Vermont Electric Cooperative announces annual meeting election results

first_imgVermont Electric Cooperative, Inc,Results of Vermont Electric Cooperative’s (VEC) director elections and proposed bylaw amendments were announced during the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting held in Derby on Saturday, May 21, 2011. Incumbent District 1 Director Don Worth of Island Pond won re-election with 307 votes; challengers Ken Mason received 208 and Paul King received 75. Incumbent District 6 Director Dan Parsons of Richford ran unopposed and received 366 votes. Incumbent West Zone Director Dan Carswell of Franklin won re-election with 764 votes; challengers Robert Pearl received 262 votes, Caleb Elder 211 votes and Naomi Shaw 186 votes. Two proposed amendments to the bylaws also passed. An amendment to add conditions and processes for removing Directors passed with 2,293 votes in favor and 314 opposed and an amendment to eliminate a requirement that regular meetings of the board of directors be held within the VEC service territory passed with 2,296 votes in favor and 325 opposed.  Featured speakers at the meeting included Vermont Public Service Department Commissioner, Liz Miller, who spoke about Vermont’s energy future. Chief Executive Officer Dave Hallquist reported on VEC’s successful smart meter deployment and discussed the tough choices faced when choosing power suppliers. About 300 VEC members and guests attended the meeting. During a question and answer session there was a lively discussion about power supply options, including the proposed Kingdom Community Wind project in Lowell, Vermont. Members also raised questions about rising electricity costs and expressed concerns about state and national energy policy issues.Soruce: VEC. 5.22.2011last_img read more

USDA vows to boost avian flu prevention efforts

first_imgMar 15, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said yesterday it would step up its antismuggling efforts and monitoring of live bird markets this year to protect the country from H5N1 avian influenza.The agency plans to more than double the number of special operations to seize banned poultry products and will expand the monitoring of live bird markets from 12 states to 29 or 30, officials said at a press briefing yesterday afternoon.They also announced a renewal of last year’s hunt for the H5N1 virus in wild birds throughout the United States, among other steps. The deadly virus was not found in any of the more than 100,000 wild bird samples tested last year.”There are no detections of high-path[ogenic] H5N1 in the United States, and we’re doing all we can to keep it that way,” said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.Johanns said the USDA’s antismuggling team conducted 31 operations at ports and in restaurants and markets around the country last year, and one led to the seizure of 360,000 pounds of banned poultry products from countries affected by H5N1 avian flu.This year, plans call for running 70 operations, of which 23 have already been conducted, Johanns said.Dr. Ron DeHaven, the USDA’s chief veterinary officer, said the agency has seized about 400,000 pounds of banned poultry products overall. “I don’t have a breakout in terms of the country of origin of that product, but undoubtedly much of it has come from China,” he said in answer to a question.He added that products from countries battling H5N1 avian flu are not necessarily contaminated, since the outbreaks are “relatively sporadic.” The products seized are destroyed.More monitoring of bird marketsIn monitoring live bird markets, the USDA has focused until now on 12 northeastern states, where 132,000 birds were tested last year, DeHaven said. This year officials hope to increase the program to a total of 29 or 30 states.”The focus has been in the Northeast, where we know we had a low-path virus circulating,” he said. He didn’t name any of the new states but said they are mainly poultry-producing states with different kinds of live markets from those in the Northeast.This year’s wild-bird testing program will be launched in April by the USDA along with the Department of the Interior (DOI), state agencies, and academic researchers, Johanns said.”Surveillance will again be conducted in all four major flyways, and in Hawaii and the South Pacific,” the USDA said in a news release. “Data collected from 2006 will be used to further focus the sampling on high-risk species and geographic locations.”Last year, six samples of the more than 100,000 tested were positive for the low-pathogenic North American strain of H5N1, but the deadly Asian H5N1 strain was not found.Dr. Rick Kearny of the DOI said officials tested samples from more than 45,000 live birds, nearly 50,000 hunter-killed birds, 500 sentinel birds (captive birds allowed to mingle with wild birds), and more than 1,000 birds found dead.Kearny said US agencies also aim to increase collaboration with Canadian and Mexican authorities on wild-bird surveillance this year.Officials also announced completion of a 7-year study of avian flu in waterfowl in Alaska, where Asian and North American birds mingle in summer. Scientists took 8,254 samples and concluded that the risk of introduction of the deadly H5N1 virus in Alaska is “relatively low,” according to the news release.In the briefing, Steve Kappes of the USDA Agricultural Research Service said investigators found only low-pathogenic viruses of North American origin in the study. The suspected reason the deadly virus hasn’t been found in Alaska “is that the distance may be too long for a sick bird to get that far,” he said. “It’s unlikely that we’ll see it in Alaska.”The USDA is prepared to test birds quickly if avian flu is suspected in a poultry flock, according to DeHaven. He said all 45 labs in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network are trained to use a recently developed test that can return a result in 3 hours, as compared with up to 2 weeks for previous tests.”A detection of high-path H5N1 in wild birds does not mean our commercial poultry industry will be affected,” Johanns commented. He said US poultry are typically raised in buildings with controlled access, and biosecurity practices have been used for decades.In addition, the USDA compensates owners for birds destroyed for disease-control reasons. The compensation program now covers birds killed to control all low-pathogenic H5 and H7 viruses—which can mutate into deadly strains—in addition to those culled because of high-pathogenic strains, Johanns said.International efforts outlinedThe USDA also announced the signing of a agreement on coordinating technical assistance with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The agreement, approved last fall, covers plant and animal diseases, including avian flu, and other topics ranging from hunger and conservation to renewable energy.In the news release, Johanns said the agreement would facilitate greater international collaboration on many agricultural issues. “I believe the benefits will be immediate by enhancing the worldwide response to highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza,” he said.Under the agreement, the FAO and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) set up a Crisis Management Center in Rome last fall. Three USDA specialists are assigned to the center, which analyzes animal diseases and deploys international resources to contain them.In related efforts, the USDA said it is hosting a workshop in Washington, DC, this week to prepare more than 50 volunteer specialists from 15 countries for rapid international deployment to combat H5N1 avian flu.In addition, the USDA is helping to coordinate a global communication workshop on avian flu, to be hosted next month by the FAO and OIE. Its aim will be to develop an international communications plan for dealing with animal-to-animal spread of H5N1 avian flu.See also:Mar 14 USDA news releaseTranscript of USDA press briefinglast_img read more

