News Picks

Friday, September 28, 2007

State Briefs

CALIFORNIA: Opponents of a proposed 150-megawatt peaker plant asked a federal judge Monday to block the Mirant Corp. project until after the federal government can set national standards for greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed Portrero power plant will only operate during peak power demand (Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle).

INDIANA: A growing number of religious congregations in the Indianapolis area are taking a greater interest in the environment, forming groups to encourage parishioners to recycle and delivering sermons on sustainable living (Robert King, Indianapolis Star).

IOWA: The Fort Madison factor, shuttered in 2001, reopened last week as Iowa's newest wind turbine manufacturing factory. The facility was bought by Siemens Power Generation and is the company's first wind turbine plant in the United States (William Ryberg, Des Moines Register, Sept. 22).

NORTH CAROLINA: Mecklenburg County's first-ever lawn watering ban goes into effect today. The ban in response to a severe drought that has hit the Charlotte area in recent months. The county is under mandatory water restrictions since Aug. 28, limiting watering to two days per week (Bruce Henderson, Charlotte Observer).

OREGON: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the Forest Service violated federal law when it approved the proposed expansion of the Mount Ashland ski area. The Oregon Natural Resources Council -- now called Oregon Wild -- sued the Forest Service after it approved the expansion in 2004 that would have required the clearing of forests. The court sided with the group, which contended the expansion would threaten the Pacific fisher, a sensitive species similar to a mink (Matthew Preusch, Portland Oregonian).

PENNSYLVANIA: A state environment official told state lawmakers Monday that Pennsylvania's hazardous-sites cleanup program is barely funded and will be completely broke by Dec. 31. Kathleen C. McGinty, the state's chief of environmental protection, said the program needed at least $40 million per year for its operations (Diane Mastrull, Philadelphia Inquirer).

SOUTH DAKOTA: The prairie dog population in eastern Fall River County was decimated by an outbreak of plague, officials reported this week. Plague has not been found in the Conata Basin near Badlands National Park, which is the site of the most successful reintroduction of black-footed ferret in the country (Steve Miller, Rapid City Journal).

UTAH: Hill Air Force Base will soon begin removing up to 1,800 cubic yards of soil from an area in base housing contaminated with PCBs. The removal of the tainted soil should be complete by mid-November (Joseph M. Dougherty, Salt Lake Deseret Morning News).

WYOMING: The Sage Grouse Implementation Team told Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) on Monday that Wyoming needs to impose restrictions on residential development in order to protect the sage grouse and its habitat (Billings Gazette).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some Good News for Aspiring Environmentalists

Newsweek reports that graduates of the class of 2007 are finding that being environmentally friendly is a growth industry.

As public awareness of global warming grows, companies are scrambling to put in place greener practices, to present themselves as more eco-friendly and to develop products and services to fill a new demand for all things green. The phenomenon is creating jobs in fields like urban planning, carbon trading, green building and environmental consulting. "The environmental job market is the strongest that it's been in many years," says Kevin Doyle, president of the Boston-based consulting company Green Economy Inc. But green jobs are growing especially quickly—at double-digit rates in some specialties, like consulting. The fastest-growing professions, according to Doyle's analysis of recent U.S. Department of Labor figures, include environmental engineers, hydrologists, environmental-health scientists and urban and regional planners."

Source: A Green Living Newsweek, Jul 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

International News Picks

AUSTRALIA: The New South Wales government announced Sunday it has permanently banned hosing pathways and daytime use of sprinklers due to the threat of global warming. The practices were temporarily banned during the state's long-running drought (Agence France-Presse, Sept. 16).

CHINA: The Chinese government will attach electronic identification labels to every barrel of drinking water in Beijing following a study that said almost half of the water used in coolers across the capital is unsafe, state media reported yesterday (Reuters).

PHILIPPINES: Scientists confirmed the discovery of a new breed of the flying fox fruit bat on the Philippine island of Mindoro, the government said Sunday. It will be known as the Mindoro Fruitbat (Reuters, Sept. 16).

SCOTLAND: RSBP Scotland said its staff and other bee enthusiasts discovered more than 10 colonies of threatened mining bees on the Uists islands (BBC News online, Sept. 12).

UKRAINE: The French consortium Novarka signed a contract yesterday to construct a steel shield over the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident for more than €430 million (Agence France-Presse).

