Subject: Studies in the News 04-44 (June 25, 2004)

Studies in the News
Environment, Growth Management and Transportation Supplement

Contents This Week

   Mixed news on agricultural conversion
   2004 California almanac of air quality
   Air pollution's effects on children
   Surfers monitor pollution
   More experimental pharma crops approved for testing
   Proposed rules on CO2 emissions from vehicles
   Perchlorate may not be so dangerous
   Perchlorate in milk
   Poor communications during San Diego fire
   Revised safe harbor regulations
   Court blocks suit against government
   Unexpected pollution results from NAFTA
   Budget proposals to protect environment
   Smart growth is smart business
   Policies for implementation of smart growth
   Public value of urban parks
   Distribution of oil overcharge repayments
   Clean computer recycling campaign
   Water infrastructure
   California water acquisition handbook
   Land conservation and protecting drinking water
   Water replenishment district of Southern California
   Research needed on water resources
   Federal funding transfers for wildfire suppression
   Better airport access security needed
   Reducing collisions involving older drivers
   Motor vehicle fatalities and elderly licensure laws
   Highway safety grants
   Highway safety rural roads
   BART extension not affordable
   Senior transportation in Orange County
   Studies in the News, May 27, 2004
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:



Greater L.A. Area Loses Agricultural Acreage: Press Release. By the California Department of Conservation. (The Department, Sacramento, California) June 15, 2004. 1 p.

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["The Inland Empire, the state's fastest-growing region for more than a decade, has continued its breakneck conversion of agricultural and vacant land to urban uses, according to a new state study.... But the most unexpected trend was the widespread farming of baby carrots, organic onions, potatoes and parsnips in the high-desert Antelope Valley near Lancaster, state officials said." Los Angeles Times (June 15, 2004) B1.]

[Request #S3306]

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The 2004 California Almanac of Emissions and Air Quality. By Andy Alexis, and others, California Air Resources Board. (The Board, Sacramento, California) 2004.

["This almanac contains information about current and historical emissions and air quality in California. In addition, forecasts of projected emissions for the years 2003 and 2010 are presented."]

Almanac. 540 p.

California Emission Inventory Data. Various pagings.

[Request #S3305]

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"Assessing the Health Benefits of Air Pollution Reduction for Children." By Eva Y. Wong, Institute for Risk Analysis and Risk Communication, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, and others. IN: Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 112, no. 2 (February 2004) pp. 226-232.

["Children are significantly affected by the health benefits of improved air quality, yet key environmental health policy analyses have not previously focused specifically on children's effects. In this article we present a 'meta-analysis' approach to child-specific health impacts derived from the U.S. Clean Air Act.... Key needs for environmental health policy analyses include improved information for children's health effects, additional life-stage-specific information, and improved health economics information specific for children."]

[Request #S3307]

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Special Lab Opening Event: Press Release. By the San Mateo County Surfrider Foundation. (The Foundation, El Granada, California) June 2004. 1 p.

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["Volunteers plan to sample and analyze seawater in the lab every Monday, then promptly post the results. Test results also will be entered in a database, to detect any trends.... But their larger goal, they add, is to draw attention to the plight of ocean pollution -- and ultimately inspire more aggressive protection.... The lab is the latest of about two dozen such facilities created and run by members of the Surfrider Foundation." San Jose Mercury News (June 23, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3329]

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Sowing Secrecy: The Biotech Industry, USDA, and America's Secret Pharm Belt. By Gregory Jaffe, Center for Science in the Public Interest. (The Center, Washington, DC) June 2004. 13 p.

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["Biotechnology companies quietly returned to the business of planting crops engineered to grow pharmaceutical products just 18 months after an errant crop nearly contaminated the food supply and put the brakes on the industry, according to [the] report.... Many of the details of the plans for growing these crops – such as where they will be planted, what is being spliced into them, and what commercial product they will be used for – have been shielded from public view because companies contend they include proprietary information." San Diego Union Tribune (June 2, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3308]

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Staff Proposal Regarding the Maximum Feasible and Cost Effective Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Motor Vehicles: Draft. By the Staff of the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. (The Board, Sacramento, California) June 14, 2004.

["The plan would require manufacturers to reduce by nearly 30 percent the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, so named because of their heat-trapping effect in the atmosphere.... Under the greenhouse gas law the Legislature has a year to review the regulations before they take effect, in 2006.... Automakers have threatened to sue California on grounds that the law is a subterfuge for regulating fuel economy, which only the federal government has authority to control." Sacramento Bee (June 15, 2004) 1.]

