Rick Phelps Of High Sierra Energy Foundation Is One Of The Facilitators At Sierra Solutions Conference In Mammoth Lakes, California October 3-4, 2008

The High Sierra Energy Foundation has been working on transitioning Mammoth Lakes from its dependency on propane as a primary home-heat to geothermal energy, obtained locally. Currently about 75% of Mammoth Lakes heat source comes from propane—going to local energy would radically effect not only the emissions from the production and burning of propane, but the impact of moving the fuel to Mammoth and then delivery to each home’s fuel tank—the trickle down of energy loss gets converted to energy saved when the movement is made to a local energy distribution network.

The California Energy Commission approved a grant of $191,000 from the Geothermal Resource Development Account to the Town of Mammoth Lakes in 2006, which is now underway. “The grant facilitates developing a business model for a geothermal heating district in Mammoth Lakes,” stated Phelps. “Over the last 20 years there have been numerous technical studies confirming that there is hot water under Mammoth Lakes, but this is the first study that will generate a comprehensive business plan,” continued Phelps. “This project has the potential to become a model for local energy creation and distribution. Mammoth Lakes will be a showpiece for energy efficiency and responsible use of local resources.”

Dave Harvey, Board President of the High Sierra Energy Foundation pointed out “this CEC grant, combined with the recent Community Energy Partnership with Southern California Edison, puts the Foundation well on the way to fulfilling its mission of promoting and developing efficiency and renewables in the High Sierra.”

In fact, electric power production and transportation are the two largest sources of carbon emissions in the United States with California producing 47.24 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. It qualifies as one of the biggest emitters in the United States.

Moving towards local economies and local energy sources is a powerful notion for saving energy, reducing carbon and building strong economies. Learn more about local energy generation, and other strategies for building resilient, sustainable communities in the Sierra—and how these practices apply to other regions by attending Sierra Solutions conference.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE: SIERRA SOLUTIONS—Tools for Sustainable Communities, Economies and the Environment
October 3-4, 2008
Mammoth Resort Conference Center
Mammoth Lakes, CA

Hosted by The Sierra Business Council and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, SIERRA SOLUTIONS highlights leading sustainability speakers, who believe, “The Sierra Nevada is a place that serves as a model for the rest of the nation – it is a place where we pursue a green economy, support valuable ecosystems, and design sustainable communities.” Steve Frisch, Sierra Business Council

Solution-based tools, processes and opportunities for ensuring sustainable and vibrant Sierra communities, landscapes and local economies are the focus of this 2-day event in scenic Mammoth, California.

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Fuels For Schools And Beyond Is Moving Into Providing Biomass Energy For Schools And Private Enterprise While Maintaining Healthy Forests

After the wildfires in the summer of 2000, which burned over 350,000 acres and 70 structures in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, a resident of Darby, Montana began to research ways in which to tie fire hazard reduction work with economic development in the valley. Discovering that waste wood was being used to heat a number of schools in the northeastern U.S., this individual approached community leaders with the idea of using slash (tree limbs, tops and branches) from hazardous fuels reduction projects for heat in Darby’s schools. With the aid of a grant from the Economic Action Program and assistance from the Bitter Root RC&D, USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory and the Biomass Energy Resource Center, a biomass boiler system was planned, designed and installed at Darby and began heating three schools in the fall of 2003.

Today, Fuels for Schools and Beyond is a recognized national leader in community biomass projects, moving into providing biomass energy for schools and private enterprise while maintaining healthy forests.

The Fuels for Schools and Beyond program is a partnership between the USDA Forest Service’s State & Private Forestry Division, the State Foresters of Montana, North Dakota, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, and the Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Area, Inc., to promote and facilitate the use of forest biomass waste for heating, cooling and power in public and private buildings.

These organizations are advancing local and national policies in biomass utilization, and ensuring the viability of the nation’s forests and communities.

There are currently 14 biomass boilers operating throughout North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Nevada with two more in the design or construction phase. While continuing to provide support to existing projects, the program is now actively advancing “wood to energy” for private enterprise.

