Subject: Studies in the News 04-70 (October 28, 2004)


CALIFORNIA RESEARCH BUREAU
CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY
Studies in the News
Environment, Growth Management and Transportation Supplement


Contents This Week

Introductory Material ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES
   Agricultural sustainability and gentically engineered crops
   Dirty air pollution from power plants
   Mercury and consumption of fish
   Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
   Extinct species take others along
   Bird decline due to habitat loss
   Status of the Clean Water Act
   Federal report on climate change
   Seismic research yields surprises
   Marbled Murrelet could lose protection
   Court rejects change to dolphin-safe label
   Klamath watershed agreement
   Protecting water resources with smart growth
   Managing fresh water resources
   Endangered national wildlife refuges
TRANSPORTATION
   Transportation spending by low-income households
   Best workplaces for commuters
   Federal highway funds and the environment
   Hot lanes and highway congestion
   Transportation programs for disadvantaged seniors
   Improving transportation in national parks
   High demand for transit oriented development
   Response to raising transit fares
PREVIOUSLY IN STUDIES IN THE NEWS
   Studies in the News, August 24, 2004
   Studies in the News, August 31, 2004
   Studies in the News, September 21, 2004
   Studies in the News, September 30, 2004
   Studies in the News, October 21, 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.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; cslsirc@library.ca.gov) with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:

ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES

AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT

Designing Genes: Aiming for Safety and Sustainability in U.S. Agriculture and Biotechnology. By Don S. Doering, World Resources Institute. (The Institute, Washington, DC) October 2004. 43 p.

Full Text at: pdf.wri.org/designing_genes.pdf

["This White Paper explores the intersection of two crucial, but rarely juxtaposed science and policy issues: the path to U.S. agricultural sustainability and the future of genetically engineered crops. Today, there is no U.S. policy and research agenda for both agriculture and genetic engineering that addresses their present challenges and future goals. 'Designing Genes' describes how sustainability and product design may be one framework with which to create such an agenda."]

[Request #S4240]

Return to the Table of Contents

AIR POLLUTION

Dirty Air, Dirty Power: Mortality and Health Damage Due to Air Pollution from Power Plants. By Conrad G. Schneider, Clean Air Task Force. (The Task Force, Boston, Massachusetts) 2004. 40 p.

Full Text at: tinyurl.com/4qtpm

["This report summarizes the findings of the Abt Associations study, reviews the contribution of power plants to particle pollution, and compares the relative benefits of the chief policy proposals to reduce power plant fine particle pollution."]

[Request #S4241]

Return to the Table of Contents

A Statistical Analysis of Factors Associated with Elevated Hair Mercury Levels in the U.S. Population. By Richard P. Maas, and others, University of North Carolina, Asheville, Environmental Quality Institute. (Greenpeace USA, Washington, DC) October 2004.

["Scientists tested hair samples from 1,449 people nationwide who volunteered to participate in the study after hearing about it through Greenpeace USA and other groups. About 1 in 5 had mercury levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency safety guidelines. Almost half of the volunteers who had consumed large amounts of fish exceeded the EPA guideline.... The study is one of the first to examine the relationship between mercury levels and the consumption of three categories of fish: canned tuna, locally caught fish, and fresh or frozen fish sold in stores and restaurants." San Francisco Chronicle (October 21, 2004) 1.]

Report. 14 p.
http://www.greenpeace.org/multimedia/download/1/619197/0/Report_FINAL.pdf

Data by State and City. 5 p.
http://www.greenpeace.org/multimedia/download/1/619290/0/all_tables.pdf

[Request #S4242]

Return to the Table of Contents

Climate Action Plan for San Francisco: Local Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. By San Francisco Department of the Environment. (The Department, San Francisco) September 2004. 140 p.

Full Text at: temp.sfgov.org/sfenvironment/aboutus/energy/cap.pdf

["The City of San Francisco has finalized a Climate Action Plan that outlines specific steps for local government agencies, residents and businesses to help reduce San Francisco's annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.5 million tons by 2012, putting San Francisco on a course to exceed the emissions reductions recommended by the Kyoto Protocol. Energy efficiency improvements -- including strengthening building codes, increasing technical assistance and expanding public education -- are projected to provide a little less than one-third of the plan's emission reduction goals." eNewswire (October 13, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4243]

Return to the Table of Contents

BIODIVERSITY

"Species Coextinction and the Biodiversity Crisis." By Lian Pin Koh and others. IN: Science, vol. 305, no. 5690 (September 10, 2004) pp. 1632-1634.

