All posts by margypeet

Writing as a board member of ColorBrightonGreen.org, a community organization working to raise environmental awareness and action at the local level.

ColorBrightonGreen Supports Carbon Fee and Dividend

ColorBrightonGreen.org Board of Directors supports federal legislation for a Carbon Fee and Dividend Bill and that is being supported by the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL).

ColorBrightonGreen.org endorses the approach that the Citizens Climate Lobby is taking in building a bipartisan Climate Caucus in Congress to move this bill forward. Both of our organizations believe that if a truly bipartisan caucus supports this bill that it can become reality. You can help by endorsing this bill and communicating that endorsement to our U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter and our two U.S. Senators.

Outlined below are the core components of Carbon Fee and Dividend as outlined by CCL: If you want further information, visit the Citizens Climate Lobby website.

Place a steadily rising fee on fossil fuels: To account for the cost of burning fossil fuels, we propose an initial fee of $15/ton on the CO2equivalent emissions of fossil fuels, escalating $10/ton/year, imposed upstream at the mine, well or port of entry. Accounting for the true cost of fossil fuel emissions not only creates a level-playing field for all sources of energy, but also informs consumers of the true cost comparison of various fuels when making purchase decisions.

Give 100% of the fees minus administrative costs back to households each month: 100% of the net fees from the carbon fee would be held in a Carbon Fees Trust fund and returned directly to households as a monthly dividend. About two-thirds of households will break even or receive more than they would pay in higher prices. This feature will inject billions into the economy, protect family budgets, free households to make independent choices about their energy usage, spur innovation and build aggregate demand for low-carbon products at the consumer level.

Use a border adjustment to stop business relocation. Import fees on products imported from countries without a carbon fee, along with rebates to US industries exporting to those countries, will discourage businesses from relocating where they can emit more CO2 and motivate other countries to adopt similar carbon pricing policies. Building upon existing tax and trade systems will avoid complex new institutional arrangements.  Firms seeking to escape higher energy costs will be discouraged from relocating to non-compliant nations (“leakage”), as their products will be subject to import fees.

Community Choice Aggregation Presentation March 4, 2018

Brighton Neighbors United is hosting an Adult Potluck Supper on Sunday, March 4, 2018. Brighton residents, come and share a meal with your neighbors and learn more about Community Choice Aggregation. RIT Assistant Professor Eric Hittinger will speak to “What is a CCA Anyway?”.  Those who plan on attending are asked to submit the registration form and payment ($5/person) by February 21, 2018.  If you plan to attend, print out the flyer below, complete it, and follow the instructions for submitting it.

BNU supper flyer2018

Alkaline Batteries: New Policy

After struggles in finding places to recycle alkaline batteries throughout 2017, ColorBrightonGreen.org has had to stop collecting them.

Our research has found that from an energy efficiency standpoint recycling of alkaline batteries is not at all efficient even if we could find a free or low cost method to recycle them. Alkaline batteries are not toxic and can be thrown in the garbage.

Rechargeable batteries are more environmentally friendly. A battery charger with 4 AA batteries can be purchased for $20. Additional 4-packs of rechargeable AAA or AA batteries can then be purchased for $10. Some of the rechargeable batteries that can be recharged the most will cost more than that amount.  You can see a link to information about some of the best ones hereRechargeable batteries will pay for themselves in most cases after only 10 charges.

If you have alkaline batteries that you really want to recycle, you can take 1 lb to Batteries Plus Bulbs in Henrietta or pay $20 to have them recycled through Waste Management.

Color Brighton Green will still collect and recycle button and rechargeable batteries.

Recycle Plastic Bags at the Store Please!

Plastic bags that get put in curbside recycle bins do not get recycled. Instead they clog the equipment used to sort and process other recyclable products and then those mangled plastic bags get landfilled.  Local recyclers ask that you not even put other recyclables in a plastic bag for your curbside pickup.  So, please help make recycling efficient by omitting all plastic bags from your curbside recycling containers. You can make a difference by saving and recycling plastic bags with the #2 or #4 on them by taking them back to the store collection sites.  See this link for more information!

ColorBrightonGreen.org Supports 5′ Bike Lanes on East Avenue

ColorBrightonGreen.org supports transportation infrastructure that will provide safe travel for non-carbon emitting vehicles such as bicycles. There is a proposed change to the lane configuration on Route 96 (East Avenue) between E. Highland Drive and Route 31F in the towns of Brighton and Pittsford. The current configuration of Rt. 96  is a 40′ wide roadway comprised of four 10′ wide lanes. The Fall 2017 proposed New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) configuration was three 11’ wide lanes for motorized vehicles (the center lane being a turn lane), and two 3.5′ shoulders/unofficial bike lanes.

