Arcatans are estimated to use about four million single-use plastic bags annually. After last night, that number should drop dramatically.
In a 5-0 decision, the city council decided to adopt a bag ordinance that prohibits those plastic carryout bags found at grocery stores and restaurants.
"We're really happy that Humboldt Waste Management did our EIR (enviromental impact report) and made it available for everyone in the county to use," said Alex Stillman, Arcata City Councilmember. "And we're looking forward to adopting it, and also the county considering adopting it so that we can, as a coastal city and coastal county, eliminate plastic bags from our environment."
Arcata's bag ban goes into effect in February 2014, Stillman said. Starting in August, the city will mandate a ten-cent charge on paper bags.
Plastic bags don't biodegrade. Instead, they get shredded into smaller and smaller pieces until they work their way into the food chain. "There are places in the ocean where you find more particles of plastic than plankton," said Humboldt Baykeeper's Jessica Hall. "This is the single most popular issue when we post this on our Facebook page," she said. "This is the thing people have really, really responded too."
Though Stillman said she'd been eyeing a bag ordinance for Arcata since her reelection in 2006, Hall notes that this is the first plastic bag ban in Humboldt county. In addition to the city staff, Hall added that "Humboldt Waste Management Authority also gets a big high five for putting this on the table in the first place and I'd also like to thank our partners in the environmental community and the community members themselves."
Now's as good a time as ever to enjoy Australian comedian Tim Minchin's epic anthem.
Buried in the middle of yesterday's Humboldt County Board of Supervisor's meeting was an item exploring an electricity tax that might resemble Measure I, Arcata's so-called "Grower Tax." This would presumably apply to the county's unincorporated areas.
The board formed a subcommittee to explore a potential tax on residences using unusually high amounts of electricity.
If passed by voters, this would likely have some effect on the county's many bedroom growers.
The city of Arcata's Environmental Services deputy director Karen gave a presentation (watch it here) on how Arcata put Measure I together.
Arcata's law imposes a electricity users tax rate of 45 percent on residential customers whose residential usage exceeds 600 percent of established baseline allowances. She said that it was the intent of the tax to drive a residence's excessive electric consumption down to normal levels.
Hank Sims from the Lost Coast Outpost joined the conversation live on KHUM.
Would growers use generators to bypass the tax? Would that be different than if they bypassed it with rooftop solar? If put on a countywide ballot, would it pass?
Let us know what you think.
Mike Dronkers / Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 @ 11:33 a.m. / Local Government
Some group, using some old study, got the Board to do something for some reason.
The North Coast Journal reports that something peculiar happened at the Board of Supervisor's meeting yesterday. It's sort of a head-scratcher at first glance.
The resolution, which was prepared by an amorphous citizens committee called the Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group, is nearly identical to one that’s been making the rounds of local city councils, with vocal support from east-west rail advocates. It is being brought to the board by First District Supervisor Rex Bohn and Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass.
As we reported back in August, the document cites figures from a 15- (now almost 16-) year-old report by the late U.C. Berkeley economist Dr. John Quigley, who had been hired by the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District to analyze the financial impact of a variety of port development projects. These included deepening the harbor, which has since been completed. At the time the report was written, the north-south rail line through the Eel River Canyon was still up and running.
Even when the report was released in January 1997, Quigley’s rosy projections of our harbor’s economic potential were deemed by many to be unrealistic.
Ryan Burns, who wrote the story, joined Lost Coast Outpost's Hank Sims today on KHUM to explain.
KHUM, Radio Without the Rules / Friday, May 18, 2012 @ 8:56 a.m. / Local Government
Cliff Berkowitz talks with Estelle Fennell about her background, property rights, economic growth, her support for an east-west rail road among other things.
KHUM, Radio Without the Rules / Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 8:56 a.m. / Local Government
Cliff Berkowitz talks with First District candidate Annette DeModena about the general plan update, the east west rail line feasibility study and wind turbines, among other things.