Conversations and observations about California's mountains
April 27, 2010
The Sierra Business Council has announced the winners of its Vision 2020 awards. The work of this year's honorees reflects some of the biggest challenges facing the range, from providing low-income housing in resort areas to thinning over-crowded, fire-prone forests to protecting rural areas from development.
Meea Kang, president of Domus Development, was selected for her efforts to bring affordable housing to Kings Beach at Lake Tahoe where many Hispanic families now live in over-crowded conditions in trailers and apartments.
Jim Turner, general manager of the Loyalton Co-Generation Plant and Keith Logan, principal in the firm Logan and Associates, were singled out for their work to develop renewable sources of wood energy (known as biomass) and help make Sierra forests more fire-resilient at the same time.
Reed Tollefson, manager of Audubon's California Kern River Preserve was selected for reaching out to private landowners and public agencies to preserve the rural nature of the area, and for his efforts at ecological restoration.
Finally, Michael Chrisman, former California Secretary for Natural Resources, was selected for his leadership on Sierra issues, including his role in the formation of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy in 2004.
Based in Truckee, the Sierra Business Council is a nonprofit group of more than 700 members that works across the range to protect the environment, improve economic prosperity and community vitality and promote social fairness.
(Photo: From left to right, Michael Chrisman, Jim Logan, Meea Kang, Reed
Tollefson, Jim Turner and Sierra Business Council president Steven Frisch.)
April 26, 2010
April 23, 2010
April 2, 2010
We all want to save energy. But a new
Government Accountability Office report has uncovered serious flaws with the
government's Energy Star program,
which was established to identify products that lower energy costs and reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.
Its logo is widespread on appliances and electronics today. But there's a catch: the government does not verify manufacturer claims of energy savings - and that means products that carry the Energy Star logo may not be energy savers.
To prove this, the GAO set up bogus companies and submitted applications for Energy Star certification for 15 make-believe products. Most were approved, including - unbelievably - a gasoline-powered alarm clock the size of a small generator!
Many of the fictitious devices quickly appeared on a government web-site as official Energy Star products, including a computer monitor that was approved in just 30 minutes. Soon, real companies were calling the bogus GAO firms, wanting to buy the products based on their energy savings.
Obviously, this is not good. As the GAO pointed out in its report: "Our investigation found that companies can easily submit fictitious energy-efficiency claims in order to obtain Energy Star qualification for a broad range of consumer products."
To read the full report, go to: