Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Dispatches from the Peoples Republic of Maryland

Is that a styrofoam cup?
Maryland Senate OKs ban on foam for food, drink containers
Maryland’s Senate voted Tuesday to make the state the first in the nation to ban foam containers for food and drink to fight pollution.

The Senate voted 34-13 for the measure, which now goes to the House of Delegates.

Sen. Cheryl Kagan, a Democrat who’s sponsoring the bill, says more than half of the state’s residents already live in places where foam containers are banned for food and drink containers. She described it as a chance to do more to help the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary.

“We have the opportunity to do the right thing for the Chesapeake Bay, for the environment and for our fish and wildlife that eat this product,” Kagan said. “It infects them; we ingest them.”

But opponents said the bill only covers a small amount of foam material used in food and drink containers, not for other uses such as packaging. They also said the measure would hurt small businesses.

“It’s an unnecessary burden that isn’t going to do anything for the environment,” said Sen. Justin Ready, a Republican. “This bill does not move the needle at all on protecting the environment.”

The measure would ban businesses that sell food from using “expanded polystyrene food service products” starting Jan. 1.
Speaking a someone who sees the Bay nearly every day, foam containers aren't even on the top 10 list of problems on Chesapeake Bay. Banning them is virtue signalling at best. But it won't impact me much. We rarely eat out, and when we do, we rarely get food in  styrofoam containers.

But this one has far more potential for causing harm in Maryland, Maryland legislators push for increase in renewable energy, jobs
Maryland legislators have high hopes for passing a bill to increase the state’s renewable energy standards to 50 percent by 2030 and setting a plan in action to raise the standard to 100 percent by 2040, along with aiming to increase jobs in the renewable energy sector.

The legislation aims to have the state getting 50 percent of its energy from Tier 1 renewable sources by 2030, including at least 14.5 percent derived from solar energy and another amount specified by the Public Service Commission derived from offshore wind energy, including at least 1,200 megawatts of Round 2 offshore wind projects.

Tier 1 renewable energy resources include solar, wind, biomass, anaerobic decomposition, geothermal and ocean, among others.
 But not nuclear.

The measure — Senate bill 516 and House bill 1158 — will also require legislators to conduct a study to assess the costs and benefits of increasing the renewable energy standard to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.

The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Brian Feldman, D-Montgomery.

At a Senate committee hearing Tuesday, dozens of individuals from across the state came to testify for and against the bill, packing the room to capacity.

House bill 115, originally sponsored by Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti, D-Harford, who is censured and stripped of most legislative activity after using a racial slur in January, is expected to be presented by co-lead sponsor Delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore, at its hearing Friday.

The original Clean Energy Jobs Act — mandating a 25 percent renewable energy standard by 2020 — was put into law in the 2017 General Assembly.

Modifications were introduced in 2018 as Senate bill 732 and House bill 1453, promoting increases in renewable energy mandates and job development, but the bills didn’t make it out of their respective committees.

According to a January Gonzales poll, 64 percent of Maryland voters think Gov. Larry Hogan, R, should support the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

Activists have been pushing for Hogan’s support of the bill since the start of the General Assembly, organizing a rally featuring inflatable green surfboards calling for him to “ride the growing green climate wave” and support the bill.
Renewables are generally more expensive than modern nuclear, coal powered and gas powered plants, requiring substantial subsidies to be comparable in cost. Hydro and geothermal are relatively cheap, but geothermal is not in our geology, and hydro is in decline due to environmental concerns; it won't be expanded in the future, and will probably contribute less. Solar and wind power both have far greater land area requirements than more intensive combustion and nuclear, and Maryland is relatively urban, except for the mountain west, which is already heavily covered with wind generators. Moreover, they have substantial negative environmental impacts, including killing birds and bats. I see little opportunity to build substantially more wind power in the next 20 years. Currently, coal, natural gas, and nuclear constitute 70 of the electrical generation.

If they were serious about combating CO2 increases and global warming, they'd be all in on nuclear.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Monday: Komi-san Has A Communication Problem ready and waiting.

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