Balance / Sustainability – Seeds sprout a quarter of a million miles away

Scientists have succeeded in germinating seeds in lunar soil — a victory that could be the first step toward planting crops on the moon one day.

The University of Florida researchers said they only had 12 grams — or a few teaspoons — of lunar soil to run their experiment. They explained that the soil was on loan from NASA and was collected during the Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions to the moon.

To plant their lunar garden, the scientists said they used thimble-sized wells in plastic dishes typically used for growing cells — and filling each “pot” with a gram of soil.

They moisten the soil with a nutrient solution and add some seeds of garden cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) a plant, which is often used in science due to its fully designated genetic code.

The researchers were surprised to see nearly all of the seeds had germinated, and they published their findings Thursday in the journal Communications Biology.

“For future longer space missions, we may use the Moon as a hub or launch pad,” study co-author Rob Ferrell, of the University of Florida, said in a statement.

“It makes sense that we would like to use the soil that already exists to grow plants,” he added.

Welcome to balance, a news release that tracks the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. We are Saul Alpine and Sharon Odasin. Send us tips and comments. A friend forwards this newsletter to you? Subscribe here.

Today we’ll be introducing a range of electric and battery hybrid cars that you can buy for under $50,000 — and in some cases, a lot less. Then we’ll look at a bipartisan bill in Colorado that seeks to ban products containing “chemicals forever.”

Affordable electric cars

Rising gas prices and the lack of available new and used cars have prompted many consumers to consider electric vehicle options.

While electric cars can command a higher price than conventional gas-powered cars, manufacturers hope that cheaper models and semi-electric cars will help provide more options for buyers.

Compact electric vehicles for the most price-conscious customer:

Nissan paper

  • In its twelfth year of production
  • Range 150 miles per charge
  • Reliable EV for city driving
  • Episodes at just under $20,000 once the credits are included

Chevy Bolt

  • Range 259 miles
  • $4,000 more than the paper

Two electric SUVs you can buy now:

Volkswagen ID.4

  • Offers 280 miles per charge
  • Price starts from 41,000 dollars

Hyundai IONIQ5

  • 300 miles is about $45,000

ID.4 and IONIQ5 are still eligible for federal tax credits — which are only available for new battery electric vehicles or electric vehicles. It can go up to a maximum of $7,500 depending on the size of the car battery.

The government provides a complete list of tax credits available for various vehicles here. Many states also offer incentives, and a full list of these incentives can be found here.

More e-suvs will be introduced later this year: Toyota bZ4X It is a small SUV that will be released this summer

  • It has a range of about 250 miles
  • The first fully electric car from a company famous for gas-powered hybrid cars
  • It costs between $44,000 and $48,000 – but unlike Leaf or IONIQ5, this sticker price is what you get.

That’s because Toyota’s federal tax credits, which only cover 200,000 manufacturer electric vehicles, will likely expire around the time the bZ4X hits the roads this summer, since most of it went to the company’s additional models.

This means that the best option for some consumers may be the SUV that Matthew Deggin of the Kelley Blue Book car review site described as the “twin” of the bZ4X – Subaru Solterra.

  • Costs about $45,000 but still qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit
  • It has a range of 220 miles
  • It is scheduled to go on sale this summer

What about the Ford Lightning? The 2022 model of the new Ford F-150 Lightning EV It has long been sold out – but the 2023 model is expected to go on sale in the fall of 2022.

  • That would cost just under $40,000 for the base model — less than $33,000 with a $7,500 federal tax credit.
  • However, Ford credits will soon run out, as will Tesla in 2021 and Toyota this summer.

Battery and power options split the difference

The options expand and prices fall, Deggin said, the more gasoline you burn.

On the lower end: The Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid SUV

  • It only gets 26 miles for a fee but makes up for 52 miles per gallon of fuel
  • The current 2022 model sells for less than $30,000, and the new 2023 model will sell for about $33,000
  • If you purchase a new model, either model is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit

on the higher end: Toyota Hybrid Electric RAV 4

  • It gets 42 miles per battery charge and about 40 miles per gallon when burning gasoline.
  • This car also still qualifies for a tax credit, at least until Toyota’s offering of credits runs out.
  • Without the credit, the price of the 2023 model will run in the $30,000 mid-range.

Added advantages: For some customers, a hybrid may bring additional advantages beyond the low price.

“The reality is that electric vehicles won’t work for everyone,” Deggin said.

Batteries for the city and gas for the country: “Some people want the flexibility that plug-in electrics have — they can do city driving with electric — and then when they want to take a road trip across America, they can do that too, without having to worry about charging every 300 miles.”

