This Valentine's Day you can say I love you and be eco-friendly at the same time. www.organicbouquet.com, the world's first online organic florist, plans to ship more than 10,000 dozen organically grown roses to help meet the demand for an alternative to conventionally grown flowers.
OrganicBouquet.com offers classic long-stemmed red and colored organic roses in one, two and five-dozen bouquets, available for overnight shipment anywhere in the USA, starting at $34.50 per dozen. Consumers can now buy organic rose bouquets at a price comparable to conventionally grown roses sold at online giants such as FTD.com and 1-800Flowers.com.
"The difference is our customers can express their affection as well as concern for the Earth," says Organic Bouquet Founder and CEO Gerald Prolman. "Organic flowers say, 'I Love You and the Earth too.'"
In addition, the company will feature organic red and colored tulips. To sweeten the occasion, consumers will have the option of adding a delicious box of organic chocolates.
Organic floral represents the newest category in the rapidly growing, multi-billion dollar natural products industry. Regulated and defined by the USDA, "organic" refers to an ecological farming system that builds rich, fertile soil and utilizes natural defense mechanisms to combat pests and plant diseases.
"Growing flowers organically is very important because it is safer for farm workers and is good for the environment. Organic floral production encourages healthy stewardship of the earth," says Prolman.
Prior to the formation of Organic Bouquet Inc. in 2001, commercial organic floral supplies for a national market were non-existent. Organic Bouquet has succeeded by encouraging major growers to initiate organic floral production for the company.
Natural-product shoppers today are making purchasing decisions based on concerns about personal health, social justice and environmental sustainability. "We are proud to embrace these positive values this Valentine's day by introducing the Internet's first commercial line of organic roses and tulips," according to Prolman.
Environmentalists Target Ford for Broken Pledge to Improve SUV Efficiency
This week, nearly three dozen environmental organizations targeted Bill Ford Jr., the CEO of Ford Motors, as part of a national ad campaign that accuses him of breaking his pledge of four years ago to dramatically increase the fuel mileage of Ford's popular lineup of sport utility vehicles by 2005. Led by the national environmental group Bluewater Network, based in San Francisco, the illustrated ad depicts Mr. Ford with an elongated nose, with the headline, "Bill Ford Jr. or Pinocchio? Don't Buy His Environmental Rhetoric. Don't Buy His Cars."
Attached to the ad is a coupon that readers can send to Mr. Ford, pledging not to buy Ford vehicles, including other Ford brands such as Volvo, Mazda, and Range Rover, until the company agrees to meet specific demands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are related to fuel mileage. The ad, appearing February 5, 2004, in the national exclusive edition of The New York Times, is slated to run in other national publications over the next month.
Russell Long, Director of Bluewater Network, and the author of California's landmark law to reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions stated, "That Pinocchio nose is well-deserved, because Mr. Ford's vehicles aren't any better now than when he made the pledge four years ago. Ford also personally lobbied Congress against raising national fuel mileage standards, promising instead to deliver fuel efficiency without federal regulations." Last June at Ford's centennial, Bluewater Network agreed to negotiate with Ford officials in return for temporarily withholding their ad campaign. Negotiations broke down last month.
The Bluewater ad refers to a Ford announcement in 2003 that it would not meet a deadline it set for itself to improve SUV fuel economy because of financial pressures and continued consumer demand for large, fuel-guzzling vehicles. Despite Ford Motor's return to profitability in 2003, the environmental group notes that Ford has so far failed to reinstate their pledge or offer alternatives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the Ford fleet. Light-duty vehicles such as SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks are reportedly one of the largest sources of global warming emissions in the US.
Within days of Ford making its July 27, 2000 pledge, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler made identical pledges, creating the appearance of an environmental race between the Big Three that helped to undermine a Senate measure that would have nearly doubled the fuel economy of light-duty trucks, from 20.7 mpg to 36 mpg by 2015. When Ford withdrew its pledge last year, the other manufacturers also withdrew their commitments. Subsequently, The National Highway and Safety Transportation Board established a very modest 1.5 mile per gallon fuel mileage increases for light-duty trucks by 2007.
