Subject: Studies in the News 03-65 (October 6, 2003)

Studies in the News
Environmental Supplement

Contents This Week

   Suit against emissions trading program
   Air pollution on the decline
   Insufficient data on California brownfields
   Mandatory CO2 caps needed
   Critical habitat designations
   Unequal access to environmental information
   Environmental regulations worth the costs
   Environmental impact exemptions
   Farmland conversion report
   World trade in aquarium fish
   Geospatial information and fire management
   Urban villages in the San Fernando Valley
   Growth management in the Coyote Valley
   Growth management in Contra Costa County
   State issues with invasive species
   Pesticides in Central Valley runoff
   Court orders redo of Klamath plan
   Water privatization
   Committee hearing on groundwater
   Final rule for vernal pool habitat
   Wildland fires and rehabilitation
   Oil drilling in National Wildlife Refuges
   Studies in the News, July 29, 2003
   Studies in the News, August 13, 2003
   Studies in the News, August 21, 2003
   Studies in the News, September 5, 2003
   Studies in the News, September 22, 2003
    Studies in the News, October 1, 2003
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:



Communities for a Better Environment and Our Children's Earth Foundation v. South Coast Air Quality Management District, et al. U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Civil Penalties. September 29, 2003. 31 p.

Full Text at:

["Air quality officials are mismanaging one of Southern California's key anti-smog programs, resulting in excessive emissions that contribute to smog, two environmental groups charge in a lawsuit. The lawsuit targets a landmark program named the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market that allows companies to buy and sell pollution credits to reduce emissions at less cost with less government red tape. The lawsuit alleges that shoddy record-keeping and a failure to carefully monitor the exchange of pollution credits have compromised the program." Los Angeles Times (September 30, 2003) B6.]

[Request #S9207]

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No Way Back; Why Air Pollution Will Continue to Decline. By Joel Schwartz. American Enterprise Institute. (The Institute, Washington, DC) 2003. 39 p.

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["Air pollution has been declining for decades, and already- adopted regulations will reduce vehicle emissions - the major source of smog - by 90 percent over the next 20 years.... Already-adopted EPA regulations for 2004 and beyond require unprecedented reductions in automobile emissions. A fleet meeting the 2004 standards over its lifetime would be 90 percent cleaner than the average vehicle on the road today." Associated Press (May 8, 2003) 1.]

[Request #S9221]

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California Environmental Protection Agency: Insufficient Data Exists on the Number of Abandoned, Idled, or Underused Contaminated Properties, and Liability Concerns and Funding Constraints Can Impede Their Cleanup and Redevelopment. By the California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits. 2002-121 (The Bureau, Sacramento, California) July 2003. 61 p.

Full Text at:

["California does not have a uniform definition for brownfields. Further, state law does not require the entities to maintain a database to capture information on brownfields, such as the number of sites and their potential for reuse. Consequently, we are unable to report how many brownfield sites exist in California.... This audit report also discusses the number of orphan sites and sites with orphan shares that exist in California. An orphan site is generally defined as a property where the responsible party has either not been identified, cannot be located, or is unwilling or unable to fund cleanup."]

[Request #S9208]

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U.S. Energy Scenarios for the 21st Century. By Irving Mintzer, and others, Global Business Network. Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. (The Center, Arlington, Virginia) July 2003. 71 p.

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["The Pew Center on Global Climate change has gone where the Environmental Protection Agency dared not, issuing a report that says even under the most optimistic scenarios, U.S. carbon emissions will rise significantly over the next 35 years. The report warns that without a mandatory cap on carbon emissions, the nation's contribution to greenhouse gases will increase 15 percent over year 2000 levels under the most technologically optimistic scenario. If the use of cheap, traditional fossil fuels continues apace, the figure is likely to be closer to 50 percent." United Press International (July 11, 2003) 1.]

[Request #S9209]

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Endangered Species: Fish and Wildlife Service Uses Best Available Science to Make Listing Decisions but Additional Guidance Needed for Critical Habitat Designations. By the U.S. General Accounting Office. GAO-03-803. (The Office, Washington, DC) August 2003.

