How does Michigan stack up against the country when it comes to clean energy?
Our state isn’t in the Top Ten, as ranked by Clean Edge, a research and consulting firm in Portland, Oregon. But Michigan is included in the company’s newly released Clean Energy Leadership Index.
According to the Index, the Top Three states are California, Oregon and Massachusetts when it comes to clean energy technology, policy, and capital.
Washington, Colorado, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Minnesota, and New Jersey round out the top 10. Indicators include total electricity produced by clean-energy sources, hybrid vehicles on the road, and clean-energy venture and patent activity.
As for Michigan, we’re ranked as the No. 1 state for clean energy patents. That’s due to our recent focus on electric vehicle and automotive battery technologies.
In holiday news … have you hung up your Christmas lights? You may want to wash your hands, and keep the kids away.
Holiday lights are rife with lead, according to a study by the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center. In a recent test, the center found that 54 percent of holiday lights had more lead than regulators permit in children’s products. Some strands contained more than 30 times what’s considered safe.
The U.S. standard for lead in children’s products is 300 parts per million. The limit is due to decrease next year to 100 parts per million.
Federal officials tell Bloomberg News that children should not be allowed to handle Christmas lights due to the levels of lead found by the Ecology Center.
The lead is used to stabilize cord casings and make sure they’re heat resistant.
You can find the Ann Arbor testing data online at healthystuff.org.
Who’s polluting the water in your area?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a tool that anyone can use to find out.
The Internet-based tool is still in the testing stages. It’s called the Discharge Monitoring Report Pollutant Loading Tool. It provides year 2007 wastewater discharge amounts for more than 20,000 industrial and municipal facilities with Clean Water Act licenses.
An EZ Search for Bay County brings up 11 facilities, with 5 major discharges.
The EPA is taking comments on the tool until February, after which the agency plans to add additional data.