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SARL Members and Alumni News

Kaua‘i’s New Program for Renewable Energy

Hawaii Public Radio | Posted on November 8, 2018

The Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative is asking for proposals as part of its “Community Based Renewable Energy Programs” – and companies are responding. The program aims to expand access to renewable energy to those living in apartments, as well as small business owners and community groups. The idea is to make clean power available to those who have not had a chance to take advantage of it because of the type of building they live in, or where they are on the island.The energy providers need to produce a minimum of 250 kilowatt hours of energy to take part in the program.The utility cooperative will sign the contracts with the companies, and then individual customers can subscribe to the program — receiving credits on their electric bill for the amount of capacity they purchase. There are financial incentives for delivering electricity between 4 PM and 9 AM —when the sun is not at peak power.

The environmental ballot measures that midterm voters backed or rejected

CNN | Posted on November 8, 2018

Among the more than 150 statewide measures on ballots in Tuesday's midterm election were several related to climate change and the environment.Voters in 37 states -- many of them in the West -- considered whether they were for or against initiatives related to renewable energy, carbon emissions and offshore drilling.Here's how some of the most notable environmental- and climate change-related measures went, based on preliminary results. Arizona voters rejected Proposition 127 which would have changed the state Constitution to require nongovernmental providers to generate at least half of their annual electricity sales from certain renewable energy sources by 2030. Nevada voters approved State Question No. 6 amending the consititution to require that all utility service providers that sell electricity generate or acquire incrementally larger percentages of it from renewable resources -- so that, by 2030, at least half of electricity sold by each provider comes from renewable energy resources.  Washington rejected a carbon emission fee on large companies, and SB6269 which taxed crude oil products received through a pipeline. Colorado rejected a ban on oil wells within 2500 ft of occupied buildings, and Alaskans rejected a bill protecting salmon habitats. Florida voters approved an amendment prohibiting offshore drilling.Montana voters rejected permit restrictions on mining that related to water pollution. 


California Veterinarians can talk about marijuana, but that is all

AVMA | Posted on November 5, 2018

California has become the first state in the nation to allow veterinarians to legally talk with clients about cannabis as a treatment option for pets. The new law prevents the California Veterinary Medical Board from disciplining a veterinarian or denying, revoking, or suspending the license of a veterinarian solely for discussing the use of cannabis in an animal for medicinal purposes.The veterinary board must develop guidelines for such discussions on or before January 2020 and post them on its website.The California law authorizes veterinarians only to discuss medical marijuana with clients; prohibitions against recommending, prescribing, dispensing, or administering cannabis or cannabis products to an animal patient remain in place.Additionally, the law prohibits a veterinarian from having a financial relationship with a licensed cannabis business in California, with violators facing fines and loss of their veterinary license.States where medical marijuana is legal—29 so far, plus the District of Columbia—shield physicians from criminal and disciplinary actions for discussing marijuana with patients or recommending or prescribing marijuana to patients. With the recent exception of California, no similar allowances are made for veterinarians.

State Restrictions on Federal Pesticide Labels Under Scrutiny

DTN | Posted on November 5, 2018

EPA's announcement of new dicamba regulations comes at a time when states' ability to restrict this kind of federal pesticide label may be under threat. In the past, states have used section 24(c) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), to pass more restrictive state regulations on federal pesticide labels. For example, the state of Tennessee used Section 24(c) to limit the use of three dicamba herbicides to 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the state in 2018 -- even though the federal dicamba label only limited use from sunrise to sunset.That practice may no longer be routine, because EPA is worried that the FIFRA language does not actually support it, state pesticide regulators told DTN."What we've heard is that the purpose of Section 24(c) is to allow additional uses of a federal pesticide, as opposed to restrict uses," said Leo Reed, American Association of Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) board director from Indiana. "And states have been using it to restrict federal labels, and EPA is leery of continuing that process."

From Great Recession to Great Reshuffling

Economic Innovation Group | Posted on November 1, 2018

What we found amounts to a “Great Reshuffling” – a sorting of human capital, job creation, and business formation that has had vast implications for Americans and their communities. In the years following the recession, top-tier places have thrived, seeing meteoric growth in jobs, businesses, and population. Meanwhile, the number of people living in America’s most distressed zip codes is shrinking as the nature of distress becomes more rural. But the gaps in well-being between prosperous areas and the rest have grown wider, and national rates of growth have become more distant from the experience of the median community. What was once a country of disparate places that converged towards prosperity is now a country of places drifting further apart.The Great Reshuffling has left more Americans enjoying prosperity. The number of people living in prosperous zip codes swelled by 10.2 million between the two periods to a total of 86.5 million—more than any other quintile. Meanwhile, the number of Americans living in distressed zip codes fell by 3.4 million between the two periods to a total of 50 million—the smallest population of any quintile.While the overall population in distressed zip codes declined, the number of rural Americans in that category increased by nearly 1 million between the two periods. Rural zip codes exhibited the most volatility and were by far the most likely to be downwardly mobile on the index, with 30 percent dropping into a lower quintile of prosperity—nearly twice the proportion of urban zip codes that fell into a lower quintile. Meanwhile, suburban communities registered the greatest stability, with 61 percent remaining in the same quintile over both periods. Urban zip codes were the most robust—least likely to decline and more likely than their suburban counterparts to rise.

