Subject: Studies in the News 06-09 (March 6, 2006)

Studies in the News
Environment, Growth Management and Transportation Supplement

Contents This Week

   Suit over chicken cages
   Winery air pollution rules
   California has most soot
   Study rejects El Dorado asbestos findings
   Plan to save delta smelt
   Action plan on global warming
   Greenhouse gases control economics
   Proposed change to endangered species act
   High mercury found in Californians
   Tsunami threat to California
   Flood maps need updating
   City can't block cell towers
   Balancing parking and community space
   Problems of the older suburbs
   Importance of public and open spaces
   Los Angeles needs neighborhood parks
   Toxins gain potency when combined
   State policy and eminent domain
   Community development while protecting water resources.
   Court approves water-quality board decision
   Water board violates plan
   Water needs in 2030
   SUVs' child safety record
   Driver cell phone use in 2005
   Teen crashes: everyone is at risk
   Alternatives for transportation financing
   Motor fuel tax
   Hydrogen and intelligent transportation systems
   Integrating sustainability into transportation
   Critical issues in transportation
   Studies in the News, July 2005 - January 2006
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; 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:



Humane Society of the United States v. California State Board of Equalization. San Francisco County Superior Court. Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief. February 1, 2006. 18 p.

Full Text at:

["In an ongoing campaign to unfetter the caged hen, the Humane Society plans to file a lawsuit challenging a partial sales tax break for agricultural producers who purchase cages that animal welfare activists consider cruel and torturous.... The lawsuit asks the court to take away egg producers' 5.25% sales tax break on the purchase of cages because they violate the California penal code law against keeping an animal in a confined space without offering an adequate exercise space." Los Angeles Times (February 1, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60901]

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Wine Fermentation and Storage Tanks: Rule 4694. By the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. (The District, Fresno, California) December 15, 2005.

Full Text at:

["The winery rule asks the 18 largest wine makers in the eight-county region to reduce pollution coming from their plants by 35 percent. In a move opposed by environmentalists, the district's board hedged a bit, allowing wineries to pay another industry, such as a neighboring dairy, to reduce a similar amount of pollution if the vintners find that making changes in the production process is too expensive." San Jose Mercury News (December 16, 2005) B5.]

[Request #S60902]

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Plagued by Pollution: Unsafe Levels of Soot Pollution in 2004. By Supryia Ray, Environment California Research & Policy Center. (The Center, Los Angeles, California) January 2006. 28 p.

Full Text at:

["The Riverside-San Bernardino metropolitan area has the nation's worst fine-particle air pollution, an environmental group has found.... Six of the 10 most-polluted areas are in California, including Los Angeles, Bakersfield and several agricultural communities in the Central Valley, according to the survey.... The group is identifying the nation's most-polluted communities as part of its effort to pressure the Bush administration to adopt more stringent health standards for fine-particle pollution." Riverside Press Enterprise (January 20, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60903]

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Evaluation of EPA's Analytical Data from the El Dorado Hills Asbestos Evaluation Project. By the RJ Lee Group, Inc. Prepared for the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association. (The Group, Monroe, Pennsylvania) November 2005.

["El Dorado Hills education officials have launched an aggressive campaign to publicize a new mining industry study that discredits the federal government's findings of naturally occurring asbestos at school and community playgrounds... The evaluation concluded that the particles are nonhazardous fragments of the same minerals known to host asbestos in the rapidly growing Sierra foothills. These fragments are distinctly different than the needle-shaped fibers that define asbestos and can cause lung disease decades after they are inhaled, the report said.... 'From a mineralogical standpoint, there may be a distinction (between fragments and fibers), but in terms of health outcomes, there is no meaningful distinction,' said Jere Johnson, the EPA official who led the El Dorado Hills investigation." Sacramento Bee (January 4, 2006) B1.

Report. 79 p.

Pictorial Presentation. 81 p.

[Request #S60904]

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Delta Smelt Action Plan. By the California Department of Fish and Game and the California Department of Water Resources. (The Department, Sacramento, California) October 2005. 89 p.

Full Text at:

[“Saving the endangered delta smelt, a tiny fish considered a key indicator of the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a report. The price tag includes projects that also could aid other troubled species and the overall ecology of the delta, which provides drinking water to more than 70 percent of Californians.” Sacramento Bee (October 20, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S60905]

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Agenda for Climate Action. By the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. (The Center, Arlington, Virginia) February 2006.

