Come on, G.J.: It’s time to charge a fee on single-use plastic grocery bags

Darrell Blatchley of the museum shows the plastic found in the young whale that beached itself near Davao, Philippines, last Friday

A necropsy done on a beached juvenile whale last Friday in the Philippines revealed it had nothing but 88 pounds of plastic in its digestive tract and likely suffered for up to a year with pain from bowel obstruction before dying. D’Bone Collector Museum, whose mission is retrieving dead animals rarely seen by the public and preserving them, collected the whale off the beach and performed the necropsy. They said it was the most plastic they had ever seen in a whale.

National Geographic reports that nearly every seabird on Earth now has plastic in its system. A 2016 study by the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. on the effect of plastics in the environment concluded that threat is “geographically widespread, pervasive, and rapidly increasing.”

Americans use about 100 billion single-use plastic grocery bags every year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. Every plastic bag is used for an average of 12 minutes, and can take up to 500 years to degrade in the environment.

All this has some big implications for Grand Junction and Mesa County residents.

The Mesa County Landfill is filling up fast. We need an answer.

The Mesa County Landfill is filling up fast. Our and our local elected officials are looking for answers to reduce the amount of waste residents are putting into the landfill. G.J. City Council and the Mesa County Commissioners don’t know what they will do when it reaches capacity, and the cost to solve the problem will be huge. The cost to purchase land for a new landfill will be very high, and the existing landfill will have to be monitored for 30 years after it closes.

With these costly problems looming in the future, you’d think our local leaders would be looking for effective ways to extend the life of the current landfill, raise revenue to buy more landfill space and delay having to deal with the whole problem as long as possible.

But they don’t seem to be doing anything about the problem.

There are very effective answers if our local elected officials can overcome their fears.

Photo of the plastic found in the whale

Charging a fee for single-use shopping bags dramatically reduces their use, reduces the amount of waste going into the landfill and preserves landfill space. It can also generate revenue that can be put towards dealing with the problem when the landfill is full in a few years.

Ireland led the war on plastic bags in 2002 by introducing a 15 Euro cent fee (raised to 22 Euro cents — about 33 U.S. cents — in 2007) on every plastic bag used. Immediately, the country saw a 94 percent drop in the use of plastic bags. As a result of the fee, annual per capita usage of plastic bags in Ireland dropped from 350 per person to 14 per person by 2012. Dubbed the “PlasTax,” all money from Ireland’s plastic bag fee goes to their environment ministry for law enforcement and clean-up projects.

New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Boulder, Colorado, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Portland, Maine are just some of the U.S. cities that already have placed bans and fees on single use plastic grocery bags. This is a workable policy that confers extremely productive results.

In Colorado, Aspen, Avon, Breckenridge, Durango, Telluride, Basalt, Vail, and the Roaring Fork Valley are a few of the communities that have already institute fees on plastic bags, from 10-20 cents each. Why isn’t Grand Junction in that league?

A fee on single-use plastic grocery bags in Grand Junction and Mesa County could accomplish several things at once: It could dramatically reduce the amount of non-compostable trash going into the Mesa County Landfill, extend the life of the current landfill and increase the amount of money going into City and County coffers to ameliorate the landfill problem in the future.

The problem can be solved if City and County elected officials can lose their backward-looking attitudes and screw up the courage to enact new-age solutions to solve problems caused by last-century thinking.

 

Plastic in a dead seabird

 

 

Lessons from past G.J. City Council elections

Rick Brainard, one of the best-funded candidates who ever ran for Grand Junction City Council, was backed to the bitter end by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and the Old Guard Republican Establishment

Were you around for the 2013 City of Grand Junction election?

If not, then you really missed a doozy.

That was a year in which Grand Junction residents learned some big, important lessons about city council elections.

Here is one of them:

The best-funded candidates for city council are often the  WORST people to sit on city council.

Burkey family doesn’t want Burkey Park sold off or turned commercial

“Burkey Park North” is a dry vacant lot with a trash can and split rail fence

Our Family has had many long conversations with Aunt Mildred and Uncle Lew Burkey about the Land that was donated for a park! They donated that land in good faith that it would be used as a park and in no way would ever agree to the City Selling that property to developers! i have never understood the City’s reluctance to plan and build a nice park out of that property! I guess it doesn’t line anybody’s pockets!

                                                                     — Reader comment on this article

Sen. Ray Scott absent for full Senate vote on oil and gas bill, SB 19-181

Ray Scott’s tweeted this photo of his front door in Denver at 8:34 a.m.today, instead of making sure he was at the Capitol to vote with the full Senate on SB19-181, a bill he’s been telling everyone will kill oil and gas development in the state.

