Filed under: Environment

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GM speeds national rollout of Volt to year-end

General Motors’ top car designer says the company will accelerate distribution of the Chevrolet Volt electric car so it’s sold in every U.S. state by the end of this year.

Design chief Ed Welburn made the announcement Thursday in a speech at the Washington, D.C., auto show. Get the full story »

Southeast S. leaders call meeting on coal-to-gas plant

Community leaders on the Southeast Side — angry that they were not asked to weigh in on a coal gasification project touted as a benefit to the neighborhood –  have called a meeting to discuss the environmental and economic impacts of the proposed plant.

Environmental and health groups are expected to speak at the event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the The Zone at Southeast United Methodist Church and Community Center at 11731 S. Avenue O. Get the full story »

Chrysler vehicle to test EPA’s hybrid system

Chrysler Group LLC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that they are working together to commercialize an unusual type of hybrid-vehicle technology aimed at reducing fuel consumption.

Under the partnership, Chrysler will work to produce vehicles using a hydraulic hybrid system developed by the EPA. The system recovers energy as a vehicle brakes and uses the resulting hydraulic pressure to help power the vehicle. Get the full story »

NiSource to pay $600M to settle EPA violations

A NiSource Inc. utility unit finalized a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, agreeing to invest $600 million in environmental, conservation initiatives, and clean energy programs in northern Indiana.

The settlement is the 17th reached by the EPA and the Department of Justice as part of a national initiative to control emissions from coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review requirements. In addition to the investment, NiSource will pay a $3.5 million civil penalty. Get the full story »

Ford introduces Focus Electric

Ford unveiled the Focus Electric at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Friday, promising an electric car that’s fun to drive.

Ford’s electric will have a top speed of 84 miles per hour and the suspension, steering and brakes will be shared with the gasoline-powered car. Get the full story »

ADM canola plant dropped from FDA restricted list

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has dropped Archer Daniels Midland’s canola crushing plant in Windsor, Ontario from its list of plants that are under import restrictions due to salmonella concerns, according to an update on the regulator’s website on Tuesday. Get the full story »

Dealing with 25% more garbage at holidays

Tis the season to be jolly — and  to toss out a lot of trash.

In the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, American households generate 25 percent more waste. That’s about 1 million extra tons of trash each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Get the full story »

Paris preparing for electric car-sharing program

A visualization of a proposed electric car station in Paris. (AP)

After its successful bike-sharing program, Paris is moving into higher gear, preparing to lend out 3,000 electric cars across the City of Light to fight air pollution.

City officials on Thursday chose a bid by French billionaire entrepreneur Vincent Bollore to run Autolib’, a new automobile-sharing program modeled on Paris’ successful, three-year-old bicycle-sharing program, Velib’. Get the full story »

Obama administration sues BP, others on Gulf spill

The Obama administration sued BP Plc and four other companies over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Wednesday, charging violations of U.S. environmental laws, in the opening salvo in what will likely be a lengthy legal battle.

The lawsuit seeks damages from BP, Transocean Ltd, Anadarko Petroleum Corp, Mitsui & Co Ltd unit MOEX and BP’s insurer Lloyds of London for their roles in the worst offshore oil spill disaster in U.S. history. Get the full story »

Obama signs import ban on Asian bighead carp

President Barack Obama has signed into law a ban on bringing bighead carp into the U.S. They are among two Asian carp species threatening to infest the Great Lakes.

The measure signed Tuesday adds bighead carp to a list of wildlife that cannot be imported or taken across state lines. The only exceptions would be for scientific, medical or educational purposes and would require a permit. Get the full story »

BP shares hit 7-month high on new asset sales

BP shares on Tuesday jumped to their highest level in seven months after the company announced it was selling another $775 million in assets to help pay for the Gulf oil spill.

The British oil giant expects to pay nearly $40 billion to handle the spill and has aggressively raised money to meet that obligation. In addition to suspending its dividend and selling bonds, the company has sold nearly $22 billion in assets. It plans to shed up to $30 billion in company assets by the end of 2011. Get the full story »

Exelon completes purchase of John Deere wind unit

Exelon Corp. has completed its acquisition of John Deere Renewables, a wind power company. In so doing, Exelon adds 735 megawatts of clean, renewable energy to the utility’s portfolio, or enough to power up to 220,000 households. Get the full story »

Exelon nuclear plant closing 10 years early

The nation’s oldest nuclear power plant will close in 2019 — 10 years earlier than planned — but will not have to build costly cooling towers, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The people, who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the plans ahead of an announcement expected Thursday, said the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in the Forked River section of Lacey Township will close a decade earlier than called for under its current license.

In return, the aging plant, owned by Chicago-based Exelon Corp., will not be required to build one or more cooling towers to replace its current technology, which draws 1.4 billion gallons of water a day from Barnegat Bay, killing billions of aquatic creatures each year. Get the full story »

BP challenges U.S. estimates of oil spill rate

BP is mounting a new challenge to U.S. government estimates of how much oil flowed from the runaway well deep below the Gulf of Mexico. The issue will be critical in determining the size of federal pollution fines the company will pay.

Starbucks aims to recycle all used cups by 2015

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Starbucks may soon serve your morning coffee in a used paper cup that has been recycled into a new paper cup or napkins, as the coffee chain aims to ensure that 100 percent of its cups are reusable or recyclable by 2015.

In 2008, Starbucks set several aggressive goals to reduce its environmental impact. Over the past year, the company has introduced front-of-the-store centers in Toronto and Seattle to recycle cups, and in San Francisco, where cups can be composted. Get the full story »