In response to Bluewater's criticism, Ford officials have pointed to the upcoming debut of a new fuel efficient SUV, the Ford Escape hybrid, as proof of their commitment towards protecting the environment.
The Bluewater Network ad can be viewed at http://www.bluewaternetwork.org
Wal-Mart to Pay $400,000 Penalty and Cease Sales of Ozone-Depleting Refrigerants
Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Todd P. Graves, United States Attorney for the Western District announced a settlement that resolves ozone-depletion violations of the Clean Air Act by various Sam’s Club stores in eleven states.
Under the terms of a consent decree that was filed in federal court in Kansas City, Wal-Mart agreed to pay a $400,000 civil penalty. In addition, Sam’s Club stores nationwide will stop selling refrigerants that contain ozone-depleting substances.
“This settlement will aid in protecting the ozone layer worldwide by eliminating from the earth’s atmosphere harmful refrigerants, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that leak from industrial appliances and have contributed to the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer in recent years,” said Assistant Attorney General Tom Sansonetti.
The ozone layer protects humans and animals from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Excessive exposure to UV radiation can cause cataracts, skin cancer, and other ailments.
The lodging of the consent decree settles violations of Title VI of the Clean Air Act at Sam’s Club stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Sections 608 and 609 of the Clean Air Act and federal regulations restrict sales of certain ozone depleting refrigerants to technicians who are certified in the use of such substances. The Complaint alleges that some Sam’s Club stores sold ozone-depleting refrigerants to customers who were not certified in the use of such refrigerants in violation of the Clean Air Act and implementing regulations.
This case follows other precedent-setting settlements with violators of the stratospheric ozone protection provisions of the Clean Air Act. In the fall of 2000, Meyer’s Bakeries, Inc. settled its corporate-wide violations and converted all its appliances to non-ozone-depleting refrigerants. In the summer of 2001, Air Liquide, a producer of industrial gases, settled its corporate-wide violations in addition to converting its refrigerant systems to non-ozone-depleting systems. And most recently, in July of 2003, various Sara Lee bakeries settled violations and agreed to convert all their industrial process refrigeration appliances to refrigerant systems that do not deplete the ozone layer.
US Files Suit Against KY Power Co-Op for Violation of CAA NSR Provisions
The United States has filed a civil complaint against East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties for violations of the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) provisions, the Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky announced. The government alleges the violations resulted from three “major modifications” to EKPC coal-fired power plants located in Clark and Mason Counties, Ky.
Among the charges in the complaint is the claim that in the 1990's EKPC modified three of its coal-burning electric generating units without first obtaining NSR permits or installing the best available control technology (BACT), as required by law. The complaint also charges EKPC with violations of the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards, operating permit requirements, and the Kentucky State Implementation Plan.
The two EKPC power plants involved in this case are:
1) the Spurlock Plant, located in Mason County, Ky. The Spurlock Plant operates two coal-fired generating units, one of which is at issue in this case.
2) the Dale Plant, located in Clark County, Ky. The Dale Plant operates four coal-fired generating units, two of which are at issue in this case.
The complaint alleges that EKPC undertook several projects that increased coal consumption and emissions from its plants. It alleges EKPC should have undergone New Source Review if it wished to increase coal consumption above permitted limits and would have been required to install pollution controls.
Coal-fired power plants account for nearly 70 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions each year and 30 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions.
$6 Million Enforcement Settlement With Boston Power Plant Includes Largest School Bus Pollution Control Project In Country
The Department of Justice and EPA announced that they have reached a $6 million enforcement case settlement with a Boston power plant that will result in significant air quality improvements for Boston school children and North Shore commuters, as well as a restored salt marsh in Chelsea and construction of a new commuter bike path across the Mystic River that will link Everett and Somerville.
In a settlement stemming from air quality violations over a five-year period at the Mystic Station power plant in Everett, plant owner Exelon Mystic LLC has agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty and fund more than $5 million of environmental projects in the Boston area.
