DALLAS – (Jan. 17, 2017) Today the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the city of Tyler, Texas, agreed to significantly upgrade its sanitary sewer system to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The city will also undertake extensive operational improvements to its sanitary sewer system and pay a total of $563,000 in civil penalties.
DOJ, on behalf of the EPA, and the State of Texas, on behalf of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, jointly filed a complaint against the city of Tyler alleging that, since 2005, the city has allowed and continues to allow untreated sewage to overflow from the city’s sanitary sewer system in violation of the CWA and the Texas Water Code. The complaint alleges the city failed to properly operate and maintain its sewer system, resulting in problems including blockages in underground pipes, general system defects and power failures. These problems can impact public health and local water quality by allowing releases of untreated sewage into local waterways and the community. The complaint specifically alleges instances of raw sewage entering into both local waterways and into Tyler residents’ private homes and yards. Many of these sanitary sewer overflows occurred in low-income and minority communities.

“The people of Tyler have experienced sewer overflows for the past decade and deserve those conditions to come to an end,” said Acting United States Attorney Brit Featherston. “This agreement ensures that vital infrastructure, required for the very basic of our citizens’ needs, will be upgraded, and the degradation of the city of Tyler’s sewer system will be halted. The agreement’s key provisions will modernize Tyler’s sewer system, substantially reduce the number of sewer overflows and discharges to local waterways, and protect the environment and the health of the citizens of Tyler.”

“Providing clean, reliable water service is one of the most important responsibilities cities have to their residents,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Improvements to the city’s treatment of wastewater has direct benefit to citizens.”

To comply with the terms of the settlement and significantly reduce future sanitary sewer overflows, the city must comprehensively assess and improve its sewer system’s physical condition by repairing or replacing damaged assets within a certain time period after their discovery. The city must also analyze sewer system capacity using an updated hydraulic model and undertake a tailored program to implement detailed capacity management, operation and maintenance procedures. The city must keep the public directly informed of its progress when complying with the consent decree by creating a public document repository on the city’s website, where it is required to post any report required by the consent decree and all final EPA-approved plans. The city must also consider, among other things, the location of past sanitary sewer overflows in low income or minority communities when prioritizing the sequence for certain cleaning or remedial work. EPA estimates the combination of these mandated efforts will require the city to spend approximately $65 million over the next 10 years.

Tyler’s entire wastewater collection and treatment system includes 690 miles of main lines, 22 lift stations and over 9,000 manholes as part of its sanitary sewer system, which sends untreated wastewater to two wastewater treatment plants. Tyler’s system serves approximately 32,000 customers and 109,000 people.

Keeping raw sewage out of the community and the waters of the United States is a national priority for EPA, as sewage overflows can present a significant threat to human health and the environment. These discharges can degrade water quality, spread bacteria and viruses and cause diseases ranging from gastroenteritis to life-threatening conditions such as cholera and dysentery.

The settlement, which will be lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, is subject to a federal 30-day public comment period. The State of Texas also has a required 30-day public comment period. The proposed consent decree can be viewed online at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

More information about EPA’s National Enforcement Initiative: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/national-enforcement-initiative-keeping-raw-sewage-and-contaminated-stormwater-out-our

More information about integrated municipal stormwater and wastewater plans: https://www.epa.gov/npdes/integrated-planning-municipal-stormwater-and-wastewater

Connect with EPA Region 6:

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eparegion6  

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/EPAregion6 

Activities in EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central


Joint venture to deploy a high-powered DC charging network for battery electric vehicles covering long-distance travel routes in Europe

Power levels up to 350 kilowatt significantly reduce charging time compared to today’s systems

Buildup of about 400 ultra-fast charging sites planned in Europe 

Network is based on Combined Charging System standard, which uses a connector that is fully compatible with most current and next-generation battery electric vehicles

Unprecedented collaboration of the automakers to form a brand-independent network for charging infrastructure

COLOGNE, Germany, Nov. 29, 2016 – BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have signed a memorandum of understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. The goal is the quick buildup of a sizable number of stations to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers. This is an important step toward facilitating mass-market battery electric vehicle adoption.

The projected ultra-fast charging network with power levels up to 350 kilowatt will be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. The buildup is planned to start in 2017. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020, consumers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points. The goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along highways and major thoroughfares, which has not been feasible for most battery electric vehicle drivers to date. The experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations.

BMW GROUP, DAIMLER AG, FORD MOTOR COMPANY AND VOLKSWAGEN GROUP WITH AUDI AND PORSCHE PLAN A JOINT VENTURE FOR ULTRA-FAST, HIGH-POWER CHARGING ALONG MAJOR HIGHWAYS IN EUROPEThe network will be based on Combined Charging System standard technology. The planned infrastructure expands the existing technical standard for AC and DC charging of electric vehicles to the next level of capacity for DC fast charging with up to 350 kilowatt. Vehicles engineered to accept the full power of the charge stations can recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time of today’s battery electric vehicles. The network is intended to serve all Combined Charging System-equipped vehicles to facilitate battery electric vehicle adoption in Europe.

