Subject: Studies in the News 02-66 (November 1, 2002)

Studies in the News
Environmental Supplement

Contents This Week

   Smog affects health of millions of Americans
   Threatened birds signal danger
   UCLA environmental report card
   Deaths from water-related diseases
   Ecosystem approach to drylands
   Creation of Channel Islands Marine Reserve
   Pollen distribution of GM crops
   Urban containment
   Using land conservation to guide growth
   Measuring the impact of sprawl
   Invasive marine life on plastic debris
   New generation of low-emission vehicles
   Developing a national ocean policy
   Pesticide use in California
   Subsidization of federal grazing program
   Urban struggles for sustainability
   Doubts about long-range sustainability
   Sprawl may aggravate drought
   Hetch Hetchy and the Bay Area economy
   Studies in the News, September 19, 2002
   Studies in the News, October 11, 2002
   Studies in the News, October 25, 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:



Danger in The Air. By Rebecca Stanfield and Matt Wickerman. U.S. PIRG Education Fund. (The Fund, Washington, DC) August 2002. 106 p.

Full Text at:

["More than half of all Americans reside in places where smog levels are high enough to cause asthma attacks, hospital visits, decreased lung function, coughing, wheezing, and eye and throat irritation. Recent studies have even linked smog with mortality from strokes and with the onset of asthma in children and adults. Despite the progress made as a result of the 1970 landmark public health law - the Clean Air Act - our cities, suburbs, and even our national parks are shrouded in smog for much of the summer."]

[Request #S6626]

Return to the Table of Contents


Audubon Watchlist: 2002. By The National Audubon Society (The Society, New York, New York) 2002. Various pagings.

Full Text at:

["About 201 birds are on the watch list and 21 of them are in the endangered category.... Birds are the primary indicators of environmental health, and what hurts birds also hurts the people who share the same space." (October 25, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S6627]

Return to the Table of Contents


Southern California Environmental Report Card: 2002. By the UCLA Institute of the Environment (The Institute, Los Angeles, California) October 2002. 44 p.

Full Text at:

["Los Angeles has made strides in recycling water, trash and building materials, but is failing to protect its unique plants and wildlife, according to a report released by University of California, Los Angeles. Researchers looked at how government agencies and the public are handling water recycling, garbage disposal, biodiversity and sustainable building." Los Angeles Daily News (October 31, 2002) N1.]

[Request #S6628]

Return to the Table of Contents


Dirty Water: Estimated Deaths from Water-Related Diseases 2002-2020. By Peter H. Gleick, Pacific Institute. (The Institute, Oakland, California) August 15, 2002. 12 p.

Full Text at:

["The failure to provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services to all people is perhaps the greatest development failure of the 20th century. The most egregious consequence of this failure is the high rate of mortality among young children from preventable water-related diseases.... If no action is taken to address unmet basic human needs for water, as many as 135 million people will die from these diseases by 2020."]

[Request #S6631]

Return to the Table of Contents


An Ecosystem Approach to Drylands: Building Support for New Development Policies. By Robin P. White and others, World Resources Institute. The Institute, Washington, D.C.) 2002. 14 p.

Full Text at:

["This paper reviews application of the ecosystem approach, outlining typical goods and services that might be included in an ecosystem-based drylands assessment and listing some of the human-induced pressures on drylands that could be addressed in such an exercise. .... We conclude with recommendations for action at the national, regional, and international levels aimed at generating momentum for widespread adoption of the ecosystem approach to drylands assessment and management."]

[Request #S6346]

Return to the Table of Contents


Marine Protected Areas in NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary: Final Environmental Document. By John Ugoretz, California Department of Fish and Game. (The Department, Sacramento, California) October 2002. Various pagings.

Full Text at:

["The California Fish and Game Commission permanently banned fishing from 175 square miles of ocean around the Channel Islands, approving one of the largest marine reserves in U.S. waters.... Enforcement of the marine reserves will begin Jan. 1. The size of the areas set aside could grow depending on action by the federal government. Over the next year or two, federal officials will decide whether to expand the cluster of reserves into federal waters, which begin three miles from shore." Los Angeles Times (October 24, 2002) A1.]

