we can grow natural turf fields using compost and proper aeration programs that:

  1. Reduce water and pesticide use.
  2. Hold up to heavy traffic.
  3. Allow people to play on real grass.
  4. Offer the added benefits of using living plants and creating a drainage area for water that is natural and effective.

So, why should we risk anyone’s health on an unknown when we can use a natural and effective alternative?

Read the full article:
Link Between Synthetic Turf Fields and Student Athlete Illnesses Considered


Apple Becomes a Green Energy Supplier

When she still worked in New Jersey, I had the pleasure of working with Lisa Jackson of Apple from time to time. Lisa was, and remains, a person who can take complex environmental issues and turn them into ideas that make sense.

Green Energy SupplierNow we see that Apple, where Lisa ended up after her stint at EPA…has implemented a solar and renewable energy program where they not only generate electrical power that they need, but buy it as well. To my mind, that has always been one of the potential beauties of solar power. Become your own power producer.

The most impressive element of this program is not that Apple is actually listening to an expert in sustainability from within, but that they have taken this concept and made it in the context of a business decision. Specifically, by becoming a green energy supplier, they are going to save money as well as generate clean power.

The decision means that they can continue to do well while doing some good.

Read the full article:
Apple Becomes a Green Energy Supplier, With Itself as Customer
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.