Thank You for Supporting the Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act

Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), along with six co-sponsors, introduced the Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since then, 21 additional Representatives have added their names in support. Thank you to the following Representatives for signing on as co-sponsors so far:

  • Rep. Levin, Mike [D-CA-49] 03/27/2019
  • Rep. Cisneros, Gilbert Ray, Jr. [D-CA-39] 03/26/2019
  • Rep. Lee, Barbara [D-CA-13] 03/26/2019
  • Rep. McGovern, James P. [D-MA-2] 03/25/2019
  • Rep. Rouda, Harley [D-CA-48] 03/25/2019
  • Rep. Sires, Albio [D-NJ-8] 03/21/2019
  • Rep. Malinowski, Tom [D-NJ-7] 03/21/2019
  • Rep. Craig, Angie [D-MN-2] 03/18/2019
  • Rep. Schiff, Adam B. [D-CA-28] 03/08/2019
  • Rep. DeSaulnier, Mark [D-CA-11] 03/07/2019
  • Rep. Pingree, Chellie [D-ME-1] 03/06/2019
  • Rep. Connolly, Gerald E. [D-VA-11] 03/04/2019
  • Rep. Schakowsky, Janice D. [D-IL-9] 02/22/2019
  • Rep. Speier, Jackie [D-CA-14] 02/12/2019
  • Rep. Clarke, Yvette D. [D-NY-9] 02/11/2019
  • Rep. Wild, Susan [D-PA-7] 02/08/2019
  • Rep. Hastings, Alcee L. [D-FL-20] 02/07/2019
  • Rep. Carbajal, Salud O. [D-CA-24] 01/30/2019
  • Rep. Johnson, Henry C. “Hank,” Jr. [D-GA-4] 01/29/2019
  • Rep. Phillips, Dean [D-MN-3] 01/28/2019
  • Rep. Rooney, Francis [R-FL-19] 01/24/2019 (original co-sponsor)
  • Rep. Chu, Judy [D-CA-27] 01/24/2019 (original co-sponsor)
  • Rep. Eshoo, Anna G. [D-CA-18] 01/24/2019 (original co-sponsor)
  • Rep. Peters, Scott H. [D-CA-52] 01/24/2019 (original co-sponsor)
  • Rep. Crist, Charlie [D-FL-13] 01/24/2019 (original co-sponsor)
  • Rep. Lipinski, Daniel [D-IL-3] 01/24/2019 (original co-sponsor)

For more information about H.R.763 – Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019:

Local Plastic Straw Bans to be Banned if Florida State Republicans Have Their Way

“I realized that I was kind of putting my own thoughts into this. … It was government overreach. So what I did was file an amendment that would put a moratorium but give us a study.”

Florida Senator Travis Hutson

The headlines read: “Florida lawmaker wanted to ban plastic straws. He ended up with a ban on banning them” when, last week, multiple news sources printed a report by Samantha J. Gross regarding Florida Senate Bill 588:

The Senate Commerce and Tourism committee approved a bill Monday that, instead of taking aim at plastic straw use, sets up a study to look at the effects of plastic utensils. It also puts a five-year moratorium on locally enacted bans on plastic straws.

The amended bill, introduced by committee member Sen. Travis Hutson, now sets up a study to be carried out by the Department of Environmental Protection. Local governments would not be able to ban plastic straws until 2024.

The Miami Herald

The article seems to say Republican Florida Senator Travis Hutson really wanted to ban single-use plastic straws in Florida, but my reading of the bill and other documents leads me to the opposite conclusion. The very title of CS/SB 588 tells us Hutson’s purpose:

“Preemption of Local Regulations”

Prohibiting local government entities from adopting or enforcing local ordinances or regulations relating to single-use plastic straws before a specified date; requiring the Department of Environmental Protection, or an entity designated by the department, to conduct a study evaluating the environmental impact of single-use plastic straws; providing penalties for violations of the moratorium by a local government entity

summary of Senate Bill 588

There are three other bills in front of committees in Florida’s capital, but Hutson is not a co-sponsor on any of them; and a review of Bill Track 50 doesn’t reveal any other legislation he has sponsored or supported that would limit or ban the use of plastic straws.

