March 26th Roundup: Bag bans under fire

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– “Gov. Baker prohibits reusable shopping bags during coronavirus emergency” (Mary Saladna, WCVB 5): “Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday announced a new public health order related to grocery stores and pharmacies in Massachusetts, which includes a temporary ban on reusable bags.” The ban overrules existing plastic bag bans passed by local cities and towns in the last few years and comes a few days after Cambridge and Boston took similar moves. A report from POLITICO highlighted how the plastics industry is using the opportunity to undermine state and local bans on single-use plastic bags.

– Free updates on Massachusetts bills related to pandemic: The publisher of the MassTrac Massachusetts legislative tracking service is providing, for FREE, information on all 58 bills that have been filed in the Massachusetts legislature relative to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check it out, and follow updates, here. The State House News Service has also dropped the paywall on their coronavirus updates tracker, see the latest updates here.

– Massachusetts launches text alert service with coronavirus updates: To sign up text ‘COVIDMA’ to 888-777 [more information].


– Construction of Weymouth compressor station continues despite virus risks: Amid local order to halt construction in some cities, work is still being done to build a controversial gas compressor station in Weymouth. Opponents of the station are urging federal officials to stop construction immediately, citing the lack of on-site sanitation stations and the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. More on their efforts here.

– “Should Gasoline Come With A Climate Change Warning Label? These Cities Think So.” (Jillian Mock, HuffPost): [read the article]


– “What if we responded to the climate crisis with the same urgency as the coronavirus?” by Craig Altemose, via the Boston Globe.

– “Should the state prohibit businesses from selling or dispensing food in disposable polystyrene containers?” by John Laidler, Clint Richmond, and Margaret Gorman, via the Boston Globe.


– “With Fewer Cars On The Road In Mass., Emissions Are (Slightly) Down” (Barbara Moran, WBUR’s Earthwhile): [read the article]

– “Mass Audubon, Trustees, Closing Their Outdoor Facilities” (The Associated Press, via WBUR): [read the article]

– “Open Meeting complaints filed over toxic waste cleanup plan” (Clarence Fanto, Berkshire Eagle): [read the article]


– “Why Carbon Pricing is a Public Health Issue” (Carlie Clarcq, Climate XChange): [read the article, watch the video]

– “10 ways coronavirus is changing energy and climate change” (Amy Harder, Axios): [read the article]


– Coronavirus crisis is gutting local newsrooms, will likely impact climate coverage: As someone who spends hours each week going through local news stories (for inclusion in the Roundup), it was very shocking to see a quick succession of layoffs among local journalists across the state. It started with pay cuts and layoffs for staff at the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Greenfield Recorder, two papers who had constantly reported on climate and environmental developments in Western Mass. And most recently with the Sun Chronicle, who have been reporting on the burgeoning offshore wind industry on the south coast. The cuts come as advertising dollars from local businesses dry up due to closures in restaurants (who have traditionally bought ads in papers). These cutbacks are alarming to myself and the tens of thousands who rely on local media coverage of the frontline impacts of climate change impacts and the green revolution.

– Grist launches newsletter focusing on COVID-19 and climate change: “‘Climate in the Time of Coronavirus’ is Grist’s new newsletter, covering all things at the intersection of climate change and the novel coronavirus.” [read more about the newsletter, and sign up here]


 New TNC State Director brings climate change focus: During a virtual chat today (3/26) with Deb Markowitz, the brand-new Massachusetts State Director for the Nature Conservancy, she talked about climate change, her past work, and taking over an organization amidst a global pandemic. Her tenure began on March 1st, just 8 days prior to issuing a work from home directive to her new staff. “This is an extraordinary time for all of us. The work we do will continue, but we need to do everything we can to make sure people are safe,” she said during the webinar. Speaking to her focuses over the next few years, she said, “I come in believing that everything is touched by climate change, and all of our work will tie back into a climate change frame.” Learn more about Deb Markowitz, and her new role, here.


– “Exxon Gets Break in Climate Adaptation Case in Massachusetts” (Ellen M. Gilmer, Bloomberg Environment): [read the article]


– “Massachusetts Set to Launch Clean Peak Standard, Opening New Chapter in Grid’s Evolution” (Julian Spector, Greentech Media): [read the article]


– “Climate group Sunrise Movement targets 2 powerful House Democrats” (Alex Thompson, Politico): “The progressive group is endorsing challengers to two Democratic committee chairs: Richard Neal of Massachusetts and Eliot Engel of New York.”


– “Maryland Carbon Pricing Bill Heard at State House” (Wandra Ashley-Williams, Climate XChange): [read the article]


– “Senate approves massive $2 trillion coronavirus emergency package” (Sarah Ferris, Melanie Zanona and Heather Caygle, Politico): “The Senate late Wednesday unanimously approved a $2 trillion emergency package intended to stave off total economic collapse in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, bringing an end to more than five days of negotiations between senators and the Trump administration.” “The package left out nearly all of House Democrats’ green initiatives — most prominently, cuts to airline emissions — and it also ignored a request from the Trump administration to buy oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.” [read more about this bill here]

– “Nearly $2T stimulus package omits direct renewable sector aid after Trump, McConnell opposition” (Catherine Morehouse, UtilityDive): [read the article]


Missed the last CXC Roundup? Here are the top three climate headlines from last week:

  1. “Exxon Loses Jurisdiction Fight in Massachusetts Climate Suit”
  2. “Here’s how you can donate to organizations helping people affected by coronavirus shutdowns”
  3. “A Global Pandemic & A Climate Crisis: Eerily Similar Impacts with Starkly Different Responses”

Read the full Roundup here from March 19th, 2020 here.

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Featured Image: Photo by Morgan Vander Hart on Unsplash