BMW Group

“This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move toward electric mobility,” says Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG. “The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp up e-mobility.”

Daimler AG

“The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure. With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than 10 fully electric passenger cars. Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle.”

Ford Motor Company

“A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving,” says Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people’s lives better, and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for consumers across Europe to own electrified vehicles.”


“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging,” says Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management of AUDI AG. “Reliable, fast charging services are a key factor for drivers to choose an electric vehicle. With this cooperation, we want to boost broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift toward emission-free driving.”

Porsche AG

“There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions,” says Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche AG. “Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically powered car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As an automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electrically powered vehicles, but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well.”

The automobile manufacturers intend to make substantial investments to create the network, underscoring each company’s belief in the future of electric mobility. While the founding partners – BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group – will be equal partners in the joint venture, other automobile manufacturers will be encouraged to participate to help establish convenient charging solutions for battery electric vehicle customers. The joint venture also intends to cooperate with regional partners to ensure a quick network realization.

The joint venture formation is subject to execution of definitive agreements and merger control approval in various jurisdictions.
Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 203,000 employees and 62 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks and SUVs, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. To expand its business model, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities with investments in electrification, autonomy and mobility. Ford provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products and services, please visit http://www.corporate.ford.com.

More companies than ever before have discovered that an eco-conscious business model is not only profitable but desired by consumers as well. While Energy Star and USDA organic labeling may be a tiny piece of the overall presentation of a product, they and a company’s dedication to a cleaner world, can make all the difference in terms of a purchase. But what do these labels actually mean, and what do green companies do to decrease their carbon footprint? Here’s a look:

Organic Label Standards

The United States Department of Agriculture reviews all organic labels, considering both the presentation and the information or ingredient panel typically found on the back of a product. The phrase “100 percent organic” can only be included on products made from completely organic ingredients — salt and water are exempt from this as they are considered natural ingredients. The term “organic” can be used on any product that is made from at least 95 percent organic ingredients. If the product is at least 70 percent organic, the product may use the phrase “made with organic … ” For companies that sell less than $5,000 of their fully or partially organic product each year, organic label review by the USDA is not necessary, though all guidelines must be followed.

Eco-friendly Companies

Seventh Generation is a home cleaning supply company that centers its business model around sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint. Seventh Generation earns more than $200 million each year, yet invented the “benefit corporation” model, in which profits to the owners are slimmed down for the benefit of the employees and the environment. FTD, a flower delivery service, has prided itself for years on a Fair Trade policy and works closely with growers and suppliers to ensure human rights come before product and profit. New Belgium Brewing is one of the largest craft brewers in the United States, but this doesn’t stop them from being eco-conscious. New Belgium Brewing monitors all energy use and waste production, and recycles, reuses or composts 75 percent of the materials used in production. They also make bicycles and Priuses available for employee use to cut down on carbon emissions.

Energy Star

Energy Star is a government-awarded emblem of energy efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awards Energy Star labels to products that follow key guidelines such as nationwide energy savings by product, comparable quality to non-Energy Star products and cost effectiveness for consumers through initial investment, for example, light bulbs that cost more per unit but use less electricity. Energy Star products cannot be proprietary technologies, meaning there must be competition, which drives the cost down. While these guidelines must be met, the EPA can change them as technology advances or for a variety of other reasons, such as a change of minimum energy efficiency at a federal level, consumer expectation of energy savings or more rigorous testing.

In an age of excess, many companies and government agencies have taken steps to promote environmentally-conscious products. And with the help of each individual consumer, the market will only become more tailored and dedicated to eco-friendly products, especially as they become more profitable.

Every time I sit down to write about the energy industry these days, I simply can’t help myself.  
Each time, I want to start the article by slapping myself on the forehead and exclaiming: “Who’d
a thunk it?” The changes in the energy field are coming so fast and furious that pipe dreams from
just a decade ago are becoming a reality right before our very eyes.

Think about it like this. If you install a solar panel on your roof and put grid tie inverters to work,
you have done what generations of Americans never dreamed possible: Contributed to the national energy pool. 

Solar power 

I typed in “growth in wind power” in a Google search and the first two words I read were these “
wind industry.” Those two words were never linked together before. Now there is a “sun industry” and a “wind industry.” There is also a growing “tide industry,” from generators that harness the movement of the ocean. There is a “geo-thermal industry” that centers around harnessing underground heat and underground cooling. These were dreams 10 years ago. Now
they are industries.  

Wind power's growth is even more phenomenal. According to the Energy Department, wind power capacity installed in 2000 was 2.53 gigawatts across four states. By 2020 that is expected to reach 113.43 GW across 36 states. By 2050, it is expected to reach 404.25 GW in 48 states.
Here are some numbers to contemplate. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the growth in solar power generation in 2016 alone was projected to reach 119 percent. Wind power’s growth is even more phenomenal. According to the Energy Department, wind power capacity installed in 2000 was 2.53 gigawatts across four states. By 2020 that is expected to reach 113.43 GW across 36 states. By 2050, it is expected to reach 404.25 GW in 48 states.  

