Environment

BE IT THEREFORE NOW RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments calls upon the United States Congress, United States Army Corps of Engineers and United States Bureau of Reclamation to form partnerships with the states to extend the productive lives of reservoirs.

Suggested State Legislation: Texas established a Low-Income Vehicle Repair Assistance, Retrofit, and Accelerated Vehicle Retirement Program (LIRAP) in 2001 to provide incentives to repair or replace vehicles in areas that don’t meet federal air quality standards. LIRAP is tied to mandatory motor vehicle inspection, maintenance and emissions testing throughout the state.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act establishes a program to provide grants to farmers, loggers, and others who provide agricultural biomass to facilities in the state that generate electric energy and use the best available emissions control technology.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act is based upon Connecticut law enacting model legislation by The Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference (CSG/ERC) and the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC). In February 2005, CSG/ERC and NERC launched a collaborative project to develop a coordinated legislative approach to end-of-life electronics management in the Northeast.

CSG South

Daily, there are millions of tons of municipal solid waste deposited into thousands of landfills and other dumping sites, worldwide. The decomposition of organic material in these places—typically food and paper products—results in the production of methane and other greenhouse gases. Landfill gas (LFG) typically is made up of 50 percent methane (CH4) and 50 percent carbon dioxide (CO2), with small amounts of non-methane organic compounds often present. The methane in LFG is what can be burned off or used as an alternative fuel. Due to methane’s ability to trap heat, it warms the earth 23 times more than carbon dioxide and has an atmospheric lifespan of about 12 years, one much shorter than that of other greenhouse gases. Short lifespan, along with its high heat-trapping potential, make methane elimination from the atmosphere a particularly effective method of combating global warming. Many experts contend that LFG recovery projects that use methane for fuel have become effective tools for combating the effects of global climate change.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that due to the potentially serious health impacts of climate change, The Council of State Governments urges state and local policymakers to consider policies and programs that support public health actions to prepare for and address health risks related to climate change.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges state and local policymakers to consider and adopt policies and programs that address the public health effects of climate change on vulnerable populations.
 

Suggested State Legislation: This Act requires secondary metal recyclers to require identification and maintain a registry of additional information with regard to each purchase of ferrous or nonferrous metals including copper, brass, aluminum, bronze, lead, zinc, and nickel. This allows state and local law enforcement agencies to place a hold on metal purchases by a secondary metal recycler if the metal purchased is suspected of being stolen.

CSG South

This Southern Legislative Conference Regional Resource examines several key components of the Clean Air Act in relation to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. In particular, it focuses on state control strategies and compliance in the areas of ozone and particulate matter, as these have had the greatest impact on states’ ability to meet clean air requirements. Additional focus is on the transition between the 1-hour and 8-hour ozone and particulate matter standards. Recent federal actions significantly affecting ozone and particulate matter emissions also are highlighted.

During the past 10 years, states have become the primary environmental-protection stewards of the nation. Five policy indicators show the growth of the states’ role: delegated programs, fiscal commitments, enforcement of environmental laws, development of innovative programs and contributions to environmental information. This article reviews research conducted over the past 15 years at The Council of State Governments, the Environmental Council of the States and elsewhere that documents this growth.

From the lofty heights of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., it may appear that the federal government makes all the important decisions about clean air policy. After all, US EPA  regulations and the detailed provisions of the 1990 Clean Air Act regulate pollutants that float in the air, pollutants released by industrial and mobile sources (cars and trucks), and the type

of fines and sanctions levied against violators. From the Capitol Hill perspective, all these  national standards and regulations are absolutely necessary. According to the cynics, if left to their own devices the states would adopt weaker and weaker environmental protection laws, creating a "race to the bottom" in which states compete for economic growth by enticing industry with less stringent - and less costly - regulations.

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