Among the projects is $3.25 million to retrofit 500 Boston school buses with pollution control equipment and supply them with ultra low-polluting diesel fuel. The project, which will benefit more than 28,000 school children who ride the buses every day, will reduce tailpipe emissions from the buses by more than 90 percent, or more than 30 tons a year. Upon being completed in 2005, Boston will be the first major city in the country to have retrofitted its entire school bus fleet.
The settlement also includes $1.25 million for pollution control improvements to virtually all of the commuter rail trains operating out of Boston’s North Station rail terminal and $250,000 to build a commuter bike path along the Amelia Earhart Dam on the Mystic River. The new bike path over the dam will connect existing bike paths in Everett and Somerville.
Located just over the Boston city line, the 2,600-megawatt Mystic Station power plant includes three 1950s-era oil fired units (400 megawatts total), a larger, primarily oil-fired unit (600 megawatts) built in the 1970s, and two brand new units (1,600 megawatts total) that burn only natural gas. EPA’s complaint alleged over 6,000 violations of the Clean Air Act’s opacity limits at the four oil-fired units from June 1998 to November 2003. Opacity is a measure of smoke thickness, and is regulated to prevent visible air pollutants such as soot and other particulate matter from polluting the air. Most of the violations took place at the three oldest units, which virtually ceased operations in March 2003.
Fine particulate matter from combustion sources such as power plants is a serious public health concern, particularly for sensitive populations such as children, the elderly and asthmatics. Asthma is the leading cause of childhood emergency room hospitalizations in Boston. In some Boston neighborhoods, including Roxbury and Dorchester, asthma rates are more than double the Massachusetts state average.
After EPA issued a Notice of Violation in 2001 and a Compliance Order in 2002, Mystic spent over $2.5 million on new equipment and operating procedures, which dramatically improved the plant’s compliance with opacity regulations and reduced its particulate emissions.
Under the settlement, Exelon will pay a $1 million fine and spend over $5.1 million on five local environmental projects. The projects include:
- Spend $3.25 million to retrofit school buses with pollution reduction devices and supply them with ultra low sulfur diesel fuel for two years. Exelon is planning to work with the City of Boston and aims to retrofit over 500 school buses by September 2005. The project builds on a similar bus retrofit project in an EPA enforcement settlement three years ago with Waste Management of Massachusetts Inc., which has nearly finished retrofitting 100 Boston school buses with pollution control equipment. Together, the two projects will retrofit virtually the entire Boston school bus fleet. Estimated emission reductions over the first two years of the Exelon project are over 4.5 tons of particulate matter, over 12 tons of smog-causing hydrocarbons, and over 41 tons of carbon monoxide.
- Spend $1.25 million to equip diesel locomotive engines of 15 to 20 commuter rail trains operating out of Boston’s North Station rail terminal with oxidation catalysts (to reduce particulate matter) and supply the trains with low-sulfur diesel fuel for three years. The result will be cleaner air for the 47,000 passengers who ride the North Station commuter trains each day, and for the residents of the many communities through which the trains pass. Over three years, the project will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 258 tons and particulate matter by 44 tons.
- Spend $250,000 on a project with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to build a commuter bike path link over the Amelia Earhart Dam on the Mystic River. The project will connect Everett and Somerville and link several existing and planned bike paths in Medford, Everett, Somerville and Charlestown. The project will encourage commuter bike traffic on metropolitan area bike paths, thereby reducing air pollutants from automobile exhaust.
- Spend $250,000 on a project to restore one acre of an urban salt marsh along Mill Creek in Chelsea. Exelon is planning to work with the Chelsea Green Space & Recreation Committee and the Urban Ecology Institute to implement this project. The restoration will provide environmental benefits and wildlife habitat, as well as needed coastal access, passive recreation, green space and environmental opportunities to the residents of Chelsea and surrounding communities. Following construction, the project will provide for oversight and educational activities for a period of at least two years.
- Spend $118,600 to fund an environmental assessment and feasibility study to identify possible restoration activities along the Malden River, including the identification and potential restoration/replication of lost or degraded wetlands habitat. The study will build on preliminary data collection and other work being performed in a study overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Mystic Valley Development Commission.