  • Senate Bill 502: Prohibition of Plastic Carryout Bags and Straws – sponsored by Senator Kevin J. Rader (D) – Prohibiting a store or food service business from providing a carryout bag made of plastic film to a customer; prohibiting a food service business from selling or providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer.
  • House Bill 603: Single-Use Plastic Straws – sponsored by Representatives Anthony Sabatini (R) ; Randy Fine (R) ; Walter Bryan Hill (R) ; Stan McClure (R) ; Daniel Perez (R) ; Spencer Roach (R) – Authorizes food service establishments to distribute single-use plastic straw to customers upon request & to make single-use plastic straws available through self-serve straw dispensers; preempts regulation of single-use plastic straws to state
  • House Bill 1299: Governmental Powers – sponsored by Spencer Roach (R) – …provides that food service establishment may distribute single-use plastic straw to customer only if requested to do so by customer; preempts to state: regulation of single-use plastic straws…

Only Senate Bill 502 seeks to prohibit single-use plastic straws at a state legislative level. The other three bills, including Hutson’s, are actually attempts to reverse local ordinances that ban or limit single-use plastic straws, and to prevent any future local municipalities from passing future local laws to protect their local environments.

This is a crime

Yea they bite hard !!!

Posted by Hunter Hardesty on Thursday, March 7, 2019

Literally. Harassing pelicans & other wildlife is illegal in Florida. It is unfortunate that Hunter Hardesty, of Davidson, Maryland, it such a poor example of a human being that he would first lure, then JUMP ON a wild pelican for a Facebook photo op. But here he is. So let’s take a quick look at what laws he may have broken.

Don’t Feed the Birds

Intentional feeding or the placement of food that attracts pelicans and modifies the natural behavior of the pelican so as to be detrimental to the survival or health of a local population is prohibited.

Florida Administrative Code 68A-4.001

Even beyond the law, feeding wild water birds like this Brown Pelican is bad for them – and not just from jerks like Hunter Hardesty jumping on top of them. The University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, UF/IFAS Extension, has an excellent explanatory publication:

Brown Pelican (photo courtesy: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren; Wiki Commons)

Cruelty to Animals

A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same to be done, or carries in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, commits animal cruelty, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.

Florida Statute 828.12

The video clearly shows Hunter Hardesty tormenting this pelican; treating it in a cruel and inhumane manner.

Endangered Animals

The brown pelican was delisted in the United States in 1985 and the current brown pelican now exceeds historical numbers. However, this species is still considered endangered throughout the rest of its range.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

So Hunter Hardesty may not have broken any U.S. laws protecting endangered species, he certainly doesn’t regain any ethical ground with his stunt. The National Audubon Society includes the brown pelican on it’s “Climate Endangered” list, as does the Endangered Species Coalition. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service notes:

Brown pelicans were almost entirely lost from North America between 1950 and 1970…

Modern threats to brown pelicans include oil spills and pollution, human disturbance of nesting colonies, and entanglement in fishing gear or debris.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Social media shaming can be misused, but in this case I do hope Hunter Hardesty will face charges and public censure for his actions. This isn’t a matter of “did he or didn’t he”. He chose to record & share his harassment & endangerment of a hapless brown pelican on Facebook, then followed it up with this gem:


For more information about protecting Florida’s wildlife and environment, I recommend another publication from University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation:

91% of U.S. Coal Plants Have Unsafe Levels of Coal Ash Contaminants in Groundwater

Coal contains a long list of toxic chemicals, including arsenic, radium, and other carcinogens, several metals that can impair children’s developing brains, and multiple chemicals that are toxic to aquatic life. When coal is burned to produce electricity, these toxic chemicals become concentrated in the waste product – coal ash.

