Council on Environmental Quality Blog
- Posted byon April 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM EST
Last week, Federal agencies released, for the first time, their scorecards on energy and environmental performance. This marked an important milestone towards achieving the President's sustainability goals under Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. By establishing benchmarks, these scorecards help guide agencies' 2011 sustainability plans to save energy, improve the environment, and save money. Today, we mark the next milestone in this process by releasing the first-ever comprehensive Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory for the Federal Government, which accounts for the GHG emissions associated with the Federal Government’s operations in 2010.
- Posted byon April 27, 2011 at 1:59 PM EST
Clean water is the foundation of healthy communities. It is vital to everyone, from families who want safe drinking water, to fishermen and women who want to know their catch is safe to eat, to farmers who rely on it to grow their crops, and everyone in between. We understand the importance of clean water and healthy watersheds to our economy, to our environment and to our families.
Clean water has been a priority for this Administration from day one. Through an extensive set of policies and initiatives, we are working across Federal agencies, across governments and across sectors to use every tool in our toolbox to make sure Americans have the clean and healthy waters they need and deserve.
Today, we released a national clean water framework that affirms the Obama Administration’s comprehensive commitment to ensuring clean water and healthy waterways for American families, American communities, and the American economy. We're taking strong action to reduce contaminants in our drinking water by using the latest science to update drinking water standards, and by better protecting drinking water sources from pollution. We’re giving farmers incentives to reduce pollution, and giving landowners incentives to open up their lands for fishing, swimming, and other activities that promote public stewardship of our waters. We're working with states to make sure rural communities have affordable and modern clean water systems.
- Posted byon April 26, 2011 at 4:50 PM EST
As the bitter chill of winter retreats, the vibrancy of spring beckons us outdoors reminding us of the inextricable link between the natural world and our daily lives. In striving to meet the President's challenge to win the future by out-educating the rest of the world, we must cultivate the environmental health of our learning spaces and our students’ understanding of their environment to enable them to meet the challenges of the future. Today, the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality came together to launch the Green Ribbon Schools Program. This program plants the seeds to move toward educational excellence for the future by recognizing schools that are creating healthy and sustainable learning environments - both inside and outside the classroom, teaching environmental literacy, and increasing environmental health by reducing their environmental footprint.
Led by the Department of Education, in close partnership with the EPA and CEQ, the Green Ribbon Schools program will incentivize and reward schools that help to ensure that our students receive an education second to none by improving the health and environmental footprint of nation’s schools. To prepare our children for the clean energy economy of the future, Green Ribbon schools will be those that incorporate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and environmental stewardship into their curricula.
- Posted byon April 22, 2011 at 6:59 PM EST
As the rain poured down in Washington, DC, I headed to the National Zoo in a soggy but beautiful Rock Creek Park to celebrate Earth Day. What better place to commemorate the day when we honor our natural environment. After all, it's full of animals. But this day took me to the zoo for a very different reason. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and I got a behind the scenes to look at a new sustainably designed habitat for some of the zoo's most popular residents, the Asian elephants!
Under the President's Executive Order 13514 for the Federal Government to lead by example in environmental, energy, and economic performance, the National Zoo, as part of the Smithsonian Institution, is finding new and innovative ways to institute green building practices in their facilities. These practices help reduce the environmental foot print of these buildings and save money in the cost of operations.
To ensure that these endangered Asian elephants' habitat is comfortable for them, the zoo has incorporated cutting-edge green technologies. From harnessing the heat of the earth to warm the elephants' house, to a green roof that reduces storm water runoff and creates a habitat for birds, butterflies, and fauna, this state-of-the-art home has captured the spirit of Earth Day in so many ways.
Since 1970, when it was first celebrated, Earth Day has meant a time for us to recommit to protecting and preserving the natural wealth we depend on for our livelihood, prosperity, and security. Today, I am proud to see that our National Zoo, already a leader in caring for our wildlife, is also leading the way in delivering on the President’s commitment to a more sustainable government.
It was great to see elephants of all ages, from ten year old Kandula to 63 year old Ambika, enjoy their new home. For the most part, they took to the place right away. Though we did hear it took Ambika a little longer than the rest, but now she's enjoying it as much as the rest. Guess that just goes to show, you can teach an old elephant new tricks!
Nancy Sutley is Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality
What You Missed: Open for Questions on Energy and the Environment with Nancy Sutley and Heather ZichalPosted byon April 22, 2011 at 9:38 AM EST
In recognition of Earth Day 2011, Nancy Sutley, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair, and Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, answered your questions on the environment and energy policy in a live chat from the South Lawn of the White House. See what they talked about with the American people, from what everyday folks can do to go green, to what the federal government is doing to make a clean energy economy a reality.
And be sure to check out the Federal agency Sustainability and Energy Scorecard results on the CEQ website, which enable agencies to target and track the best opportunities to lead by example in clean energy; and to meet a range of energy, water, pollution, and waste reduction targets.
- Posted byon April 21, 2011 at 1:12 PM EST
This week, people all around the globe will come together to honor and appreciate our environment. Since its establishment over 40 years ago, Earth Day in America has given us the opportunity to renew our commitment to protecting and preserving the natural treasures and resources vital to our health and prosperity. The investments that make the water we drink and the air we breathe clean and healthy, and protect the health of the lands on which we work, farm, live, and play will continue to pay immeasurable dividends for generations to come.
As I travel across the country visiting communities, students, educators, businesses and innovators building the path to winning the future, I am reminded of how interconnected a robust economy and a thriving natural environment are. Our clean energy economy will harness and protect the power of the sun, the wind, our waters, our resources, and our Earth. To ensure their success we must also play our part.
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