Subject: Studies in the News 02-54 (September 12, 2002)

Studies in the News
Environmental Supplement

Contents This Week

   Health and visibility costs of air pollution
   World ecological footprint
   UC Merced no jeopardy to endangered species
   Clean energy for the future
   Ethanol provides net energy gain
   Transgenic mosquitoes
   Petition against genetically engineered grass seed
   Climate change effects on U.S. resources
   Impacts of invasive species
   Hazardous waste generated at the Mexican border
   Natural gas shortage
   Less pollution released into environment
   Sewage sludge as fertilizer
   Studies in the News, July 22, 2002
   Studies in the News, August 9, 2002
   Studies in the News, August 28, 2002
   Studies in the News, September 6, 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:



"The Health and Visibility Cost of Air Pollution: A Comparison of Estimation Methods." By Mark A. Delucchi and others. IN: Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 64, no. 2 (February 2002) pp. 139-152.

["The valuation of environmental damages can play an important role in establishing environmental policy and regulatory standards, and can provide guidance in targeting mitigation efforts.... The goal of this paper is to determine whether the existing estimates are reasonable for use in decisionmaking, such as cost-benefit analysis, and to compare alternative methods of estimating these values."]

[Request #S5874]

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Living Planet Report 2002. By World Wildlife Fund International. (The Fund, Gland Switzerland) June 2002. 36 p.

Full Text at:

["A report predicts that global living standards will fall rapidly from 2030 unless urgent action is taken to address unsustainable consumption patterns.... For the first time WWF projects future trends in ecological footprint based on United Nations forecasts for human population, carbon dioxide emissions and resource consumption. Without considering constraints, it calculates that excess consumption will balloon to between 80 percent and 120 percent of the Earth's carrying capacity by 2050." Environmental News Service (July 12, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5876]

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Formal Section 7 Consultation on the University of California, Merced Campus and Infrastructure Project, Merced County, California. By Cay Goude, U.S Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. (Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento, California) August 19, 2002. 170 p.

Full Text at:

["The University of California at Merced campus and community doesn't jeopardize any threatened or endangered species at the site, according to the biological opinion of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.... Jim Nickles of the Fish and Wildlife Service said while the approval 'doesn't give UC Merced a green light,' the finding that the project doesn't endanger any plants or animals is a good step. The 'no jeopardy' opinion moves the university closer to obtaining a federal permit to fully develop the campus planned near Lake Yosemite." Modesto Bee (August 27, 2002) A1.]

[Request #S5878]

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Clean Growth: Clean Energy for California’s Economic Future: Energy Resource Investment Plan of the California Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority. By the California Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority. (The Authority, Sacramento, California) February 15, 2002. 80 p.

Full Text at:

["The proposals for Clean Growth (demand-side programs and renewables) outlined in this Plan can help keep rates stable and power flow reliable. However, the California Power Authority wants to emphasize that the Plan is a work in progress that will benefit from legislative hearings and further scrutiny by the many stakeholders who have a continuing interest in developing and implementing cost-effective and environmentally sound solutions to current and future gaps in the system."]

[Request #S5879]

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The Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol: An Update. By Hosein Shapouri, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, and others. (The Department, Washington, DC) 2002. 16 p.

Full Text at:

["Measured from cornfield to the fuel tank, ethanol provides more energy than is consumed in producing it, researchers said in a new report that could figure in congressional debate over U.S. energy policy.... Foes -- including California and New York senators -- object that ethanol is too costly to compete with petroleum without the benefit of federal subsidies and is an overall energy drain. A Cornell University researcher last year calculated a loss of 33,562 British thermal units for every gallon of ethanol produced." Reuters (August 7, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5880]

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"Malaria: Ecologists See Flaws in Transgenic Mosquito." By Martin Enserink and others. IN: Science, vol. 297, no. 5578 (July 5, 2002) pp. 30-31.

["Ecologists See Flaws in Transgenic Mosquito: At least five U.S. and three European research groups are working on transgenic mosquitoes ... genetically modified so that they are unable to transmit diseases such as malaria.... But at a workshop ... 20 of the world's leading mosquito ecologists said, 'Not so fast.' Although lab science might be thriving, they said, huge ecological questions remain."]

[Request #S5877]

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Petition on Genetically Engineered Turfgrasses, including a Noxious Weed Listing Petition. By the International Center for Technology Assessment and the Center for Food Safety. (The Center, Washington, DC) July 18, 2002. 25 p.