["The report said that America has waited too long to seriously tackle the climate change problem and spelled out 15 steps the United States could take to reduce emissions it spews as the world's biggest energy consumer and producer of greenhouse gases.... A cap on emissions should be set for the whole US economy and then tradable allowances issued to emitters, such as large industrial sources and electricity generators, that each would represent the right to emit one tonne of greenhouse gases, the group said." Reuters (February 9, 2006)1.]

Report. 24 p.

Summary. 2 p.

[Request #S60906]

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Managing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in California. By Michael Hanneman, California Climate Change Center at UC Berkeley, and others. (The Center, Berkeley, California) January 2006. Various pagings.

Full Text at:

["The state's ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions could create tens of thousands of new jobs and dramatically boost the economy in coming years...The report found that the cost savings on fuel and gas generated by curbing greenhouse gases would translate into more money for consumers and more jobs. In addition, they predicted that investment in technology to reduce greenhouse gases could pay off for the state in the way that investment in computer technology has paid off for Silicon Valley." Los Angeles Times, (January 23, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60907]

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Letter to U.S. Senators Regarding Endangered Species Act. By the Keystone ESA Working Group on Habitat. (The Keystone Center, Keystone, Colorado) February 17, 2006.

["Two critical concepts in proposed overhaul of the federal Endangered Species Act should guide the U.S. Senate's attempts to reform the 23-year-old law, according to the initial findings of a group senators commissioned to help them prepare their legislation. But the group failed to find a path through the debate's thorniest thicket: How to reform the ESA's 'critical habitat' provision, an often unwieldy tool intended to give threatened critters a place to live and multiply." Stockton Record (February 23, 2006) 1.]

Report. 17 p.

Executive Summary. 3 p.

[Request #S60908]

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An Investigation of Factors Related to Levels of Mercury in Human Hair. By Steven C. Patch, and others, Environmental Quality Institute, University of North Carolina-Asheville. (Sierra Club, San Francisco, California) October 2005.

["Californians who volunteered for a nationwide study of mercury contamination had among the worst levels, with nearly one-third of those tested having concentrations in their tissues that exceeded safe levels.... Experts say that mercury exposure has little to do with proximity to pollution sources. Instead, it is determined by diet. Mercury concentrations in the study were strongly linked to how frequently the volunteers ate fish and other seafood. The study does not provide information about Californians in general because the volunteers were not a random sample." Los Angeles Times (February, 9, 2006) 1.]

Report. 7 p.

Results by State. 10 p.

[Request #S60909]

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The Tsunami Threat to California: Findings and Recommendations on Tsunami Hazard and Risks. By State of California Seismic Safety Commission. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) December 2005. 16 p.

Full Text at:

["Tsunami waves generated by a large offshore earthquake would threaten at least 1 million coastal residents in California and inundate the nation's largest port complex, according to a new report. The bleak study found gaps in the state's readiness to handle a tsunami, including flaws in the existing warning system, lack of evacuation plans by coastal communities, and building codes that don't take into account tsunami-strength surges." Contra Costa Times (December 12, 2006) F4.]

[Request #S60910]

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Challenges in FEMA's Flood Map Modernization Program. By the Office of Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security. (The Office, Washington D.C.) September 2005. 63 p.

Full Text at:

["FEMA is making progress in modernizing its [flood] maps but a number of significant problems remain.... Budget limitations and lack of guidance on new mapping standards threaten to throw the effort off schedule, and FEMA has not developed policies and agreements that will allow it to cooperate with other federal mapping agencies, the report said. It recommended that FEMA review its multiyear program to identify high-risk areas, develop guidelines for producing accurate flood maps and improve contractor oversight, among other steps." San Diego Tribune (October 18, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S60911]

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Sprint PCS Assets, LLC v. City of La Canada Flintridge et al. U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. 05-55014. January 17, 2006. 14 p.

