Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Impact of California Prop 65 on Ecommerce

Let's see if the Law of Unintended Consequences is going to kick in here.

California cancer and birth-defect warning requirements that took effect in August 2018 have stopped at least some online merchants from selling products to state residents.

Although the new requirements place primary responsibility for providing warnings on product manufacturers, retail businesses (including ecommerce retailers without physical locations in California) cannot knowingly sell products to California residents that expose them to chemicals that could cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm — without providing clear and reasonable warnings.
According to the article, due to the complexities and trapdoors related to Prop 65, merchants and producers would slap on a sticker just to cover their asses.  Now they must SHOW what the cancer-causing chemical is.

Looking on line I find there are companies formed whose sole purpose is to assist companies in finding their way through the minefield put in place by Prop 65.

This is a great youtube video by a company that represents businesses that have been slapped with a non-compliance to prop 65.

To sum up some of the salient points:

1) Jerry Brown realized there were problems with the prevailing law and wanted to reform it.  But even he could not reform it.

2) The lawyer being interviewed called it a "cottage industry" for lawyers when he first got involved.  He came to realize it was a MANSION industry.

3) The "safe harbor"  wording is pretty much worthless.  "Safe harbor" is putting the yellow triangle and the word WARNING in bold black.  You must specify the hazard due to cancer OR reproductive harm or both if that is the case. And you must specify the chemical(s).

4) The vast majority are settled out of court. To take it to court will cost you $millions to $10s of millions.

5) And here's the worst: You decide not to sell to California and you are safe right?  WRONG! If your product ends up in California for sale and is tested and your product is not in compliance, YOU WILL BE SERVED.
Yet again, California effs the rest of the country with their idiocy.  As usual, government says they are here to help us, the exact opposite happens.

Yeah, the argument is not about a stupid label.  The consequences are far reaching.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

California bans hotels from using tiny plastic bottles

Boy, all you have to do is ask the question and you get an answer.
Hotels in the nation's most populous state will have to stop giving guests small plastic shampoo bottles under a new law set to take effect starting in 2023.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday he had signed a law banning hotels from giving guests plastic bottles filled with shampoo, conditioner or soap. It takes effect in 2023 for hotels with more than 50 rooms and 2024 for hotels with less than 50 rooms.

Violators could be fined $500 for a first offense and $2,000 for subsequent violations.
The article mentions that some large hotel chains were already in the process of banning these.  If so, why did CA need a LAW to carry this out?

California becomes the first state to ban fur products

While in South Korea I bought my wife a fur wrap.

A REAL fur wrap.  Not a fake one.  Now I read fur products are banned in CA.
The bill, authored by state assemblymaker Laura Friedman, applies to all new clothing, handbags, shoes and other items made with fur. Those who violate the law would be subject to civil penalties. Used fur and taxidermy products are exempt from the ban, along with leather, cowhide and shearling. Fur products used for religious purposes or by Native American tribes are also exempt, and fur lawfully taken with a hunting license is still allowed.
The devolving of CA into an African nation is continuing.

California Farmer Fights Government Claim That Dirt Is a Pollutant

I found this article hard to follow and had to read it several times due to its compactness and complexity.  But for sure, the one thing that stuck out of all of this was the  roughshod work of the Army Corp of Engineers.  They cast a wide net and dragged LaPLant in on this.

From what I could tell in this article, they most likely didn't do any due diligence to see if he even had any part in the supposed Clean Water Act violations.  It looks to me they just decided to let the courts sort it out.  And how much will this end up costing LaPlant because of the Corp's neglect in doing a proper check?  Thousands?  Hundreds of thousands?  Millions??
What’s particularly alarming to LaPant and other farmers familiar with his case is that in their view the Corps saw fit to modify the Clean Water Act without congressional approval, Francois said.

“There’s a pretty broad, clear statement in the Clean Water Act that you don’t need a permit for normal farming activities,” Francois said, adding:

This would include normal ranching, farming, forestry activities. But the Army has added multiple conditions that you have to meet for these protections [for such operations] to continue.

One of these conditions is that the property has to be tilled pretty regularly for this protection to continue. But there are many reasons why a farmer may suspend tilling. For example, cattle may have a higher price than wheat or corn, and so the land might be used for grazing for a period of time.

The Army has definitely added hurdles and obstacles to a pretty clear and simple statement of the Clean Water Act that you don’t need a permit for normal farming activities. In our view, what they’ve done is to change the policy decision Congress made.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

After Years of Threats, Schwab Joins Exodus, to Move Headquarters from San Francisco to Texas

The Great Wolf Richter brings us a blockbuster report:
“As we’ve said previously, our strategy is to maintain our headquarters in San Francisco, where the firm was founded,” said a Charles Schwab spokeswoman in December 2016. The company had threatened to leave San Francisco in an arm-twist tactic with its landlord as its office lease was coming up for renewal. It worked apparently, and Schwab renewed the lease on its 417,000 square feet at 211 Main St. for another 10 years, and San Francisco breathed a sigh of false relief.

At the time, it had already made the decision to build a new campus in Westlake (northwest of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport), Texas. In October 2018, it filed plans to more than double the office space at the Westlake campus to 1.16 million square feet to accommodate up to 7,000 worker bees.
Schwab talked a good talk and kept the cat toy jiggling. SF was happy to watch the cat toy and leave Schwab alone. Otherwise, SF and the whole state of CA bureaucracy would pounce and scratch the company's eyes out as it sucks as many taxes, penalties and fines out of them as they possibly could. And then once done (if there is a such thing) would bid a final “don’t let the door hit you in the ass” thanks-for-nothing farewell.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Why Wind Turbines Threaten Endangered Species With Extinction

I wanted to push on this point of what wind turbines are doing to birds.  And I just can't get over the SILENCE as the response to all of this.
In 2017, a team of scientists warned that the hoary bat, a migratory species, could go extinct if the expansion of wind farms continues.

“Unprecedented numbers of migratory bats are found dead beneath industrial-scale wind turbines during late summer and autumn in both North America and Europe,” writes Paul Cryan, a research biologist with the US Geological Survey.

Come on, you might be thinking. Surely there are greater threats to migratory bats than wind turbines?

There aren’t. “Wind energy facilities kill a significant number of bats far exceeding any documented natural or human-caused sources of mortality in the affected species,” writes Cryan.

Cryan is emphatic on this point. “There are no other well-documented threats to populations of migratory tree bats that cause mortality of similar magnitude to that observed at wind turbines.”

Another leading bat expert, Patricia Brown, agrees. More than a decade ago she warned California energy regulators that wind turbines could be the “nail in the coffin” for some migratory bat species.

Aren’t bats protected from wind turbines by government agencies enforcing the Endangered Species Act and other conservation laws? They're not.

“None of the migratory bats known to be most affected by wind turbines are protected by conservation laws,” writes Cryan, “nor is there a legal mandate driving research into the problem or implementation of potential solutions.”

Wind turbines have also emerged as one of the greatest human threats to many species of large, threatened and high-conservation value birds, after habitat loss from agriculture.

Wind energy threatens golden eagles, bald eagles, burrowing owls, red-tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, American kestrels, white-tailed kites, peregrine falcons, and prairie falcons, among many others.

The expansion of wind turbines could result in the extinction of the golden eagle in the western United States, where its population is at an unsustainably low level.