Council OKs tips bill

City Council yesterday passed a bill that will prevent restaurant owners from taking 1 percent to 3 percent of tips paid by credit cards to cover fees charged by credit companies.

Councilman James Kenney, who introduced the bill, said the money belongs to waiters who earn the tips. Restaurant mogul Stephen Starr opposed the bill, but did not testify in Council.

Council also passed a bill introduced by Kenney that will make police reports of car accidents confidential for 60 days to protect victims, whose names, addresses and phone numbers could be accessed by third parties.

No. 1 against storm-runoff

Philadelphia ranks first in the nation and is a national model for its long-term efforts to reduce stormwater pollution and sewage runoff through eco-friendly and cost-effective measures such as green roofs and porous asphalt, according to an environmental group's new report.

The city led a list of 14 municipalities for its commitment to infrastructure and design changes like tree plantings and rain gardens to capture rainfall and reduce runoff pollution by slowing the flow of stormwater into the city's antiquated sewer system.

"Philadelphia recognizes that green infrastructure, which stops rain where it falls, is the smartest way to reduce water pollution from storms," said Karen Hobbs of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which released the "Rooftops to Rivers" report Wednesday.


State balks at fracking

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell says his state will not give its blessing to a controversial proposal for natural-gas drilling in the Delaware River basin.

Markell sent a letter yesterday to other voting members of the Delaware River Basin Commission saying proposed regulations regarding the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, lack critical information about protecting public and private water supplies.

Markell, a Democrat, said in the letter that Delaware will vote no when the commission meets Monday to consider allowing fracking in the river basin.

Fracking involves injecting water, sand and chemicals underground to break up shale and rock. Environmentalists and other opponents say that many of the chemicals cause cancer and that fracking could pollute the Delaware, a drinking-water source for more than 15 million people.

- Staff and wire reports