New ‘forever chemical’ ban

Coloradans will no longer be able to sell or distribute a long list of products containing the so-called “forever chemicals” under a bill approved by the state legislature this week.

The bill, which will restrict some products as early as January 1, 2024, has passed both houses with bipartisan support and is now heading to Governor Jared Polis’ office (D).

What will be prohibited? As per invoice:

  • Carpets or rugs
  • makeup
  • Textile treatments
  • food packaging
  • Event Products
  • Oil and gas products
  • Textiles, upholstery and upholstered furniture

Cookware that contains such compounds “which are in the product handle or on any food contact surface” may need to disclose these ingredients on their product labels.

Popular in products: Forever Chemicals — also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — are best known for their presence in jet fuel and industrial vacuum firefighting foams, but they’re also key ingredients in household products like those listed in the Colorado ban.

There are thousands of types of PFAS, some of which are linked to testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and a host of other diseases. They have earned the nickname “Forever Chemicals” due to their tendency for long-term tolerance in the human body and in the environment.

The bill would also target firefighting foam: In addition to restricting certain consumer products, the Colorado bill also requires those using PFAS-based firefighting foam to “contain fully firefighting foam while in use, and store firefighting foam safely” and report any spills to a dedicated hotline.

Bipartisan support: While the bill had sponsors on both sides of the aisle in the state assembly, it only received Democratic sponsorship in the state Senate. However, the legislation was passed with bipartisan support in both houses.

One of the most ‘comprehensive’ PFAS limitations

Environmental activists applauded the Colorado bill’s progress, with the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) calling the bill “one of the nation’s most comprehensive PFAS restrictions on consumer products and oil and gas production.”

“These are dangerous chemicals and there is no reason to allow them in our consumer products,” CoPIRG CEO Danny Katz said in a statement.

“Colorado continues to work in a bipartisan manner to stop exposure to these chemicals that can leach into our water and bodies, and cause serious health problems such as cancer and a weakened immune system,” Katz added.

How does it compare to other countries?

  • Vermont Governor Phil Scott (right) in May signed a law banning the manufacture, sale and distribution of various items containing intentionally added PFAS, in a phased manner over the next two years.
  • Last July, Maine became the first state to pass a blanket ban on PFAS products — legalizing a 2030 ban on most products with the PFAS being intentionally added as an emergency measure, without the governor’s signature.
  • In October, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed two laws that forever ban the use of chemicals in baby products and food packaging, The Hill reported.

A really good start: Liz Rosenbaum, a longtime PFAS activist from the Colorado Springs area, described the Colorado legislation as a “really good start.” However, she expressed her disappointment with the cancellation of some measures from the bill.

Of particular concern is the removal of ski wax from the list of prohibited products, Rosenbaum told Equilibrium.

“If it contains PFAS, doesn’t it get in the snow and melt in rivers and then go into the water?” She asked.

national model: However, Rosenbaum praised progress in the legislation.

“Some other countries are really looking at it, and that’s great,” Rosenbaum said. “We will become a leading country.”

To read the full story, please click here.

Virtual event invitation

The Opioid Crisis and the Criminal Justice System, Wednesday, May 18 at 1 p.m. ET

According to SAMHSA, nearly 20 percent of incarcerated individuals report regular opioid use. However, only a small percentage of them receive drug-assisted treatment in prisons and prisons. How do we improve access to addiction treatment in the criminal justice system? What efforts are needed to ensure a safe and successful return to the community and workforce? The Hill hosts a discussion on improving addiction treatment and recovery across the criminal justice system with Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Penn.), Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), Fairfax County Sheriff Stacy Kinkade and more. RSVP now.

Thursday throw

Survey of news makers talking about tough fights and initiation.

Biden administration cancels oil and gas lease sales in Alaska and Gulf of Mexico

  • Zach Bodrick reported to The Hill that the Biden administration is canceling planned oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Cook Inlet in Alaska, due to conflicting court rulings and insufficient industry interest, respectively.

GM wasn’t the first with EVs, but it aims to win: CEO

  • General Motors CEO Mary Barra says her company — which has released only a handful of new electric cars — can ramp up production enough to dump rivals Ford and Tesla, according to the New York Times.

Elon Musk targets hydrogen storage competition

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk has criticized the idea that hydrogen fuel — potentially pulled from water by clean energy — could be a cost-effective alternative to batteries, saying it’s “the dumbest thing I could imagine for energy storage,” CNBC reported. Thursday.

Please visit Hill’s Sustainability section online for the web version of this newsletter and more stories. OK see you tomorrow.

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