Plitvice Lakes National Park is working on a “zero waste” strategy. What does this mean in practice?

first_imgPlitvice Lakes National Park, the very word and symbol is at first associated with green and sustainable development. Although the opposite was true until a few years ago, things have started to change. Some of the significant problems have been solved, such as congestion of visitors to the case of a septic tank, and today the situation is much better than several years ago. “The management plan sets basic goals in achieving the vision of the National Park, according to which a good way of managing the protected area and cooperation with the local community are the foundation of sustainable development. In achieving these goals, special attention should be paid to preserving the unique universal value of the Park, preserving the tradition and cultural identity of the area, sustainable development of the local community and building a partnership in which the local community recognizes the Park as part of its identity.”States Tomislav Kovačević, director of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. “As a national park under UNESCO protection, the importance of the impact on nature conservation and raising awareness of waste reduction is an important determinant of action for us. As we manage a number of catering and accommodation facilities, we are faced with the great challenge of reducing our environmental impact. Through the numerous activities and projects we have started, we strive for a “zero waste” strategy”States from the Plitvice Lakes National Park. USE OF LOWER ENERGY CONSUMABLING LIGHT AND FAVORABLE FOR THE FAUNA . In this way, the Plitvice Lakes National Park procures electricity from certified hydropower plants, with special attention paid to evidence of the harmlessness of the power plant’s impact on the environment and the disposal of hazardous waste, according to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. In 2018, Plitvice Lakes National Park introduced new lighting that uses LED technology that consumes up to 50% less electricity and is more favorable for wildlife because the light is not scattered in all directions but is directed only to the narrower area around the trail. The lighting is also programmed to work at 40% intensity for most of the night when there is no need for intense light. Today, more than ever, the focus is on sustainable development and ecology, and destinations that go that route will certainly benefit. Tourism, if well managed, can support nature conservation while contributing to sustainable development and providing opportunities for income and a better quality of life for local people, the WWF said, adding that caring for natural heritage through protected areas is key to sustainable development and foundation. is socio-economic well-being. A more efficient and ecologically oriented form of tourism or ecotourism. SUSTAINABLE DISPOSAL OF FOOD RESIDUES IN HOTEL JEZERO But let’s go in order… the story for this article attracted me to the news that the Plitvice Lakes National Park uses electricity from renewable sources. It is for this reason that together with the Jezero Hotel of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, it has joined forces in a food waste reduction project. Crowds of tourists coming to the Adriatic beaches, islands, towns and cities are the cause of enormous pressure on both infrastructure and natural resources. In response, WWF points out our protected areas are looking for new, commercially viable alternatives in the form of ecotourism. However, they have been using it for the last two years, and this week, for the second year in a row, they received a certificate from the holder of the ZelEn certificate, which confirms that 6.351 MWh of electricity from renewable sources was delivered. You can download the management plan of the Plitvice Lakes National Park until 2028 here The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has been the leading voice for nature for more than half a century, and they also operate in Croatia. WWF: Mass tourism is not sustainable for nature Unfortunately, Croatia does not lag behind global data. We throw away about 400.000 tonnes of food a year, contributing to European figures of around a staggering 90 million tonnes, which is about 20 per cent of total food production. i.e. 173 kilograms per capita. The value of the food thrown away is 143 billion euros. Also, natural resources are consumed for food