Kerwin calls the meeting to order, and introduces the agenda for the afternoon.
Everyone in attendance introduces themselves and states their affiliation or reason for attending the meeting.
Marissa DeLang, Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SWDEV), Anti-Idling Campaign:
Due to commerce through Detroit and into Canada over the Ambassador bridge, Detroit has a high volume of large trucks in or passing through the city. With lots of trucks, comes lots of idling. Excessive idling has a lot of negative health, environmental, and economic outcomes. Harmful exhaust emissions contribute to asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease, and also connect to infertility and lung cancer. As an environmental pollutant, idling contributes to noise pollution and emits 11-million tons of carbon dioxide into the air annual. Economically, truck idling also has a cost since it wastes a billion gallons of fuel annually and increases maintenance costs of truck engines by over $2000 a year.
In 2010 the city passed an anti-idling ordinance to combat these negative effects, and improve air quality in Detroit. The ordinance states that large vehicles over 8,500 pounds are prohibited from idling for 5 minutes within a period of 60 minutes within the city (outside of normal traffic situations and extreme weather situations). Penalty for an infraction is a $150 fine issued to the truck driver and/or a $500 fine issues to the truck owner/trucking company. However, in seven years since the ordinance was passed, the ordinance has not been enforced a single time, and there is currently no system in place with the police department to monitor or enforce the ordinance.
Marissa’s job this summer with the SWDEV has been to increase awareness of the idling problem, and to come up with enforcement solutions. To increase awareness Marissa has been reaching out to communities and driving training resources to educate on the importance reducing and the impact of idling. Perhaps if they know how much it affects them they will do it less? Ann arbor just passed a similar ordinance, and they sent out a letter explaining it to all trucking companies. Marissa is working with the 4th precinct to get a similar letter out to trucking companies operating in/through Detroit. She is also working on creating a training directive for the precinct that creates a system for police to handle and track enforcement of the ordinance through an IT system. Another aspect of this issue is that the ordinance itself needs to be revised. Right now only the police department is allowed to enforce it, but it would be helpful it the parking department could enforce it too. Signage isn’t in the ordinance, so if we could add signage it would help a lot as well, but we need funding and sanctions to allow for actual official city signage.
So how can we help? The task force can help by distributing flyers, or we can share our list-serves to distribute info about anti-idling. We can also use DPD app to report idling trucks. If people do this, it will flag that the community cares about this and the the police should pay attention and take enforcement more seriously. And if you have more ideas or connections, Marissa is always looking for more outreach opportunities.
Contact Marissa at: marissa.SDEV@gmail.com
Updates from Kerwin:
1: City council is planning to approve an ordinance to control/limit dust and fine particulate matter. It is a particular issue of focus because of petroleum coke (petcoke) dust. Petcoke is a petroleum based residual that is a very fine particle dust that is being stored along the river front. Industry is against the ordinance, but we are trying to make it not cost-prohibitive to businesses. The ordinance includes other fine particulate material as well, such as sand, asphalt, and concrete dust. Committee chairs will get together next week and hopefully the ordinance will be available for them to look at it then.
2: Kerwin gave a nod to the the Renewable energy subcommittee for presenting in front of the city council on June 19th, and it was very well received.
3rd. Benson wants to brainstorm ideas for how we can provide recycling options/initiatives near polling stations during elections since so many flyers are passed out and most of them end up in the garbage instead of the recycling. Perhaps a trial run can be done in August, and if it goes well we can expand from there.
4th. Working on getting a site visit for the Green Task Force.
IV. Update on Committees:
Zero-Waste: Took a break this past month. Next meeting is July 24th at 2pm, at the The Russell Yard. Renee Wallace will talk about the new composting subcommittee. Pick-up litter day that is coming up soon and will be a topic of discussion, as well as getting updates on city and state recycling. Participation in the city is now 21.3%.
Question: There were massive piles of fireworks after the 4th. Maybe the litter group could work on dealing with the piles of fireworks garbage? Or build that into future July plans?
Renewable Energy: June 19th they gave a presentation to the city committee for public health and safety. The purpose is to promote awareness of an implementation of renewable energy. In the presentation they were asked what it would take to power the city entirely on renewables. Last meeting was July 13th- encouraged by the Mayor Duggan supporting the Paris Climate accord. The effort of the task force and the new Office of Sustainability is showing good things. Potential policy audit for the city on things relating to sustainability and renewable energy. Looking at policies from other cities and for best procedures and practices. Also trying to track down all the building utility bills in the city. Looking toward the future, the subcommittee will focus on creating a white paper with all their findings. Next meeting is August 10th at 12:00pm at Socre Tea in Midtown.
Blue Green Infrastructure : Next meeting is august 15th. Hoping to have the City of Detroit their to share the new tree canopy report. They are also trying to develop a reforesting plan for the city. Planning strategy and frameworks for city redevelopment- green storm water initiatives and more. Two Sierra Club intern scholars presented on a reforestation plan in the Detroit, and on managing the extremely invasive phragmites weed that decimate wetlands. To control them people have stressed herbicide treatments. Prescribed fires and other mechanical treatments are options, since herbicides can release carcinogens. Considering helping a k-12 curriculum for educating on some of these issues. Perhaps do a poster campaign/competition (looking for funding for this!). Another idea is to create an online platform with education modules, and then an option at the end to submit for the competition. Lots of info on the DEQ website about the phragmites, so we can try and direct people there. We need to be aware of how to see and fight invasive species in the new green spaces and bioswales that we create in Detroit.
The task force will take a break in August, and will reconvene in September.