Today's edition of the daily news focuses on national initiatives to curb climate change. These are just a handful of articles published today in the U.S. that focus on the improving the environment, which is a pleasant surprise. As always, our selections are inspired by the Front Pages posted daily on Newseum.org.
Flathead River, Mission Range distant by corvidaceous, Credit Courtesy of Creative Commons.
Missoulian, Published in Missoula, Montana, USA
In a huge win for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Montana's senators were able to attach a bill resolving a century-long water dispute affecting the tribes to the funding package just passed by the Senate. Called the Montana Water Rights Protection Act, the bill designates $1.9 billion to settling damage and rehabilitating the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project, which covers 1,300 miles of canals extending through the Flathead Indian Reservation and multiple counties. These areas that will be rehabilitated are important for fish and wildlife, as well as ranchers who depend on irrigation. By improving conditions that are relied upon by the CSKT for their livelihood, Montana's senators expect this measure to boost the economy, create jobs and have a profound positive impact all around.
Carlsbad Current-Argus, Published in Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA
The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department have created an app and teamed up with the New Mexico Environment Department to provide residents with information about emissions and pollution. The app, searchable as New Mexico Methane Map, aims to provide transparency and public oversight to extraction operations. Information that is expected to be available as the app develops includes reported waste and the release of methane, natural gas and VOC emissions from oil and gas companies. In an executive order from last year, New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham has called upon all of her administrative departments to look into ways of reducing environmental impact, and lawmakers believe that providing science and data to the public will help.
Bike Signal on the Hornby Separated Bike Lane by Paul Krueger, Credit Courtesy of Creative Commons.
Austin American-Statesman, Published in Austin, Texas, USA
A major stretch of Lamar Boulevard in Austin, Texas, a non-highway road that sees nearly 47,000 vehicles per day, will receive a facelift beginning in early 2021. The plan, which is being referred to as a "road diet", will decrease the number of lanes for cars and increase space for sidewalks and bike lanes, emphasizing alternative modes of transportation. The bike lanes will be separated from the road by a raised curb, and additional landscaping along the sidewalks and bike lanes will provide shade for pedestrians, making the alternative routes safer and more comfortable. Negating any concerns of potential increases in traffic, the plan also includes intersection improvements that will improve traffic flow and remove chokepoints, a plan which officials believe will actually reduce overall traffic and allow for buses to travel more easily through the area.
The Providence Journal, Published in Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Rhode Island is on track to become the founding member of the Transportation Climate Initiative, a group also including Massachusetts, Connecticut and D.C. that plans to cut vehicular pollution by requiring suppliers of fuel to buy and sell credits. The program would raise gas prices by 5-9 cents per gallon, and revenue from the credit sales would be used to fund mass transit and clean transportation. The group is aiming to start the program in 2023, with an ultimate goal of 26% emission reduction in the first 9 years. Already a pioneer of environmental protection, Rhode Island's Governor Gina Raimondo issued an executive order earlier this year that puts the state on track to use exclusively renewable energy sources by 2030.
Day 191/365 - Thank you, Seattle by Great Beyond, Credit Courtesy of Creative Commons.
The Columbian, Published in Vancouver, Washington, USA
Although many cities in Washington and nearby Portland have already instated plastic bag bans, Washington state will begin banning single-use plastic bags early in 2021. Retailers are allowed to use up the last of their remaining plastic bags, and once their supply is through there will be an added 8 cent charge for using paper and reusable thick plastic bags. The new law also requires paper bags to be made from 40% recycled material or more and reusable plastic bags to be made from at least 20% recycled material. Some exceptions to the law will be permitted, such as plastic film bags for meat and produce, trash or pet waste bags sold in bulk and plastic bags that are used to hold newspapers and protect dry cleaning items. Food banks, businesses on tribal land and customers who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families are also exempt.
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