production, distribution and storage and further increased ecological footprint. That is why the World Conservation Organization (WWF) has recognized food waste as one of the most important programs of its work. “It is extremely important to us that the flora and fauna feel the presence of man and his technologies as little as possible, so this project was of great importance.” states from Plitvice Lakes. By the way, this is green energy obtained exclusively from renewable sources, which is delivered by HEP through the ZelEn certificate. Also, the buyer of ZelEn acquires the right to use the protected stamp ZelEn – Friend of nature for promotional and marketing purposes, which is already an imperative today, then a big trend. Otherwise, green electricity, at least according to HEP, is more expensive, ie an additional 20 euro cents or about 1,5 kuna / MWh. Of course, there are, and will be more and more, various green sustainable certificates or certificates on the market that a company cares about the environment by using energy from renewable sources or encourages sustainable development. Green is the new “black” in today’s modern business, and the world of consumers about sustainable development is getting bigger and bigger. And that is exactly the key to transforming our business from “black” to “green” as much as possible. Photo: With the introduction of biodegradable packaging in 2015, the process of removing plastic from the business began, and all generated waste in the hotel is separated, while bio waste is used for the production of bio fuel and animal feed. Food waste is a big challenge today. Due to its huge amount, but also the use of soil, water and energy for the purpose of producing excessive amounts of food, our footprint on the planet is extremely large, and analyzes indicate that as much as 70% of biodiversity is lost by deforestation to agricultural land. Photo: NP PJ Promotional materials are printed on eco paper, food is procured through green procurement and cooperation with WWF. “With proper internal communication, communication with guests in our hotels through informative and educational messages and excellent cooperation with WWF on this commendable project, we believe in excellent results and we are proud that our largest hotel Jezero was among the first hotels in Croatia with this project. ”conclude from the NP of Plitvice Lakes. Sustainable tourism is defined by the UNWTO as tourism that fully takes into account current and future economic, social and environmental effects, takes care of the needs of visitors, sectors, environment and destination Therefore sustainable tourism should make optimal use of environmental resources which are a key element of tourism development, retaining essential ecological processes and helping to protect natural heritage and biodiversity. Respect socio-cultural authenticity destinations, to preserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and to contribute to intercultural understanding and tolerance, and to ensure that economic activities sustainable and long-term. Sustainable tourism as an imperative In response to these key issues in Croatia, WWF focused on four components in its work on tourism: the project should have a positive impact on the environment and contribute to nature protection and conservation, commercial sustainability, local community development and respect for culture. Local circumstances, traditions and values, as well as human rights and gender, must be respected. Read more about the work of WWF HERE Plitvice Lakes National Park finally has a clear Management Plan, visitor counters, online ticket purchase, electric vehicles as well as electric boats are used, products from local family farms are encouraged and used, and they received the green light from UNESCO, which has just monitored all protection processes and even threatened to remove Plitvice Lakes from the UNESCO list. What is a fact, the situation today is much different than 5 or more years ago. Mass tourism is not inclined to care about nature – and the consequences are disastrous. Tourism is one of the main causes of ecological collapse in the region. Some once untouched places can no longer be rebuilt today. Unsustainable tourism activities also have a negative impact on protected areas. We also know the negative effect of Instagram destinations, where they suddenly become so popular that they ruin an entire destination that simply cannot accommodate so many tourists. last_img read more