Proposal. 178 p.

Fact Sheet. 2 p.

[Request #S3309]

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Perchlorate in Drinking Water: A Science and Policy Review. By Richard J. Bull, and others. Sponsored by the Urban Water Research Center, University of California Irvine. (The Center, Irvine, California) June 2004. 51 p.

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["The study, which reviewed existing research, concluded that perchlorate at levels substantially higher than those considered harmful by California appeared to pose no health risk. In healthy adults, exposure to perchlorate in water at 100 parts per billion should not cause any hormonal effects, the study found. The report did not offer any conclusions about how pregnant women or people with thyroid problems would be affected at such levels." Los Angeles Times (June 12, 2004) B5.]

[Request #S3312]

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Rocket Fuel Contamination in California Milk. By Renee Sharp, Environmental Working Group. (The Group, Oakland, California) June 22, 2004. 31 p.

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["Milk sold in Southern California supermarkets contains a toxic ingredient of rocket fuel that exposes many children to amounts exceeding a federal health recommendation, according to a report.... 'Our findings are not a call for California mothers to stop drinking milk or stop giving it to their children,' said Bill Walker, vice president of Environmental Working Group. 'They do show that the state must set a drinking water standard that fully protects public health.'" Los Angeles Times (June 22,2004) B6.]

[Request #S3328]

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San Diego County Emergency Operations Center: Seeking Better Communication. By the San Diego County Grand Jury. (The Jury, San Diego, California) May 2004. 14 p.

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["Seven months after the devastating October firestorms, San Diego County's grand jury has announced it agrees with the observations of many North County residents and officials ---- that the county's emergency operations center did a poor job of disseminating information about the disaster to the public. The grand jury also determined that the federal Emergency Alert System was an inadequate tool to warn the public about catastrophes such as the wildfires, and urged county supervisors to look for new warning systems such as the 'reverse 9-1-1' system the board voted to buy in March." North County Times (May 26, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3313]

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Safe Harbor Agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances: Revision to the Regulations: Final Rule. By the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. IN: Federal Register, vol. 69, no. 85 (May 3, 2004) pp. 24084-24094.

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["The Fish and Wildlife Service finalized changes to two popular Endangered Species Act programs making it clear that Safe Harbor and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances are transferrable when property changes hands. FWS said it would only revoke such agreements as a last resort.... Safe Harbors and CCAAs are most useful for working landscapes such as farms, ranches and small timber operations. Both Safe Harbors and CCAAs have proven to be powerful tools to promote conservation and recovery of imperiled species." Greenwire (April 29, 2004) 1.]

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Norton, Secretary of the Interior, et al. v. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, et al. U.S. Supreme Court. 03-101. June 14, 2004. Various pagings.

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["The U.S. Supreme Court jolted environmental groups by ruling unanimously that private citizens can't sue a federal agency for allegedly failing to enforce a law protecting potential wilderness areas from off-road vehicles.... More broadly, the court made it harder for private citizens and organizations to require federal land-management agencies, such as the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, to follow priorities laid out in federal laws and agency land-use plans." San Francisco Chronicle (June 15, 2004) 1.]

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Ten Years of North American Environmental Cooperation: Report of the Ten-Year Review and Assessment Committee to the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. By the Ten-Year Review and Assessment Committee. (The Council, Montreal, Canada) June 15, 2004. 76 p.

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["One of the most surprising environmental consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement has been a big increase in pollution at Canadian, Mexican and U.S. border crossings, according to a new report by a three-nation environmental commission. A doubling in trade among the three nations, which reached $11 trillion last year, he said, has led to a huge jump in traffic and congestion -- and thus pollution -- at ports of entry." San Diego Union-Tribune (June 18, 2004) C1.]

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Green Watchdog 2004: 10 Budget Recommendations to Protect California's Environment, Improve Public Health, and Restore Fiscal Accountability. By Green Capitol. (Green Capitol, Oakland, California) June 2004. 13 p.

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["Under a plan proposed by the Green Watchdog Coalition, residents of California would pay small fees for certain goods and the money collected would support various environmental programs.... According to the California Legislative Analyst's Office, General Fund expenditures for resources and environmental protection programs are at their lowest point in relation to overall expenditures since 1998." Wildlines (June 21, 2004) 1.]

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Smart Growth is Smart Business: Boosting the Bottom Line and Community Prosperity. By Jessica Cogan, Smart Growth Leadership Institute, and others. (The Institute, Washington, DC) April 2004. 60 p.

