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Solutions Online - Environmental Issues and News

Solutions Online - Environmental Issues and News

Planning Sustainable Infrastructure Projects with Envision

Sustainability – have you ever heard the term and wondered, exactly what does that mean? The answer, it seems, depends on who you ask. Most definitions describe sustainability in terms of the “triple bottom line” of achieving the proper balance between social, environmental and economic needs ... Read More

How White Nose Syndrome in Bats Impacts Energy Development

Bat populations in the eastern U.S. and Canada have undergone drastic reductions in recent years due to the spread of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that affects the health and survival of bats. This article discusses the cause of the disease, the effects of ... Read More

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Tests Pacific Ocean’s Ecosystem

On Friday March 11, 2011, following a major earthquake, a 15-meter tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, causing a nuclear accident. All three reactor cores largely melted in the first three days, but were stabilized in the following weeks ... Read More

New Utility Facilities Should Undergo Noise Pollution Assessments

Laws and policies limiting the emission of pollutants In the United States often fall under the purview of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Congress originally intended the EPA to also have jurisdiction over noise pollution control when it passed the ... Read More

Public Outreach Critical to Transmission Line Routing Success

It’s an all too common scene. At a public meeting to present potential routes for a new and much-needed transmission line, the transmission line company representative and his consultant are getting raked over the coals by a landowner who is angry that one of ... Read More

El Nino Could Lead to Extreme U.S. Weather This Winter

Meteorologists and climatologists are collectively forecasting a strong El Nino for the winter of 2015-2016. Forecasts call for the strength of this winter's event to rival, if not surpass, the memorable El Nino that occurred in the winter of 1997-1998, which is the strongest on ... Read More

Drought Impacts Western U.S. Power Industry Diversification

A large portion of the Western United States has been in the grip of a historically significant drought for much of the last three years. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor, released on June 16, 2015, shows that the hardest hit areas include much of Southeast Oregon, western Nevada and Central/Northern California ... Read More

Impact of Solar Energy on Wildlife Is an Environmental Issue

As increasing numbers of renewable energy generation facilities are installed in the U.S., the realities of their operational impacts have sometimes been surprising. While renewables in general, and solar power in particular, have been touted as generally benign with regard to environmental impacts ... Read More

Enhanced Weather Forecasting to Boost Renewable Energy

Wind and solar energy output are highly variable since they are directly tied to fluctuations in weather conditions. One way to boost renewables production is to improve the accuracy of the weather forecasts used to predict the capacity factors of renewable energy generators. This challenge is now ... Read More

Climate Change Agreement Reached at U.N. Paris Conference

An historic agreement to address global climate change was reached in December 2015 by 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The overall goal of the agreement is to undertake actions to hold global ... Read More

No Free Lunch: The Environmental Impacts of Battery Production

Energy storage batteries, often seen as the key to wider deployment of cleaner renewable energy, are not usually the subject of much environmental debate. They can be used to power electric cars and store output from renewable electricity generation such as wind turbines and solar panels ... Read More

Courts, States Begin the Debate on 'Rights of Nature'

In 1972, Christopher Stone, a Harvard law professor, proposed the thoughtful rationale ‰ÛÏShould Trees Have Standing?‰Û to explore the topic of potential rights of nature from a legal perspective. He opined that rivers and trees and other ‰ÛÏobjects‰Û of nature have rights and that these should be ... Read More

Utilities Must Deal Effectively with Railroads

When it comes to bureaucracies, railroad companies operate in their own regulatory environment. They make their own rules regarding the issuance of permits for electric transmission line crossings of railroad tracks, immune from any statutory deadlines or political influences to act ... Read More

EPA’s Efforts to Combat Climate ChangeMoving to Oil ‰ÛÜ& Gas Industry

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which seeks to curb carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions from power plants, has gotten considerable news coverage recently. Another recent EPA initiative to combat climate change is not nearly as well known, despite the ... Read More

Using Treatment Wetlands to Filter Acid Waters Is Gaining Traction

EPA’s accidental release of 3 million gallons of acid mine drainage wastewater from the Gold King mine into the Animas and San Juan Rivers of Colorado last August highlighted the damage that acid mine drainage can reap on the environment. Beyond the political outrage that dominated ... Read More

New Lighting Detection Systems May Reduce Environmental Impact

Projects proposed for relatively remote or undeveloped areas, especially those involving very tall structures such as wind turbines, are required to install and operate lighting for aviation safety purposes. Typically, these are red lights that shine constantly or flash periodically during dark sky ... Read More

USACE Developments WillIncrease Wetland Permitting Delays

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the two federal agencies tasked with administration of the wetland provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA), have proposed a rule with a regulatory re-definition of ... Read More

National Parks Database Can Help withSoundscape Preservation

This year the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates its centennial, having been established by the passage of the “Organic Act” in 1916. According to the Organic Act, a main purpose of the NPS is to conserve “parks, monuments, and reservations” in such a manner that “will leave them ... Read More

EPA Turns Focus on Emissions Standards for U.S. Ports

Currently, U.S. ports’ emissions are regulated by the EPA and state governments with the goal of improving air quality in and around shipping inland and sea ports. In 2014, the EPA began a grant program aimed at helping U.S. ports reduce their harmful emissions and to improve air ... Read More

Green Infrastructure Approaches Help Mimic Natural Water Cycles

Green infrastructure is an approach to stormwater management that protects, restores or mimics the natural water cycle. Natural processes can be used to provide important services by protecting against flooding or excessive heat, or helping to improve air, soil and water quality. When nature is utilized ... Read More

A Brief History: Addressing Noise Pollution in the U.S.

During the beginning of the post-industrial revolution of the United States, there was a general lackluster and cavalier attitude towards the understanding of the acoustic sciences. Social misconception towards environmental noise usually remained until hearing loss prognoses ... Read More

Focus on Methane Reduction Spurs Leak Detection and Monitoring

Following the issuance of the Clean Power Plan, EPA’s well-publicized regulation aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from the power plants, the agency has shifted its focus to reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector in order to further reduce the anthropogenic contribution to global ... Read More