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Good News from the Chronicle

January 13, 2010

The Chronicle had three pieces good news this morning:

  • San Francisco’s Mirant power plant in Portrero Hill, the last polluting power plant in the city, will close by the end of the year, eliminating a source of significant health issues for nearby residents and environmental degradation for the surrounding marshlands and the San Francisco Bay. The plant’s production will be replaced new transmission lines, including a transbay cable. As the residents in the plant’s neighborhood have experienced higher rates of disease including asthma and breast cancer than other areas in the city, the closure represents a victory for environmental justice.
  • The California Building Standard Commission approved a new system of building codes that will be the most strict in the nation in terms of reducing the environmental impact of the construction and operation of buildings. The rules will compel plumbers to install more water-efficient plumbing, developers to send half their construction waste to landfills and allow local officials to inspect heaters and air conditioners to assure that the machines are working correctly. As energy efficiency is the lowest of the low-hanging fruit when it comes to reducing carbon emissions (that is, energy efficiency improvements most often reduce emissions while also saving money), these regulations will compel contractors to take the long-term view of their buildings, to the benefit of their costumers and the environment.
  • Finally, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s bill to legalize and tax recreational marijuana passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee, though its progress may stop there. Some of the legislators who passed the bill said they were in fact against the bill but voted to extend debate on the issue because of their disapproval of current drug policy. The Chronicle says of its future prospects: “The bill may die a procedural death, however, as it is up against a Friday deadline to move out of the health committee, which has no meetings scheduled before the end of the week.” As the first legislative body in America to vote for the recreational use of marijuana, the vote will hopefully spur discussion on our ridiculous drug policy, which overfills our prisons with those who enjoy a substance no more harmful than alcohol while giving a market to the horrific drug cartels of Mexico.
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