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Tag Archive | "Environmental Protection Agency"

Spring Sting: Farewell cheap gas, prices on the rise 


Gas in Cedar Springs was $2.34 on Wednesday, February 15. Photo by J. Reed.

Gas in Cedar Springs was $2.34 on Wednesday, February 15. Photo by J. Reed.

GasBuddy analysts call “bottom” on U.S. gas prices 

You’ve been warned. Gas prices are about to get pumped up, eventually climbing to the year’s highest levels as refineries across the nation are preparing for maintenance season and the seasonal switch to cleaner burning gasoline, a tradition despised by many.

The hikes are due to summer’s more expensive blend of gasoline, required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Air Act, as well as refinery maintenance work lasting several months that causes gasoline production to drop, creating a pinch at the pump. Last year, the national average jumped 69 cents during this season, from a low of $1.69 to a high of $2.39; in 2015 we saw an even larger increase of 78 cent, from a low of $2.03 to a high of $2.81 per gallon.

Highlights of what’s to come at the pump across the nation:

  • Average gasoline prices will rise 35-75 cents between recent lows and peak prices, just in time for spring break travel plans. Gas prices will likely plateau in May.
  • America’s daily gasoline bill will swell from today’s $788 million to as much as $1.1 billion daily by Memorial Day. This is $312 million more spent every 24 hours.
  • Some of the nation’s largest cities will be $3 a gallon gasoline very soon, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Seattle, with other large cities possibly joining due to various stringent summer gasoline requirements.
  • Watch out for more gas price volatility in the Great Lakes and West Coast versus other areas, based on prior year outages at refineries in these areas. As a result, there may be temporary gas price spikes.

“While I remain optimistic this year will not bring a ‘running of the bulls,’ we’re likely to see some major increases at the gas pump as the seasonal transition and refinery maintenance get underway,” says Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “Overall, most areas will see peak prices under $3 per gallon, and while that’s far under prices a few years ago, watching prices surge every spring certainly brings heartburn with it. If we were to add the 5-year average increase we see during the spring, the national average would be thrust to $2.85 per gallon around Memorial Day, a 59 cent rise from the $2.26 per gallon observed February 9.”

States observing the largest seasonal jump between mid-February and Memorial Day at the pump last year:

1. Michigan, up 95 cents per gallon

2. Ohio, up 92 cents per gallon

3. Illinois, up 92 cents per gallon

4. Indiana, up 90 cents per gallon

5. Wisconsin, up 86 cents per gallon

6. Minnesota, up 82 cents per gallon

7. Kansas, up 76 cents per gallon

8. Oklahoma, up 75 cents per gallon

9. Missouri, up 74 cents per gallon

10. Kentucky, up 73 cents per gallon

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Second Green Team works to improve Rogue River


N-Green-team-Trout-Unlimited

The Plaster Creek Green Team came up to Cedar Springs to help their Rogue River counterparts plant a rain garden at CS Tool Engineering.

 

This summer, Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project employed a “Green Team” of eight high school students from all over the watershed to install and maintain green infrastructure practices, such as rain gardens, bioswales, and vegetated buffers. These practices use vegetation, soils, and natural processes to control storm water runoff, the leading source of water pollution in West Michigan, to create healthier urban environments.

The “Green Team,” funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is a replication of a successful program of the Plaster Creek Stewards, a part of Calvin College. The addition of the Rogue River Green Team, working in an upstream community, in a much higher quality watershed than Plaster Creek, exposed the students to matters of environmental injustice and the importance of the upstream-downstream relationship.

Bridget Flanery from Sparta, Cassidy Freeman and MaKayla Plekes from Rockford, and Troy Wilde from Kent City, made up the July team, led by local artist, landscaper and native plant specialist Georgia Donovan. Over the course of four weeks, the students implemented new projects, with Trout Unlimited, and helped local businesses and schools maintain their existing projects. The “Green Team” planted a stream buffer on Rum Creek for a Rockford homeowner, expanded a rain garden at CS Tool Engineering in Cedar Springs, and helped Sparta teacher Sue Blackall plant a native flower garden at the entrance of Sparta High School. They even visited Grand Rapids for a day to tour Catalyst Partner’s LEED Certified facilities and worked on their native gardens.

A major advantage of the partnership with Calvin College is the opportunity to expose the high school students to a college campus and demystify the experience, making them more likely to attend college when they graduate. The students took college courses with biology professor Dave Warners and they helped Calvin students carry out their summer research projects. The combination of classroom teaching, with hands-on fieldwork, has provided the Green Team participants with unique job training and exposure to many different careers in the environmental field. But more than that, the students got a once in a lifetime experience to expand their knowledge and make a difference in their community.

Bridget, a student at Wellspring Preparatory, said about her summer, “Being a part of the Green Team has been one of the most rewarding experiences; not only for myself but for the environment around me.”

Trout Unlimited and the Plaster Creek Stewards have EPA funding for two Green Teams next year as well, reaching 32 students in just two summers.

The Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative Project is funded by the Frey Foundation, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the Wege Foundation, the Wolverine World Wide Foundation, and the Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited.

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