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Improving Chemical Safety: A Baby Step in the Right Direction Improving Chemical Safety A Baby Step in the Right Direction (07/17/2014)
On Friday, June 6, the interagency working group (comprised of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security), released its report. The report, Actions to Improve Chemical Safety and Security: A Shared Commitment, presents policy options for ensuring better coordination among oversight agencies, more robust involvement of communities in planning, filling regulatory gaps, and suggests best practices and voluntary guidance in the use and storage of toxic chemicals by the businesses that use them. Though useful recommendations and a good start, these are baby steps.

151 New England Buildings compete in EPA's 5th Annual Energy Star Battle of the Buildings (07/16/2014)
BOSTON -- More than 150 buildings across New England have entered the 2014 Energy Star Battle of the Buildings: Team Challenge. The competition specifically targets wasted energy in commercial buildings, and will motivate businesses to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon pollution, and save money. "The competitive spirit is alive and well among the New England building teams trying to improve their energy efficiency in this year's Battle of the Buildings," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "After four successful years, we're excited to see what innovative ideas will emerge from the competitors as they continue to find new ways to save energy, save money, and protect the environment." In the only coast-to-coast competition of its kind, more than 5,500 buildings nationwide are going head-to-head to reduce their energy use. This year's theme, Team Challenge, features teams of five or more buildings who will work together to reduce their collective energy use over the course of a year. For example, Team Staples includes 17 Staples stores and Team Whole Foods Market includes 15 Whole Foods stores.

EPA Proposes to Replace and Reduce Harmful Greenhouse Gases (07/14/2014)
WASHINGTON -- Today, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to prohibit the use of certain chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change where safer, more climate-friendly alternatives exist. This is the agency's second action aimed at reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases, under President Obama's Climate Action Plan. This action is estimated to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 42 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020, equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual electricity use of more than five million homes. "President Obama called on us to take action against potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Today, we are issuing a new proposal that builds on the innovative work businesses across the country have already made to reduce and replace some of the most harmful chemicals with safer, more climate-friendly alternatives that are available and on the market today," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "This action will not only result in significant reductions of harmful greenhouse gases, but it will also encourage businesses to continue bringing safer alternatives to market."

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