[Request #S6634]

Return to the Table of Contents


Pollen-Mediated Movement of Herbicide Resistance Between Commercial Canola Fields. By Mary A. Rieger and others. IN: Science, (June 28, 2002) pp. 2386-2388.

["A team in Australia reports that canola pollen can travel considerable distances but that the amount of gene flow is minimal. Although the findings reinforce the difficulty of growing GM-free crops, they also suggest that the levels of gene diffusion are below European standards for contamination of conventional food."]

[Request #S6339]

Return to the Table of Contents


Holding the Line: Urban Containment in the United States. By Rolf Rendall and others. Prepared for The Brookings Institution. (The Institution, Washington, DC) August 2002. 51 p.

Full Text at:

["This paper reviews the research on urban containment generally, and also examines the experience of such policies in particular metropolitan areas. It discusses some lessons learned and raises relevant research questions for practitioners as well as policymakers at the state and local level."]

[Request #S6349]

Return to the Table of Contents

Local Greenprinting for Growth: Using Land Conservation to Guide Growth and Preserve the Character for Our Communities: Overview. By The Trust for Public Land (The Trust, Washington, DC) 2002. 40 p.

Full Text at:

["This overview summarizes three reports intended to guide local governments in protecting open space and natural resources in the face of growth and development.... This report includes some of the stories and lessons learned from counties, cities, and towns working on land conservation programs."]

[Request #S6633]

Return to the Table of Contents

Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact. Reid Ewing, Rutgers University and others. (Smart Growth America, Washington, DC) October 2002. 31 p.

Full Text at:

["Using federal data, the study ranked 83 large metropolitan areas by housing density; ease of reaching a mixture of homes, jobs and services; street accessibility; and availability and use of town centers or downtowns. The report defines sprawl as 'the process in which the spread of development across the landscape far outpaces population growth.' An average score was 100, with anything below it indicating increased urban sprawl while a number above 100 meant a positive trend." Ventura County Star (October 18, 2002) A1.]

[Request #S6637]

Return to the Table of Contents


"Biodiversity: Invasions by Marine Life on Plastic Debris." By David K.A. Barnes. IN: Nature, vol. 416, no. 6883 (April 25, 2002) pp. 808-809.

["Invasions by Marine Life on Plastic Debris: Colonization by alien species poses one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity.... Human litter more than doubles the rafting opportunities for biota, particularly at high latitudes.... Many types of animal use marine debris as a mobile home, particularly bryozoans, barnacles, polychaete worms, hydroids and molluscs."]

[Request #S6635]

Return to the Table of Contents


University of California, Riverside Study Shows New Generation of Gasoline Vehicles Contributes to Cleaner Air: Press Release. By the Center for Environmental Research and Technology, University of California, Riverside. (The Center, Riverside, California) September 4, 2002.

["Study Backs Low-Emission Gas Engines: Automobiles: Early Results Show Cars Meet State's Strict Standards. But Environmentalists Say Hybrids and Fuel Cells Are the Best Solution: The findings are based on two years of study of just a few low-emission vehicles using California's cleaner-burning gasoline." Los Angeles Times (September 4, 2002) 1.]

Press release, 1. p

Presentation slides, 8 p.

[Request #S6636]

Return to the Table of Contents


Developing A National Ocean Policy: Mid-Term Report. By the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. (The Commission, Washington, DC) September 2002. 32 p.

Full Text at:

["Study Stresses Growing Crisis over Health of Oceans, Coasts: Ocean resources once thought boundless are now recognized as having limits.... Ocean pollution, largely from farmland and urban runoff, and human populations are increasing so much near shorelines that proper coastal management is overwhelmed.... The panel points to a need for consolidating the federal and state governments' myriad and often conflicting policies affecting oceans." San Francisco Chronicle (September 23, 2002) A5.]

[Request #S6638]

Return to the Table of Contents


Summary of Pesticide Use Report Data 2001. By California Department of Pesticide Regulation. (The Department, Sacramento, CA) October 2002.

["Pound for pound California farmers are using fewer pesticides these days.... The fields are certainly safer than they were 25 years ago, but it's hard to tell if they're safer than they were 10 years ago.... The department's annual report noted that pesticide use in California declined 20 percent from 2000 to 2001.... California applied 151 million pounds of pesticide last year, down from 188 million pounds in 2000." Modesto Bee (October 18, 2002) A1.]