Full Text at:$file/0555014.pdf?openelement

["The court struck down parts of a law that had allowed the city to withhold building permits on public rights of way for purely aesthetic reasons.... The judges held that the ordinance conflicted with sections of the California Utilities Code, which the court said gave companies 'broad authority to construct telephone lines and other fixtures' along public rights of way.'... La Cañada Flintridge officials have not decided whether they will ask the Supreme Court to review the case." Los Angeles Times (January 18, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60912]

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Parking Spaces / Community Places: Finding the Balance Through Smart Growth Solutions. By the Development, Community, and Environment Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (The Agency, Washington, DC) January 2006. 62 p.

Full Text at:

["The report examines balancing parking with broader community goals. The report explores supply management, demand management, and pricing strategies. According to the EPA, communities have found that combinations of parking pricing, shared parking, demand management, and other techniques have helped them create vibrant places while protecting environmental quality and still providing for necessary vehicle storage." TRB newsletter (January 31, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60913]

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One-Fifth of the Nation: America's First Suburbs. By Robert Puentes and David Warren, The Brookings Institute (The Institute, Washington, DC) February 2006. 24 p.

Full Text at:

["Neither fully urban nor completely suburban, America's older, inner-ring, 'first' suburbs have a unique set of challenges -— such as concentrations of elderly and immigrant populations as well as outmoded housing and commercial buildings -— very different from those of the center city and fast growing newer places. Yet first suburbs exist in a policy blindspot with little in the way of state or federal tools to help them adapt to their new realities and secure a role as competitive and quality communities."]

[Request #S60914]

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The New Suburbanism: A Realist's Guide to The American Future. By Joel Kotkin. (The Planning Center, Costa Mesa, California) November 2005. 48 p.

Full Text at:

["In promoting the village concept, we share some common objectives with the new urbanists, notably the importance of public and open spaces as well as cultivating community. Yet at the same time we adopt what we see as a more flexible and practical design and policy agenda -— one that we believe can be effectively implemented in suburban communities. The core of our approach is that, in general, suburbs are good places for most people, and we need only to find ways to make them better."]

[Request #S60915]

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Park Use and Physical Activity in a Sample of Public Parks in the City of Los Angeles. By Deborah Cohen, and others, RAND Corporation. (The Corporation, Santa Monica, California) January 2006.

["In a study that argues for the city of Los Angeles to build more parks in underserved areas, the Rand Corporation says that parks are used mostly by those who live nearby.... The study found that 81% of park users live within one mile of the parks. 'Even if a large park is only a few miles away from a particular neighborhood, most neighborhood residents will not use that large park,' the study concluded.... The most common activity, the study found, was sitting. 'Nevertheless, most have engaged in light or moderate physical activity just to get there, since most park users walk to the park,' according to the study." Los Angeles Times (February 1, 2006) 1.]

Executive Summary. 8 p.

Report. 91 p.

[Request #S60916]

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"Pesticide Mixtures, Endocrine Disruption, and Amphibian Declines: Are We Underestimating the Impact?" By Tyrone B. Hayes, and others. IN: Environmental Health Perspectives, EHPOnline (January 24, 2006) 71 p.

Full Text at:

["Chemical mixtures such as the soup of pesticides found in agricultural runoff can be vastly more toxic to humans and creatures than a single chemical, suggesting current efforts to assess health risks posed by such compounds significantly underestimate their danger.... The report found significant harmful effects on frogs given mixtures of pesticides commonly found in agricultural runoff — even though levels of the individual pesticides were thought not to cause harm and were 10 to 100 times below EPA standards." Oakland Tribune (January 25, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60917]

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State Policy and Eminent Domain: Issue Brief. By the Center for Best Practices, National Governors Association. (The Association, Washington, DC) December 15, 2005. 14 p.

Full Text at:

["While the Constitution sets the federal baseline for government use of eminent domain, state statutes and constitutions can provide state-specific requirements for its use.... Eminent domain is an important tool that state and local governments use to facilitate transportation, revitalization, and public infrastructure projects. In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, many states are reviewing their requirements for the use of eminent domain."]

[Request #S60918]

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Protecting Water Resources with Higher-Density Development. By Lynn Richards, Development, Community, and Environment Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (The Agency, Washington, DC) January 2006. 38 p.

