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8 U.S. States Create an Alliance to Put 3.3 Million Zero-Emission Vehicles on the Road

Source: Treehugger

By: Michael Graham Richard 

The future of motorized transportation is electric, there’s no doubt about that (I write “motorized” because there’s all kinds of other ways to get around, like walking, biking, transit, etc). What’s in question is how fast the transition will take place. There are various ways to accelerate things and wean ourselves off from oil and move to the much better combo of electric vehicles + a progressively cleaner power grid. Government incentives for plug-in buyers are one way to do things, and while some will complain about them, the amounts spent there are tiny compared to all the direct and indirect government support that the oil and auto industry have received over the past 100 years. There’s lots of opportunity to actually scale up support for EVs and scale back support for oil.

The latest initiative that would make the transition to zero-emission vehicles faster comes from an alliance of 8 U.S. states: California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Together they add up to about 1/4 of the United States’ new car sales. They have recently unveiled an action plans that details how they intend to encourage the sale of at least 3.3 million ZEVs by 2025.

The plan is divided in 3 parts:

Build the market

  • Promote the availability and effective marketing of ZEVs
  • Encourage private fleets to acquire ZEVs
  • Promote planning and investment in ZEV infrastructure
  • Increase the number of ZEVs in government vehicle fleets

 

Provide consistent codes, standards and tracking

  • Remove barriers to charging station installation
  • Provide clear and uniform signage
  • Track and report progress toward the 3.3 million vehicle goal

 

Improve the experience

  • Promote workplace charging
  • Provide consumer incentives for the purchase of ZEVs
  • Remove barriers to retail sale of electricity as vehicle fuel
  • Promote access and compatibility for charging networks

 

Some of the incentives could be things like access to the carpool/HOV lane, which are non-monetary but still quite valuable.

The states will also ‘lead by example’ by buying ZEVs for their government fleets. Together they have huge buying power, so this can help drive further economies of scale for EV and PHEV makers, benefiting everybody.

“Creating a strong and robust market for zero emission vehicles is critically important to the success of clean-energy technologies, and I am proud that New York is joining these other states to make that a reality,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Here in New York, we will be supporting that effort through the Charge NY initiative by installing 3,000 electric vehicle charging stations – vital to the growth of a completely wired Northeast Corridor – and I am hopeful that more States will join this collaborative effort and help pave the way for the clean transportation options of the future.”

“Today, we’re putting a foot on the pedal to get more clean cars on the road,” said California Governor Jerry Brown. “This is real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

You can read the ZEV plan here (pdf).

Weston Selected for Unique Solar Program

Contact: Gayle Weinstein
gweinstein@westonct.gov
(203) 222-2656

Solarize Program Offers Discounts of Up to 20%, Kick-Off Workshop on
May Tues 13

Weston, CT —The Town of Weston has been selected to participate in a unique
solar discount program that makes going solar easy and affordable. The Solarize
Weston program will kick off with a workshop on Tuesday May 13, 7:00-8:30pm at
the Library Community Room on 56 Norfield Road in Weston where residents can
learn about the program and meet their pre-selected solar installer, Renewable
Resources, Inc. The town will join 11 other communities in Phase 4 of Solarize
Connecticut and expects to more than double the amount of solar currently in
Weston over the 20-week program. Also participating in the program are
Bloomfield, Brookfield, East Lyme, Essex, Farmington, a coalition of Haddam and
Killingworth, Montville, Simsbury, Tolland and Torrington.

Solarize is a unique program offered by CEFIA in partnership with SmartPower that
increases residential solar through a proven formula. It leverages group discounts
through a pre-selected installer to reduce the cost of solar; it relies on the
community to provide outreach and education to create awareness and build
interest, and it promotes a clear end date that motivates residents to act. Over the
past several weeks town officials have been interviewing installers and announced
recently they have formally selected Renewable Resources, Inc. to be part of Solarize
Weston program and do all of Weston’s solar installations.

First Selectman Gayle Weinstein commented: “We are very pleased to have been
selected for Solarize CT. Our town takes pride in supporting initiatives that offer
both environmental and economic benefits. Solarize will provide our residents with
the opportunity to reduce their energy costs, make Weston a cleaner place to live,
and support local jobs. Town administration and support staff are committed to
working with residents and our selected Solarize contractor to make the program a
success.”

Would you drive less for the bike of your dreams?

Source: Treehugger

By: A.K. Streeter

 

© Testcyklisterna

Some people have a problem spending a lot of money for a great bike – especially if it is ‘just’ for transportation. That’s not surprising – it’s partly a result of the ‘bikes are toys’ idea that has stuck with us since the 1940’s, and partly the result of low-price, lower-quality big box store bikes.

Yet if you want a good bike that you love to ride every day and that does the duties you need it to, you can’t necessarily hope to find that bikey greatness at Wal-Mart.

Convincing people that bikes are good transportation tools is one reason why the Swedish Energy Department, the Sustainable Sweden NGO and seven municipalities of West Sweden decided to basically give people the bikes of their dreams…and get them to promise to use them.

