by Susanna Parker

Puerto Rico’s Northeast Ecological Corridor Declared Protected Land BGnews_logo

On Saturday, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed a law to protect a 2,900 acre site that is the top nesting site for the endangered leatherback turtle. The land, known as the Northeast Ecological Corridor is an ecologically diverse area, containing the leatherback nesting site, bioluminescent bays, and more than 861 types of flora and fauna. The variety is due to the unique diversity of the land itself, which features all ecosystems found in Puerto Rico, which range from a subtropical dry forest to the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. Forest system. The area is also host to at least 50 rare or threatened species, included a recently spotted limpkin – a bird that hadn’t been seen since the 1950s.

The law marks the end of a 15-year battle between environmentalists and developers. Several years ago then-governor Anibal Acevedo Vila attempted to create legal protection from the area, but faced opposition from senators. His successor Luis Fortuno went the opposite direction and issued an order allowing for the large-scale development of the land. However, none of the submitted projects gained permits, and the land remains undeveloped. While the law has declared the land protected, the government still needs to complete the purchase of privately held land in the corridor – approximately 35% of the protected area is private. Puerto Rico eventually hopes to protect 16% of its land, up from the 8% that is currently designated for conservation.

To learn more about the Northeast Ecological Corridor, please read the full Huffington Post article here.

EPA Delays Climate Rule for New Power Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency has delayed their implementation of the first-ever greenhouse gas limits on new power plants. The rule, which was to go into effect April 13, is still undergoing revision and review. EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson said that the agency is still reviewing over 2 million comments on the proposal. The proposed rule would require any new power plant to emit less than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of energy produced. The limit would not be a hardship on natural gas power plants, which average emissions of 850 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour. Coal-powered plants, however, emit an average of 1,786 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour; opposition to the rule is likely to come from the coal industry. Insiders say that the delay is partially to make sure that the rule could withstand a legal challenge, as well as to allow the EPA to bolster their legal case for imposing new carbon restrictions.

To learn more, please read the full Washington Post article here.

13 Oil Spills in the Last 30 Days

While the spills in Mayflower, Arkansas and Houston, Texas have been getting all the attention, The Huffington Post points out that there have been 13 total oil spills, on three continents, within the last 30 days. Heather Libby, Managing Editor of Tcktcktck.org, created an infographic on the spills, delineating their location, spill type, and volume. Crude oil and tar sands oil make up over 90% of the oil spilled, with the rest being made up of tailing pond waste fluid, hydraulic fluid, and condensate. In total, oil companies in North and South America released over 1 million barrels of oil and toxic waste over the last 30 days. To learn more about the spills and see the infographic, please visit The Huffington Post.

Upcoming Bethesda Green Events

  • Developing an Investor Package, Bethesda Green Finance Workshop Series for Green Businesses. April 25, 8 am – 10 am, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200.

In the fifth installment of the Bethesda Green Finance Workshop series, our panel will discuss approaching investors with a solid plan for success. Investors often require documentation of concrete business plans, including documents geared toward each stage of engagement, “teasers”, and detailed descriptions of business and financial models. The panel, featuring Joseph Chirico of Capital One, Barry Michael of Focus Investment Banking, and Cheryl Heusser of Snyder Cohn, will address both how to develop these documents, and how to use them effectively. Admission is $15; please RSVP to rsynder@bethesdagreen.org.

  • Greening the National Capital Region: The Commercial Real Estate Commitment to Building Green, Wednesday April 30, 5:30 pm – 8 pm, 7550 Wisconsin Avenue.

Bethesda Green is currently launching a Green Building and Sustainable Development seminar series to help participants understand green trends impacting the commercial building sector. To kick off the series, Bethesda Green has partnered with NAIOP MD/DC to highlight Bethesda’s newest commercial office building: Akridge’s 7550 Wisconsin Avenue. Come tour the building, see the green infrastructure, and network with those passionate about sustainable development in Bethesda. Admission is $30, and includes light fare, beer & wine. Please RSVP to Sharon D’Emidio at sharon@bethesdagreen.org by Thursday, April 25th.

  • Bethesda Green’s Fourth Annual Solar & Green Home Expo, Saturday May 11, 10am – 3pm, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200.

Join us for our fourth annual Solar & Green Home Expo, an information-packed showcase event featuring many green home expert services and solar providers. The goal of this event is to provide homeowners and other interested parties an opportunity to get the latest information about area services and incentives to green their homes. Local area green home businesses will display their services throughout the Bethesda Green office space while individual workshops related to greening your home will be conducted throughout the day. To learn more about this free community event, visit the event page here.

Upcoming Partner Events

  • Electronic Recycling Event! Sunday April 21, noon – 4pm, Wheaton High School, 12601 Dalewood Drive

Join GreenWheaton and the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection to celebrate Earth Day and recycle your unwanted electronics. You can do some Spring Cleaning, and not worry that your old cell phones or laptops will end up in a landfill! Acceptable items include: computers, printers, CDs, TVs, all plug-in appliances, and more. For the the full list, please visit Montgomery County’s website. If you’re recycling your old Apple or Mac, visit the Mac Recycle Clinic across from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring.

  • Free Screening of BIDDER 70, Monday April 22, 7pm, Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring, 10309 New Hampshire Avenue.

Did you miss Bidder 70 during the Environmental Film Festival? Well here’s your second chance to watch! Presented by Sister Eden, and co-sponsored by Mark Leisher Productions, Bethesda Green, Silver Spring Green, GreenWheaton, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring, this event will celebrate Earth Day, honor Tim DeChristopher’s actions, and raise awareness of the environmental activism movement. Tickets are not required, but donations are accepted at the door. For more on the event and the film, visit http://sistereden.com/bidder70/

  • Arbor Day Tree Planting at Bethesda Library, Friday April 26, 11 am

Join Conservation Montgomery and MC Department of General Services in celebrating Arbor Day at the Bethesda Library. In the continued work to preserve urban green spaces, Conservation Montgomery will be planting two native trees on library grounds; a yellowwood and a dogwood, both trees native to this region. Come support local efforts to green and beautify the library, and peruse the special book displays that will be set up for the occasion.

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.

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