To the editor:

The legislative filing by Senators Bruce Tarr of Gloucester and Michael Barrett of Lexington to prohibit or limit the use of clotheslines is detrimental to their espoused cause. I believe in climate change and support all reasonable efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions. But this legislation is likely to draw scorn from climate change opponents and tarnish the credibility of reasonable efforts to limit carbon pollution.

“It’s a commonsense approach,” said Eric Wilkinson, general counsel and director of energy policy at the Environmental League of Massachusetts in the article. “Forcing people to use fossil fuels to dry their laundry just doesn’t make sense.” Well, that’s not the commonsense I learned growing up. I receive several calls every month soliciting me to change my energy supplier to clean energy, some mix of solar, wind and hydro. Sen. Tarr points out that clothes dryers account for 6% of all household electricity consumption. Albeit at higher cost, devoted conservationists could choose clean energy providers for their electricity in lieu of a clothesline. Isn’t this preferable to raising the ire of your neighbors with your clothesline when you have a reasonable alternative?

The article notes that the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that 1,500 pounds of carbon dioxide could be kept out of the atmosphere each year per household if the average household turned off its dryer. I guess this assumes no dryer out there is supplied with electricity from clean energy. Now the EPA reports that in 2014 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled 15.1 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents, a 7% increase since 1990, but a 7% decrease since 2005. Mr. Tarr is correct in saying that not using a dryer won’t make a huge reduction in emissions.

I would opine that we could better direct our efforts at options that would produce greater results without the community-divisive costs of this proposal. C’mon Man!

John Cullinane


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