News Briefs: Portland commissioners pull back on city’s green plan... EPA rule would require erosion-control best practices

January 21, 2009 |

Portland commissioners pull back on city’s green plan. At the Greenbuild conference in 2007, Portland, Ore., City Commissioner Dan Saltzman unveiled the nation’s most ambitious green building policy. But since then a 34-member task force has overhauled the plan. Instead of mandates, the new policy would involve a “feebate” on most new office, commercial, and apartment buildings—a fee, waiver, or rebate, depending on whether the building meets no performance standards, low standards, or high standards for energy use, stormwater runoff, water consumption, and waste.

EPA rule would require erosion-control best practices. The EPA recently proposed a rule that would require contractors, developers, and others who engage in land projects to use specific best management practices for erosion and sediment control, as well as pollution prevention. The rule, which was proposed under the Clean Water Act, would also require projects that involve 10 acres or more to implement stormwater treatment processes. Larger sites would also have to comply with turbidity levels.

Obama names environmental team, pledges to 'value science.’ Saying his administration will “value science,’ President-elect Barack Obama named Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as his energy secretary; former EPA chief Carol Browner as “climate czar”; former New Jersey environmental protection commissioner Lisa Jackson as EPA administrator; and Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley to run the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Apple, Whole Foods not among greenest companies (Wal-Mart is). Ceres, a Boston-based green investment coalition, has rated 63 large companies on their efforts to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Surprisingly, Apple and Whole Foods Market ranked relatively low, while Wal-Mart, Dell, and IBM fared well.

NAIOP: Commercial real estate contributes $549 billion to the economy. The research arm of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) said spending on commercial real estate development and construction reached $549 billion and added 839 million square feet of existing building space in 2007, the latest comprehensive data available.

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