Another blow to the new Pennsylvania state budget — but good news for environmentalists: Gov. Corbett won’t let energy companies drill on public land until a lawsuit challenging the practice is resolved.
Scientists are searching for the source of chemical contamination after a study found evidence of intersex fish in the basins of Pennsylvania’s major rivers, including the Delaware. The intersex fish were also found in the Susquehanna and Ohio river basins. The Susquehanna is the most contaminated of the three, while the Delaware is second-most.
Per the study, conducted by the United States Geological Survey and published in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, smallmouth bass and white sucker with intersex characteristics were found in all three rivers. It’s a sign of exposure to reproductive endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
NBC 10 says the American Lung Association has bad news for Philly in a new report: “Ozone levels (commonly called smog) came in worse than it did in the 2009 data, likely due to warmer temperatures in 2012. Philadelphia County remained the most polluted county in the metro area as well as in Pennsylvania, and was graded “F,” significantly worsening its annual average to 16.7 days with unhealthful levels of ozone in 2010-2012, from 10.7 in 2009-2011.” The report said Philly tied for 11th — not an honor — for year-round particle pollution.
It’s Earth Day, so some related news: Philadelphia is joining a consortium of 10 cities that will bypass the federal government on climate change in institute their own standards to make new buildings more energy efficient. The City Energy Project also includes Boston, Atlanta, Orlando, Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, Denver, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.
Following two oil train derailments in Pennsylvania in a month—including one over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia—Sen. Bob Casey is asking federal transportation officials to look at re-routing such shipments away from populated areas. YourErie.com has the copy of the full letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
As the Earth appears to snap, crackle and pop into a molten lava pulp of pain, the reaction of its largest super power inhabitant is ineptitude and partisan bickering. We’ve always known Washington is its own greatest enemy; in the case of imminent global apocalypse, we see that Washington is now the planet’s greatest enemy. As the world spins about rudderless and leaderless, policymakers delve deeper into tit-for-tat talking point plays from extreme sides of the debate.
House Republicans want us to walk away with the impression that they’ve attached some semblance of urgency to the issue by planning an unprecedented multi-agency hearing on climate change scheduled for Sept. 18. But this is really just optics and political maneuvering in the wake of slow leakage of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report due sometime next month. What we do know from what’s been released is that climate change is real and much of it is due to unmitigated human pollution. There may be minor disagreements over how soon it gets worse.
State Sen. Daylin Leach has introduced legislation that would charge a two-cent tax on every plastic bag distributed by grocery stores and other retail establishments. Conceivably, the tax could add up to 10 cents to your grocery bill bottom line, and gosh, nobody better tell the Tea Partiers.
“Plastic shopping bags represent a disconnect in our consumer culture,” Leach said. “They are used for mere minutes, but can take a thousand years to degrade. They clutter our urban areas, contaminate our waterways, and kill more than one million birds and marine mammals each year.” Leach said.
“Two cents is a small price to pay for a cleaner, more vibrant planet,” Leach said. “However, our goal is not to collect the fee, but to encourage shoppers to make sustainable choices at the checkout counter.”
In fact, the two cents would be split—one penny would go back to the commonwealth, while the store collecting the tax would keep the other penny, to be used toward improving its own recycling processes.
The Inquirer reports that the typical family uses up to 60 bags in four trips to the grocery store. So let’s redo the math—Leach’s bill would add an average of 30 cents to the average grocery bill. Revolutions have been fought over less!* (*Note: Revolutions haven’t been fought over less.)
Kevin Shrivers, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses of Pennsylvania, called Leach’s proposal a “tax scheme” that would hurt average families and benefit only makers of reusable cloth bags – many of them foreign.
“It’s a tax on the consumer,” Shrivers said. “Leach’s assumption is that the plastic bags are used one time and thrown away, but people use those bags over and over.”
Well, clearly Leach is just a tool of the Big Foreign Cloth Bag lobby. Why does he hate America so?
Friday, Sept. 21
Lynn Wilson exhibits her collages at Gleaner’s Cafe Gallery (5:30 p.m.).
Yikes celebrates its LEED Platinum status during an unveiling ceremony (5:30 p.m.) at their headquarters on East Girard Ave. The owners of the web design firm are featured in the current fall issue of G Philly.
Pancakes 4 Supper benefits the Philly Trans March (6 p.m.) at Sam’s Morning Glory Diner.
Gender EDGE presents “an evening of bleeding ears” (7 p.m.) at the Turnerdome with bands Sex Gender, Hivebent, Heather Holepuncher and Ex by V.
The Voice contestants Tony Vincent and Juliet Simms perform at Parx Casino (8 p.m.).
The Shortbus Sisters go back to school (10 p.m.) at Tabu with drag performances by Satine Harlow, Navaya Shay, Cherry Pop, Misty Maven and Omyra Lynn.
September Stimulus celebrates with the Second Annual Back 2 School party (10 p.m.) at Shampoo. There’s even an under 21 lounge.
DJ Deejay spins BBG vs. KKR at Sisters (10 p.m.).
Saturday, Sept. 22