["Congressional investigators generally approve of the way the Fish and Wildlife Service is putting science into its endangered species program, but say improvement is needed in decisions to protect habitats needed for species to recover. A report put new pressure on Fish and Wildlife to develop guidelines for when to require critical habitats, mainly to reduce the agency's exposure to lawsuits from environmental groups.... In the past two decades, the number of species listed as endangered or threatened, and those with critical habitat in the United States have risen steadily, to 1,263 and 417, respectively, as of June." Associated Press (September 29, 2003) 1.]

Report. 68 p.

Highlights. 1 p.

[Request #S9210]

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"Environmental Justice and Information Technologies: Overcoming Information-Access Paradox in Urban Communities." By Wendy A. Kellog and Anjali Mathur. IN: Public Administration Review, vol. 63, no. 5. (September/October 2003) pp. 573-585

["This article focuses on the adoption of Internet technologies by environmental agencies as a mechanism for disseminating information and the implications for low-income and minority residents in urban communities. A framework is developed to guide a programmatic response to overcome these implications."]

[Request #S9211]

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Informing Regulatory Decisions: 2003 Report to Congress on the Costs and Benefits of Federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local and Tribal Entities. By The Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. (The Office, Washington, DC) September 2003. 233 p.

Full Text at:

["A new White House study concludes that environmental regulations are well worth the costs they impose on industry and consumers, resulting in significant public health improvements and other benefits to society. The findings overturn a previous report that officials now say was defective....The report concludes that the health and social benefits of enforcing tough new clean-air regulations during the past decade were five to seven times greater in economic terms than were the costs of complying with the rules....The report provides the most comprehensive federal study ever of the cost and benefits of regulatory decision-making." Washington Post (September 27, 2003) A1.]

[Request #S9213]

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Modernizing NEPA Implementation: Report to the Council on Environmental Quality. By the NEPA Task Force. (The Council, Washington, DC) September 2003.

["A White House task force recommended that federal agencies make it easier for developers and the government to avoid lengthy project-specific environmental studies often blamed for holding up projects. The group calls on several federal agencies to create categories of projects, using broad criteria, that would be deemed to have no environmental impact. If a project fit into one of those broad categories, no further environmental assessments would be required, officials said....Council officials said opponents could still challenge an agency decision to categorize a project as having no environmental impact at the time that finding is made." Associated Press (September 24, 2003) 1.]

Report. 93 p. Appendices.

Press release and fact sheets. Various pagings.

[Request #S9214]

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California Farmland Conversion Report: 1998-2000. By the California Department of Conservation. (The Department, Sacramento, California. December 2002.

[“Sacramento County converted its farm fields to suburban subdivisions faster than all but two other counties in California during the last two years of the 20th century, according to a state…. Only Riverside and San Diego counties developed their farmland faster…. Statewide, new houses, shopping centers and office buildings gobbled up 91,258 acres of land between 1998 and 2000.” Sacramento Bee (June 5, 2003) B3.]

Press release. 2 p.
press release

Full Report. 93 p.
full report

[Request #S9233]

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From Ocean to Aquarium: The Global Trade in Marine Ornamentals. By Colette Wabnitz, and others, The United Nations Environment Programme, World Conservation Monitoring Centre. (The Centre, Cambridge, United Kingdom) September 2003.

["Noting that more than 20 million tropical fish are removed from coral reefs each year to supply a 'booming' home aquarium trade, the report calls for global certification of collecting practices.... If local communities near reefs adopted practices that allowed coral reefs to thrive, they could find the aquarium trade a long-term solution to living in poverty.... For fish buyers, the main task is to become informed about the often-complex needs of marine pets. USA Today (October 1, 2003) D7.]

Press release. 3 p.
press release

Report. 65 p.

[Request #S9215]

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Geospatial Information: Technologies Hold Promise for Wildland Fire Management, but Challenges Remain. By the U.S. General Accounting Office. GAO-03-1047. (The Office, Washington, DC) September 2003. 79 p.

Full Text at:

["Although agencies are developing and deploying geospatial information systems to help battle wildlife fires, more interagency communications are needed to get their full value, according to a report.... An interagency working group called the National Wildfire Coordinating Group has several initiatives under way to facilitate more interagency communications.... However, there are roadblocks to more uses of existing systems, including difficulties in transferring data between systems, inadequate staffing and the difficulty in providing online access to first responders on the scene." Newsbytes (September 26, 2003) 1.]