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["A new groundbreaking report profiles how business leaders are supporting smart growth policies and projects, and puts forth five key smart growth business actions. This new report profiles 17 business groups that are profiting while revitalizing communities and improving livability across the nation." SGLI press release (April 26, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3319]

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Getting to Smart Growth: 100 Policies for Implementation. And Getting to Smart Growth II: 100 More Policies for Implementation. By Trent Frazier and others, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Dan Emerine, International City/County Management Association. (The Association, Washington, DC) 2004.

["This primer provides states and communities with policy options that can be mixed and matched to fit local circumstances, visions, and values, and highlights steps that the private sector can take to encourage more livable communities.... [It] includes photographs illustrating elements of smart growth, and a matrix to identify policies that support multiple principles."]

Volume I. 104 p.:

Volume II. 122 p.:

[Request #S3320]

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The Public Value of Urban Parks. By Chris Walker, Urban Institute. Beyond Recreation: A Broader View of Urban Parks. (The Institute, Washington, DC) June 21, 2004. 8 p.

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["A new and broader view of parks has recently been emerging. This new view goes well beyond the traditional value of parks as places of recreation and as visual assets to communities, and focuses on how policymakers, practitioners, and the public can begin to think about parks as valuable contributors to larger urban policy objectives: job opportunities, youth development, public health, and community building."]

[Request #S3321]

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Distribution of Oil Overcharge Repayments. By Federal Funds Information for States. FFIS Issue Brief 04-19. (FFIS, Washington, DC) May 26, 2004. 2 p.

["The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will soon begin notifying potential recipients of the distribution of approximately $275 million of funds reflecting crude oil producers' overcharging of consumers during periods of price controls. States will receive some of these funds and have a further interest in assuring that energy consumers in their states benefit from the repayments."]

[Request #S3322]

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Fifth Annual Computer Report Card. By the Clean Computer Campaign, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. (The Coalition, San Jose, California) 2004. 36 p.

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["Dell and Hewlett-Packard said that they were moving to support more recycling and taking more of the financial burden for the recycling of used computers off consumers and local governments. The pledges by Dell and Hewlett-Packard were timed to the release Wednesday of an annual 'report card' of corporate environmental behavior by the Computer Takeback Campaign." New York Times (May 19, 2004) C3.]

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Water Infrastructure: Comprehensive Asset Management Has Potential to Help Utilities Better Identify Needs and Plan Future Investments. By United States General Accounting Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) March 2004. 98 p.

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["Having invested billions of dollars in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, the federal government has a major interest in protecting its investment and in ensuring that future assistance goes to utilities that are built and managed to meet key regulatory requirements."]

[Request #S3311]

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California Water Acquisition Handbook. By the Trust for Public Land. (The Trust, San Francisco, California) 2004. Various pagings.

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["The information presented here is intended to help readers understand the complicated issues and procedures associated with acquiring environmental water and to encourage them to pursue water transfers as a tool to help meet the state's important environmental needs."]

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Protecting the Source: Land Conservation and the Future of America's Drinking Water. By Caryn Ernst, the Trust for Public Land. (The Trust, San Francisco, California) May 2004. 52 p.

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["The report provides the scientific, economic, and public health justifications for land conservation as a critical strategy for protecting America's drinking water sources and recharge lands.... The report also documents several best practices in drinking water source protection efforts from around the country. Local governments, water suppliers and agencies, and community drinking water advocates either looking for effective source water protection strategies, or engaged in the practice and looking for reliable justification, will benefit from the report." U.S. Newswire (May 27, 2004) 1.p]

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Water Replenishment District of Southern California: Although the District Has Addressed Many of Our Previous Concerns, Problems Still Exist. By the California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits. 2002-016. (The Bureau, Sacramento, California) June 2004. 49 p.

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["This report concludes that although the district has implemented many recommendations of our May 2002 report, it has not fully addressed all our concerns.... Although it included goals and objectives in its strategic plan, it did not include outcomes by which the district and public can measure the district's progress in meeting them."]

[Request #S3325]

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Confronting the Nation's Water Problems: The Role of Research. By the Committee on Assessment of Water Resources Research, National Research Council. (National Academies Press, Washington, DC) June 2004. 274 p.