While ColorBrightonGreen.org supports the initiative of the NYSDOT to provide wider shoulders on this section of East Avenue, we don’t believe that maximizing speeds and leaving only 3.5′ wide bike lanes will protect the safety of all road users. ColorBrightonGreen and several other community groups (including Mothers Out Front, the Rochester Peoples’ Climate Coalition, and Rochester Cycling Alliance) have responded to a coordinated advocacy effort led by Robin Wilt to call for three 10′ vehicle lanes and two 5′ official bicycle lanes along this section of East Avenue. Such a configuration already exists on East Avenue at Winton Road (less than a half mile from the proposed project area).

ColorBrightonGreen.org sent written comments to the NYSDOT Project Design Engineer Daniel Schwind (Daniel.Schwind@dot.ny.gov), and to the Town of Brighton Board Members, and to other elected officials in December 2017. These letters can be seen here on our website.

Subsequent to local advocacy efforts, the NYSDOT has now proposed two 10′ vehicle lanes, one 11′ vehicle turning lane, and two 4.5′ wide shoulders that would not be official bicycle lanes. As of January 6, 2018, advocacy efforts for three 10′ wide vehicular lanes and two 5′ bicycle lanes continue.

Here are some sources of information for you to consider:  Narrower Lanes Safer Streets Article from Planet Citizen.  Bigger Isn’t Always Better: Narrow Traffic Lanes Make Cities Safer article from World Resources Institute. Narrower Lanes Safer Streets from Research Gate.

Consider Joining or Starting a Buy Nothing Group

If you are interested in sustainability and in strengthening community you are invited to become a local part of a rapidly growing national and international movement. The Buy Nothing project seeks to create neighborhood gift economies, supporting the environment and strengthening person–to–person connections in the process.

Buy Nothing participants use Facebook to share items, services, and time with their neighbors. For example, if you have some well–loved but no–longer–needed dishes, you might offer these up. If you need to borrow an inflatable mattress for a guest, you might ask to borrow one. If you would like an occasional canine companion, you might ask if there’s someone whose dog would like to be walked. If you have a snowblower and are willing to use it to dig out a neighbor, you could let the group know. Buy Nothing groups are “hyperlocal”, meaning that everyone you will interact with will live near you. In this way, Buy Nothing interactions become community–enhancers as well. People who have gotten to know each other through Buy Nothing groups have formed walking groups, clubs, and cancer support groups. We are bringing back real Neighborhoods.

There are now six Buy Nothing groups in the Rochester area, and they are getting attention. Check out the recent Democrat and Chronicle article. Stay tuned for a ColorBrightonGreen fall event to promote the Buy Nothing Program. Meanwhile, if you’d like to join a Buy Nothing group, see if your home is within the confines of one of the following existing groups or explore how you can create a new group:

ColorBrightonGreen.org supports Community Choice Aggregation!

Updated March 28, 2018:

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a bulk energy purchasing program intended to lower costs and transition to greater use of renewable energy for residents and small businesses in cities, towns, and villages that decide to participate.

As a member of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC), ColorBrightonGreen.org has committed to support this program because of the carbon cutting opportunities it offers.

Community Choice Aggregation is a program that has been advocated locally by the RPCC who has partnered with Joule Assets, whose principals helped make this program a reality in Westchester County. A local CCA has the ability to provide residents and small business electric customers a locally chosen alternative to the state-mandated utility—RG&E, National Grid, or NYSEG—for energy supply. A local CCA can represent the best interests of consumers by providing choices for lower, fixed prices and cleaner (100% renewable or 100% carbon free) energy.

In order for residents and small businesses to benefit from this program, their local government has to first pass a local law to authorize them to participate. To date, the Villages of Lima, Scottsville, and Brockport and the Towns of Geneva and Brighton have passed those local laws. In addition, the Villages of Lima and Brockport along with the Town of Geneva have advanced to the second step in making a CCA real by selecting an administrator—the team of RPCC/Joule Assets. The Town of Pittsford, potentially in collaboration with the Village of Pittsford has scheduled a CCA public meeting for Wednesday, April 18, 2018 to inform residents and Town Board members about CCA and potential Administrators. At the April meeting, two potential CCA Administrator organizations (RPCC/Joule Assets and Good Energy) will give presentations about CCA and their administrative implementation plans.  Other municipal governments with an interest in CCA include the Cities of Rochester and Canandaigua, the Town of Irondequoit, and the Village of Honeoye Falls.

For more information on Community Choice Aggregation, visit the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition Website.