UNITED KINGDOM: Construction crews are exploring the 500-acre Olympic site in London for unexploded bombs from World War II, adding time and expense to a project which already exceeds $19 billion in costs (Bryan Lysaght, Bloomberg, Sept. 13)

Environmentalism for All

Being a professional who has worked and lived in different regions of the midwest and east coast over the past few years, I've had opportunities to meet more people in the fields of environment protection and planning. I've been able to gain more insight about myself as well as about Americans of various races, creeds, and nationalities. As an African American, an environmentalist and as planner, I am consistently reminded of how few minorities there are in these fields. There's been significant talk and writing recently about the state of the environmental movement. Some have even gone so far as to call the movement "dead". Is this true? Have we seen the best of what environmentalism, smart growth and other movements has to offer? Full article here

Monday, September 17, 2007

State Briefs

ILLINOIS: The Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is asking researchers to survey kayakers and other boaters on the Chicago River to compare their rate of illness to those who use Lake Michigan or do not use either body of water. The study will determine whether there is a link between the sewage contamination of the river and any illnesses among the boaters (Michael Hawthorne, Chicago Tribune, Sept. 14).

MARYLAND: The state Board of Public Works pledged last week to increase the state government's use of ethanol and biodiesel-fueled vehicles and to triple its hybrid vehicle fleet by 2011. The new policy calls for 40 percent of new vehicle purchases over the next three years to run on biofuels (Andrew A. Green, Baltimore Sun, Sept. 13).

MINNESOTA: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency added 287 lakes and streams to its list of state waterways that are too polluted for human use, bringing the total to 1,469 (AP/St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Sept. 13).

NORTH CAROLINA: The Sierra Club praised the city of Raleigh last week for its adoption of energy-saving measures as part of its campaign against climate change. The city will begin using low-energy light bulbs in its buildings and will buy vehicles that run on alternative fuels to cut gasoline consumption and emissions (Wade Rawlins, Raleigh News & Observer, Sept. 13).

SOUTH CAROLINA: State water officials reported last week that they found trace amounts of tritium in private drinking water wells and a pond near the Chem-Nuclear waste landfill but said there is no public health risk (Susanne M. Schafer, Charlotte Observer, Sept. 14).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

World's 10 Most Polluted Places

See this feature from TIME Magazine:

Monday, September 10, 2007

The BICEP Bulletin, Few Comments But Much Satisfaction

I've been pretty busy lately doing some freelance research and editing. So this is my first opportunity to post in several days.

It was pointed out to me recently by someone that, while they found the BICEP Bulletin very interesting, the blog gets few comments. They asked me do I ever get discouraged, or do I find confirmation elsewhere that the blog is useful. (See comment here). I appreciate the question because, of course, people who take the time, effort and trouble to create and maintain a blog like mine wants it to be useful. Also, it given me the opportunity to evaluate my vision, mission, goals and objectives for myself and the Bulletin. Thankfully, I can say that while comments are few, I gain satisfaction from the effort for several good reasons.

First of all, I'm exercising my 1st amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. I think that most Americans and citizens of other democratic/constitutional nations can identify with this. I'm proud that I have the opportunity to express my thoughts and opinions openly, unlike generations of my African American ancestors.

Secondly, this is great skill building exercise. I'm sharpening my research, writing and critical thinking skills. I'm building on my current expertise and gaining new base knowledge on many topics and subjects. Continuing educating in whatever form is important to me. Also, I've been able to promote myself as a freelance writer, researcher and editor. And who doesn't need to make a little extra cash?

Third, on your side of the blogosphere, you may not see many comments on the Bulletin. But, using tools like Site Meter and Feed Burner, I can track site traffic and know that people are reading or visiting the BICEP Bulletin daily. I have a few subscribers and the blog often produces visits by people doing Google searches. Big shout out to my subscribers (all 15 of you)! Thanks a ton for reading!

Finally, I like to think of the BICEP Bulletin as a form of public service. My main mission is to be be an advocate for responsible environmental management and promote the inclusion of minority groups in the community planning process.

Well, there you have it. I hope that this helps readers to understand why I do what I do and maybe get to know me a little better. I love to get comments from you. But I also get great pleasure from the fact that I can make some sort of mark on the practice of community & environmental planning. Thanks for reading and come back real soon!


George Jackson
Editor & Chief Contributor
The BICEP Bulletin
Blog for Innovation in Community & Environmental Planning

Friday, September 7, 2007

Floodplain and Stormwater Conference, October 25

The Maryland Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers will host their conference on October 25 in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. For more information, please see the registration form.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Climate Change is Affecting Arctic Business

Listen to NPR's Steve Inskeep, do this story titled Arctic Businesses Learn to Adapt to Climate Change

By the way. One of my favorite shows this summer was Ice Road Truckers that airs on the History Channel. ICE ROAD TRUCKERS charts two months in the lives of six extraordinary men who haul vital supplies to diamond mines over frozen lakes that double as roads. The livelihood of many depends on these tenuous roads, which through the years have been responsible for the deaths of dozens of men.If you haven't seen it, you should check it out. You can probably get a schedule of replays at