Full Text at:

["Where and how communities accommodate growth has a profound impact on the quality of their streams, rivers, lakes, and beaches. Development that uses land efficiently and protects undisturbed natural lands allows a community to grow and still protect its water resources.... This report that examines the impacts of higher- and lower-density developments on water resources. The report explores modeled stormwater runoff from three different densities at three scales—one-acre level, lot level, and watershed level—and at three different time series build-outs." TRB Newsletter (January 31, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60919]

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Pacific Lumber Company v. California State Water Resources Control Board. California Supreme Court. S124464. January 30, 2006. 33 p.

Full Text at:

["California water-quality regulators have the power to order measures to protect rivers from pollution caused by logging, even if state forestry officials have already approved a tree-cutting plan....The court said a 1973 California law, which authorized the Forestry Department to approve logging plans after reviewing their environmental effects, expressly allowed other state agencies to enforce laws in their fields.... The ruling should also solidify the authority of other state agencies, such as the Department of Fish and Game, to protect natural resources from the effects of logging." San Francisco Chronicle (January 31, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60920]

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State Water Resources Control Board Cases. California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District. C044714. February 9, 2006. 285 p.

Full Text at:

["The State Water Resources Control Board violated its own plan to require minimum San Joaquin River flows to protect young migrating salmon as they head to sea, a court has ruled. The Board adopted standards in 2000 that violated the board's own 1995 Bay-Delta Plan, which mandated certain flows between April and May, as well as salinity levels.... Senior water board attorney Barbara Leidigh said the ruling does not mean that the state must now order increased water releases into the San Joaquin River. The court simply said the water board did not abide by the 1995 plan and should do so or amend its plan, she said." San Francisco Chronicle (February 11, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60921]

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California Water Plan: A Framework for Action. By the California Department of Water Resources. (The Department, Sacramento, California) December 2005.

["California's surging growth is expected to add 12 million more people to the state by 2030. But in 25 years the Golden State will use about the same amount of water it uses today. Farmers will be using less. New subdivisions, malls and other sprawl will reduce the amount of irrigated farmland by about 10 percent, and irrigation will become more efficient.... That is the chief conclusion in the roughly 1,000-page California Water Plan, the principal planning tool for all water use in the state.... 'This doesn't mean that California is going to be OK in 2030,' said Steve Hall, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. 'There are parts of the state that will be short . . . particularly in droughts..'" San Jose Mercury News (February 1, 2006) 1.]

Highlights. 24 p.

Plan. Various pagings.

[Request #S60922]

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"Risk of Injury to Child Passengers in Sport Utility Vehicles." By Lauren Daly, A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, and others. IN: Pediatrics (January 2006)

["Though the added weight of SUVs conferred some protection in non-rollover accidents, the vehicles were twice as likely as cars to roll over during a wreck. 'Contrary to public perception, SUVs do not provide superior protection to child occupants, compared with passenger cars,' wrote lead author Dr. Lauren Daly.... The highest odds of injury occurred among children riding unbelted in an SUV that rolled over." Reuters (January 3, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60255]

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Driver Cell Phone Use in 2005: Overall Results. By Donna Glassbrenner, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (The Administration, Washington, DC) December 2005. 6 p.

Full Text at:

['Driver cell phone use increased in 2005, with 6 percent of drivers on hand-held phones in 2005 nationwide compared to 5 percent in 2004.... The 2005 rate translates into 974,000 vehicles on the road at any given daylight moment being driven by someone on a hand-held phone. It also translates into an estimated 10 percent of vehicles in the typical daylight moment whose driver is using some type of phone, whether hand-held or hands-free.... This report provides the only probability-based observed data on driver cell phone use in the United States."]

[Request #S60923]

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Teen Crashes: Everyone is at Risk. By the American Automobile Association. (The Association, Washington, DC) 2006. 8 p.

Full Text at:

["A new report uncovers the wider tragedy of fatal car crashes involving teen drivers and is putting new impetus behind state efforts to limit passengers in teenagers cars. Over the past decade, nearly two out of three victims in fatal car crashes involving 15-to-17-year-old drivers were the passengers of the teen drivers, occupants in other cars or pedestrians, according to a study." (January 18, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60924]

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The Fuel Tax and Alternatives for Transportation Funding. By the Committee for the Study of the Long-Term Viability of Fuel Taxes for Transportation Finance, Transportation Research Board. (The Board, Washington, DC) 2005. Various pagings.