Report: “Coal’s Poisonous Legacy: Groundwater Contaminated by Coal Ash Across the U.S.”

This reminder of the health hazards caused by coal ash, a by-product of coal-fired power plants, precedes the alarming report that the groundwater beneath nearly every coal plant in the United States is contaminated. Specifically:

  • 91 percent of coal plants have unsafe levels of one or more coal ash constituents in groundwater, even after we set aside contamination that may naturally occurring or coming from other sources.
  • The groundwater at a majority of coal plants (52 percent) has unsafe levels of arsenic, which is known to cause multiple types of cancer. Arsenic is also a neurotoxin, and, much like lead, can impair the brains of developing children.
  • The majority of coal plants (60 percent) also have unsafe levels of lithium, a chemical associated with multiple health risks, including neurological damage.
  • The contamination at a given site typically involves multiple chemicals. The majority of coal plants have unsafe levels of at least four toxic constituents of coal ash.
View of the 2008 TVA Kingston Fossil Plant fly ash spill, appx. 1 mile from retention pond at Swan Pond Road. The pile of ash in the photo is 20-25 feet high, and stretches for two miles or so along this inlet. Photo credit: Brian Stansberry; Wikimedia Commons

The report compiles from data collected and made public under the “Coal Ash Rule”, a 2015 federal regulation establishing monitoring requirements for coal ash dumps.

“Coal’s Poisonous Legacy: Groundwater Contaminated by Coal Ash Across the U.S.”, released Monday, was researched and written by representatives from the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice, with assistance from the Prairie Rivers Network, Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, and NRDC. To download the full report:

Green Mile 2019 5K Run/Walk – February 16

Join Miami’s only eco-run this Sunday, February 16, on the Miami Beach Boardwalk at the 22nd Street entrance. The annual 5K mini-marathon coordinated by USGBC Miami helps promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles! Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m., the race starts at 9:00, and winners will be announced at 10:15 a.m. Discounts for pre-registration, and for teams of 5 or more.

2019 Green Mile flyer - USGBC Miami

U.S. Green Building Council Florida is working to make healthy, sustainable buildings a reality for the Sunshine State within a generation. Our diverse membership is comprised of builders, architects, engineers, environmentalists, nonprofits, corporations, students and individuals, providing our nonprofit organization with not only a remarkable passion for sustainability and green building, but also a wealth of knowledge and industry access at every level. As part of a large network that is creating sustainable places to live, work and play across the entire country, our amazing volunteers and staff work both collaboratively and independently to fulfill USGBC’s mission here in Florida.

https://usgbcflorida.wildapricot.org/Miami-Branch

Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

Photo of Ted Deutch, Charlie Crist, Francis Rooney, and a crowd of supporters at the introduction of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act
Ted Deutch (D-FL) Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Francis Rooney (R-FL) introduce the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act in November 2018 (photo: Citizens Climate Lobby)

What can reduce carbon emissions, create 2 million new U.S. jobs, and pay a dividend to every American household? The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act was initially introduce to Congress in November 2018, and re-introduced in January of this year.

What is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act?

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act – H.R. 763 – creates “a fee on carbon-emitting fuels, like coal, oil or gas, assessed at the mine, the well, or the port of entry.” This is NOT a tax. All fees collected will be deposited into a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund, with 100% of the net revenues paid as dividends to every U.S. household. Under this plan, fees and dividends will start small, with fees in the first year “at $15 per metric ton of CO2-equivalent GHG emissions, and rises steadily at $10 per ton each year” with dividends expected to be around $500 per person.

The idea of U.S. citizens receiving an annual dividend from the oil & gas industry is not new. And the nearly 40-year history of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend supports the contention that HR 763 will also stimulate local economies.

History of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

On November 27, 2018, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act became the first bipartisan carbon tax bill to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. When it was introduced in the Senate three weeks later, it became the first bipartisan carbon tax bill to be active in both houses of the U.S. Congress. With a new Congress just sworn in, it was reintroduced in the House of Representatives on January 24, as H.R. 763.

