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EPA Public Engagement Highlights for the Week of November 23, 2015

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Reduce Wasted Food This Holiday Season

screenshot from food waste videoPlanning a great meal this holiday season? Don't let any food go to waste - only buy what you need.Most people don't realize how much food they throw away every day — from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. More than 96% of the food we throw away ends up in landfills. Once in landfills, food breaks down to produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change. So, this holiday season, take steps to cut down your food waste.

Reducing food waste saves you money, lowers your carbon footprint, and supports your community by providing donated untouched food that would have otherwise gone to waste to those who might not have a steady food supply. Find planning, storage, and prep tips to help you waste less.

Watch a video Exiton how you can reduce your food waste this holiday season.

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Moving Forward on Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

children runningUp to 540,000 missed work or "sick" days will be avoided each year, enhancing productivity and lowering health care costs for American families.Power plants are the largest source of mercury in the U.S. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can damage children’s developing nervous systems, reducing their ability to think and learn. Three years ago, EPA issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which requires power plants to reduce their emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants, protecting Americans from a host of avoidable illnesses and premature death.

After MATS was issued, the Supreme Court upheld the standards in the face of a host of challenges – but also ruled that the EPA should have considered costs when determining whether to regulate toxic air emissions from the power sector. Now, EPA is proposing a notice that supplements MATS. Specifically, EPA proposes to find that including a consideration of cost does not change the agency’s determination that it is appropriate to regulate air toxics, including mercury, from power plants.

Read a blog post by Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe on how this this proposal addresses the Supreme Court’s decision.

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Protecting Drinking Water from Harmful Algal Blooms

algal bloom2015 brought a summer of green water, with many areas of the nation seeing a record year for the growth of HABs.Algal toxins are a growing problem in the U.S. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) produce algal toxins that can cause fish kills and contaminate drinking water supplies. EPA has released a comprehensive strategic plan outlining actions to address algal toxins in drinking water. Solving this complex challenge to our drinking water will require action at all levels of government and approaches that are collaborative, innovative, and persistent.

Read a blog post by Acting Assistant Administrator Joel Beauvais on the next steps EPA is taking to protect drinking water.

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$4 Million in Grants Awarded to Research Impact of Drought

drought landsSince the 1970s, droughts have become longer and more extreme worldwide.EPA recently awarded $4 million in grants to four institutions to conduct research in order to combat the negative effects of drought and extreme events on water quality. These grants will help spur innovative strategies to protect water quality and public health in the wake of the increasing demands on our nation’s water resources.

Climate change, population growth, increased use of water resources, and aging water infrastructure systems pose substantial threats to water quality. These grants are instrumental in supporting the research and other tools necessary to ensure safe water quality and availability for a sustainable future.

Learn more about EPA's water research grants.

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