["More than 6,000 species of butterflies and other insects, as well as mites, fungi and assorted unloved but important species, will also be wiped out when listed endangered species go extinct, scientists say. For example, a vine that became locally extinct in Singapore took along with it a species of butterfly, Parantica aspasia, that was dependent on the vine for survival." Reuters (Sept. 13,2004)1.]

[Request #S4244]

Return to the Table of Contents

BIRDS

State of the Birds USA: 2004. By the National Audubon Society. (The Society, New York, New York) October 2004. Various pagings.

Full Text at: www.audubon.org/bird/stateofthebirds/

["Almost 30 percent of bird populations on the continent are facing a 'significant decline,' the National Audubon Society said in its first 'The State of the Birds' report....The group described the losses as abnormal and said they could be seen as ecological indicators of problems that people also were or would soon be facing." Associated Press (October 19, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4245]

Return to the Table of Contents

CLEAN WATER ACT

Progress Made, Progress Lost: The Bush Administration and the Anniversary of the Clean Water Act. By the Democratic Staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. (The Committee, Washington, DC) October 18, 2004. 51 p.

Full Text at: www.house.gov/transportation_democrats/Clean%20Water%20Act%20Report%2020041.pdf

["Clearly, the nation stands at a crossroads in the restoration and protection of its waters and wetlands. One path improves upon the successes of the past and will finally achieve the goals of fishable and swimmable waters. The other path leads to the very real possibility that progress will be lost. It is simply a question of priorities and commitment."]

[Request #S4246]

Return to the Table of Contents

CLIMATE CHANGE

Our Changing Planet: The U.S. Climate Change Science Program for Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005. By the Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. (The Program, Washington, DC) 2004.

["A Bush administration annual climate change research report has ignited a controversy over whether the White House is embracing the link between human emissions of heat-trapping gases and rising temperatures, and possibly from there to establishing stricter greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The report is a congressionally required budgetary breakdown of the administration's nearly $2 billion Climate Change Science Program, and traditionally includes climate change research results along with raw budget numbers." Sacramento Bee (August 26, 2004) 1."]

Full Report. 150 p.
http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/ocp2004-5/ocp2004-5.pdf

Press Release. 1 p.
http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/pressreleases/pressrelease25aug2004.htm

[Request #S4247]

Return to the Table of Contents

EARTHQUAKES

"Six Similar Sequential Ruptures of the San Andreas Fault, Carrizo Plain, California." By Jing Lui, California Institute of Technology, and others. IN: Geology, vol. 32, no. 8 (August 2004) pp. 649 - 652.

["Long-buried evidence of earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault is providing scientists with surprising new insights about how big quakes affect the seismic hazards all Californians face." San Francisco Chronicle (July 23, 2004) 1p.]

[Request #S3508]

Return to the Table of Contents

ENDANGERED SPECIES

Marbled Murrelet 5-Year Review Process: Overview. By Paul Phifer and Brian Cox, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (The Service, Portland, Oregon) August 31, 2004.

["The Bush administration, overriding opinions by the western office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game, issued a decision that environmentalists said would weaken protection for the marbled murrelet, an elusive seabird." San Francisco Chronicle (September 2, 2004) 1.]

Review. 28 p.
http://pacific.fws.gov/ecoservices/endangered/recovery/pdf/MAMU%205-Year%20Review%20Final.8.31.04.pdf

Press Release. 1 p.
http://news.fws.gov/NewsReleases/R1/BC00DC3A-65B8-D693-77C219428EF8FE2B.html

[Request #S4248]

Return to the Table of Contents

MARINE MAMMALS

Earth Island Institute, et al. v. Donald Evans, et al. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. C03-0007. Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and Denying Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. August 9, 2004. 51 p.

Full Text at: tinyurl.com/58y5n

["A federal judge has rejected the Bush Administration's attempt to relax the nation's dolphin-safe tuna labeling standard in a scathing decision that accuses the administration of sacrificing science -- and dolphins -- for politics." San Francisco Chronicle (August 11, 2004) B1.]

[Request #S3820]

Return to the Table of Contents

WATER POLICY

Klamath Watershed Coordination Agreement. By Gale Norton, and others. (U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC) October 2004.