PensionsEurope, Efama positive on Green Deal, but ESG data still an issue

first_imgThe European Council has since endorsed the 2050 net-zero objective in a move that was hailed by investors.‘Game-changing’Fiona Reynolds, chief executive officer of the PRI, said the Commission’s Green Deal “reflects the bold policy ambition we’ve been looking for”.“The broad scope of the deal – encompassing goals such as carbon neutrality, sustainable transport, a zero pollution Europe and a just transition – provides a clear framework for action from all areas of society,” she added.Tanguy van de Werve, director general of Efama, the trade association for asset managers in Europe, said the Green Deal initiative could be a “game-changer”.“As the voice of the asset management industry in Europe, we wholeheartedly support the European Commission in this initiative,” he added. “We are committed to playing our role as an industry in channelling the necessary funds for projects which are essential to its success.”However, van de Werve said that for this to happen investors needed access to “robust, comparable, reliable and publicly available ESG data on investee companies”.Asset managers and other financial institutions are facing increased disclosure obligations under various sustainable finance regulations initiated by the Commission, and Efama has been arguing its members would not be able to comply based on the current data currently available to them. PensionsEurope and Efama have reacted positively to a new climate change-driven growth strategy unveiled by the European Commission this week, although they said the success of the EU sustainable finance agenda required tackling issues to do with the availability and quality of environmental and other data on investee companies.The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) also welcomed the Commission’s European Green Deal, which sets out the new Commission’s strategy for environmentally and socially sustainable economic growth.The Commission said it covered all sectors of the economy, name-checking transport, energy, and buildings, and industries such as steel and cement.A specific goal of the Green Deal is to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050, with the Commission pledging to present a bill by March next year to enshrine the objective into legislation. This was “to provide predictability for investors,” among other ends, it said. Other planned measures include putting forward a proposal for a carbon border tax, and a “circular economy action plan”. Aleksandra Palinska, senior regulatory policy advisor at Efama“Finance is a part of it, but until now it’s pretty much been the only solution looked at, when you really need to focus on the real economy,” she said. “It’s not only about putting in restrictions but also looking at how companies can be helped in this transition.“This does seem to be a quite comprehensive package and we really hope that member states and the European Parliament will support the Commission in making it a reality.”The Commission suggested the review of the NFRD was also about tackling a persistent excessive focus by many companies on short-term financial performance compared with their long-term development and sustainability aspects.Another aspect of the renewed sustainable finance strategy would be about improving the integration of climate and environmental risks into the EU prudential framework and “assessing the suitability of the existing capital requirements for green assets,” the Commission said.Taxonomy data solution?Efama’s request for a solution to the data problem facing asset managers may still be met under the Commission’s ongoing sustainable finance strategy, however.Last week it was announced that EU negotiating teams had reached a provisional political agreement on the framework for the taxonomy – a system for classifying the greenness of economic activity – and that the deal included reporting obligations for corporates and not just asset managers and other financial institutions.However, the deal is to be revisited after failing to get the green light at a meeting of ambassadors for EU member states on Wednesday.According to a spokeswoman at the EU Council, the body for EU member states currently presided by Finland, the ambassadors (who meet as a group called Coreper) are to be presented with a revised text on Monday and the presidency will bring the text to the European Parliament for further negotiations. The objective is still to reach a deal on the regulation for the taxonomy framework by the end of the year, the spokeswoman added.Efama’s Palinska said she understands there was a risk the new requirements targeting reporting by investee companies would be removed, but said there were more controversial aspects of the taxonomy.The Council spokeswoman said the outcome of Wednesday’s Coreper discussion was that the compromise deal from last week “is not fully satisfactory and some fine-tuning is needed, most notably regarding issues relating to technological neutrality/energies in transition”.According to Sven Giegold, a member of the Green Party in the European Parliament, France and a number of eastern European states opposed it and the UK abstained. He said national governments wanted to renegotiate with the Parliament on some points concerning the ultimate fate of nuclear power under the taxonomy.center_img Commission Green Deal ‘an ambitious roadmap’ The association has been pushing for a review of the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), which sets out a minimum level of environmental information that many large European companies must provide in their annual reports alongside more detailed non-binding guidelines.There have been several indications the Commission would review the NFRD, and this was confirmed in its Green Deal announcement on Wednesday as part of renewed sustainable finance strategy to be presented in the third quarter of next year.“The success of the sustainable finance action plan relies on the availability of quality, comparable, reliable and public ESG data on investee companies,” Aleksandra Palinska, senior regulatory policy advisor at Efama, told IPE. “The ability of the financial sector to comply with the rules is a prerequisite to make sustainable finance work.”Matti Leppälä, secretary general of PensionsEurope, the umbrella association for national pension fund bodies in Europe, welcomed the intended sustainable finance strategy renewal and the review of the NFRD by 2020.“Indeed, ensuring access to reliable and comparable non-financial data is a pre-requisite for the incorporation of ESG factors in investment decisions,” he said.Commenting more generally, he said PensionsEurope fully supported the Commission in working towards achieving its 2050 climate-neutrality goal.“The ambitious roadmap […] is a cornerstone in ensuring a transition towards a new EU growth strategy supported by investments in green technologies and sustainable solutions.”Efama’s Palinska welcomed the Green Deal extending the focus beyond the financial sector, saying it had the potential to have a more direct, immediate contribution towards sustainability goals.last_img read more