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California Becomes First State to Require Solar on New Homes
The California Building Standards Commission unanimously confirmed the standards during a vote on Wednesday, The Mercury News reported.
Commissioner Kent Sasaki described the new policy as "historic" and a model for the rest of the nation to follow.
"These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country," he said, according to The Mercury News. "[It's] the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels."
The mandate—which was originally approved by the state's energy commission in May—applies to all houses, condos and apartment buildings up to three stories tall that obtain building permits after Jan. 1, 2020. An exception will apply for homes that are shaded by trees or buildings that have a roof too small to accommodate solar panels.
The new policy could add an estimated $10,000 to the building a single-family home. However, that cost is expected to be offset through reduced monthly energy costs over a solar system's lifespan, commissioners noted.
Drew Bohan, executive director of the energy commission, said during Wednesday's session that a homeowner will save $19,000 over the course of a 30-year mortgage by having solar panels, NPR reported.
"With extreme weather events becoming more frequent, there is even greater need for homes that are efficient, reliable and resilient," Bohan added.
California has 24.3 gigawatts of solar PV capacity and is the country's undisputed solar champion, with roughly five-times the capacity of second-ranked North Carolina. Approximately 6 million homes in the Golden State are supplied by solar energy.
The world's fifth largest economy has one of toughest clean energy mandates. In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that requires 100 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2045, making it the second state after Hawaii to set such a mandate.
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Bernie Sanders has become the first contender in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field to pledge to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions released by campaign travel, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.
The record flooding in the Midwest that has now been blamed for four deaths could also have lasting consequences for the region's many farmers.
By Ana Santos Rutschman
The world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug Administration. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigned and will step down in early April. His temporary replacement is Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute.
On Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first 20 chemicals it plans to prioritize as "high priority" for assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Given the EPA's record of malfeasance on chemicals policy over the past two years, it is clear that these are chemicals that EPA is prioritizing to ensure that they are not properly evaluated or regulated.
Which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are most contaminated with pesticides? That's the question that the Environmental Working Group answers every year with its "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled.