Nominees sought for Georgia’s environmental award

24 09 2008

Southeast Farm Press

Governor Sonny Perdue wants to know the Georgia farmers who are doing the best job to protect the environment on and around their farms.

He’d like to recognize them for a job well done, tell other folks about them and maybe give them an award.

Nominees are currently being sought for the Fourth Annual Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award. Applications are available at http://www.agawareness.com and due by Dec. 16.

“As I learned from my father growing up on a farm in middle Georgia, if you take care of the land, it will take care of you,” Perdue said. “This award shows all Georgians the outstanding job farmers are doing to protect our environment and preserve our state’s natural resources.”

Five district winners are selected for the award each year. This year, only district winners will be required to submit supporting documentation. Past district winners are eligible to apply.

Judges will visit each district winner’s farm. Based on their recommendation, Perdue will announce the state winner at the Fifth annual Agricultural Awareness Week in Atlanta on March 17.

For more information, call Donnie Smith at 1-229-386-3104.

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Athens: A week to wait on gas

24 09 2008

By Blake Aued  |  Athens Banner-Herald 

Plastic bags will continue to cover gas pumps in Athens and across the Southeast for another week, even as the federal government takes steps to ease gas shortages.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that North Georgia gas stations can sell ordinary gasoline through Oct.12 in addition to the cleaner-burning blend usually sold here.

“I don’t know that it’ll solve (the shortage), but it’ll certainly help somewhat,” said Bert Brantley, a spokesman for Gov. Sonny Perdue.

In a letter to Perdue, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson acknowledged “acute shortages” of gas in Georgia due to refinery damage, and said waiving a low-sulfur fuel requirement will “minimize or prevent disruption of an adequate supply of gasoline in Georgia.”

The waiver is intended to alleviate shortages that have filling stations temporarily shutting down and some drivers panicking as the needle slips closer to “E.” But drivers may not see a difference for days.

Filling station owners don’t know when larger gas shipments might start arriving. Refineries only are shipping about a third of the gas they usually do, Golden Pantry President Brian Griffith said, and haven’t told station owners when that will change.

“We’re getting all the gas we can,” Griffith said. “As far as the EPA waiver … we have very limited information about when it’s going to get (to the pump).”

Gas supplies should return nearly to normal in about five to 10 days, he said.

Shortages won’t end completely until oil companies finish repairing a dozen Texas Gulf Coast refineries damaged by two recent hurricanes, Gustav and Ike. Gas inventories dropped 20 percent, mostly affecting the Southeast, according to AAA Auto Club South.

In the meantime, though, suppliers will be able to ship and gas stations sell any type of gasoline, not just the low-sulfur variety usually sold in and around metro Atlanta to help clean up the region’s dirty air.

Read on here.





Kids save the planet at festival

24 09 2008

Albany Herald

DAWSON — More than 300 Dougherty County fifth-graders got out of the classroom Tuesday for a hands-on lesson about water conservation at the Regional Water Festival in Dawson.

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful sponsored the event at the Hooks-Hanner Environmental Center along with The Darsey Family Foundation, the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission and the Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center.

Judy Bowles, executive director of Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, said the event was a great way to enable kids to soak up knowledge about the environment.

“Water is the most precious resource that we have,” Bowles said. “You have to start at a very early age teaching our young people that we cannot make water and that the water we have today is all the water we’ll ever have.”

About 310 Dougherty County students attended the first day of the three-day festival. More than 600 students are expected to participate from schools in Lee, Terrell, Webster and Randolph counties today and Thursday.

The children learned about ways to conserve water, the water cycle and environmental effects of pollution through 10 experiment stations. Each center was sponsored by a different organization. Sponsors included Dougherty County Public Works, the USDA-National Peanut Research Lab and the Georgia Forestry Commission, among others.

Heili Trueblood, a student at Sherwood Acres Elementary School, said two of her favorite exhibits were the “Wildlife and Water” and “Sammy the Striped Bass” tents.

The Wildlife and Water tent was sponsored by The Parks at Chehaw and the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Lesia Irvin showed a great horned owl to the students.

“I learned that owls cannot turn their heads 360 degrees like people say they can,” Heili said. “They just turn them halfway.”

Another interesting fact Heili learned was that the water we use and drink today is the same water the dinosaurs used.

“It goes through the water cycle, so we use it over and over again, like recycling,” she explained.

The Flint RiverQuarium led the children through the interactive story of Sammy the Striped Bass. The presenter added environmental elements such as oil, dirt and litter to an aquarium that represented Sammy’s home. As more pollution clouded Sammy’s tank, the students had to predict what would happen to the fish.

“We saw how all the bad stuff she added would affect Sammy,” Heili said.

The astute fifth-grader said she and her classmates would think about ways to protect and save water in the future.

“It’s been very fun,” Heili said. “The activities helped me learn a lot about water and what it does to help our environment.”





Outages continue to plague Augusta area

24 09 2008

By Tim Rausch | Augusta Chonicle

Spotty gasoline outages persisted throughout the area Tuesday.  The south side of Aiken was empty, causing lines at stations in the northern part of the city. At least four Evans gas stations were out of fuel Tuesday.