Joseph Robertson – Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition

In the House, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), and co-sponsored by:

  • Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL-19)
  • Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA-27)
  • Rep. Ana Eshoo (D-CA-18)
  • Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52)
  • Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL-13)
  • Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL-3)

In the past two weeks, four more Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors: Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20), Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), Henry Johnson (D-GA-4), and Dean Phillips (D-MN-3).

It’s time to spread the word. Let’s put a #priceonpollution and support H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

Salon Urban Cholesterol – January 17

A multimedia DASS Salon to address critical issues downtown Miami residents confront daily: traffic congestion, walkability, and other urban cholesterol symptoms, and how to fix them.

The Panelists:

 

  • Victor Dover is the author of the influential book STREET DESIGN: the Secret to Great Cities and Towns. He is cofounder of Dover, Kohl & Partners Town Planning, and a design practice focused on restoring healthy neighborhoods as the basis for sound communities. He is a former Chair of the Congress for New Urbanism and lead designer of more than 150 neighborhoods, urban revitalization programs across the United States and abroad.
  • Martin Mittner is a professor of gaming and virtual reality at Miami Dade College. Prof. Mittner has extensive exerience with city simulation in video games, pursuing different techniques for accurately modeling the movement of city populations in a virtual world, including traffic patterns.
  • Ken Russell is City of Miami Commissioner, representing District 2, which includes Downtown. Commissioner Russell is quite savvy about urban issues and most importantly, will add his input as to applicability. He is also a candidate for the US Congress.

DATE: Wednesday, January 17, 2018
TIME: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EST
LOCATION: DASS at the LOFT 2, 133 Northeast 2nd Avenue, Community Room, Miami, FL 33132

Downtown Arts + Science Salon (DASS)

Modeled after Ted Talks and a local social club, we host salons ranging from archaeology and cardiology to urban planning and psychology, from the novel to the opera. And stuff like fencing, wine-tasting and tango. DASS Salons take place at Downtown iconic cultural venues.

Drill Baby Drill

The Trump administration proposes to open 25 of the 26 “offshore planning areas” to oil drilling over the next 5 years. This includes all of Florida’s coastline, including the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Straits adjacent to the Florida Keys National Marine Preserve. There is a 25-mile proposed buffer zone between the coasts and the “offshore planning areas”, but that will be little consolation in the event of a spill. Deepwater Horizon’s spill covered 68,000 square miles (180,000 km2) of the Gulf of Mexico in oil, polluting 1,100 miles (1,770 km) of shoreline in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida; killing wildlife (including endangered species) by the  hundreds of thousands.

The U.S. Department of the Interior “National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024” under Ryan Zinke would auction 47 drilling rights leases in more than 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf. Many of the areas have been “off limits” since the 1980’s due, in part, to the risk for endangered ecosystems. The last offshore lease sale for the East Coast of the lower 48 was in 1983; and 1984 for West Coast. As Bloomberg put it, “the plan is unprecedented in its scope; no prior administration has ever proposed so many lease sales in a single five-year offshore drilling program.” The only area exempt from drilling under this plan would be North Aleutian Basin in Alaska

“The administration’s backward-looking approach puts oil and gas profits first — and will place our coastal communities and all they support at risk of the next BP-style disaster,” said Natural Resources Defense Council President Rhea Suh, referring to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “We’ll stand with leaders of vision, business owners and fishing families on every coast to protect our oceans and shores.”

Zinke, who previously served on the board of oil pipeline company, QS Energy, and has routinely voted “in opposition to environmentalists on issues including coal extraction and oil and gas drilling“, is clearly ignoring the first part of of the Department of the Interior’s mission statement: Protecting America’s Great Outdoors and Powering Our Future.

At last count, all three governors on the U.S. west coast – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown – oppose expanded offshore drilling. Likewise, the governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida all oppose the proposed 2019-2024 National OCS Program.