The program, called Test Cyclists, has a goal to inspire people to use bikes for transportation, and for the health and environmental benefits cycling entails. Not a novel concept, but still a lovely implementation – much nicer than a saddle cover or a workshop on commuting or even a car-free day.

Test Cyclists has chosen five families in each of the seven municipalities to get a bike that suits their riding styles and their needs. The chosen families got support and advice on choosing a bike and how to make the experience practical. The lucky recipients of the new bikes have to commit to replace their car trips with bike trips at a minimum of three days a week from April through October of this year. The test cyclists also agree to fill out a survey at the end of the test time and to undergo medical exams at the beginning and end.

The one downside: The beautiful bikes – folding bikes, e-bikes, cargo bikes, family cargo bikes – are considered a loan.

One critic of the program says Sweden’s bike infrastructure is inadequate and getting 35 new transportation riders won’t change that one bit. The only way to get many people biking, this blogger says, is to make biking easier than car driving.

That may well be true. Would you drive less for six months’ loan of a dream bike?

Some people have a problem spending a lot of money for a great bike – especially if it is ‘just’ for transportation. That’s not surprising – it’s partly a result of the ‘bikes are toys’ idea that has stuck with us since the 1940’s, and partly the result of low-price, lower-quality big box store bikes.

Yet if you want a good bike that you love to ride every day and that does the duties you need it to, you can’t necessarily hope to find that bikey greatness at Wal-Mart.

Convincing people that bikes are good transportation tools is one reason why the Swedish Energy Department, the Sustainable Sweden NGO and seven municipalities of West Sweden decided to basically give people the bikes of their dreams…and get them to promise to use them.

The program, called Test Cyclists, has a goal to inspire people to use bikes for transportation, and for the health and environmental benefits cycling entails. Not a novel concept, but still a lovely implementation – much nicer than a saddle cover or a workshop on commuting or even a car-free day.

Test Cyclists has chosen five families in each of the seven municipalities to get a bike that suits their riding styles and their needs. The chosen families got support and advice on choosing a bike and how to make the experience practical. The lucky recipients of the new bikes have to commit to replace their car trips with bike trips at a minimum of three days a week from April through October of this year. The test cyclists also agree to fill out a survey at the end of the test time and to undergo medical exams at the beginning and end.

The one downside: The beautiful bikes – folding bikes, e-bikes, cargo bikes, family cargo bikes – are considered a loan.

One critic of the program says Sweden’s bike infrastructure is inadequate and getting 35 new transportation riders won’t change that one bit. The only way to get many people biking, this blogger says, is to make biking easier than car driving.

That may well be true. Would you drive less for six months’ loan of a dream bike?

Bike to Work Day is May 16

Source: HartfordBusiness.com

Hartford nonprofit Bike Walk Connecticut is organizing this year’s Bike to Work Day on May 16.

The organization will help put together more than 20 breakfasts and events throughout the state, including the Hartford gathering event at 8 a.m. at the Old State House.

Riders will include Rob Klee, commissioner of the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection; State Sen. Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), and Kathleen Lewis, deputy director of the state Department of Public Health.

State agencies are participating in a Commissioner’s Cup challenge to see which department has the most workers biking on May 16.

For information on specific events, visit www.bikewalkct.org.

Toxics Across America: Report Details 120 Hazardous, Unregulated Chemicals in the U.S.

Source: EcoWatch

By Alissa Sasso, Environmental Defense Fund 

Recent spills in West Virginia and North Carolina cast a spotlight on toxic hazards in our midst. But as bad as they are, these acute incidents pale in scope compared to the chronic flow of hazardous chemicals coursing through our lives each day with little notice and minimal regulation.

new report by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Toxics Across America, tallies billions of pounds of chemicals in the American marketplace that are known or strongly suspected to cause increasingly common disorders, including certain cancers, developmental disabilities and infertility.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 9.04.40 AM

While it’s no secret that modern society consumes huge amounts of chemicals, many of them dangerous, it is surprisingly difficult to get a handle on the actual numbers. And under current law it’s harder still to find out where and how these substances are used, though we know enough to establish that a sizeable share of them end up in one form or another in the places where we live and work.

The new report looks at 120 chemicals that have been identified by multiple federal, state and international officials as known or suspected health hazards. Using the latest—albeit limited—data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the report identifies which of these chemicals are in commerce in the U.S.; in what amounts they are being made; which companies are producing or importing them; where they are being produced or imported; and how they are being used. An interactive online map accompanying the report lets the user access the report’s data and search by chemical, by company, by state and by site location.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 9.02.38 AM
An image of the interactive, searchable map of the U.S., showing sites of production or import of the MTS List chemicals. One additional site in Hawaii is not shown. The dot colors reflect the number of MTS List chemicals reported at each site. Click on image to access the map.

