Bottle Bill–Yes on Question 2

The primary is over and the general election looms. This year’s ballot includes several referendums, including Question 2, which gives voters the chance to do what the legislature has refused to do: update the Bottle Bill.

Yvonne Abraham’s September 14 column in the Boston Globe cogently explains why voters should vote Yes on Question 2.

Now that the primary is over, the ballot question battles begin. On Question 2 — the proposal to expand the state’s bottle deposit law to cover water and other unfizzy drinks — you’re going to get hit with the best ads the deep-pocketed beverage industry can buy. So far, they’ve put a whopping $5.4 million into the campaign — more than the casino bigs desperate to stop a repeal of the state’s gambling law. Groups backing an expanded bottle bill (who have raised a meager $145,000 so far) say they expect the industry to pour in at least $5 million more. Hey, money is no object when it comes to protecting their profits.

They won’t tell you that’s what it’s about, though. No, the companies that make bank selling drinks in petroleum-based plastic will try to convince you they’re as green as spring meadows. Pay no attention to the shareholders behind the curtain: Defeating a law that would keep billions upon billions of plastic bottles out of landfills is all about protecting you and Mother Earth, dear vote.

Truth be told, this bottle bill shouldn’t even be on the ballot. A recent Globe poll showed 62 percent of voters favor it. And 209 of the state’s 351 cities and towns have passed resolutions supporting it. On Beacon Hill, it has been supported by at least a hundred legislators, and the governor. The Senate has approved it. But time and again, House speakers have refused to allow it to the floor for a vote, fearing the wrath of the voters who might think it’s too much like a tax. It’s hard to recall another case where the will of so many people was thwarted so utterly, for so long. Read more.

Footprint Power Removing Oil Tanks

If you’ve driven by the Salem power plant of late,  you will have noticed some big changes. No coal pile! And the oil tanks are coming down (see photos below from Marilyn Humphries).

Recently a challenge before the EPA was denied, so Footprint Power is now moving ahead to finalize financing and begin demolition of the old plant. In addition, Footprint and the City are finalizing a Community Benefits Agreement.

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Urban Agriculture Ordinance

Public Hearing: September 11, 7 pm
Where: 93 Washington St., City Council Chamber

Are you or your neighbors considering keeping chickens? Have you considered beekeeping to help support urban agriculture?

The City Council will be accepting comments from the public as it considers an urban agriculture ordinance. Come show your support for an ordinance that supports our local food economy.

Sea Level Rise: Salem’s Vulnerability

Date and Time: Wed, September 10, 7 pm

Location: First Church, 316 Essex St.

Could Salem withstand a storm like Hurricane Sandy?

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Professor Steve Young from Salem State University’s geography department will present his research on the vulnerability of Salem to sea-level rise in the face of climate change. In addition, Salem SAFE co-chair Jeff Barz-Snell, an environmental researcher, will place Young’s research in the context of the latest reports from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Finally, Kathy Winn from the Salem planning department will bring us up to date on recommendations made by a consulting group to protect Salem as the waters rise. This event is free and open to the public.

Urban Chickens: A FREE How-To Workshop

Location: First Church Salem, 316 Essex St.
DAY & Time: Tuesday, August 26, 7 pm.

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Come to SAFE’s first urban agriculture event, where Salem residents and professional educators Kathy Karch and Cady Goldfield will walk folks through the nuts and bolts (or eggs and molts) of keeping urban chickens. They’ll share tips, tricks and best practice strategies for keeping yourself, your hens and your neighbors happy and healthy.  Participants will go home with a packet containing information and a list of all the resources mentioned during the workshop.

 

SESD to Build $5 million power plant

As reported in the Salem News:

The organization that operates the sewerage system for five North Shore communities is planning to spend $4 million to $5 million on a new power plant.

The plant, called a combined heat and power plant, is designed to save money through improved energy efficiency, said Alan Taubert, executive director of the South Essex Sewerage District.

“In the long haul, this thing’s going to pay for itself very quickly,” Taubert said.

The South Essex Sewerage District treats about 30 million gallons of wastewater per day at its treatment plant on Fort Avenue in Salem. The five member communities pay an annual assessment for the service depending on usage, ranging from $2 million by Marblehead to $9 million by Peabody.

Those communities will also pay for the new power plant based on the same proportions. Beverly’s engineering director, Mike Collins, told the City Council that Beverly’s share will be more than $1 million. Read more.

 

EPA Releases New Regulations on Carbon Emissions

In its effort to promote the new EPA regulations on carbon emissions, the White House has a new infographic. The public comment period is open, and anyone can submit comments here.

epa carbon infographic