["Resolving to end one of the West's fiercest water wars, the Bush administration forged an agreement Wednesday with Oregon and California to cooperatively solve squabbling over the drought-racked Klamath River. Interior Secretary Gale Norton said the new partnership should help ease tensions among farmers, Indian tribes, environmentalists and fishermen over management of the river, home to endangered coho salmon and two species of suckerfish in Upper Klamath Lake." Los Angeles Times (October 14, 2004) B8.]

Agreement. 8 p.
http://www.doi.gov/news/klamathagreement.pdf

Press Release. 1 p.
http://www.doi.gov/news/041013d

[Request #S4249]

Return to the Table of Contents

WATER RESOURCES

Protecting Water Resources with Smart Growth. By the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (The Agency, Washington, DC) 2004. 120 p.

Full Text at: www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/pdf/waterresources_with_sg.pdf

["As studies have shown, growth and development can have profound effects on our water resources.... In response to these current trends, local governments are developing smarter approaches to growth. They are looking for, and using, policies and tools that enhance existing neigborhoods, improve schools, protect drinking water, and provide solid housing and transportation choices.... Smart growth principles provide a foundation -- a basic springboard -- for the 75 policies described in this report."]

[Request #S4250]

Return to the Table of Contents

WATER SUPPLY

Freshwater Resources: Managing the Risks Facing the Private Sector. By Jason Morrison and Peter Gleick, the Pacific Institute. (Flex Your Power, San Francisco, California) August 2004. 16 pages.

Full Text at: www.fypower.org/pdf/business_risks_water.pdf

["Businesses around the world are failing to prepare for the serious economic and political risks posed by growing competition for fresh water, the threat of water contamination and rising water-related costs, says a research paper by Oakland-based Pacific Institute.... The report recommends ten steps that businesses can take to reduce their water-related risks." eNewswire (September 15, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4251]

Return to the Table of Contents

WILDLIFE REFUGES

Refuges at Risk: America's 10 Most Endangered National Wildlife Refuges. By Defenders of Wildlife. (Defenders of Wildlife, Washington, DC) October 2004. 16 p.

Full Text at: www.defenders.org/habitat/refuges/report.pdf

["A major environmental group has listed the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge as one of America's 10 most endangered refuges, saying migratory shorebirds are threatened by disappearing habitat, plastic litter and polluted runoff.... The group wants to see 13,000 more acres of private land bought, which would expand the refuge to the 43,000 acres approved by Congress." San Francisco Chronicle (October 8, 2004) B2.]

[Request #S4252]

Return to the Table of Contents

TRANSPORTATION

COMMUTERS & COMMUTING

Transportation Spending by Low-income California Households: Lessons for the San Francisco Bay Area. By Lorien Rice, Public Policy Institute of California. (The Institute, San Francisco, California) 2004. 167 p.

Full Text at: www.ppic.org/content/pubs/R_704LRR.pdf

["Transportation was the third-largest budget item for California’s low-income households—despite the fact that these residents are more likely to use public transit, carpool, or walk to work. Rice also reviews policy options to address transportation affordability and proposes ideas for further research."]

[Request #S4253]

Return to the Table of Contents

Top 20 Best Workplaces for Commuters. By Best Workplace for Commuters, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (Best Workplace for Commuters, Washington, DC) September 2004. Various pagings.

Full Text at: www.bwc.gov/campaign/f500.htm

["The list ranks those companies that have subsidized transit or vanpool passes, telework programs, bike lockers and showers, and other outstanding commuter benefits.... Every year, the top 20 companies in the list have reduced driving 250 million miles, saved over 12 million gallons of gasoline and prevented more than 186,000 tons of global warming pollution, according to the EPA." Reuters News Service (September 29, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4254]

Return to the Table of Contents

FEDERAL FUNDS

Highway and Transit Program Reauthorization: An Analysis of Environmental Protections Issues. By David M. Bearden, Congressional Research Service, U.S. Library of Congress. (National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington, DC) 2004. 18 p.

Full Text at: www.ncseonline.org/NLE/CRSreports/04Jun/RL32057.pdf

["A report is now available that provides background information and analysis on balancing public needs for surface transportation infrastructure with protecting the environment. The report was produced to serve as a resource document during the U.S. Congress’ current surface transportation reauthorization discussion." Transportation Research E-Newsletter (September 14, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4255]

Return to the Table of Contents

HIGHWAY CONGESTION

"Hot Lanes: A Better Way to Attack Urban Highway Congestion." By Robert W. Poole Jr. and C. Kenneth Orski. IN: Regulation, vol. 23, no. 1. (2004) pp. 1-6.