Mesa County’s State Senator Ray Scott didn’t even bother to show up for the full Senate vote today on SB19-181, the oil and gas overhaul bill that will change the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission from fostering oil and gas development to instead making public health, safety and the environment top priority in consideration of oil and gas drilling permits.

The bill passed on a party line vote of 19-15. It now heads to the full House for a vote.

But instead of heading to the Capitol for the vote, as taxpayer pay him to do, Scott stayed home and tweeted a picture of all the snow by his front door in Denver.

AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide: Grand Junction City Election 2019

Wondering how to vote in the City of Grand Junction 2019 election?

Following are AnneLandmanBlog’s recommendations for how to vote in the 2019 City of Grand Junction April 2, 2019 Regular Municipal Election.

Conclusions about city council candidates were reached by listening to interviews, knowing them personally or knowing something about them and their history in town, and considering factors like how well-funded their campaigns were. Decades of living in Grand Junction has shown that the rule of thumb for determining the best candidates for city council is to pick the candidates with the LEAST well-funded campaigns, that is, those who DON’T accept money from other people or organizations to fund their campaigns and DON’T have big, professionally-made signs promoting themselves on vacant lots and street corners, who DON’T have a lot of yard signs, etc. The worst city council candidates in Grand Junction history have been the best-funded candidates.

Decisions on the tax measures were based on observations about all the ways the City has failed to make an effort to raise revenue, and excessive and unusually large amounts of money the City sends to CMU every year, City funding to private businesses and items unrelated to residents’ safety and welfare. For more extensive discussion on this subject, see this previous blog.

Here are the recommendations on how to vote in the 2019 City Municipal Election:

Sign the letter: Prioritize people’s health and safety above unfettered drilling by supporting SB 19-181.

Firestone, CO home explosion due to oil and gas lines, April, 2017 (Photo: CBS)

In a reaction to a letter the Mesa County Commissioners sent to the state legislature opposing SB19-181(pdf), Mesa County residents can now easily add their names to a letter that urges state legislators to PASS Senate Bill 19-181, a landmark bill to refocus the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission away from fostering oil and gas development to instead protecting public health, safety and welfare and the environment when considering new applications for drilling.

The bill was crafted with input from Erin Martinez, who lost her husband and brother in the explosion of a hidden gas flowline under their house in Firestone, Colorado in April of 2017. The bill will require public disclosure of flowline information.

Community Hospital to stay secular, independent

Community Hospital in Grand Junction is a non-religious hospital where the only concern about medical care is what is best for their patients.

Community Hospital issued a press release today announcing it has ended discussions to merge with Centura Health, a religious hospital management company. Community Hospital’s board of trustees has decided to stay secular and independent for now.

Here is the hospital’s statement:

“After thoughtful consideration and thorough due diligence, Centura Health and Community Hospital have agreed to discontinue merger discussions. Although this was a difficult decision and one the Community Hospital Board of Trustees (BOT) did not take lightly, the board has made the decision to remain independent. The board wants to do what is best for the hospital and the community. The entire BOT and leadership team at Community Hospital were impressed with the Centura Health organization and the great work they are doing across the state and region. Likewise, Centura leadership respects the tremendous growth and physician partnerships that have been developed by the team at Community Hospital. Both parties remain open to discussing future partnership opportunities.”

CMU hosts climate change denier this evening

This article is reprinted in with permission from the author, , of the ColoradoTimesRecorder.com.

Colorado Mesa University is hosting climate change denier Steve Goreham this evening, for a speech titled “Energy, Climate Change & Public Policy.”

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese promotes tonight’s speech at CMU by climate change denier Steve Goreham

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese promoted the event on her Facebook page.

City Council may be staring down the barrel of another ACLU lawsuit over criminalizing homelessness

On the same night that Grand Junction City Council will consider adopting an inclusiveness proclamation that says the City “desires to ensure that the human rights of all citizens are protected,” council will also vote on whether to amend city code to ban camping on public property, which will effectively criminalize a homeless population who has nowhere else to go.

That’s the view of the ALCU of Colorado, which has taken a great interest in the proposed change to city code, and considers it another attempt by Grand Junction to target homeless people and criminalize them.

Court rules Fort Collins ordinance banning topless women violates the U.S. Constitution

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled February 15, 2019 that a Fort Collins, Colorado city ordinance prohibiting women from baring their breasts in public and punishes them for doing so while putting no similar restrictions on men violates the U.S. Constitution.

Two female plaintiffs and an unincorporated group called “Free the Nipple” sued Ft. Collins over an ordinance the city enacted in 2015 that made it a misdemeanor for a woman to bare her breasts in public for anything other than breastfeeding. Violations were punishable by a fine of up to $2,650 or up to 180 days in jail. The ordinance did not specify the same for men.