Indexed by Commodity, 436 p.

Indexed by Chemical, 460 p.

[Request #S6639]

Return to the Table of Contents


Assessing the Full Cost of the Federal Grazing Program. By Karyn Moskowitz and Chuck Romaniello. (Center for Biological Diversity, Tuscon, Arizona) October 2002. 35 p.

Full Text at:

["American taxpayers lose at least $128 million a year -- and potentially up to $1 billion -- subsidizing cattle grazing on millions of acres of public lands across the West, according to a new study commissioned by conservation groups.... 'The lack of transparent accounting was the most frustrating thing,' said Karyn Moskowitz, a Rockefeller Fellow at the University of Kentucky. 'It was difficult to get a clear idea of just how much money the government is pumping into the federal grazing program to keep it going.'" San Jose Mercury News (October 24, 2002) A15.]

[Request #S6640]

Return to the Table of Contents


Livable Cities: Urban Struggles for Livelihood and Sustainability. Edited by Peter Evans. (University of California Press, Berkeley, California) February 2002. 290 p.

["This book explores the linked issues of livelihood and ecological sustainability in major cities of the developing and transitional world.... [It] identifies important strategies for collective solutions by showing how political alliances among local communities, nongovernmental organizations, and public agencies can help ordinary citizens live better lives."] NOTE: Livable Cities ... will be available for 3-day loan.

[Request #S5061]

Return to the Table of Contents

“Tracking the Ecological Overshoot of the Human Economy.” By Mathis Wackernagel and othes. IN: PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, vol. 99, no. 14 (July 9, 2002) pp. 9266-9271.

[“Humans now consume more of the Earth’s natural resources than the planet can replace, raising doubts about the long-range sustainability of modern economies…. For the last 20 years, people have been depleting natural resources, including fish, forests and arable land, at a rapid rate. Economic expansion had boosted demand for resources and overshot the planet’s ability to regenerate them by 20% .” Los Angeles Times (June 25, 2002) A17.]

[Request #S6343]

Return to the Table of Contents


Paving Our Way to Water Shortages: How Sprawl Aggravates the Effect of Drought. By Betsy Otto and others. (Smart Growth America, Washington, DC) 2002. 38 p.

Full Text at:

["This new study ... investigated what happens to water supplies when we replace our natural areas with roads, parking lots and buildings.... Fortunately, there is a way to reverse this growing problem, but it means changing the way we approach development. Using smart growth techniques, we can reduce the impact of development ... [and] limit the number of new paved and other impervious surfaces that cover the landscape."

[Request #S6641]

Return to the Table of Contents

Hetch Hetchy and the Bay Area Economy. By R. Sean Randolph, Bay Area Economic Forum, and others. (The Forum, San Francisco, California) October 2002. 50 p.

Full Text at:

["A Bay Area business-civic group warned of potential economic losses of more than $28 billion in the region if the Hetch Hetchy water system breaks during a major earthquake....Noting the aging, seismically vulnerable condition of the system, the forum's report called the 77 projects covered by the $3.6 billion proposal 'an essential first step' toward a reliable system for its customers in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties." San Francisco Chronicle (October 9, 2002) A17.]

[Request #S6642]

Return to the Table of Contents

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

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 02-55 (September 19, 2002)

Full Text at:

[Includes: "State smog levels," "Funding for California's natural resource programs," and "Treated outdoor wood and children."]

[Request #S5888]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 02-61 (October 11, 2002)

Full Text at:

[Includes: "Tighten tailpipe emission controls," "California environmental protection indicators," "Vernal pool protection," "Plan to limit Malibu coastal development," "Rush to protect redwoods," and "California farmworkers and pesticides"]

[Request #S5889]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 2-64 (October 25, 2002)

Full Text at:

[Includes: "Fiscal analysis of California's natural resource programs," "State of the nation's ecosystems," "Development threatens farmland," "Five most polluted parks," "Pesticide use declined in 2001," "Water infrastructure," and "EPA water quality and infrastructure assessment," San Francisco turns profit on electricity ."]

[Request #S5890]

Return to the Table of Contents