The ban (single-use plastic bags) is banned (temporarily, we hope)

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Gadfly followers know that he loves the work of our Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), but their work on a proposed ban of single-use plastic bags has taken a bit of a hit.

Gov. Wolf Signs Provision In Budget Barring Banning Or Taxing Plastic Bags

Gov. Tom Wolf has signed legislation barring Pennsylvania’s municipalities from taxing or banning the sale or distribution of plastic bags and other containers, wrappings, and bags.

A three-paragraph provision prohibits municipal bans or taxes on plastic bags or packaging for one year while legislative agencies study the economic and environmental impact.

Senate Republican Leader Jake Corman of Centre County says he wanted the provision because his district includes a plastics manufacturer and a township considering a fee on plastic bags.

Wolf in 2017 vetoed legislation preventing counties and municipalities from taxing or banning plastic bags.

Prime EAC mover of the ban Beth Behrend announced the bad news at City Council Tuesday night and recommended how the City should react. Both the Mayor and Councilman Reynolds — prime mover of the in-process City Climate Action Plan — also suggested courses of action.

Behrend explained that because of the legislative timing, the Governor had no other choice but to sign the budget, but that this 11th hour addition to the budget is being challenged. Behrend recommended that the City continue to move forward toward adopting the ban as going into effect July 1, 2020, when this legislative prohibition  would cease (or earlier if it is successfully challenged).

In his prepared statement, the Mayor said, “I support the State’s plan to study the issue” and, in the opinion of the City Solicitor, “At this time an ordinance is not possible,” but that the City should state its position and go on record, and therefore he supports a City Council resolution “in the spirit of the EAC recommendations.”

Councilman Reynolds, ever optimistic and ever resourceful, pushed the Mayor beyond the resolution idea, urging the Administration to look at “other strategies,” for instance, working with the business and school communities — “there’s a different strategy and a different manner that should seriously be looked at.”

Good for CM Reynolds! If it’s a good idea, let’s move ahead. And not wait for the sometimes slow-motion of the legislative process.

It’s Thursday, July 18, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Reusable straws arrive at Gadfly House

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

The Gadfly invites “local color” photos of this sort

straws

Reusable straws at family gathering courtesy of grandkid Carson Gadfly, age 13.

Tara Zrinski, Northampton County Council, will discuss renewable energy at the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) meeting on Thursday July 11th, 7 pm, at Illick’s Mill.

It’s Sunday, July 7, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

EAC turns up the heat on solar

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil.
The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

Our Environmental Advisory Council’s (EAC) Brian Nicas urged the Zoning Hearing Board to be aware of storm water considerations last night.

Took Gadfly by surprise — took the ZHB by surprise likewise — and he wasn’t prepared to record it.

Gadfly had not heard such a thing in the two years he’s been attending these meetings.

Good work, Brian!

But that EAC moment reminded me that I wanted to catch up on presentations he did record by EAC chair Lynn Rothman and member Kathy Fox on the EAC solar proposal (EAC Solar Ord. proposal) at the June 4 City Council Meeting.

(I’m reminded of Peter Crownfield’s comment on the Gadfly post about Lehigh’s new building — is Lehigh incorporating solar and other climate-relevant technologies? One would hope so even without an ordinance requiring it.)

EAC is not only active in producing good work (for example, the plastic bag ban proposal, a report on electric vehicles, etc.) but also active it promoting it.

We’ve all been reading about the legislators in Colorado who have left the state to avoid voting on Climate Action Plan proposals — I think our EAC has climate sheriffs posted at all the roads leading out of town to prevent such dastardly happenings here!

Listen to Lynn and Kathy’s pointed presentations:

Lynn Rothman

Kathy Fox

Gadfly loves to publish such voices as models of productive resident participation and as inspiration for us all to get involved.

Your non-tax dollars at work.

It’s Thursday, June 27, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Need status report on EAC’s plastic bag ban proposal

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil.
The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, “Trump EPA finalizes rollback of key Obama climate rule that targeted coal plants.” Washington Post, June 20, 2019.

Despite a drumbeat of scientific warnings, the Trump administration Wednesday issued a new rule that cuts carbon emissions from power plants by less than half of what experts say is needed to avoid catastrophic global warming.

The Affordable Clean Energy rule, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, represents the Trump administration’s most significant action to unwind federal regulations aimed at addressing climate change. At the EPA on Wednesday, Trump’s top aides, Republican lawmakers and state business leaders celebrated it as proof that the president had delivered for his constituents in coal country.

On a day in which we learn of another effort by our national government to thwart progress in avoiding “catastrophic global warming,” it might be good to wonder outloud where the single-use plastic bag ban advanced some time ago by Beth Behrend and our Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) is in the City ordinance-producing pipeline.

Gadfly notes that amid the tumult over the demonstration ordinance Tuesday at City Council, two residents made pitches for the plastic bag ban ordinance.

People aren’t forgetting about it.

Listen:

Dan Miller:

Mary Jo Miserindino:

Nothing is easy, right?

So Gadfly was curious how Narberth — the first and I believe still only town in Pennsylvania to enact such a ban — did it.

Take a look at:

Vinnie Vella, “How a Main Line town became the first in Pa. to ban plastic straws.” Philadelphia Inquirer, October 27, 2018.

Narberth is described as “low hanging fruit” for such an ordinance. Small: 4500 residents compared to our 75,000. Small: two chain stores compared to dozens probably in our town. And long-standing eco-conscious as marked by the three-decade NarbEarth event.

There did not seem to be any concerted opposition in Narberth.

We probably should be prepared for more controversy, more struggle.

But, first, we could use an update on the whereabouts of the EAC proposal.

It’s Thursday, June 20, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

The EAC’s solar energy proposal

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil.
The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

The sun is shining beautifully and brightfully on Gadfly Acres as I write this morning.

To remind me that our resident Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) has been busy and productive.

And Gadfly has a lot of catching up to do.

Herewith EAC’s solar energy proposal: EAC Solar Ord. proposal

Your non-tax dollars at work!

EAC Solar proposal

It’s Saturday, June 15, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

The EAC at the BPA

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil.
The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

Gadfly is moving to catch up on the series of good works that have come out of our Environmental Advisory Council (EAC).

In a previous post he highlighted a report on electric vehicles done by EAC member Brian Hillard.

Brian presented the report to City Council, but then on April 24 he went directly to the Bethlehem Parking Authority board meeting to present his report.

Listen to his 3-minute pitch accompanying delivery of the report — good stuff!

I wanted to suggest to the City that they integrate electric vehicles into their fleet.

Even with initial cost considerations . . . the significant savings in fuel costs and the significant savings in maintenance costs would actually make it very cost-comparable to including electric vehicles in the Bethlehem fleet.

Even in the cost comparison of the fuel comparison here, there is even more significant savings to be made.

Bethlehem’s undergoing a Climate Action Plan, and we are trying to reduce emissions in the City, and electric vehicles are a very easy way to do it.

There have been studies that urban pollution, especially from cars, has a notable negative impact on the development of children’s brains.

We are actually improving the health of our residents.

Anything that we can do to incentivize electric vehicles to clean up our air, to clean up our cities is going to be a [health] benefit.

And there is economic impact.

Your non-tax dollars at work

It’s Friday, June 7, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?