Also out of fuel was Allen’s Country Store on Washington Road, a BP station at Washington Road and Evans Town Center Boulevard and the TPS location at Evans to Locks Road and Industrial Boulevard. All three stations ran out of gas Monday.

An employee at TPS said that Monday was the third time in a month the station had run out of fuel. She expected a shipment Tuesday evening.

“It’s so bad that even though we normally close at 11 p.m., we’re closing at 8 p.m. until we get more gas,” said Keri Petit, an employee of the BP station.





Southeastern U.S. sees widespread gas shortages

24 09 2008
By Richard Fausset | Los Angeles Times
When the gas gauge on Jada Burns’ Kia wagon was on empty Tuesday afternoon, she lucked out, catching her neighborhood Chevron station at a time when its pumps were open.

But the clerk, Mamadou Diallo, said he expected to be sold out by rush hour. With drivers already forming a line, it was about 20 minutes before Burns could fill up.

“This is the first time I’ve had to actually wait,” said Burns, 33, who earlier had passed by a station where the line was much longer. “This is crazy, isn’t it?”

The impact of hurricanes Gustav and Ike was being felt far beyond the wind-battered Gulf Coast this week: In Southeastern states, gas shortages and long lines were widespread due to oil industry interruptions and damage to the energy infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico.

At least half of the stations in Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas ran out of gasoline over the weekend, said Tom Kloza, an analyst with the Oil Price Information Service.

In Atlanta, gas could be found without trouble in some areas Tuesday, but in others the stations were closed and pumps were bagged. The federal Environmental Protection Agency granted a waiver for the Atlanta metro area, allowing for the sale of a less-clean kind of gas.

Georgia leaders hope that will help alleviate the shortages, since Atlanta normally relies on a specially produced low-sulfur blend meant to help with the city’s smog problem.

Similar waivers have been issued in more than a dozen states since late August to address hurricane-related shortages, said Mary Welge, an editor with the Oil Price Information Service.

But a waiver like Georgia’s is not likely to solve the problem immediately, Welge said, noting that it could be “a few more weeks” before supplies return to normal.

The problem is compounded by worried motorists who don’t know where their next tank of gas will come from.

Read on here.




US EPA approves clean gasoline waiver for Georgia

24 09 2008

WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday it waived federal clean air regulations for gasoline sold in 45 counties in and around Atlanta, Georgia because of fuel disruptions caused by hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

 

“Today’s waiver will allow greater flexibility for the fuel distribution system to support an adequate supply of gasoline,” the agency said.

 

Georgia’s waiver lasts through Oct. 12. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe, editing by Richard Chang)





Environmental Club Holds First Meeting of Semester

24 09 2008

By: Patrick Bray | GSU Signal

The Sustainable Energy Tribe or The Tribe, as it is called, held its first meeting on Aug. 27 outside the Landmark Diner at the Commons. All outdoor seating was filled and it was standing room only as vast numbers of young environmentalists at Georgia State came together to plan the upcoming semester.

The Tribe is Georgia State’s environmental club that promotes a more environmentally friendly campus. Gabrielle Arrington, the club secretary, says the main goal of the organization is “to make Georgia State more sustainable, servicing the community and Atlanta.”

The gathered students showed themselves to be energetic and excited about the environment, some of whom were Georgia State alumni who returned because they are still very much attached to the Tribe and what it represents.

“We’re an eco-friendly way to educate people about the environment,” said returning member Ravi Batra.

A light breeze blew as Laura Beamer, the club’s president, stood between the Tribe’s banner and a newly planted tree to call the meeting to order.

“I love it!” Beamer excitedly said, referring to the impressive turn out for their first meeting. More had come out than expected.

After a round of introductions, Beamer introduced the four basic committees of The Tribe-Forest, Water, Recycling, and Energy-and then asked everyone to choose a committee of interest, and to get together to brainstorm for ideas. Many of the new members were eager to give their ideas and some bounced between committees.

Many returning members are hoping to be more active this semester, as The Tribe has grown and built itself upon a positive reputation. One of the biggest accomplishments for the Tribe was their successful push to get recycling at the Lofts.

They are now looking to improve that program as well as establish it at the Commons within the semester. Already the 7th floor of Building A at the Commons is designated as the “Sustainable Energy Floor.”

The Tribe also plans to continue reaching out to similar organizations to collaborate on events and ideas. After brainstorming vigorously, each committee presented to the rest of the group their proposals for the semester.

The water committee introduced ideas for a water conservation display at the library, use of rain and well water on campus, and solutions to water pollution. The forest committee presented ideas for community gardens, a watch dog group for Georgia Pacific, and forest ethics.

The energy committee announced plans for another solar powered concert to be held in November. The recycling committee introduced plans to place recycling bins next to the trash shoots in the Commons and to help raise money for the solar powered concert.

The first event of the semester was Georgia’s student/youth environmental-action conference called Green Peach 2008, which was held August 29th through September 1st. The Tribe’s second meeting also took place on Wednesday September 10th outside the Landmark Diner at the Commons.

Future meetings are open for all interested students to attend. For more information about the Tribe, go to their website at setribe.com