Bottled water legal again in Concord
Earlier this year, residents of Concord, Mass., passed a law that would have made it illegal to sell bottled water in their town.
The effort was spurred by Jean Hill, an 82-year-old activist who was subsequently featured in The New York Times critics called her a retiree with too much time on her hands.
But it turns out residents didn't have the authority to make that decision, so now bottled water sales are legal again in Concord.
After the Town Meeting passed the article which would have banned the sale of plastic water bottles beginning Jan. 1 it went to the state attorney general. The state AG declined to approve the article, saying it was not enforceable there was no civil or criminal consequence of violating the rule.
That left Concord's town selectmen in a pickle. Should they pass a law that they could enforce? Or just let the matter drop?
In the end, they decided to develop a strategy to voluntarily use fewer plastic bottles.
Meanwhile, Virginia took a similar step last week, when Gov. Bob McDonnell reversed a directive that banned state agencies and institutions from buying single-serve plastic water bottles.
While bottled vs. tap water issues are more complex than just an attack on plastics, the focus of critics' attention often is on the container, not the water.
I don't have a problem with citizens making a choice not to buy bottled water I'm right there with them, in fact. But singling out bottled water for bans, while allowing retail sales of less healthy alternatives, doesn't make sense.
The latest actions in Concord and in Virginia appear to be steps in the direction of common sense.
China moves full speed toward EVs
After decades of R&D but little commercial progress the world seems to be on the cusp of a green car revolution.
And the market that's moving the fastest just might be China.
Yang Jian, managing editor of Automotive News China, wrote a good column on the topic last week, titled China Inc. moves full speed to embrace EVs.
Even for a person like me who covers China's auto industry on a daily basis, I can't help feeling amazed at how fast the government is moving to encourage development of 'green' cars, Yang wrote.
Now China has created pilot subsidy programs for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. The city of Shenzhen a leading auto center has kicked in its own subsidies. And China's central government has directed China's two electric utilities, three largest oil companies and major electrical equipment makers to build EV charging stations across the country.
China's advantage appears to be central government control, which seems to be fully supporting investment in EVs.
But keep this in mind: U.S. companies have some obvious competitive advantages that should help them stay ahead of Chinese automakers and suppliers.
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