Dave Atkins, Fuels for Schools and Beyond Program Manager, from Missoula Montana, is one of the presenters at Sierra Solutions conference in Mammoth Lakes, California October 3-4, 2008.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE: SIERRA SOLUTIONS—Tools for Sustainable Communities, Economies and the Environment October 3-4, 2008 Mammoth Resort Conference Center Mammoth Lakes, CA

Hosted by The Sierra Business Council and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, SIERRA SOLUTIONS highlights leading sustainability speakers, who believe

“The Sierra Nevada is a place that serves as a model for the rest of the nation – it is a place where we pursue a green economy, support valuable ecosystems, and design sustainable communities.” Steve Frisch, Sierra Business Council

Solution-based tools, processes and opportunities for ensuring sustainable and vibrant Sierra communities, landscapes and local economies are the focus of this 2-day event in scenic Mammoth, California.

Conference details—Nikki Streegan 530.582.4800

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A Class Action Lawsuit Demands Behr Dayton Thermal Plant To Make Financial Restitution For Damages To Residents Caused By Toxic Underground Fumes Caused By Groundwater Contamination Cased By The Plant

The Columbus, Ohio law firm of Leeseberg & Valentine, in litigation partnership with Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC (Maryland) and German Rubenstein, LLP (New York), have announced the filing of a class action lawsuit on behalf of residents living near the Behr Dayton Thermal Plant.

The suit demands that defendants Behr America, Inc., Behr Dayton Thermal Products, LLC and Behr Dayton Thermal Plant LLC, current owners of the facility, and Chrysler, LLC, former owner, make financial restitution for damages to residents caused by toxic underground fumes caused by groundwater contamination cased by the plant.

The suit was filed Tuesday, September 2, in the Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery, County, OH. The class includes all persons who live in the McCook Field neighborhood and other areas near the plant, located at 1600 Webster Street in Dayton.

“The U.S.Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the damage caused to the McCook neighborhood. Those responsible for the contamination need to be held accountable. Our lawsuit begins the process of holding the wrongdoers responsible for their disregard of the health and safety of these residents,” said attorney Anne Valentine.

Exceedingly high levels of toxic gases linked to cancer have been found in many homes in the area, leading the USEPA this year to nominate the site for the national Super Fund list.

The class action lawsuit seeks compensation for diminished property values, establishment of a medical monitoring fund, money to pay for installation and operation of air filtration systems, and punitive damages. Persons who think they may qualify as a member of the class may call toll free 1-800-590-1289 to speak to an attorney, or may find information on the web at www.McCookField-lawsuit.com

The three law firms partnering in the class action bring exceptional experience, expertise and resources to the case. German Rubinstein, LLP, has significant experience in environmental toxic torts and groundwater contamination matters. Janet, Jenner & Suggs and Leeseberg & Valentine are nationally known for expertise in dealing with mass torts.

Background

Census data shows the area includes an estimated 2,100 residents living in 1,100 homes and apartments. Former and current residents and property owners, and any persons who spent significant time in the area, such as employees of local businesses or schools, may have been exposed to harmful levels of chemicals and are included in the class.

At issue is a cloud, or plume, of poisonous gas that is rising from contaminated ground water in the area. The USEPA has pinpointed the source of the contamination as the thermal plant, when it was owned and operated by Chrysler Corp. Groundwater contamination in the area started in at least 1998, according to the EPA.

Chrysler has assumed responsibility for tracking and cleaning up the contamination. However, it is disputing EPA claims that the plume has spread significantly since 2002 and is now putting a greater number of people and properties at risk.

The Behr plume contains high levels of trichloroethylene or TCE, a highly toxic gas linked to cancer. The EPA considers a safe level of TCE for humans to be 0.4 parts per billion. Yet, indoor air concentrations in the community have been detected as high as 260 ppb. Air abatement systems have been installed in at least 185 properties in the area so far. The Ohio Department of Health has found rates of cancer from 1 ½ to nearly nine times the average in residents who live in near the plant.

USEPA released a report Aug. 1, warning that TCE levels in some homes in the area had reached levels “that may pose a long-term health threat.” The report said the Behr VOC plume is expected to continue to pose a public health hazard until the ground water is cleaned up. It said indoor air filtration systems proposed for impacted homes are only a temporary solution. One elementary school in the affected area has already been closed.

Chrysler owned and operated the plant from 1937 to 2002, first as Chrysler Corporation and then as the merged company, DaimlerChrysler. The facility, which manufactures vehicle air conditioners and cooling systems, was sold to Behr America in 2002.

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