Supes to take on environmental woes 

Concerned about thousands of pills being flushed down toilets or dumped into area landfills, and polluted storm water washing out to the Bay or ocean, two county supervisors have joined forces to call for the creation of an environmental subcommittee.

While some boards such as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the state Regional Water Quality Control Board oversee environmental standards at a more wide-ranging level, San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon sees a county board focused more on common county issues.

"There’s an awful lot that we as humans do to impact the environment," Gordon said Tuesday after floating the idea along with Supervisor Adrienne Tissier at the board’s regular morning meeting. "So the goal [would be] to understand whether there are things a county government can do to find solutions."

Chief among the likely areas of focus could be finding a safe place for pharmaceutical disposal, cleaning up storm water run off before it reaches open water, encouraging more green building construction, expanding the county’s recycling programs and creatingmore wetlands which act as nature’s water filter, Gordon said.

"This kind of a subcommittee could hold public hearings and experts could come and help us understand and think through some issues," Gordon said.

The committee could study solar power, how to reduce electricity use and the proper disposal of vehicle batteries as well, Tissier said.

In June 2006, Gordon and Tissier co-sponsored an initiative encouraging the use of solar panels in the county, by reducing associated fees by 50 percent to $345. Gordon spent time in 2006 tackling storm water pollution issues, while Tissier led the implementation of a pilot pharmaceutical disposal program.

President of the Board of Supervisors Rose Jacobs Gibson plans to weigh whether creating such a committee would duplicate already existing committee efforts, before making a decision within the next month, she said.

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