On June 28, 2007, the Illinois Senate and House approved a joint resolution that adopts a policy that calls for carbon-neutral state buildings by 2030. They are the first state to address this particular green building initiative, a derivative of the Architecture 2030 Challenge, through a legislature. New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson adopted a similar but weaker policy by executive order in January of 2006.
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Laws recently passed by the states of Washington and Montana are creating greenhouse gas emissions standards for new power plants. The two states are relying on different approaches but each has C02 reduction from future coal plants as the primary goal.
San Francisco’s Mayor has approved a local power plan that could achieve a 51 percent renewable energy portfolio by 2017. The Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) plan creates an innovative new financial structure using municipal revenue bonds (“H Bonds”) to make San Francisco energy independent and finance construction of a 360 megawatt solar power network and make investments in energy conservation efforts.
In late April 2007, a new policy was put in place in Massachusetts that requires certain developers to "quantify the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by proposed projects and identify measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate such emissions" The policy applies to developments requiring an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that need an air quality permit, receive state funding or generate a significant number of new vehicle trips.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone wants to further reduce the City’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by making motorists take financial responsibility for their own emissions. The first approach set to begin in February 2008 is the establishment of a Low Emissions Zone. The second approach still under debate would modify the current congestion fee by establishing an Emissions Influenced Charging Structure.
On May 7th, Washington’s Governor signed a new law that effectively reverses a January 2007 Washington Supreme Court decision. The State Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Seattle municipal utility could not purchase carbon offsets with ratepayer money. This case originated from ratepayers that were protesting Seattle City Light’s purchases of carbon offsets to counter the utility’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The Maine legislature has given its approval to a bill that requires cities and towns to evaluate the economic effects of large-scale retail development and to approve only those projects that will not have an adverse impact on jobs, local businesses, and municipal finances. The legislation is the first of its kind in the nation. Continue reading
In a unanimous decision yesterday, the California Supreme Court fortified efforts by cities across the state to restrict the development of big-box stores, favor small-scale retailers, and protect the vitality of downtowns. The ruling (Hernandez v. City of Hanford) upholds the authority of cities to adopt planning and zoning ordinances that have a direct impact on economic competition and that treat businesses differently based on the scale of their stores. Continue reading
Greed, yes; public good, no Republicans don’t always mind paying more at the pump. It depends. By David Morris, originally published in the Mineapolis Star Tribune, June 1, 2007 For Republicans, an increase in gas prices driven by oil companies may be unwelcome, but it is very much in the natural economic order of things…. Continue reading
While many parts of the country are overrun with chain stores, San Francisco remains a stronghold for locally owned businesses, according to a new study, which also found that those local stores generate sizable benefits for the city’s economy.