Full Text at:

["The report examines the viability of existing revenue sources, the merits of present transportation finance arrangements, and potential directions for reform of transportation finance. According to the report, fuel taxes can remain the primary funding source for the nation's highways for at least another decade, but eventually replacing them with a system for metering road use and charging accordingly could benefit travelers and the public. In addition the current funding system does not help transportation agencies alleviate congestion or target investment in the most valuable projects" TRB Newsletter (January 31, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60925]

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Motor Fuel Taxation and Economic Development: A Regional Approach. By Richard W. England. IN: State Tax Notes, vol. 38 no. 14 (December 26, 2005) pp. 1065-1071.

["Although national governments certainly need to take coordinated action to reduce the carbon-intensity of the global economy, governments at the state and regional levels should not hesitate to take action, especially if their economies are heavy net importers of petroleum products.... What state governments need to do is to enact higher taxes on motor fuels and then rebate the incremental tax revenues to motor vehicle owners within their jurisdictions."]

[Request #S60926]

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Integrated Hydrogen and Intelligent Transportation Systems Evaluation for the California Department of Transportation. By Timothy E. Lipman and Susan A. Shaheen, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Berkeley. (California Department of Transportation, Sacramento, California) October 17, 2005. 57 p.

Full Text at:

["The report examines potential synergies between hydrogen energy systems and intelligent transportation systems (ITS). The report reviews activities in California and in other states and by the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate and demonstrate the use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel. In addition, the report summarizes concepts that link ITS and/or distributed power generation with transportation systems and potential links to further integration and enhancement with information technologies. The report also includes an initial examination of potential hydrogen-fueled vehicle and ITS integrated demonstration or pilot projects." TRB Newsletter (January 4, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60927]

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Integrating Sustainability into the Transportation Planning Process. By the Committee for the Conference on Introducing Sustainability into Surface Transportation Planning, Transportation Research Board. (The Board, Washington, DC) 2005. 71 p.

Full Text at:

["The conference examined whether and how sustainability objectives can be introduced into the planning process for surface transportation facilities and operations. The report explores issues associated with sustainability, the vision of a sustainable transportation system, the state of the practice, and strategies for integrating sustainability concepts into transportation planning." TRB Newsletter (January 31, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60928]

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Critical Issues in Transportation. By the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board. (The Board, Washington, DC) 2005. 16 p.

Full Text at:

["The Committee periodically identifies a set of critical issues in transportation to focus attention on the most significant transportation issue facing the country and on the areas most in need of innovation. Meeting the challenges posed by these issues—congestion, emergencies, energy and environment, equity, finance, human and intellectual capital, infrastructure, institutions, and safety—will require new ideas and creativity in the years ahead." TRB Newsletter (January 31, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S60929]

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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", "Transportation" IN: Studies in the News, 05-21 - 6-5, July 2005 - January 2006

[Includes: "Coastal Commission constitutionality upheld," "Environmental pollution in umbilical cord blood," "Court allows wide use of eminent domain," "Agricultural subsidies," "Groups sue over Delta water transfers," "Bi-national MTBE decision," "Dangers in tiny doses of chemicals," "State can impose mine cleanup regulations," "Court allows delay in clean air plan," "Greenhouse gas suit dismissed," "Global warming and hurricane activity," "Plan to restore Hetch Hetchy," "States sue over forest road rules," "Invasive species introduced locally via ships," "California sues USDA over invasive insect control," "Health of the Bay-Delta region," "Decline in arctic ice," "Colorado River's water and climate disruption in Arizona," "Global warming effects," "Changing trash to fuel," "Water conservation ," "Port fumes threaten region," "Tobacco smoke as a toxic air contaminant," "Groups sue to preserve roadless areas," "Park Service issues new management policies," "Court rejects Klamath water plan," "Wineries targeted for smog," "Rule to reduce idling diesel trucks," "Court ruling challenges CalFed," "Summer beach report card," "Navy sued over sonar damage to whales," "Wildfires and logging," "Recommendation to replace CalFed," "Federal food-safety net," "Air pollution generated by cargo industry," "Court allows border fence," "CalFed proposes reform," "CalFed stakeholder survey," "Water agencies urge more dams," "Air pollution district sprawl rules," "Emergency funding for disaster relief," and "Developers buying diary lands."]

[Request #S60930]

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