Subject: Studies in the News 02-24 (April 11, 2002)

Studies in the News
Environmental Supplement

Contents This Week

   Farm Bill and agricultural conservation
   EPA report on coastal waters
   Inadequate regulation of transgenic plants
   Climate change affects inland waters and wetlands
   Discounting benefits of climate change policies
   International greenhouse gas emissions trading
   Smart-growth legislative guidebook
   Critique of smart growth policies
   Housing supply in Ventura county
   Smart growth strengths and weaknesses
   New research on urban sprawl
   Trawling devastates sea life
   Pollution due to mining in the West
   Waste and materials management prospects
   Restoring South Bay salt ponds
   Interim report on Klamath River fish
   Summary of legislation on water resources
   Klamath called third most endangered river in US
   USGS finds micropollutants in streams
   Threats to freshwater resources
   Artic National Wildlife Refuge
   Studies in the News, February 19, 2002
   Studies in the News, February 22, 2002
   Studies in the News, March 5, 2002
   Studies in the News, March 18, 2002
   Studies in the News, April 5, 2002
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • Items in the State Library collection can be checked out to state officials and staff.

  • Access to all materials listed will be provided by the State Information Reference Center, either by e-mail to or by calling 654-0261.

The following studies are currently on hand:



State in Line for Farm Bill Funds: Money for Protecting Rural Land and Enhancing Habitat Could Aid California Efforts. By Mary Lynne Vellinga. IN: Sacramento Bee. (March 25, 2002) A1+

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["Under the terms of a congressional agreement, the new farm bill will include $17.1 billion aimed at enhancing habitat, creating wetlands, cleaning up farm runoff and even fighting suburban sprawl. California stands to get a significant share of this new money."]

[Request #S4720]

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National Coastal Condition Report. By Office of Water and Office of Research and Development, US Environmental Protection Agency. (The Agency, Washington, DC) September 2001. 204 p.

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["The nation's coastal waters and estuarine wildlife habitats, including those along California's 1,100-mile shoreline, are in less-than-adequate condition. That's the conclusion of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever National Coastal Condition Report....The report also notes that the West Coast also has the nation's greatest loss of coastal wetlands in the last 200 years, ranging from a 31 percent decline in Washington to 91 percent gone in California." San Diego Union-Tribune (April 2, 2002) A4.]

[Request #S4721]

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Environmental Effects of Transgenic Plants: The Scope and Adequacy of Regulation. By the Committee on Environmental Impacts Associated with Commercialization of Transgenic Plants, National Research Council. (National Academy Press, Washington, DC) 2002. 320 p.

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["Regulations now in place to protect the public and the environment from potential harmful effects of genetically engineered crops are inadequate.... The report says the government must do a better job of screening these crops - both before and after they are planted.... [It] provides a detailed road map for the federal government to follow as it reinforces its assessment of environmental risks." Environmental News Service (February 22, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S4550]

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Aquatic Ecosystems and Global Climate Change: Potential Impacts on Inland Freshwater and Coastal Wetland Ecosystems in the United States. By N. LeRoy Poff, Colorado State University, and others. Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. (The Center, Arlington, Virginia) January 2002. 45 p.

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["Global warming could have huge effects on freshwater and wetland ecosystems in the United States, according to a new study predicting massive shifts in fish habitats, deteriorating water quality, and disappearing wetlands.... As climate change alters ecosystem productivity and species composition, many unforeseen ecological changes are expected that may threaten the goods and services these systems provide to humans, the report said." Greenwire (January 30, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S4722]

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Discounting the Benefits of Climate Change Policies Using Uncertain Rates. By Richard Newell and William Pizer. IN: Resources, no. 146 (Winter 2002). pp. 15-20.

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["Evaluating environmental policies, such as the mitigation of greenhouse gases, frequently requires balancing near-term mitigaion costs against long-term environmental benefits. Conventional approaches to valuing such investments hold interest rates constant, but the authors contend that there is a real degree of uncertainty in future interest rates. This leads to a higher valuation of future benefits relative to conventional methods that ignore interest rate uncertainty."]