[Request #S9216]

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Our Future Neighborhoods: Housing and Urban Villages in the San Fernando Valley. By Pepperdine University, School for Public Policy and the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley (The Alliance, Sherman Oaks, California) July 2003. 28 p.

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["The study indicates that the Valley is a prime location for such mixed-use projects as those now found in other areas of Los Angeles County, such as Pasadena's Paseo Colorado, which features residential units above trendy shops, along a major transportation corridor....According to the study, a 2003 survey found that 76% of respondents support more single-family homes and 88% support the construction of affordable housing for senior citizens and the poor. But 51% favored housing over businesses on main streets, a key to creating urban villages. About 40% opposed such mixed-use housing. Los Angeles Times (July 17, 2003) p. 3"]

[Request #S9217]

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Getting it Right: Preventing Sprawl in Coyote Valley. By Francesca Tierny, Greenbelt Alliance, and others. (The Alliance, San Francisco, California) June 2003. 105 p.

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["The proposal would scrap a longstanding city policy calling for office parks in a northern section of Coyote Valley, and homes in a separate corridor to the south.... The alliance envisions a place that is 'home to people all across the income spectrum,' said Madsen, the group's field director, 'where jobs, housing, schools and shops are conveniently located close to one another and can be reached via transit, on foot or by bicycle, reducing the impact on the region's already crowded highways.'" San Jose Mercury News (June 4, 2003) 1.]

[Request #S9234]

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Contra Costa County: Smart Growth or Sprawl? By Stephen M. Wheeler, and others, Greenbelt Alliance. (The Alliance, San Francisco, California) June 2003. 82 p.

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["Smart-growth advocates call for compact development in existing communities where a mix of jobs, retail and homes allow residents to walk or to use public transit.... 'Instead of talking about whether we meet our housing needs or preserve the beautiful foothills of Contra Costa, we need to talk about how we can do both,' said Evelyn Stivers, the alliance's East Bay spokeswoman.... The alliance unveils the report as Contra Costa County residents and elected leaders deliberate three contentious growth referendums that could forever alter the growth landscape, Contra Costa Times (June 18, 2003) 1.]

[Request #S9235]

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Invasive Species: State and Other Nonfederal Perspectives on Challenges to Managing the Problem. By the General Accounting Office. GAO-03-1089R (The Office, Washington, DC) September 5, 2003. 40 p.

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["This report focuses on state perspectives on (1) gaps in, or problems with, federal legislation addressing invasive species, (2) barriers to managing invasive species, (3) effective leadership structures for addressing invasive species, and (4) integrating federal aquatic and terrestrial invasive species legislation and the potential gains and drawbacks of such legislation."]

[Request #S9218]

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Diazinon and Chlorpyrifos Loads in Precipitation and Urban and Agricultural Storm Runoff during January and February 2001 in the San Joaquin River Basin, California. By Celia Zamora, and others, U.S. Geological Survey. (The Survey, Sacramento, California) August 2003. 62 p.

Full Text at:

["Samples of rainfall and storm-water runoff in the Central Valley show pesticide concentrations up to 10 times the levels that would be allowed under proposed new state regulations, federal scientists reported.... Study authors and state regulators said the concentrations were not so high as to threaten human health, but could pose a danger to small aquatic species in the valley.... New rules are being drafted by the state Department of Pesticide Regulation to address the issue of pesticide runoff into surface waters. The regulations are expected to be proposed late this year." San Francisco Chronicle (August 19, 2003) A15.]

[Request #S9219]

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Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations, et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. C02-2006 SBA. July 17, 2003. 31 p.

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["A federal judge has ordered the Bush administration to redo its 10-year plan for balancing water needs in the contentious Klamath basin.... To the relief of farmers, however, the judge declined to reduce the water delivered to irrigators this year.... The judge declared there was a 'triable issue of fact' that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation may have breached its legal obligation to tribes in operating the Klamath Project. That, say some lawyers, could lead to a historic court trial on how much water Klamath tribes need to revive their once-robust fisheries." Sacramento Bee (July 18, 2003) A8.]

[Request #S9220]

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Frequently Asked Questions About Water/Wastewater Privatization. By Geoffrey Segal and Adrian Moore, Reason Public Policy Institute. (The Institute, Los Angeles, California) September 2003. 13 p.

