When small town in Clark lost its last variety store, they had a choice: drive 40 minutes to a nearby town for basic supplies or pull together and jointly create a new, community-owned store. They pulled together. Continue reading
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Mayor Manny Diaz recently unveiled an ambitious, $200 million "Energy Smart Miami" smart grid project developed in partnership with General Electric, Cisco Systems, Florida Power & Light and Silver Spring Networks to ultimately deploy smart meters on every home and most businesses in Miami-Dade County. In addition to smart meters, the project aims to install solar power systems on several schools and universities, add 300 plug-in hybrid vehicles to the city’s fleet, and bring a series of new technologies like home energy use dashboards, smart appliances and smart-meter thermostats to pilot programs in 1,000 city homes. Continue reading
In the 1990s, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and other energy activists in Minnesota undertook an effort to get Minnesota to adopt a billion dollar "tax shift" that would have raised the cost of energy while reducing taxes on income and/or property. ILSR was integrally involved in the design of the legislative proposal and examined the impacts on various sectors of Minnesota’s economy. Below you will find the archive of the materials that were prepared to support the initiative. Over several years, the proposal was debated extensively but never enacted into law. Continue reading
In 2009 a vigorous debate is taking place about the best way to reduce carbon emissions. There are two leading proposals: a carbon cap and emissions auction with revenue returned to Americans as a dividend, and a carbon tax with revenue returned to Americans in the form of lower taxes or a dividend. In the mid 1990s Minnesota debated a carbon tax and dividend bill designed by ILSR. Several studies were done about the impact on various sectors of such a policy. Continue reading
One of the key reforms pushed by the Obama Administration is to move away from paper medical health records to paperless, electronic systems. Electronic records should reduce costs, improve diagnoses, and are a key part of future telehealth hopes.
But what are the rules governing these systems? Can some vendors build systems and lock hospitals into proprietary formats from which they will be unable to transition away?
Fortunately, there is an open source solution that has already been built with public money by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The cost of incineration is escalating as the cost of recycling, composting and reuse decline. With the penetration of recycling and composting infrastructure through out the US, the window of opportunity for incineration irreversibly closes. Continue reading
Independent businesses are largely at the mercy of Visa and MasterCard when it comes to the fees they must pay every time they swipe a credit card. These fees, which are ultimately passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, have soared from $27 billion in 2004 to $48 billion last year (or $427 per household). Recognizing the tremendous market power held by card processors, many countries now regulate credit card transaction fees, setting them at rates as low as one-sixth of what U.S. businesses pay. Continue reading
Since 2005, residents and local business owners have been working to block this large retail development from spoiling their vibrant, walkable, urban neighborhood, which is home to many immigrant-owned small businesses. In late April, the developer backed out. Continue reading
My old friend Neil Seldman emailed me the other day. He was shocked after reading Kansas City, Missouri was still in the drop-off phase of recycling and people are fighting to keep the last drop-off center open. Continue reading
Benoit Felten of FiberEvolution.com interviews Tim Nulty (former GM of Burlington Telecom, currently working on massive rural FTTH network in Vermont) at the Freedom to Connect Conference. Covers many topics, especially the economics of FTTH and why the public sector should invest in these networks. Continue reading