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["A new mechanism is needed to coordinate water research currently fragmented among nearly 20 federal agencies, said the committee that wrote the report.... The committee noted that overall federal funding for water research has been stagnant in real terms for the past 30 years, and that the portion dedicated to research on water use and related social science topics has declined considerably. Decision-makers at all levels of government are going to have to make difficult choices in the coming decades about how to allot limited water supplies, and they need sound science to back them up." Science Daily (June 18, 2004) 1.]

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Wildfire Suppression: Funding Transfers Cause Project Cancellations and Delays, Strained Relationships, and Management Disruptions. By the U.S. General Accounting Office. GAO-04-612. (The Office, Washington, DC) June 2004. 68 p.

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["We are making recommendations to take actions to help mitigate the effects of funding transfers including improving the agencies' methods for estimating annual wildfire suppression costs and conducting formal assessments of how their budget and forecast models performed relative to actual costs."]

[Request #S3327]

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Aviation Security: Further Steps Needed to Strengthen the Security of Commercial Airport Perimeters and Access Controls. By the U.S. General Accounting Office. GAO-04-728. (The Office, Washington, DC) June 2004. 55 p.

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["The government's efforts to prevent terrorists from gaining access to commercial airports are still incomplete and fragmented, a congressional report says. The Transportation Security Administration has focused on screening passengers and baggage while paying less attention to limiting access to sensitive areas, identifying gaps in security and reducing risks posed by airport workers." Associated Press (June 8, 2004) 1.]

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A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Older Drivers. By Ingrid Potts, Midwest Research Institute, and others. (Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC) June 2004. Various pagings

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["The number of older drivers will double over the next 30 ears... This implementation guide provides engineering, planning, education, and policy guidance to highway agencies that desire to better accomodate older driver's special needs."]

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"Elderly Licensure Laws and Motor Vehicle Fatalities." By David C. Grabowski, Lister Hill Center for Health Policy, and others. IN: JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 291, no. 23 (June 16, 2004) pp. 2840 - 2846.

["Little is known about how state-level driver licensure laws, such as in-person renewal, vision tests, road tests, and the frequency of license renewal relate to the older driver traffic fatality rate. This retrospective, longitudinal study was conducted January 1990 through December 2000 of all fatal crashes in the contiguous United States ... and found that states with in-person license renewal were associated with a lower driver fatality rate .... More stringent state licensure policies such as vision tests, road tests, and more frequent license renewal cycles were not independently associated with additional benefits."]

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State Receive $33 Million in Highway Safety Grants. By Federal Funds Information for States. FFIS Issue Brief. 04-12. (FFIS, Washington, D.C.) 2004. 5 p.

["The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced $33 million in awards for two highway safety grants. Section 405 grants, offered to promote seat belt use.... Grants for impaired driving prevention ... will go to 36 states with federally compliant drunk-driving law and enforcement mechanisms."]

[Request #S3333]

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Highway Safety: Federal and State Efforts to Address Rural Road Safety Challenges. By United States General Accounting Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) May 2004 57 p.

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["Traffic crashes are a major cause of death and injury in the United States. In 2002, there were 42,815 fatalities and over 2.9 million injuries on the nation's highways. Crashes on rural roads account for over 60 percent of the deaths nationwide, or about 70 deaths each day. Further the rate of fatalities per vehicle mile traveled on rural roads was over twice the urban fatality rate."]

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Inquiry into the Board Structure and Financial Management of the Valley Transportation Authority. by the Santa Clara Civil Grand Jury. (Santa Clara Superior Court, San Jose, California) June 2004. 22 p.

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["South Bay transit planners cannot afford to build a BART extension to San Jose and should stop spending money on it, a grand jury has concluded. The report blames the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority for financial mismanagement of local sales tax money. An inexperienced, oversized and overly political board failed to keep a tight leash on planners, who may have misled voters, the jury suggested." Oakland Tribune (June 22, 2004) 1.]

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Senior Transportation in Orange County. By the Orange County Grand Jury. (The Jury, Santa Ana, California) June 2004. 11 p.

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["A rising tide of senior citizens could overwhelm Orange County transportation services by 2030, according to a report. By then, the county's population of those 65 years and older will increase by an estimated 70%." Los Angeles Times (June 8, 2004) B3.]

[Request #S3336]

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[This section links to items in Studies in the News since the last Environment, Growth Management and Transportation Supplement.]


"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 04-37 (May 2004)

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[Includes: "Groups sue over California spotted owl;" "Pesticides in humans;" "Appliance recycling;" "Reduced silver levels in San Francisco Bay;" "Concerns over fire season;" "Road accidents lead occupational fatalities;" and "Auditing railroad safety program fees."]

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