Full Text at:

["An environmental group filed a legal complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, demanding that the agency deny Scotts Co.'s request to sell a grass seed that has been genetically engineered to resist Monsanto Corp.'s Roundup herbicide...The group said the bioengineered grass could cross-pollinate with wild grasses, potentially creating herbicide-resistant superweeds....The USDA has not decided whether to let Scotts sell the bioengineered grass and it is likely to be several months before the agency acts." San Francisco Chronicle (August 2, 2002) B1.]

[Request #S5881]

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Coastal and Marine Ecosystems and Global Climate Change Potential Effects on U.S. Resources. By Victor S. Kennedy and others. Pew Center on Global and Climate Change. (The Center, Arlington, Virginia) August 2002. 64 p.

Full Text at:

["Study Uncertain How Rising Mercury Will Hurt Fisheries: The report said warmer temperatures worldwide will cause sea levels to rise, increase the risk of coastal flooding or drought and alter wind and water circulation patterns.... Higher temperatures are expected to increase the rate of sea-level rise along the Louisiana coast, which already loses about 25 square miles of wetlands a year." Associated Press State and Local Wire. (August 15, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5882]

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Invasive Pest Species: Impacts on Agricultural Production, Natural Resources, and the Environment. By Dan M. Huber, Purdue University and others. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) Issue Paper No. 20. (The Council, Ames, Iowa) March 2002. 18 p.

Full Text at:

["Numerous pests known or anticipated to be damaging ... are listed.... Each newly introduced pest requires that societal resources be expended to combat the pest through eradication, control, and/or management.... A coordinated network of professional societies and state and national governmental entities [is]needed to cut across jurisdictional lines and to permit timely response to reported invasions."]

[Request #S5883]

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Environmental Implications of New Mexican Industrial Investment: the Rise of Asian Origin Maquiladoras as Generators of Hazardous Waste. By Kathryn Kopinak, University of Western Ontario. IN: Asian Journal of Latin American Studies. vol. 15, no. 1. (2002) pp. 91-120

["Asian origin investment in maquiladoras at the western end of the U.S.-Mexican border has reterritorialized the generation of hazardous waste. Central and eastern cities now fall far behind Tijuana and Mexicali. South Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese owned maquiladoras have caused their cities to more than triple the amount of hazardous waste generated anywhere else, and theirs are the riskiest materials."]

[Request #S5884]

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Risky Diet: North America's Growing Appetite for Natural Gas. By Richard Ferguson and Rachel McMahon, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies. (The Center, Sacramento, California) May 2002. 16 p.

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["Demand for natural gas used to generate electricity in the United States is projected to double in the next two decades.... This paper summarizes developments in North American natural gas markets that are likely to have serious impacts on society and the role that development of renewable energy resources can play to reduce these impacts."]

[Request #S5886]

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Taking Stock: 1999: North American Pollutant Releases and Transfers Sourcebook. By Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America. (The Commission, Montreal, Canada) 2002. 318 p.

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["The biggest polluters in the United States and Canada are Texas, Ohio, Ontario, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Indiana.... The top six polluting states and provinces, all of them except Texas in the Great Lakes region, account for 35 percent of the total pollution.... The report shows industrial pollution released into the North American environment has decreased slightly in recent years but producers send more of it to landfills and other off-site facilities." Associated Press (May 30, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5885]

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Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. By Committee on Toxicants and Pathogens in Biosolids Applied to Land, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council. (National Academy Press, Washington, DC) 2002. 220 p.

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[“National standards for using sewage sludge as fertilizer are based on outdated science, a panel of scientists concluded in a report…. The result is lingering concerns about health and environmental risks in using treated sewage sludge on farmland…. The report urges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revisit its rules on sludge. And it said the EPA should study whether treated sewage sludge poses a health risk for workers or residents living near sludge-spread fields.” The Bakersfield Californian (July 2, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5887]

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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, 02-41 (July 22, 2002)

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[Includes: "Air pollution and old electricity generating units," "Health effects of offroad diesels," "Particulate standards would reduce pollution-related deaths," and "Poll finds pessimism on environmental progress."]

[Request #S5888]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 02-45 (August 9, 2002)

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[Includes: "Water quality at vacation beaches," "California climate change," "GAO endangered species program report," "Environmental spending and policy," "Near term climate-friendly energy policy," and "Global warming on U.S. public lands "]

[Request #S5889]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 2-48 (August 28, 2002)

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[Includes: "Low-level radioactive waste hearing," "Potential sonar damage to marine mammals," "California's reliance on natural gas," and "State water project reliability."]

[Request #S5890]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 02-52 (September 6, 2002)

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[Includes: "Water quality at vacation beaches," "Natural resource program funding," "How sprawl aggravates drought," "Wildfire prevention," "Conserving wild nature," "Gasoline prices remain steady."]

[Request #S5891]

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