[Request #S4723]

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The Emerging International Greenhouse Gas Market. By Richard Rosenzweig, Natsource LLC, and others. Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. (The Center, Arlington, Virginia) March 2002. 76 p.

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["Pew: Emissions Trading for CO [2] Policy of Choice: A market for greenhouse gas emissions has emerged over the past five years, and emissions trading is now the 'policy of choice' for addressing climate change, according to a new report ... [which] concludes that trading activity has increased around the world.... [It] says the market has been shaped by successful trading programs established over the past decade, such as the sulfur dioxide trading program." Electricity Daily (March 26, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S4724]

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Growing Smart: Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change. And User Manual. Edited by Stuart Meck. (American Planning Association, Washington, DC) 2002. Various pagings.

["Topics covered in the Guidebook include a wide range of state, regional, and local comprehensive and functional planning issues.... The User Manual helps those interested in statutory reform navigate through the Guidebook and, by means of checklists and case studies, select from the options available."]

[Request #S4460]

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The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths: How Smart Growth Will Harm American Cities. By Randal O’Toole, The Thoreau Institute. (The Institute, Bandon, Oregon) 2001.

[“In statewide smart growth initiatives in Oregon and Maryland, development, including housing, is encouraged in established urban areas with access to transit, rather than on undeveloped land in the countryside.... Randal O'Toole, senior economist for the Oregon-based Thoreau Institute, has published blistering critiques of smart growth strategies they say are expensive and don't solve the problems they intend to solve." Boston Globe (December 18, 2001) B6.]

[Request #S4725]

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Smart Growth in Action: Housing Capacity and Development in Ventura County. By William Fulton, Solimar Research Group, and others (Reason Public Policy Institute, Los Angeles, California) December 2001. 39 p.

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["It's been hard to move past the rhetoric to determine how much new growth the county can accommodate within the urban growth boundaries created by Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources initiative. A new report ... attempts to cut through the rhetoric for the first time by looking at how much housing could be built under the county's General Plan.... The answer to the question is: not much. At least, not if we stick with our current general plans -- and if we continue to implement those plans as we have been doing." Ventura County Star (January 6, 2002) B9.]

[Request #S4726]

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Smart Growth: Getting Beyond the Hype. By William Schweke and Milton Herd, The Corporation for Enterprise Development. (The Corporation, Washington, DC) January 2002. 6 p.

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["The purpose of this article is to describe the strengths and weaknesses of the current smart growth movement and to outline future steps needed to achieve its goals. This piece draws upon our smart growth consulting practice and the thinking and action of leading researchers, planners, and activists.... It outlines an agenda for realizing the potential of the smart growth vision."]

[Request #S4727]

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Stop Sprawl: New Research on Population, Urban Sprawl and Smart Growth. By the Sierra Club. (The Sierra Club, San Francisco, California) February 2002. 4 p.

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["Professor Rolf Pendall of Cornell University analyzed suburban sprawl over the course of the 1980s in 282 metropolitan areas. He found that the population growth variable explains about 31 percent of the growth in land area.... Pendall found that smart-growth solutions, which focus on channeling growth into areas with existing infrastructure, were effective at slowing sprawling growth regardless of the cause."]

[Request #S4728]

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Effects of Trawling and Dredging on Seafloor Habitat: Prepublication Draft. By the Committee on Ecosystem Effects of Fishing, National Research Council. (National Academy Press, Washington, DC) 2002. [online.]

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["Dragging nets along the ocean floor, a widely used method of commercial fishing, causes such devastation to sea life that the practice should be banned from areas with fragile marine habitat, federal researchers concluded....The National Marine Fisheries Service, which manages commercial fishing, said the scientific recommendations come at a key time: when its fisheries management councils are preparing studies on the best protection for critical ocean habitat in five different regions." Los Angeles Times (March 19, 2002) A12.]

[Request #S4699]

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The Mining of the West: Profit & Pollution on Public Lands. By Robert McClure and others, Seattle Post-Intelligencer. IN: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (June 11 to June 14, 2001). [online.]