Full Text at: www.heartland.org/pdf/15044.pdf

["[The authors] argue that High Occupancy Toll lanes (HOT) lanes are a better alternative to High Occupancy Vehicle lanes (HOV lanes), which are 'under attack by motorists, academics and environmentalists.' They call HOT lanes 'a rare policy innovation that improves economic efficiency and is politically feasible as well.'" Cato Institute ((2004) 1.]

[Request #S4256]

Return to the Table of Contents

PUBLIC TRANSIT

Transportation-disadvantaged Seniors: Efforts to Enhance Senior Mobility Could Benefit from Additional Guidance and Information. By the U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-04-971. (The Office, Washington, DC) August 2004. 95 p.

Full Text at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d04971.pdf

["For transportation-disadvantaged seniors, GAO was asked to identify 1) federal programs that address their mobility issues; 2) the extent to which these programs meet their mobility needs; 3) program practices that enhance their mobility and the cost-effectiveness of service delivery and 4) obstacles to addressing their mobility needs and strategies for overcoming those obstacles."]

[Request #S4257]

Return to the Table of Contents

TRANSIT

Transportation Partnerships in the Parks: Cooperative Initiatives Serve Visitors, Preserve the Environment. By Katherine F. Trumbull, Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M. IN: TR News (July-August 2004) pp 19 - 23.

Full Text at: trb.org/publications/trnews/trnews233parks.pdf

["Visitors to many of the more popular parks this summer have encountered new travel options, with expanded service on shuttle bus systems and ready information about transportation conditions and alternatives. These improvements represent the coordinated efforts of federal land management and transportation agencies, state governments, local communities, foundations, businesses, and other groups."]

[Request #S4258]

Return to the Table of Contents

Hidden in Plain Sight: Capturing the Demand for Housing Near Transit. By the Center for Transit-oriented Development. (The Center, Oakland, California) September 2004. 40 p.

Full Text at: www.reconnectingamerica.org/pdfs/Ctod_report.pdf

["Over the next two decades, urban areas across the nation will have swelling ranks of seniors who don't drive, low-income immigrants without cars and childless singles and couples who prefer smaller housing near nightlife, according to a recent nationwide study... The study identifies five metropolitan areas — Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago — as the hottest markets for transit-oriented housing in the next 20 years." Los Angeles Times (October 25, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S4259]

Return to the Table of Contents

Transit Pricing and Fares: Travelers Response to Transportation System Changes. By Brian E.McCollom and Richard H. Pratt, Transit Cooperative Research Program, Transportation Research Board. (The Board, Washington, DC) 59 p. September 2004.

Full Text at: www.trb.org/publications/tcrp/tcrp_rpt_95c12.pdf

["[The report] examines transit ridership response to fare changes as applied to conventional urban area bus and rail transit services. Topics covered include changes in general fare level, changes in fare structure including relationships among fare categories, and free transit."]

[Request #S4260]

Return to the Table of Contents


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

ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 04-56 (August 24, 2004)

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/SITN/2004/0456.htm

[Includes: "Some refinery pollution not recorded," "Reducing wind farm bird kills," "Global warming risk to California," "Court requires protection of desert tortoise," "State plan for ocean resources," "Transportation Equality Act legislation," "Benefits of fixing infrastructure," and "Transportation investment decisions."]

[Request #S4261]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 04-58 (August 31, 2004)

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/SITN/2004/0458.htm

[Includes: "Aviation and the environment," "California's threatened habitat," "Ballast water management," "Water conservation and electricity use," and "Water scarcity and business risk."]

[Request #S4262]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 04-62 (September 21, 2004)

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/SITN/2004/0462.htm

[Includes: "Mercury in lake fish," "San Joaquin water diversion illegal," "Final report on Klamath fish," and "Coho salmon recovery plan."]

[Request #S4263]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 04-64 (September 30, 2004)

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/SITN/2004/0464.htm

[Includes: "Children at risk from bad air," "Ocean Commission's final report," "Plan to reduce mercury in the San Francisco Bay," "Highways more congested," and "More costly to redesign Bay bridge."]

[Request #S4264]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 04-68 (October 21, 2004)

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/SITN/2004/0468.htm

[Includes: "Biotech crops and the green revolution," "Genetically modified grass found far afield," "Final ocean strategy report," "States lack funds to enforce water regulations," "Restoring Hetch Hetchy valley," "Emergency highway funding," "Hazardous materials planning and training grants," and "Federal transit funding formulas."]

[Request #S4265]

Return to the Table of Contents