Organic Consumers Association

Senators Want to Bolster Research of Organic Agriculture

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A pair of U.S. senators is introducing legislation designed to improve organic farming research.

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine say their legislation would reauthorize and incrementally increase funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative.

Plastic Straw Ban Measure Passes Second Reading

KAILUA-KONA — The food industry can be fickle, its purveyors’ profit margins precarious. As such, in the restaurant business, every cent really does count.

That’s one of several arguments trade organizations such as the Hawaii Restaurant Association and the Hawaii Food Industry Association use to oppose Senate Bill 2285, which would ban the use of plastic straws throughout the state and slap offenders with fines as well as community service, namely trash details in littered public spaces.These groups say it’s the bottom lines of small restaurant businesses the proposed regulation would hit hardest.

UH West OʻAhu Hosting Sustainable Ag Conference

About 400 educators, administrators, graduate and undergraduate students and others in involved in farmer training in North America are expected to attend a sustainable agriculture conference at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu this summer. The conference will highlight models of higher education that represent indigenous knowledge, engage critical political-ecological analysis and train future generations to achieve food system resilience and equity.

Ecological Risks High for Offshore Oil Drilling Near Georgia

The ecological risks of drilling for oil off the Georgia coast are huge, and the potential economic payoff small, according to environmental groups and scientists who study the marine environment.

The federal government did sell leases for drilling rights off the Georgia coast in the 1970s, but explorations then showed “limited” potential for oil production, somewhat better for gas, said Clark Alexander, director of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and a geological oceanographer.

Hydroponics Dilute Organic Brand, Leaders Say

“We were called humus farmers before we were called organic farmers, and for me, it’s always been the soil. It always must be the soil,” Beddard said during a panel discussion at the Farming for the Future Conference Feb. 9 at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center.

Alaska Bill Legalizing Industrial Hemp Awaits Governor's Pen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A measure that would legalize the production of industrial hemp in Alaska has passed the state House and Senate.

The bill awaits Gov. Bill Walker's signature before becoming law, Alaska Public Media reported Wednesday.

The legislation would allow registered participants into a pilot project to grow hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant that produces useful fiber, but almost none of the psychoactive compound that alters people's mental state.

America’s Most Toxic Town Is Not Where You Think

Kotzebue is an Alaskan city located on a sound bordering the Chukchi Sea, about 30 miles above the Arctic Circle. The city also has a less savory distinction, detailed in a little-known EPA dataset called the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).

The inventory requires industrial facilities involved in manufacturing, mining, power generation, and other sectors to report exactly how much toxic chemicals, from a list of about 650, they release into the environment. Data from the 2016 TRI was released last year, and according to this metric, Kotzebue was the most toxic community in America.

Southern Calif. Back in Drought; Southern Nev. Is Leader in Water Conservation

LAS VEGAS - As temperatures start to drop in southern Nevada, United States drought monitors continue to declare that nearly half of the state of California is in a drought, and it could eventually affect Nevada.

All of southern California is said to be back in a drought, just months after the state emerged from that category.

"It's going to take people altering their behavior in order to use water more wisely," said Mike Markus, Orange County Water District General Manager.

Utah's Landfills Are Rarely Inspected, So a New Bill Proposes a Solution: Let the Landfills Inspect Themselves

A Utah lawmaker believes he has found a way to boost oversight at the state’s landfills, while cutting taxes for the waste-storage industry at the same time.

One catch: it will require an element of trust.

Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, is proposing a system of self-inspections at the state’s 168 landfills, an idea that drew a positive reception Thursday before the House Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee. Members voted unanimously to send the measure, HB373, to the full House for further debate.

Some Utah Lawmakers Deny Climate Change, but OK a Bill Recognizing Its Impacts After Hearing Pleas From Students

A bill that commits Utah’s leaders to recognizing “the impacts of a changing climate” drew initial approval Thursday after an impassioned hearing.

The House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee voted 8-3 to favorably recommend HCR7 to the full House of Representatives, after a group of about 20 students from Logan High School pled with lawmakers to consider the state’s future.

New South Carolina Water Pollution Research From the Citadel Points to Tires, Eco-Plastics

Tiny black shreds make up nearly all of 7 tons of microscopic plastic particles found floating in Charleston Harbor at any given time.

The source was a mystery for researchers, until recently. It's shreds worn off braking tires.

Meanwhile, plastic bags marketed as eco-friendly take as long or longer than standard plastic bags to break down in the same waters.

SC Mayor: No Need for Researcher to Test Town's Water

DENMARK, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina mayor says a researcher who worked with the water crisis in Michigan doesn't need to test the his town's drinking water even though he's already found lead pollution at some homes.

Denmark Mayor Gerald Wright tells the State newspaper in Columbia that the testing isn't necessary because state environmental officials have declared the water is safe.

Former Environmental Director Joins S.C. Water Utility Just Months After Leaving State Payroll

Catherine Heigel starts a job this week with one of the state's chronic water polluters just six months after stepping down as the director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

South Carolina law prohibits state officials from taking a job with a company their former agency regulates for at least a year.

But Carolina Water Service, one of the state's largest for-profit water and wastewater utilities, says that law doesn't apply here. Its legal argument comes down to a few words stowed away in the state's ethics law.

NYC Adopted Composting. Why Can't Rhode Island?

It only took three years for New York City, with a population of 8.5 million, to launch a comprehensive composting program for homes, businesses, and schools. Why can’t Rhode Island, with 1.2 million people and more space for composting, do the same?

PPL Library Card Catalog Becomes a Free Seed Bank

Libraries across the country have rediscovered their ancient card catalogs, stored in basements and attics, spruced them up, and found new uses for them. One of the best and most common uses is to create a seed catalog, and now we have one of those right here in Providence. 

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