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[Includes: “The General Mining Act of 1872 Has Left a Legacy of Riches and Ruin;” “Town Holds Its Breath Watching Price of Gold;” “More than a Century of Mining Has Left the West Deeply Scarred;” “A Wounded Mountain Spewing Poison;” “Too Often, Government is Left With the Cleanup Costs;” “Desert Town Keeps an Eye on Cleanup;” “A Good Deal for Miners Often Isn’t for Uncle Sam;” “U.S. Gets Burned by Lax Canadian Oversight;” “Innocent Financier or Irresponsible Polluter;” “Pegasus Gold – From Boom to Bankruptcy;” “Powerful Friends in Congress;” “New, Tighter Regulations Irk Miners;” and “Proposed Gold Mine Divides the Okanogan.”]

[Request #S4729]

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Beyond RCRA: Prospects for Waste and Materials Management in the Year 2020: Draft White Paper. By EPA-State RCRA Vision Workgroup. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC) February 2001. 18 p. And Comments to 'Beyond RCRA: Prospects for Waste and Materials Management in the Year 2020.' By the GrassRoots Recycling Network. (The Network, Athens, Georgia) January 30, 2002.

["GRRN aims to reverse unsustainable practices and policies by building effective coalitions and partnerships for Zero Waste policies based on government and corporate accountability for waste.... The White Paper's primary focus is to suggest the broad outlines of what a future Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program might look like, and the forces that might shape it."]

The Draft White Paper. 18 p.

Comments on the Draft White Paper. 18 p.

[Request #S4730]

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Feasibility Analysis: South Bay Salt Pond Restoration, San Francisco Estuary, California. By Stuart W. Siegel and Philip A.M. Bachland. (Wetlands and Water Resources, San Rafael, California) March, 2002. Various pagings. And Turning Salt Into Environmental Gold: Wetlands Restoration in the South San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds. By Cynthia Patton (Save the Bay, Oakland, California) April, 2002. 36 p.

["As negotiators ink what could be the final details on a $100 million purchase of 16,000 acres of South Bay salt ponds, environmentalists and biologists have begun to debate the next phase: the cost of restoring the land. That price, if history is any guide, could dwarf the acquisition and, according to one estimate, top $1 billion over the next century." Oakland Tribune (April 2, 2002) 1.]

South Bay Salt Pond Restoration

Turning Salt into Environmental Gold

[Request #S4731]

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Scientific Evaluation of Biological Opinions on Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath River Basin: Interim Report. By William M. Lewis, University of Colorado, and others. (National Academy Press, Washington, DC) 2002. 26 p.

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["The National Academy of Sciences has concluded that federal biologists had no scientific justification for their efforts to protect endangered fish by withholding water from farmers in the drought-ravaged Klamath Basin of the Pacific Northwest last year.... The evaluation by the independent academy found that far more farm-friendly proposals by another federal agency -- the Bureau of Reclamation, which runs the irrigation project -- were also unjustified by science." Washington Post (February 4, 2001) A01. NOTE: Scientific Evaluation ... will be available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S4217]

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Year End Report 2001. By the Senate Agriculture and Water Resources Committee, California Legislature. (The Committee, Sacramento, California) December 18, 2001. 18 p.

["This report contains a summary of all bills heard by the Committee in 2001, a brief synopsis of the key informational hearings held by the Committee, and a short section outlining some of the outstanding issues the Committee expects to address this year."]

[Request #S4733]

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America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2002. By American Rivers (American Rivers, Washington, DC) April 2002. 46 p.

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["The Klamath River, a flash point of bitter fighting between farmers and environmentalists during the past year, has been named America's third most endangered river in an annual report issued by a prominent conservation group....Steve Rothert, an associate director for American Rivers said the Klamath is threatened both by the diversions and contaminated agricultural runoff. Rothert said the Klamath was also selected because 2002 is a critical year in the river's long-term fate. '(Federal agencies) will soon be determing operations for the next 10 years,' Rothert said." San Francisco Chronicle (April 2, 2002) A3.]