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[Includes, "What is privatization;" "Is privatization an attack on public employees;" "Water is vital, so can we trust it to the market;" "Does privatization save local governments money;" "How satisfied are local governments with the privatization of water and wastewater services;" "What are some of the pitfalls of privatization and how do we avoid them;" and others]

[Request #S9222]

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Life Cycle of a Contaminant - Tracing a Contaminant Through the Environment to Our Drinking Water Supplies. Presented to the Assembly Select Committee on Groundwater Quality and Availability. July 10, 2003. Various pagings.

[" Includes: "Goundwater Contamination in the Headlines;" "Nitrate in Groundwaters of the U.S. -- Assessing the Risk;" "Perchlorate;" " Draft Groundwater Information Sheet: Perchlorate;" and "Now What? The Conundrum of the Contaminant-du jour and Emerging Contaminants in Groundwater."]

[Request #S9223]

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Final Designation of Critical Habitat for Four Vernal Pool Crustaceans and Eleven Vernal Pool Plants in California and Southern Oregon; Final Rule. IN: Federal Register. vol. 68, no. 151 (August 6, 2003) pp. 46684-46867.

["The Bush administration is dramatically shrinking plans to protect Central Valley vernal pools and the species that need them. The Fish and Wildlife Service is cutting by more than half the number of acres designated as critical habitat for vernal pool species.... 'It is a better designation overall, because ... we have excluded certain lands on economic grounds,' Assistant Interior Secretary Craig Manson said." Sacramento Bee (August 6, 2003) A3.]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife press release. Various pagings

Federal Register. 185 p.
Federal Register

[Request #S9224]

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Wildland Fires: Forest Service's Removal of Timber Burned by Wildfires. U.S. General Accounting Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) July 2003. 14 p.

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["Wildfires burned over 8 million acres during 2000 wildfire season making it one of the worst in the past 50 years. As a result, a National Fire Plan was implemented ... to better prevent, prepare for and respond to, and repair damages caused by wildfires.... Questions have been raised, however, about whether it is appropriate to use rehabilitation funds to remove such timber, which can be sold."]

[Request #S9225]

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National Wildlife Refuges: Opportunities to Improve the Management and Oversight of Oil and Gas Activities on Federal lands. By the U.S. General Accounting Office. GAO-03-517. (The Office, Washington, DC) August 2003. 73 p.

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["The government's record of protecting wildlife refuges from the environmentally damaging effects of oil and gas drilling has been spotty and needs to be improved, a congressional study concludes.... The study said one-fourth of the nation's 575 wildlife refuges have a history of oil and gas production, in some cases dating back to the 1920s.... At some refuges the environmental impact has been negligible, but at others there have been 'large scale' spills, disruption of wildlife habitat, abandoned infrastructure and equipment, soil and groundwater contamination, and other ecological damage, the report said." Associated Press (September 24, 2003) 1.]

[Request #S9226]

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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, 03-48 (July 29, 2003)

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[Includes: "Municipal drinking water," "Forest road ban overturned," "Local resistance to water transfers," and "Freshwater supply shortages."]

[Request #S9227]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 03-51 (August 13, 2003)

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[Includes: "Hydrogen cars and air pollution," "Court upholds EPA on agricultural emissions," "PCBs in farmed salmon," "Contaminants in SF Bay area fish."]

[Request #S9228]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 03-54 (August 21, 2003)

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[Includes: "Polluted beaches," "Approval of desalination plant," "Effects of desalination plants," "Northwest forest plan review," "Proposed Colorado River water agreement," and "Litigation of water rights ."]

[Request #S9229]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 03-56 (September 5, 2003)

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[Includes: "Pollution's cost in public health," "Older refineries avoiding stringent rules," "Immigration and the problem of sprawl," and "Pesticides banned on Russian River."]

[Request #S9230]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 03-59 (September 22, 2003)

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[Includes: "EPA relaxes plant pollution standards," "States sue EPA on greenhouse gases," "Coastal resource management," "Court stops Navy sonar," "Superfund program current status," and "Underfunding the superfund program."]

[Request #S9231]

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"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 03-63 (October 1, 2003)

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[Includes: "Global climate change," "Governors join to reduce global warming," "Climate change and California water needs," "Environmentally-friendly practices," "Public opinion on biotech food," "EU ruling on biotech foods," "Security risks at national monuments," and "Water quality violations ignored."]

[Request #S9232]

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