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    PNS Weekend Update - December 20, 20140 


    Among the stories on our weekend rundown; Cuba and a cyber attack top of mind for President Obama; an update from a state that just got a big boost in the fight against hunger; and no matter the weather your Christmas can still be green.

Environment

PHOTO: No longer a scary sight? Utah's economy may benefit from lower gas prices, but climate and air quality may take a hit if Americans are driving more. Photo courtesy of Calif. Environmental Protection Agency.

SALT LAKE CITY - Low gas prices may be helping the economy by giving Americans some extra money in their pockets, but they may also have an unfortunate side effect. More driving means worse air quality, in Utah and across the nation, according to Dr. Brian Moench, president, Utah Physicians for a H ...Read More

PHOTO: While it's hard not to let the children tear into the wrapping paper, experts say saving it for another use, or recycling it where possible, is just one way to reduce the impact of the holiday on the environment. Photo credit: earl53/morguefile.com.

LANSING, Mich. - While many Michiganders are still hoping for a white Christmas, others would prefer folks keep it as "green" as possible by taking steps to reduce the holiday's impact on the environment. Kerrin O'Brien, executive director with the Michigan Recycling Coalition says no one wants thei ...Read More

PHOTO: A new coalition of venture capitalists has formed to encourage more protected public land. Its members say beautiful places with recreational opportunities are attracting entrepreneurs and skilled workers that boost local economies. Photo of Lake Berryessa courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Dept. of the Interior.

SAN FRANCISCO — There's a link between successful start-ups and the great outdoors - and members of a new national coalition say it's a profitable one that should be encouraged. Some of the investment and venture capital firms in the "Conservation for Economic Growth Coalition" are California ...Read More

PHOTO: Arizona's energy-efficiency standard, which requires utilities to reduce their overall energy usage by 22 percent by the year 2020, could be removed if the Arizona Corporation Commission approves a proposal it's considering tomorrow. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.

PHOENIX - The Arizona Corporation Commission is scheduled to hear a proposal tomorrow that would basically end the mandatory energy-efficiency standards for utilities in the state. That's according to Diane Brown, executive director, Arizona Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). She says the ener ...Read More

PHOTO: As part of the EPA's 'Local Foods, Local Places' initiative, Rutherford County was able to relocate its farmers' market to the Florence Mill property in Forest City. Photo courtesy of NC Extension Service

ROCKY MOUNT, N. C. — Christmas came early this month for the community of Rocky Mount. It will receive assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a new farmers' market and develop urban community gardens at former brownfield sites. It's part of the agency's Local F ...Read More

PHOTO: New York Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens presented Gov. Cuomo and his Cabinet with their reports recommending a continued ban on fracking for natural gas. Photo Credit: Office of the Governor.

ALBANY, N.Y. - In a long-awaited announcement, the administration of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday ruled the potential health and environmental risks of fracking for natural gas are too great and not enough is known about them to allow it in New York. In extending a de facto ban on using ...Read More

PHOTO: Rice growing in a field. The California Air Resources Board is considering the state's first agricultural protocol for the cap and trade program. It would allow rice farmers to generate offsets to sell in California’s carbon market, providing a new source of revenue for growers while contributing to the state’s clean-air goals. Photo credit: Matthew Grimm, Environmental Defense Fund.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Rice farming in California is entering a new era. The Air Resources Board is considering a proposal to allow rice farmers to generate offsets to sell in the state's cap-and-trade market. The program will allow rice farmers to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions while creating new r ...Read More

MAP: A recent study identified 29 coal-ash sites statewide. Environmental advocates hope new regulations expected this week will help keep them in check. Map courtesy of Michigan Clean Water Action.

LANSING, Mich. - New federal regulations expected this week could change the way Michigan and other states deal with coal ash, which environmental advocates say is long overdue. Coal ash is the byproduct of burning coal and contains poisonous chemicals such as arsenic, lead and mercury, which are k ...Read More

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