[Request #S4734]

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Water Quality: Inconsistent State Approaches Complicate Nation's Efforts to Identify Its Most Polluted Waters. By the U.S. General Accounting Office. GAO-02-186. (The Office, Washington, DC) January 2002. 40 p.

["Owing, in part, to the inconsistencies in states' approaches to identifying impaired waters, the information in EPA's database of impaired waters is of questionable reliability.... Inconsistencies in the data that states submit are compounded by the different ways that they submit data to EPA for inclusion in the system."]

[Request #S4735]

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Pharmaceuticals, Hormones, and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in U.S. Streams, 1999-2000: A National Reconnaissance. By Dana W. Kolpin, and others U.S. Geologic Survey. IN: Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 36 (March 15, 2002) pp. 1202-1211. And Water-Quality Data for Pharmaceuticals, Hormones, and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in U.S. Streams, 1999-2000. By Kimberlee K. Barnes, and others, U.S. Geologic Survey. (The Survey, Iowa City, Iowa) 2002. Various pagings.

["In the first nationwide survey of its kind, scientists have found traces of the most intimate possible pollutants from disinfectant soaps to hormones, painkillers, antibiotics, bug repellants, steroids and caffeine in rivers and streams across the United States.... There is no known way to remove most of these contaminants from sewage and waste water. Over the past few years, scientists have started to wonder if tens of thousands of these micropollutants, continually released into the environment, could harm wildlife or encourage the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria." San Jose Mercury News (March 13, 2002) A1.]

Environmental Science and Technology article

USGS data on specific streams

[Request #S4736]

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Threat To The World's Freshwater Resources. By P.H. Gleick and others. Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security. (The Institute, Oakland, California) November 2001. 64 p.

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["New threats to freshwater resources include an increase in population, global climate change, water pollution, water-related disease and the destruction of natural systems as a result of building dams, reservoirs and pipelines.... The report calls for policy-makers to move away from our current destructive water management practices and instead focus on nonstructural alternatives, such as reuse and efficiency." California Policy Forum NewsWire (February 8, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S4737]

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Memorandum: Evaluation of Additional Potential Development Scenarios for the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. By Brad Griffith, U.S. Geologic Survey. (The Survey, Anchorage, Alaska) April 4, 2002. 2 p.

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["In a follow-up of an earlier report, the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that predictions that oil drilling would impair caribou reproduction and survival do not hold true if the eastern half of the Arctic coastal plain is left untouched, a plan now under consideration by some drilling proponents.... For the first time, drilling proponents come to the hearings armed with scientific cover for tapping the portion of the refuge thought most likely to contain readily accessible oil. Critics dismissed the revised findings, however, saying they do not provide a realistic assessment because they look only at what happens if caribou are prevented from calving in the northwest quadrant." Los Angeles Times (April 8, 2002) A1.]

[Request #S4738]

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[This section links to items in Studies in the News since the last Environmental Supplement.]

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 2-10 (February 19, 2002)

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[Includes: "Proactive environmental management," "Draft ten year plan for Klamath River, " "Assessment of agricultural easements," and "Globalization and privatization of fresh water."]

[Request #S4739]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 02-12 (February 22, 2002)

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[Includes: "Pollutants discharged from school buses;" "Increased risk of cancer;" "President Bush's plan on climate change;" "Climate change may increase California floods;" "Cost benefit analysis of environmental protection;" "Quarantines in California for sudden oak death;" and "Pesticides and salmon runs."]

[Request #S4740]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 02-15 (March 5, 2002)

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[Includes: "Recommendations for energy security;" "U.S. computer trash dumped in Asia;" "MTBE phase out in California;" "Environmental protection efforts;" and "States' renewable energy solutions."]

[Request #S4741]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 02-18 (March 18, 2002)

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[Includes: "Clean energy and jobs;" "Discussion of new urbanism in Palo Alto;" "State by state report on growth management;" "The 10 most threatened wild areas in California;" "Fish and Game report on marine resources;" and "New runoff pollution rules."]

[Request #S4742]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 2-22 (April 5, 2002)

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Includes: "Certified regulatory programs;" "Mojave among ten most endangered national parks;" and "Federal regulation of wetlands."

[Request #S4743]

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