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The Economic Perspective 3/17/2023

The Latest Trending Economic, Environmental and Demographic News Curated for You By The Balmoral Group

The Balmoral Group provides practical, professional and precise Economics, Data Analytics, and Engineering Consulting services and is part of a globally integrated team.

As we continue our March Women's History Month highlights this week, we pay homage to Rachel Carson, an environmentalist and the author of Silent Spring, a best-seller book that led to the rise of the environmental movement. Her many works detailed marine and sea life, but she was best known for her warnings of the dangers posed by unregulated usage of DDT and other chemical pesticides and the effects they had on humans and wildlife. Silent Spring was an eye opener for many Americans, and her legacy serves as an inspiration to the modern environmentalist movement that ultimately led to the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency. You can learn more about her life and writings here. In this week's edition of the Economic Perspective, we take a look at the impacts of trash import bans and the greenwashing of renewables reporting, as well as the cancellation of salmon fishing season on the west coast, proposed changes in the law environment in Florida, and national limits of certain chemicals in drinking water. A particularly interesting article we also have featured is the prediction of Cherry Blossom blooms, including a live video feed of the cherry blossoms. Check it out before it's too late!

Enjoy the read and feedback is always appreciated! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested. If you'd like to view previous editions please click here, or to subscribe please click here! Have a great weekend!

Complaint Alleges Shell is Greenwashing Renewables Reporting

International NGO Global Witness filed a complaint against oil major Shell with the new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Climate, Environmental, Social, and Governance Task Force last month, alleging possible violations of federal securities laws. According to Global Witness, while Shell reports spending 12%, or $2.4 billion, of its annual expenditures on Renewables and Energy Solutions (RES), excluding costs related to integrated power, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage brings the total down to only 1.5%, or $288 million. As a result, Global Witness alleges that Shell has been misleading its investors about the oil company’s transition to renewable energy sources. Mondaq.

Florida Lawmakers Propose Bills That Would Reshape Florida's Legal Environment

After years of legislation limiting lawsuits against property insurance companies, lawmakers in Florida are preparing to spread limits to other insurances including life, liability, health and auto coverage. The proposed changes would overturn a 130-year old law and make it riskier for lawyers to pursue cases against insurance companies while also providing relief for insurance companies. The proposed legislation would place burden on the policyholder to pay for their own attorney’s fees; currently, insurance companies pay policyholders’ attorney fees in the event of a successful lawsuit. Tampa Bay Times

The Economic Costs and Enviromental Justice Concerns of 'not in my backyard' Trash Import Bans

A new study estimated the impacts that NIMBY waste transport laws would have in California on waste and costs for haulers and the facilities. The author used waste flow disposal data, fees charged by disposal stations and transport distance. If all counties passed NIMBY trash import bans, facilities would raise disposal prices by $5.84/ton to respond to the loss of intercounty trash business and would cost haulers an additional $4.63/ton. If a NIMBY ban was passed in just one county, local facilities would raise prices by $3.80/ton, and haulers would be forced to reroute transport. Additionally, census data showed that facilities in minority communities would be more likely to receive trash.

Biden Proposes First National Limits of Toxic 'Forever Chemicals' in Drinking Water

On Tuesday the EPA proposed the first nationwide restrictions on so-called ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water. These substances, per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS), have been voluntarily phased out by U.S. manufacturers but are resistant to breaking down in the environment. These chemicals were recently found to be more dangerous than previously known, even at undetectable levels, having been used to make products waterproof, stick-proof, and stain-resistant since the 1940s. They linger in the human body and can create complications such as cancer, liver damage, and low birth weight. The EPA’s proposed standards cover six PFAS and will limit two of them at four parts per trillion per chemical, and the rest will have a binding limit based on a hazard index for the cumulative impact of the chemicals. The EPA will likely finalize this new regulation by the end of the year with hopes it will prevent thousands of PFAS related deaths and illness. Read More.

West Coast Salmon Fishing Cancelled

Ocean salmon recreational and commercial fisheries on the pacific coast in Oregon and California, anticipated to open in April, have been shut down starting in March with re-openings scheduled in May, but salmon fishing for the entire year may be cancelled. Due to drought impacts in the last 3 years, rivers that salmon use to travel to the ocean before returning home have been drying up. The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the multistate body in charge of determining salmon seasons, have made no recommendations that would allow commercial or ocean salmon sport fishing for the 2023 or 2024 seasons. The California Fish and Game Commission will consider and approve inland fishery seasons for the spring for recreational river fishermen. Regions and dates for closures can be found here, and more details can be found here.

Data Visualization of the Week

Predicting Peak Cherry Blossom Blooms

Over 200 Cherry Blossom trees from Japan, are preparing to bloom on the University of Washington Campus. The trees, first planted in 1939 and planted in the Washington Park Arboretum were replanted in the University of Washington and have remained a seasonal tradition and celebration across the entire Pacific Northwest. A UW research group has been monitoring campus blossoms from January to April since 2018 with the goal of creating a model that will use weather data to predict the timing of peak bloom. Researchers predict that the trees will likely hit 10% bloom the week of March 20, with peak bloom (when 70% of the buds have emerged) in early April. This is a little later than normal, due to a colder-than-usual spring. A Campus livecam program dubbed Bloom Watch provides live video of the blossoms. University of Washington


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