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Practical considerations of recycling


June 14, 2017   By Elizabeth Kress in Environmental Stewardship
Berkeley County government has recently formed a group called “Keep Berkeley Beautiful.”

This group works to reduce litter, beautify the county, and increase recycling. I joined the group and our motto is “Fight Ugly with Us.” Click here to see their Facebook page. Education on how recycling really works is an important step to increasing recycling. Some places even have a “master recycler” program to train people to recycle in a smarter way.

Let’s start at the beginning with a few of the items that are commonly able to be recycled, and then we’ll discuss the current situation locally.

Plastic containers of types 1 to 7 are numbered that way to help with recycling Paper, including newspaper and mixed office paper, including paperboard. Cardboard- in recycling, this category is for the special strong cardboard that is used in corrugated boxes and packaging. Textiles and clothing – check... Continue Reading >>

EPA reconsiders rules


May 17, 2017   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship
Just last month, the Environmental Protection Agency agreed to reconsider the Effluent Limitations Guidelines Rule for Steam Electric Generators.

This rule, which was made final in 2015 and was to take effect after 2019, would lower the water discharge limits primarily for coal-fired power stations. This reconsideration was part of the new administration’s regulatory reform agenda, which I discussed in an April 5 blog .

There is little question that these guidelines need updating. But there is considerable industry opinion that this rule perhaps went overboard in requiring very restrictive limits for some waste streams that may not even be achievable at this time – even with the best available technology.  As a further example, power effluent limits were set at less than one-tenth of the metal limits of hazardous waste incinerators.

For example, metal limits were set such that the only way to achieve them was to use some... Continue Reading >>

Climate rules on hold?


April 05, 2017   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship

The Winyah Generating Station near Georgetown, S.C. has a generating capability of 1,130 megawatts and is an important part of Santee Cooper’s generation mix.

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order that begins to process of dismantling the Obama administration’s climate policies.

The centerpiece of the Obama climate legacy is clearly the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which regulates carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.  The executive order directs EPA to immediately review the CPP, a regulation promulgated pursuant to section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.  Following the issuance of the executive order, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Federal Register notice announcing that EPA is reviewing the CPP per the order and to quote “if appropriate, will initiate proceedings to suspend, revise or rescind the Clean Power Plan.”  

There were many problems with the CPP.  It was a state by state plan.  Each state had a starting point then a complexly derived carbon-dioxide (C02) reduction target to meet in... Continue Reading >>

Recycling rumors


March 08, 2017   By Elizabeth Kress in Environmental Stewardship

Recycling is always a good idea for the environment and most times, your pocketbook too.

There is so much misinformation about recycling that it’s hard to know where to begin to educate folks.

Plastic, aluminum, glass, textiles, wood waste and organics each have their own story for processing and value. The scrap value can swing wildly as the markets change.

Santee Cooper has used wood waste, landfill gas and organics to produce electricity, so here’s hoping you’ll be interested in a blog on recycling of other materials and the circular economy as a whole.

In this blog, we explore the recycling of clothing, using local Goodwill as our specific and local example . I recently heard someone say, “You know, Goodwill throws out clothes they get that are out of season.” I tracked down Goodwill’s public relations manager, Kaley Briesmaster, to get the truth.

Goodwill accepts any clean clothing or textiles at all of its branches. At our local drive-through dropoff, the employee meets... Continue Reading >>

Regulatory reform is a good thing


February 22, 2017   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship

The Federal Register is the official journal of the U.S. government that contains government agency rules, proposed rules and notices, including those that may affect the electric utility industry.

The new Trump administration has generated a large volume of dialog over issues ranging from immigration to health care.  We see voices on these issues every night, both for and against changes to existing policies.

One thing we should be positive about is regulatory reform.   One administration proposal is that for every new regulation, two must be eliminated or significantly reformed. The administration has also reached out to business groups requesting regulatory changes that would streamline how businesses operate.

According to a recent George Washington University study, the volume of regulations published annually has increased from 75,000 pages per year in 1975 to nearly 180,000 pages per year in 2015--and growing.   

Businesses have staff and employ consultants to monitor these daily, so that compliance is maintained.    Specifically, the electric utility industry is one of the most regulated... Continue Reading >>