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Interview with Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, Author of AB 1998 - Ban the Bag

I have had the wonderful opportunity to connect with Assemblywoman Julia Brownley regarding the pending legislation bill that if passed, would BAN THE BAG!! This issue hits very close to home for me because UCSB friends and I have spent a lot of time and effort raising awareness of the detrimental effects single-use bags have on our local environment while also promoting reusable bags. Assemblywoman Brownley is taking initiative in addressing this issue through AB 1998. If passed, the bill will be a milestone California can be proud of in terms of environmental protection in the form of prevention instead of mitigation... This interview is a great follow-up to a recent post I made about AB 1998. (Keep your eyes open for an upcoming Company profile with ChicoBag!)... read more

Ban the Bag! California's effort to ban the use of single-use plastic bags

Over 19 billion plastic bags are used annually in California, and constitute one of the largest forms of urban litter pollution. Urban litter pollution is the primary component of marine litter, which feeds into the North Pacific Gyre - also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.... read more

Legal Problems With Green Real Estate Clauses

Stephen Del Percio at the Green Real Estate Law Journal wrote an interesting article about environmental objective clauses in leasing agreements. I know what many of you are pondering.  What exactly is an "environmental objective clause?"  Environmental objective clauses are clauses that require both landlord and tenant to operate the demised premises pursuant to a set of very general, aspirational green building objectives.  In essence, these are obligations that both a landlord and new tenant voluntarily become subject to in an effort to aid the environment.

The obligations contained within these new type of agreements cover such areas as (i) direct and indirect energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; (ii) water consumption; (iii) the amount of material entering the waste stream; (iv) negative impacts upon the indoor air quality of the Building and the Premises. 

The problem that Mr. Del Percio finds with these agreement is that the vague nature of the language leaves landlords open to possible unexpected liability.  What exactly is excessive water consumption?  If this is not clearly outlined that the tenant may have a suit against a landlord because of using too much water on landscaping.  Or what is an excessive amount of material entering the waste stream?  Will this also cover other tenant lodgings on the same property?

I have to agree that the general nature of these clauses could be a problem, but is not insurmountable.  For example, how many contracts include definitions?  Nearly all.  So, why can't an inclusion of definitions work in this case?  It can.  Also, landlords can use limitation of liability clauses to prevent being overexposed for any litigation from tenants.  This seems to remedy the problems and allow for the continued use of environmental objective clauses.

 ... read more

The Piping Plovers of Cape Cod

During my last trip to Cape Cod, my husband and I were walking along the beach and we saw these cute little birds all over the place that we hadn't really seen elsewhere.  We took a video of them walking around and then later in our trip we learned that those cute birds are called piping plovers.  These birds are so precious to Cape Codders that some beaches on the Cape are actually closed to protect the breeding habitat of the piping plover!

Piping Plover, Endangered Species

Piping plovers are shorebirds that migrate to the Cape in the spring from the coasts of the Southern US and Caribbean.  They can also be found in the Great Lakes Region and parts of Canada.

They nest in little depressions in open flats, laying four eggs to a clutch. When the chicks hatch, they can run around and feed themselves within just a few hours.  Impressive, huh?

Piping plovers nesting in the Great Lakes are listed as endangered and piping plovers nesting along the Atlantic Coasts and in the northern Great Plains of the US and Canada are listed as threatened.  In Massachusetts, the plovers are protected under the Federal and Massachusetts Endangered Species Act.

... read more

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