Among the findings:

  • At least 81 of the chemicals on the list are produced or imported to the U.S. annually in amounts of 1 million pounds or more.
  • At least 14 chemicals exceed 1 billion pounds produced or imported annually, including carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene, and the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A—or BPA.
  • More than 90 chemicals on the list are found in consumer and commercial products. At least eight chemicals are used in children’s products.

The interactive map shows these chemicals are produced or imported in all parts of the country, in 45 states as well as the Virgin Islands. Companies with sites in Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York reported producing or importing at least 40 listed chemicals.

While the report shows how deeply toxic chemicals are embedded in U.S. commerce, the chemicals identified represent just part of the story. Companies making or importing up to 12-and-a-half tons of a chemical at a given site do not need to report at all. Others claim their chemical data is confidential business information, masking it from public disclosure. The EPA only collects the data every four years, and chemical companies often don’t know and aren’t required to find out where or how the chemicals they make are being used.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 9.04.13 AM

Most Americans assume that somebody is regulating these chemicals to make sure we’re safe.  In fact, thanks to gaping loopholes in federal law, officials are virtually powerless to limit even chemicals—such as those featured in the report—we know or have good reason to suspect are dangerous. Because none of us has the power to avoid them on our own, we need stronger safeguards that protect us from the biggest risks and give companies that use these chemicals a reason to look for better alternatives.

The good news is that Congress is working on bipartisan legislation that—if done right—would require greater evidence of safety for both chemicals already in use and new chemicals before they enter the market.  And by driving development of and access to more chemical safety data, it would give not only government but also product makers and consumers much more of the information they need to identify and avoid dangerous chemicals, and strengthen incentives to develop safer alternatives.

ACTION ALERT Connecticut’s Children Need Your Help!

Source: Jerry Silbert

THE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MAY DEFEAT THE BILL TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM TOXIC LAWN PESTICIDES

Dear Friends,

We have reached a critical moment in the fight to protect Connecticut’s children from exposure to toxic lawn pesticides.  Planning and Development Committee will be deciding whether to approve of a bill (SB-68) that will ban the use of toxic lawn pesticides from Connecticut’s K-12 schools, and parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and municipal greens – places where our children are commonly exposed to toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer, birth defects, and abnormal brain development.  THE VOTE WILL BE CLOSE.

Children are among the most vulnerable when it comes to toxic chemical exposure.  We must do everything we can to protect them.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Email the members of the P&D Committee (you can copy and paste the attached list into your email) with this simple message – or one in your own heartfelt words. You can put “Vote for SB-68 in the subject line. Tell them put our children first.  Protect Connecticut’s children from exposure to toxic lawn pesticides and vote for SB-68.  Other towns have successfully converted their fields to nontoxic care. So can yours.

 

Planning and Development email list:

 

Matthew.Ritter@cga.ct.govJason.Rojas@cga.ct.govJoe.Diminico@cga.ct.gov;
Bill.Aman@cga.ct.govTom.Vicino@cga.ct.govMae.Flexer@cga.ct.gov;
Brian.Sear@cga.ct.gov;sam.belsito@housegop.ct.gov;
christopher.davis@housegop.ct.govbill.simanski@housegop.ct.gov;
Vincent.Candelora@housegop.ct.govMary.Fritz@cga.ct.gov;
Noreen.Kokoruda@housegop.ct.govLonnie.Reed@cga.ct.gov;
Linda.Gentile@cga.ct.govAuden.Grogins@cga.ct.govDan.Fox@cga.ct.gov;
Cassano@senatedems.ct.govOsten@senatedems.ct.govLen.Fasano@cga.ct.gov;

 

Calls to the members are effective.  Just go down the list and call as many as you can.

 

first name last name home city capitol phone senator/representative
Steve Cassano Manchester 800-842-8267 Senator
Mary Fritz Yalesville 800-842-8267 Representative
Brian Sear Canterbury 800-842-8267 Representative
Catherine Osten Baltic 800-842-8267 Senator
Linda Gentile Ansonia 800-842-8267 Representative
Jason Rojas East Hartford 800-842-8267 Representative
Joe Diminico Manchester 860-240-8585 Representative
Mae Flexer Danielson 860-240-8585 Representative
Daniel Fox Stamford 860-240-8585 Representative
Auden Grogins Bridgeport 800-842-8267 Representative
Lonnie Reed Branford 860-240-8500 Representative
Matthew Ritter Hartford 860-240-8585 Representative
Thomas Vicino Clinton 860-240-8585 Representative
William Aman South Windsor 860-240-8700 Representative
Sam Belsito Tolland 860-240-8700 Representative
Vincent Candelora North Branford 860-240-8700 Representative
Christopher Davis Hartford 860-240-8700 Representative
Leonard Fasano North Haven 860-240-8824 Senator
Noreen Kokoruda Madison 860-240-8768 Representative
Bill Simanski Granby 860-240-8700 Representative

 

We want the P&D committee to do what is best for the children of Connecticut, but we need to make sure they know what we want.

 

THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION.

TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!