Governor sets global warming goal to cut NC greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent

News Observer | Posted on November 1, 2018


North Carolina would cut its greenhouse  gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025 under an ambitious statewide goal set by Gov. Roy Cooper.With Cooper’s signing of the executive order, North Carolina joins states like Colorado, California and others that have set statewide targets for reducing emissions of gases that are associated with global warming and climate change. In 2006, California set a 40 percent reduction goal by 2030 from 1990 levels, while Colorado has set a goal of cutting emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025 from 2005 levels.

Pennsylvania GOP dealt 3rd redistricting loss in US courts

AP | Posted on November 1, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court is dismissing another challenge by top Republican lawmakers from Pennsylvania to the legality of new congressional district boundaries imposed by the state’s highest court in a gerrymandering case. The high court on Monday denied the case by House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati. It’s the third time the nation’s highest court has rejected such a GOP effort.November’s election is being conducted on new court-drawn districts viewed as more competitive than the now-invalidated map drawn in 2011 by Republicans to help Republicans win. Under the 2011 map, Republicans won 13 of Pennsylvania’s 18 House seats in three straight elections even as Democrats dominated statewide elections.

California Voters May Force Meat And Egg Producers Across The Country To Go Cage-Free

NPR | Posted on November 1, 2018

California voters will soon decide whether to ban the sale of meat and eggs from farm animals raised in cages. A November ballot measure, Proposition 12, would require more spacious digs for pigs, veal calves and egg-laying hens. It applies to animals in California and to those raised elsewhere for products sold in the Golden State. If you're experiencing a bit of déjà vu right now, it makes sense.Back in 2008, voters overwhelmingly passed a strikingly similar animal welfare law. But some farmers argued the measure's language was too vague to interpret in practical terms.Proposition 12 will require the pork industry nationwide to spend billions on new facilities, costs that will likely trickle down to pork consumers. Economists, though, say it's tough to forecast exact pork price increases.It's easier to predict the cost of egg because cage-free eggs are already on store shelves. They're usually priced at about 50 cents to a dollar more per dozen than conventional eggs."People spend $50 to $100 a year on eggs," says University of California, Davis economist Dan Sumner. "It'll go up to $100 to $150."

NJ Lawmakers seek stronger protections for animals

New Jersey Spotlight | Posted on November 1, 2018


“Nosey’s Law” would ban the use of exotic animals in traveling acts. Other measures would strengthen regulation of veterinarians and pet groomers. Three animal protection bills are on the Assembly docket today, one of which is the well-known “Nosey’s Law” aimed at barring the use of elephants as circus acts in the state. The other two are in response to dog deaths at pet groomers and kennels.“Nosey’s Law” (A-1923) would prohibit the use of elephants and other exotic animals in traveling animal acts, such as fairs, carnivals, circuses and flea markets and give New Jersey the broadest ban on animal acts in the nation. It is named for an elephant who animal rights organizations say has been mistreated for years, being forced to give rides and perform tricks despite having arthritis.The Pet Groomers Licensing Act (A-3044) would require those who groom animals — including the state’s more than 500,000 dogs — to be licensed and businesses that perform grooming be registered. Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) first proposed the legislation four years ago in response to the death of Bijou, a healthy 6-year old Shih Tzu who died unexpectedly under the care of a pet groomer. The bill is also being called Bijou’s Law, in honor of the dog.

The state of the heartland factbook 2018

| Posted on November 1, 2018

Prepared to support the Walton Family Foundation’s inaugural Heartland Summit, the State of the Heartland: Factbook 2018 is intended to help Heartland leaders and citizens get on the same page about the region’s current condition and its trajectory at a crucial time. What do the indicators say about the region? Three major takeaways emerge clearly from the analysis:The Heartland economy is doing better than is sometimes portrayed.Serious deficits in the region’s human capital and innovation capacity pose the most serious challenges to improving future prosperity. The Heartland, however, is not monolithic: Its economy varies widely across place.