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Compliance & Standards Briefing: Bioplastics Symbol, Climate Bonds, Energy Efficiency Pact

The U.S. Department of Energy and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers have renewed their agreement to develop building energy standards and promote educational programs, according to a government announcement. The DOE will support the international standard called Standard 90.1, which sets the bar for energy efficiency in commercial buildings, as well as a 2013 update to the standard that would improve energy efficiency by 50 per cent, compared to the 2004 standard.

Cereplast of El Segundo, Calif., a manufacturer of biobased plastics, is hosting an online forum through Aug. 12 to determine how a new bioplastics symbol (pictured) should be used and licensed. The symbol, which was created during a nationwide design competition, is expected to become available for use by product manufacturers no later than Nov. 15.

The California State Teachers Retirement System, a pension fund with more than $150 billion under management, is joining the Climate Bond Standards Board to find investment grade returns that address climate change. The board will certify bonds that are backed by assets meeting the standard, such as wind farms, or solar energy plants, for example. The first standard is expected to be released within weeks, according to Sean Kidney, chair of the Climate Bonds Initiative.

The Centre for Sustainable Design has developed a training program focused on issues related to ISO 14006: 2011, which offers guidelines for establishing, documenting, implementing, maintaining and improving management of ecodesign within an environmental management system. The standard applies to product-related environmental aspects that an organization can control and influence.

The Brandix Group announced that it is the first apparel manufacturer in the world to receive ISO 50001, according to The Sunday Times. The report says that Det Norske Veritas auditors confirmed that the company’s EcoCentre at Seeduwa in Sri Lanka, a 130,000 square foot factory, is compliant with the energy management systems standard.

A coalition of businesses filed a lawsuit against the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and the California attorney general to stop CEH from initiating an enforcement action that is allowed under Proposition 65, according to AINonline.com. The lawsuit says that federal aviation and environmental law preempts such enforcement action against leaded aviation gas producers and sellers, and such action would slow efforts by the Federation Aviation Administration and the EPA to identify an alternative leaded fuel.

Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality sent a letter of agreement to Nutri-Blend Inc., a biosolids company, requiring the company to update its maps and nutrient management plans for biosolids application, NewsAdvance.com said. Campbell County residents had accused the company of applying biosolids without a proper permit, and the investigation found that Nutri-Blend had misinterpreted some data, DEQ spokesman Bill Hayden said.

BP has temporarily shut down an oil-separation facility at its Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, oil field due to a spill that was discovered last week, according to Reuters. The state Department of Environmental Conservation said about 200 gallons of 70 per cent produced water and 30 per cent crude oil flowed into a water-filled containment pit last Thursday.

The Washington Post has reported that a federal district judge on Monday ruled that the EPA must change pollution caps for the Anacostia River, which runs through Maryland and D.C., because they may not be strict enough. Two environmental groups had argued that standards adopted in 2007 would not make the river clean enough for swimming or boating.

The EPA will consult with Navajo Nation tribes in August on the potential effects of lowering nitrogen oxide emissions from a generating station near Page, Ariz, according to an Associated Press story. Owners of the 2,250-megawatt coal-fired plant recently installed low nitrogen oxide burners but may need to add other controls, depending on the findings of the agency and an Interior Department report.

And finally, India is planning to establish a National Environment Appraisal and Monitoring Authority, which will evaluate the environmental impact of a project and monitor whether industry is complying with “green norms,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a Voice of America report. The government is seeking to balance industrial growth and ecological protection.

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