Georgia governor, Nathan Deal (R), has not yet taken a public position. Maine’s Paul LePage is the only governor who is openly supporting the plan, and he’s… well… LePage.

Citing concerns about tourism industry, coastal economy, and protection of natural resources hundreds of municipalities, state attorneys general and other elected officials have voiced their opposition. In Florida, in addition to Governor Rick Scott (R), Senator Bill Nelson (D), Senator Marco Rubio (R), Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (D), City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell (D) are a few quoted as against the proposal in recent days.

Even the U.S. military has “warned against allowing oil rigs near the Florida shore due to concerns they could interfere with F-35 fighter training maneuvers”, according to Politico

“This radical offshore drilling free-for-all is a clear example of politics over people, ignoring widespread local and state opposition,” said Diane Hoskins, a campaign director for the marine conservation group Oceana. “The Trump administration’s plan not only ignores the risky nature of dirty and dangerous drilling, but also the people and coastal businesses who would be most affected.”

The just released proposal is the first step to creating a new 5-year five-year schedule (2019 to 2024) for selling offshore oil leases to replace President Obama’s plan that was to run from 2017 to 2022. The proposal is now supposed to undergo environmental analysis, and will be open to public comment starting on January 16th. The Trump administration wants to finalize a sale schedule by the end of this year.

Public meetings will be held around the country starting on January 16, 2018, to receive comments on the DPP and to inform the Draft Programmatic EIS. Specific dates, times, and venues will be posted on BOEM’s website at https://www.boem.gov/National-Program/.

In spite of the loud and immediate bipartisan opposition, given the recent corruption of our public comments system on other matters such as “Net Neutrality” and the clear anti-environment slant of this administration, I must admit to feeling deeply pessimistic about the outcome of this “National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024” proposal.


Sources:

U.S. Department of the Interior press releaseSecretary Zinke Announces Plan For Unleashing America’s Offshore Oil and Gas Potential, January 4, 2018

Bureau of Ocean Management,  2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program

Politico, Trump aims to open California, Florida, Atlantic waters for oil drilling, January 4, 2018

Time, President Trump Seeks to Open Most U.S. Coastal Waters to Oil Drilling, January 4, 2018

Bloomberg, Trump Seeks to Open Most U.S. Coastal Waters to New Drilling, January 4, 2018

Historic Resources as Green Infrastructure

Miami Beach’s Art Deco district is a testament to the benefits (and beauty) of historic preservation. At the same time, increasing flooding events is forcing Miami Beach to address climate change and sustainability in a way that many cities aren’t. On Sunday, January 14, from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., the The Wolfsonian-Florida International University campus on Miami Beach is hosting a panel discussion: Historic Resources as Green Infrastructure: Advancing Miami Beach’s Sustainable Development.

Join a panel discussion moderated by Laura Weinstein-Berman centered around the benefits of historic resources to municipal sustainability initiatives and policies. An expert panel will present their interdisciplinary perspectives on achieving the status of a model sustainable city, while honoring Miami Beach’s architectural heritage. Laura is an architect with The Vagabond Group and manages MDPL’s newly formed Center for Resiliency and Sustainability. She is a Miami Beach resident and recently completed her Master’s in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, where she earned Faculty Honors.

 

Panelists include: Richard Heisenbottle, FAIA, President, R.J. Heisenbottle Architects, P.A.; Christine Rupp, Executive Director, Dade Heritage Trust; and Susanne Torriente, Assistant City Manager & Chief Resilience Officer, City of Miami Beach.


The event is FREE, and you can register at Eventbrite.

Date:  Sunday, January 14, 2018
Time: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm EST
Location: The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Event organizers: by Dade Heritage Trust Miami, Art Deco Weekend, Center for Resiliency & Sustainability at Miami Design Preservation League, Miami Design Preservation League, The Wolfsonian-FIU Art Museum