Electric cars, of course, is the frustrating industry that seems to be in a stall. In time, this will
revive itself, perhaps someday during the next White House administration. But President Obama did his best to push automakers into a new mindset and he certainly succeeded. As of 2013, cars on U.S. roads averaged a previously unheard of 23.6 miles per gallon. You see all those tiny cars out there. The land of trucks is turning into a land of tweaky, tiny cars. All to the better.  

Back to the solar panel and grid tie inverters….this works two ways. You can go off-grid by disconnecting (or simply not using) any electricity provided to you from your local utility. This has obvious benefits. Your electricity usage no longer supports the burning of fossil fuels that contribute dangerously to global warming. Your electric bills drop or disappear. All to the better. 

Back to the solar panel and grid tie inverters....this works two ways. You can go off-grid by disconnecting (or simply not using) any electricity provided to you from your local utility. This has obvious benefits. Your electricity usage no longer supports the burning of fossil fuels that contribute dangerously to global warming. Your electric bills drop or disappear.
But not so fast. Two of the least understood – and almost never predicted – phenomena in the energy market is that improvements in the efficiency of appliances, motors and heating and cooling units have become one of the most important contributors to the stall in national demand growth for electricity. People are not using few electronic devices, but just the opposite.  

Nevertheless, our devices – televisions, radios, refrigerators – are so much more efficient than before that utility companies are scaling back on new coal and oil-burning plants more than
anyone anticipated. That’s all to the better, too.  

The second phenomenon – the flip side of efficiency – is waste. Let’s imagine that half the people in the country went off-grid. They simply produced their own electricity. Well, they are either going to produce too much or too little electricity and the obvious option is to produce too much because too little means sacrificing quality of life. So, off grid consumers will produce too much and allow the excess to go unclaimed. Once their private batteries are full, their solar panels will be idle. The sun will shine and energy harvesting will stop.

This is inherently a wasted opportunity. Users who stay connected to the grid will benefit themselves, by selling their excess to the utility company, and they will benefit mankind and the planet, but lowering the need to produce electricity with fossil fuels.

Just taking your home off line or off grid seems sensible, but it under-utilizes the impact an individual could have on the planet. 

Source: Ford Motor Company

JAN 3, 2017 | FLAT ROCK, MICH.


Ford is piloting wireless technology that makes recharging an electric vehicle as easy as pulling into a parking spot; in addition, the company is testing EV prototypes this year in Europe, New York and other large U.S. cities

FLAT ROCK, Mich., Jan. 3, 2017 – Ford today detailed seven of the 13 new global electrified vehicles it plans to introduce in the next five years, including hybrid versions of the iconic F-150 pickup and Mustang in the U.S., a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van in Europe and a fully electric SUV with an expected range of at least 300 miles for customers globally.

The automaker also announced plans to invest $700 million to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan into a factory that will build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles along with the Mustang and Lincoln Continental. The expansion will create 700 direct new jobs.

The moves are part of a $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles by 2020, offering customers greater fuel efficiency, capability and power across Ford’s global vehicle lineup. The plans are part of the company’s expansion to be an auto and a mobility company, including leading in electrified and autonomous vehicles and providing new mobility solutions. 

“As more and more consumers around the world become interested in electrified vehicles, Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles, services and solutions that make people’s lives better,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “Our investments and expanding lineup reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.”

Ford is focusing its EV plan on its areas of strength – electrifying its most popular, high-volume commercial vehicles, trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles to make them even more capable, productive and fun to drive.

The seven global electrified vehicles announced today include:
An all-new fully electric small SUV, coming by 2020, engineered to deliver an estimated range of at least 300 miles, to be built at the Flat Rock plant and sold in North America, Europe and Asia. 

Unique Electrification Technology

Building on two decades of experience, Ford is applying lessons learned to deliver patented technology, software and services to appeal to truck customers, SUV owners, performance enthusiasts, high-volume commercial fleets and everyone in between.

“Ford’s global EV strategy is to build on our strengths,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer. “While some others seem to be focused on marketing claims and numbers, we’re focused on providing customers even more of what they love about their Ford vehicles. This means more capability for trucks, more productivity for commercial vehicles and more performance for sports cars – plus improved fuel economy.”

Ford Focus Electric Car

This year, Ford begins testing its new generation of EV technology.

Today, Ford is America’s top-selling plug-in hybrid brand and second in overall U.S. electrified vehicle sales.

New Services

Applying approximately two decades of leadership in EVs and commercial vehicles, Ford also is working on a suite of services to make EVs even easier to live with.

“Innovative services can be as important to customers as the electrified vehicles themselves,” said Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president of Purchasing and Ford’s EV champion. “We are investing in solutions to help private customers as well as commercial fleet owners seamlessly incorporate these new vehicles and technologies into their lives.”

Ford already has a memorandum of understanding with several other automakers in Europe to create an ultra-fast charging network projected to be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020, consumers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points. 

Ford also is piloting wireless technology on company EVs in the U.S. and Europe that make recharging as easy as pulling into a parking spot so drivers never forget to recharge. Wireless recharging extends electric-only range for short distance commuters, even during quick stops. FordPass® also can help consumers reserve charging times.

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