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Activists expect the mayor to support the styrofoam ban and wonder whether she will do the same for the ban on crude oil terminals

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DHARNA NOOR: I’m here at Baltimore City Hall, where the city council has just voted to pass two bills that environmental advocates say will better the future of Baltimore. The first is a ban on the use styrofoam food containers by Baltimore’s restaurants. The second is a bill that will ban the creation of new crude oil terminals and the expansion of currently existing ones. The styrofoam ban, sponsored by Councilman John Bullock, passed unanimously.
JOHN BULLOCK: It’s a very proud moment today to have this bill be supported unanimously by this body. We’ve recognized for quite some time the issue of styrofoam. Not only the health impacts, but also the impacts on the environment. And so, we look at us being leaders, not being followers. We know that there were attempts at the state level to do this, but we were lucky to be able to do this here at the local level.
ALEXANDRA GRAYSON: I think a lot of it was like us, a student voice that was garnered towards like the support of this bill. Like President Jack Young said, a lot of the youth in Baltimore really helped in supporting the bill.
DENNIS GONG: The mayor’s expected to sign it. She already committed. She says that she would sign it into law. So, we’re very optimistic that it will get passed into law.
DHARNA NOOR: And the crude oil trans ban, chief sponsored by Mary Pat Clarke, was pushed by environment groups like Clean Water Action and Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
SPEAKER: Please note…this bill is approved. Chair recognizes Councilwoman Clark.
MARY PAT CLARKE: Thanks. I just want to thank all the people that, and all the advocates, and the city people that worked so hard for a couple years for this preventive public safety.
JENNIFER KUNZE: This first came up in the city back in 2014, when a Texas based oil company proposed to build a new crude oil terminal in the Fairfield industrial area. And residents of South Baltimore and all over the city fought that one off, and they’ve been fighting ever since to make sure that we don’t see more new proposals for crude oil terminals in the city.
CHAUNA BROCHT: I live in the blast zone, my kids go to school in the blast zone. The playground where they play is right above the train tracks, where these trains would be shipped through if Baltimore were to become a hub for crude oil shipments.
DHARNA NOOR: Do expect that the mayor will veto this? Do you expect that she’ll pass it? What are you expecting from Mayor Catherine Pugh?
CHAUNA BROCHT: Well, it doesn’t seem like her, the mayor’s administration has been supportive of this bill so far, but I’m really hoping with all the pressure from the community, we have broad grassroots support from basically all different kinds of community groups. Faith groups, environmental groups, community associations, so I’m really hoping that she’ll listen to the voters and pass this bill.

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Dharna Noor is a staff writer at Earther, Gizmodo's climate vertical.