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Dow Chemical ordered to clean up dioxin downstream of headquarters

Dow Chemical on Wednesday was ordered to clean up dioxin in homes and yards downstream of its Michigan headquarters, the result of dumping dioxin-laden chemicals in nearby rivers for decades. Test results revealed yesterday show dioxin levels in and around a number of houses some 20 miles downstream exceed by a few times the level considered reasonably safe by the U.S. EPA. Dioxin levels in the tainted yards averaged twice the safe limit; one yard sample was found to exceed safe levels by some 23 times. Dioxin is carcinogenic and extremely toxic, though Dow contends dioxin-laced soil doesn't threaten people …


Sapphire Energy hopes to soon power your car with algae

Sapphire Energy says it has successfully turned algae into biofuel, raising hopes that a viable oil alternative could be produced without need for agricultural land. The indeed-sapphire-colored fuel produced by the year-old company is coaxed from algae, sunlight, non-potable salt water, and carbon dioxide. Sapphire says its fuel is equivalent to conventional crude in both chemical makeup and price, and could be processed in existing refineries and used to power existing cars. And though vehicles burning the fuel will still produce tailpipe emissions, the company says the CO2 pulled from the atmosphere for production will effectively make the whole shebang …


Exxon shareholders reject resolution to shake up management

Exxon shareholders have rejected a high-profile resolution to strip one management role from current Chair-'n'-CEO Rex Tillerson and hire an independent chairperson. The influential Rockefeller family, along with various other investors, had pushed for the split. "Despite top-notch individual directors, [Exxon's] record over the last decade, particularly regarding climate change, demonstrates that debate has been lacking," explained Karina Litvack of investor F&C Asset Management. The resolution received only 39.5 percent approval at an annual shareholder meeting Wednesday; a resolution to adopt greenhouse-gas reduction targets was also shot down. Exxon did, however, make good on its policy to not overtly fund …


Let's take a call from our listeners

Listen as I talk green collar jobs on NPR

Interested in the promise of -- and questions about -- the growing "green collar jobs" movement? Listen Wednesday, May 28, at 11 a.m. EDT as I discuss it on NPR's Radio Times, a popular call-in show from WHYY in Philadelphia, the station that also brings the nation Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Bracken Hendricks of the Center for American Progress will also be part of the program. Listen live (or later) here.


McDonald’s Australia will sell certified-sustainable coffee

Starting next year, all coffee sold at McDonald's in Australia will be certified sustainable by the Rainforest Alliance. The country's 484 so-called McCafés make 5,000 cups of joe per hour; Mickey D's pockets 20 percent of the more than $1 billion that Aussies spend on away-from-home coffee. The Rainforest Alliance certifies coffee farms that reduce pesticide use and treat farmers decently. Enthuses Catriona Noble, chief operating officer of McDonald's Australia, "For our customers, the decision means they can feel even better about the great tasting McCafé coffee they love, while for our business it marks another important step forward in …


Swedish company will vend verified sustainable ethanol

Swedish biofuel company SEKAB says it will become the first company to vend ethanol verified to be environmentally and socially sustainable. The company is partnering with Brazilian producers to develop criteria for the full lifecycle of fuel-bound sugarcane, verifying that the fuel was not produced through child or slave labor, was processed in fair working conditions for fair wages, and did not contribute to rainforest destruction. "This initiative is the first of its kind in the world and a major step for speeding up the replacement of gasoline and diesel," says Anders Fredriksson of SEKAB. "The criteria will gradually be …


Fortune Brainstorm: Green conference wrap-up site

Remember that Brainstorm: Green conference I went to last month, put on by Fortune magazine? Now Fortune has put together a mini-site devoted to the conference, with tons of pictures, videos, slides, and links to blog posts about the presentations. Notably absent from the latter: a link to my posts on the conference. What am I, chopped liver? Anyway, despite that glaring omission, it's worth checking out.


Gas at $12-15? Not so fast

But soon we will be mad for $6-7 gas

Normally, I would listen to Robert Hirsch and the legendary Charlie Maxwell, over CNBC's "Mad" Jim Cramer. But Hirsch and Maxwell are making headlines for saying $12-15 gasoline is around the corner, based on Maxwell's projection of oil "reaching $180 a barrel in 2015 and $300 a barrel in 2020." Sorry, guys -- every extra $40 barrel is another dollar a gallon or so at the pump. Don't quite know how they did the math, but they did it wrong. When Mad Money's Jim Cramer is the voice of sanity, you know the energy world is topsy-turvy, but I happened …


Profit Actually

Monsanto execs make millions off farmers’ backs

Hugh Grant -- Monsanto chair, CEO, and president -- probably won't notice the increased price of a loaf of bread. And if he does, it will be with a smile. Grant is $13-million-and-change wealthier today than he was on Monday, as he choose to exercise stock options -- 116,000 shares worth -- that netted him a profit of over $114 per share. Like many of us, I wouldn't mind paying the extra dollar per loaf of bread if I knew the majority of that dollar was going back into the hands of farmers. Instead, the higher prices at the checkout …


Recycled Energy on NPR

Castens implement Phase II of global domination plan

On my morning commute, I always listen to music. Maybe two or three times in the last couple of years, I've listened to NPR instead, but it's rare. This morning, though, on a whim, I flipped over to hear if there was any primary news. And what is literally the very first thing I hear? "One Chicago entrepreneur thinks this waste energy can be captured to reduce costs and lower greenhouse gases." Hey, that sounds familiar! Yup, it's Tom Casten, father of our very own Sean Casten and chairman of Recycled Energy. Here's the NPR segment. It's excellent. For more …