UPDATE: Mayor Pugh’s office said the signing ceremony for the polystyrene ban was postponed. A new date has not been announced.
They traveled a rocky road to get there, but two measures long sought by environmental and community groups in Baltimore have gotten City Council and mayoral approval:
Last week, Mayor Catherine Pugh signed a bill prohibiting the construction of crude oil terminals in the city, a ban supporters said would discourage potentially explosive rail shipments that would endanger city neighborhoods.
Introduced by councilmembers Mary Pat Clarke and Ed Reisinger, the bill was approved by the City Council last month by a vote of 14-1. (Councilman Eric T. Costello voted “no.”)
“This proves that local governments can take real steps to fight climate change and can act to protect residents from risky transport of potentially explosive materials,” Leah Kelly, attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project, said in a statement by advocates. “Now communities living near rail lines in Baltimore will not have to fight off proposals for these terminals one by one.”
Kelly and others praised city officials for what they called a proactive measure to safeguard citizens all along potential crude oil rail routes and to discourage the use of environmentally harmful fossil-fuel burning technologies.
“Mayor Pugh, the City Council, and the countless Baltimore residents who have fought to make this possible have made Baltimore a national leader in this policy,” said Jennifer Kunze, of Clean Water Action.
Fine for “Styrofoam” Cups, Containers
Tomorrow, meanwhile, Pugh is scheduled to sign Councilman John Bullock’s bill which forbids city businesses from using polystyrene foam containers for carryout food and drink.
That bill, approved unanimously last week, would fine food service facilities that use containers made from the material, commonly called Styrofoam.
Supporters said the bill would cut down on the trashed foam cups and containers that foul city streets and waterways and harm wildlife when they break up, leaving long-lasting small pieces behind.
Opponents said banning the inexpensive material would hurt small businesses while doing little to cut down on trash.
City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young changed positions to support the bill after lobbying by students he said impressed him. And Pugh agreed to support it after it was amended to include a phase-in period, giving businesses 18 months to comply.
Supporters will join Pugh tomorrow at 2 pm in the Mayor’s Ceremonial Room for the signing.