The fix is (almost) in
THE BIG IDEA
FIXERS REJOICE – Advocates trying to keep electronics out of landfills and reduce consumption are cheering in Minnesota.
A “right to repair” bill on Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s desk would require manufacturers of phones, computers, and home appliances to share documentation and software needed to fix electronic devices, making it easier for consumers to go to third-party companies for repairs or repair items themselves. Repair, advocates say, extends the life of personal electronics, home appliances and more.
A spokesperson for the governor said that Walz is expected to sign the bill Wednesday.
Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, a repair and advocacy website, said the bill could result in electronics manufacturers making repair software available worldwide, since they “tend to respond in a global manner.”
“This is huge,” Wiens said. “This should move the U.S. ahead of Europe,” which historically has had stronger right-to-repair laws.
It comes on the heels of other big wins for the right-to-repair movement. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed into law last month legislation giving farmers the right to diagnose and fix their own equipment. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has thrown his support behind the concept, arguing that it boosts competition. He also pointed to President Biden’s executive order on competition, which calls for federal regulators to apply existing laws to curtail “unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair.”
More than half of U.S. states have proposed some form of repair legislation this year, aimed at easing repair restrictions. But manufacturers – such as Apple and Microsoft – have pushed back, arguing that such legislation can have unintended consequences, making electronics vulnerable to cyber attacks and even flouting environmental regulations for agricultural equipment.
The Minnesota bill is advocates’ white whale. It goes further than one signed by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) late last year that focuses on personal electronics and exempts devices sold exclusively “business-to-business” and “business-to-government.” Wiens said right-to-repair advocates have been biding their time in Minnesota, building a coalition and waiting for the right moment to strike. That moment came this year.
“The legislators know and understand the gravity of being the folks who are moving first, and the nationwide impact of what they’re doing,” he said. “It’s really just can the people win out against entrenched corporate interests, and it’s taken a long time and a huge amount of work to get to where we are.”
Next up is California, where a right-to-repair bill for electronics passed out of committee last week after years of lobbying from groups like iFixit and Repair.org.
AROUND THE NATION
RISING TIDE — A wet winter is helping usher in a new phase of cooperation among states on the Colorado River, Camille von Kaenel reports.
California, Arizona and Nevada agreed Monday to take less water from the river through 2026 in order to stave off cuts to hydropower supplies as lake levels drop.
Rain (and money) made it happen: States have been at odds over their Colorado River allocations for decades. But physical and political changes over the past year helped break the logjam: The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August provided a $4 billion pot of money to compensate cities, tribes and farmers to cut back on their use, giving the feds a powerful negotiating lever.
And the record-breaking wet winter provided some relief after the three driest years on record — pushing back the crisis. “The extra water helps give us a little breathing time,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, the former general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, one of the main agencies affected by the agreement.
ARCTIC ASSET — What do Montreal and Kyoto have in common? They’re both helping save the climate.
The 1987 Montreal Protocol is known best for saving the ozone layer by phasing out chlorofluorocarbons, which happen to be potent global warming gases in addition to ozone destroyers. A new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that the treaty may have delayed the arrival of iceless summers in the Arctic by as much as 15 years, Chelsea Harvey reports for POLITICO’s E&E News.
Don’t get too happy, though: Sea ice has been dwindling for decades, and scientists estimate that the Arctic Ocean could see its first ice-free summer within a few decades or less. Some research suggests it could happen as early as 2035.
Movers and Shakers
ANTONIOLI OUT — David Antonioli, founding CEO of carbon-offset standard setting platform Verra, is stepping down after 15 years, our Allison Prang reports. Antonioli will be succeeded by interim CEO Judith Simon, who joined the organization as president in February, just after a publication of a Guardian investigation that questioned the validity of most of Verra’s rainforest offsets (Verra has disputed the findings).
LOMBARD TO CLEARPATH — Conservative clean energy advocacy group ClearPath has named Cheryl Lombard as its new senior program director for regulatory policy and advocacy, Allison reports. Lombard, a former Hill staffer, most recently worked as president and CEO of Arizona’s Valley Partnership, a real estate development organization. Lombard will lead ClearPath’s permitting policy, the organization said.
YOU TELL US
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Team Sustainability is editor Greg Mott, deputy editor Debra Kahn and reporters Jordan Wolman and Allison Prang. Reach us all at [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected].
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WHAT WE'RE CLICKING
— It’s always something! A U.K. study finds that the benefits of recycling plastic might be undercut by increased generation of microplastics pollution, the Washington Post reports.
— Shell’s CEO had to be protected by security personnel as climate protesters stormed the stage at the company’s annual meeting in London, according to Reuters.
— U.S. oil giant Chevron, meanwhile, is upping the ante on plans for more stateside drilling, acquiring a rival firm with operations in Texas and Colorado. The Wall Street Journal has that one.
( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )