Subject: Studies in the News 06-50 (December 12, 2006)

Studies in the News
Environment, Growth Management and Transportation Supplement

Contents This Week

Introductory Material ECONOMY
   Vulnerabilities in the global economy
   Disinfecting and disinfesting food
   Sustainable production for biofuels
   High levels of diesel soot in Bay Area
   Port clean air plan
   Mercury pollution poisoning wildlife
   Take on global warming and make money
   Climate change technologies
   Service industries and GHG emissions
   Market impacts from climate change
   Inventory of California GHG emissions
   Earthquake risks of tall buildings
   State sued over lead ammo
   Lessons from flood control projects
   Court rules against San Diego habitat plan
   Lab meltdown may have caused cancer
   Tsunami preparedness inadequate
   Fish population near brink
   Arctic struggles to keep balance
   Spraying pesticide on water allowed
   Deciphering sudden oak death microbe
   Plastic marine debris
   Condition of San Francisco estuary
   Removing Klamath dams may save money
   Agency supports Klamath fish ladders
   Judge supports vernal pool protection
   Wildfires and global warming
   Container fee won't harm ports
   Traffic congestion and mitigation
   Evaluating transit programs
   Studies in the News, September 2006 - December 2006
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; 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:



End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation. By Barry C. Lynn. (Doubleday, New York, New York) 2005. 312 p.

{"Global corporations rely too much on single-source suppliers and run inventories too lean to be prepared for supplier interruptions. It is this very interdependence, once heralded by the drafters of free trade deals as peace-inspiring and stabilizing, that threatens the current economic system. Lynn, a fellow at the New American Foundation, attempts to unravel this history and the risk of disruption and to caution us of future catastrophe if we do not heed the warning signs." USA Today (August 29, 2005) 4B. NOTE: End of the Line.... is available for loan]

[Request #S64936]

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Radiofrequency Power Disinfects and Disinfests Food, Soils and Wastewater. By Manuel C. Lagunas-Solar and others. IN: California Agriculture, vol. 60, no. 4. (October 2006) pp. 192-202.

Full Text at:

["Laboratory tests have successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of radiofrequency (RF) power to disinfect and/or disinfest fresh produce, rice, soils, agricultural wastewater, and other foods and materials. Likewise, rapid pulses of RF are lethal to arthropod pests and may provide a nonthermal disinfestation process for fresh, temperature-sensitive commodities, as well as a promising alternative to the fumigant methyl bromide."]

[Request #S65001]

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Achieving Sustainable Production of Agricultural Biomass for Biorefinery Feedstock. By James Hettenhaus, CEA Inc. Prepared for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Industrial and Environmental Section. (The Organization, Washington, DC) November 2006.

["An industry shift toward embracing biomass products would first require farmers to view them as economically feasible. Once they provide sufficient amounts of feedstocks, biorefineries and railroads will boost their infrastructure.... As more commercial-scale plants come on line, some 200 million dry tons of feedstocks could be processed within three to five years, enough to triple current ethanol production.... The price tag to remove cellulosic ethanol -- manufactured from corn stover, straw from wheat and rice and other agricultural waste products -- would be tied largely to new equipment needed to adopt no-till cropping." Reuters (November 22, 2006) 1.]

Report. 28 p.

Executive Summary. 4 p.

[Request #S65002]

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Community Air Risk Evaluation Program: Phase I Findings and Policy Recommendations Related to Toxic Air Contaminants in the San Francisco Bay Area. By the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. (The District, San Francisco, California) September 2006. 18 p.

Full Text at:

[“Bay Area neighborhoods near freeways and ports are showered with the largest volumes of diesel soot, the region's top air pollutant for creating cancer risks, according to the region's clean air agency. Trucks on freeways are likely a big contributor. District officials are concerned that low-income, minority neighborhoods bear a disproportionate share of the diesel soot and other toxic air contaminants. In later phases of the study, researchers will examine wind direction and topography to attempt to determine how much pollution people are actually exposed to.” Contra Costa Times (October 23, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65003]

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San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan: Final. By the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. (Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California) November 2006.

["The entire fleet of aging diesel trucks that are a leading cause of unhealthful air around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would be replaced, possibly at industry cost, according to the final draft of a $2-billion plan to reduce pollution from ships, trains, terminal equipment and harbor craft by 45%.... But the plan would not target the truck drivers, who are on the bottom rung of the multibillion-dollar cargo industry at the two ports, the nation's busiest." Los Angeles Times (November 7, 2006) 1.]

Overview. 44 p.

Technical Report. 262 p.

Comments Compendium. 354 p.

[Request #S65004]

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Poisoning Wildlife: The Reality of Mercury Pollution. By the National Wildlife Federation. (The Federation, Reston, Virginia) September 2006. 24 p.

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["Mercury pollution from power plants and other industrial sources has accumulated in birds, mammals and reptiles across the country, and only cuts in emissions can curtail the contamination.... The report is the first major compilation of studies investigating mercury buildup in such wildlife as California clapper rails, Maine's bald eagles, Canadian loons and Florida panthers....High mercury levels in popular fish such as swordfish and canned albacore tuna prompted government health warnings aimed at pregnant women and children. The contamination also can kill or harm wildlife." San Francisco Chronicle (September 20, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65005]

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Sustainable Silicon Valley Report. By Sustainable Silicon Valley. (Sustainable Silicon Valley, San Jose, California) October 10, 2006. 44 p.

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["In the grand scheme of things, Silicon Valley emits just a tiny fraction of the world's greenhouse gases. Nevertheless, a coalition of major Silicon Valley businesses, nonprofits and government agencies is working to demonstrate that it is possible to take on global warming and make money while doing it. Fourteen members of the coalition cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 12 percent from 2000 to 2005. Since then, the group has grown to 43 organizations." San Jose Mercury News (October 25, 2006) B1.]

[Request #S65006]

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Strategic Plan: Climate Change Technology Program. By the U.S. Department of Energy and others. (The Department, Washington, DC) September 2006. 243 p.

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["Most anthropogenic greenhouse gases emitted over the course of the 21st century will come from equipment and infrastructure not yet built, a circumstance that poses significant opportunities to reduce or eliminate these emissions. The technologies outlined in this Plan— hydrogen, biorefining, clean coal, carbon sequestration, nuclear fission and fusion, and others—have the potential to transform our economy in fundamental ways and can address not just climate change, but energy security, air quality, and other pressing needs."]

[Request #S65007]

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"Are Services Better for Climate Change?" By Sangwon Suh IN: Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 40, no. 21. (November 1, 2006) pp.6555-6560.

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["Service industries like banking, health care, and telecommunications may have a squeaky-clean reputation when it comes to industrial pollution, but they are responsible for amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that actually are comparable to those of traditional manufacturing industries...Service industries directly produce less than 5 percent of GHG emissions by the U. S. industries. However, these service industries are heavy consumers of electricity, natural gas, transportation, and manufactured goods that involve GHG emissions. Consumption of services is responsible for over one-third of all GHG emissions in the United States--without even counting utilities and transportation services," Science Daily (November 6, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65008]

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Economic Damages from Climate Change: An Assessment of Market Impacts. By W.M. Hanemann, University of California, Berkeley and Larry Dale, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (The University, Berkeley, California) November 2006. 31 p.

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["In this paper we review... market impacts from climate change on US agriculture and on agriculture, water, forestry, and sea level in California.... We also present some specific examples of threshold effects in the California context that reinforce the warning that economic damages become more pronounced with rising temperatures.... The main methodological implication of our findings is that excessive averaging of changes in climate variables –- whether the averaging is temporal, spatial, or sectoral –- tends to understate the damages from global warming."]

[Request #S65009]

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Inventory of California Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 to 2004: Draft Staff Report. By Gerry Bemis and others, California Energy Commission. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) October 2006. 119 p.

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["Transportation by far accounted for most of the GHG emissions with 44.7 percent, with the power sector following second with 22.2 percent. Noting the state’s energy industry grew a 'modest' 18 percent over the 1990-2004 period, the report said that in-state power-related emissions increased 29 percent, overshadowed by the 40.4 percent increase in out-of-state power-related emissions. Even though imported power only accounts for 22 to 32 percent of the state’s total energy usage, it contributes 39 to 57 percent of the GHG emissions related to power consumption." California Energy Markets (November 3, 2006) 10.]

[Request #S65010]

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"Performance of Two 18-Story Steel Moment-Frame Buildings in Southern California During Two Simulated San Andreas Earthquakes." By Swaminathan Krishnan, and others. IN: Earthquake Spectra, vol. 22, no. 4. (November 2006) 45 p.

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["When the Big One hits, even the most advanced steel high-rises across the San Fernando Valley will be at risk of collapse, according to a Caltech study. A magnitude-7.9 earthquake could topple buildings built to standards in the latest codes. While newer skyscrapers in the Los Angeles region could be damaged during a mega-quake, office towers in the Valley are vulnerable to `probable collapse.’" Daily News of Los Angeles (August 15, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65011]

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Wishtoyo Foundation, et al. v. California Fish and Game Commission, et al. U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief. November 30, 2006. 36 p.

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[" Several environmental groups filed suit for continuing to let hunters use lead ammunition, which they allege poisons rare California condors.... The plaintiffs maintain that many California condors die after feeding on the carcasses of deer and other wildlife killed with lead bullets or buckshot. Golden and bald eagles are also harmed by ingesting lead." Los Angeles Times (December 1, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65012]

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From Flood Control to Integrated Water Resource Management: Lessons for the Gulf Coast from Flooding in Other Places in the Last Sixty Years. By James P. Kahan, RAND Corporation, and others. (RAND, Santa Monica, California) 2006. 68 p.

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[“The report suggests that flood-control planners place way too much reliance on structural solutions. 'Decisionmakers and the public tend to be overconfident about engineering solutions because the solutions appear to offer substantial protection along with economic development benefits.... Building bigger and better flood protection works does not necessarily maximize safety. Surrendering land to the water in the form of forgoing development of floodplains or actively removing formerly reclaimed land can lead to reduction in property loss and lives at risk.'" Marysville Appeal-Democrat (November 5, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65013]

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Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. Jim Bartel, et al. U.S. District Court, Southern District of California. 98-CV-2234-B. October 13, 2006. 61 p.

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["A judge shot a hole through San Diego's once-heralded blueprint for balancing development and ecological needs yesterday, setting a precedent for legal challenges to similar programs nationwide. The judge ruled that federal approvals for the city's plan virtually guaranteed development, but 'would permit monumental destruction' of several protected species that live in vernal pools, or temporary wetlands.... San Diego's blueprint and others like it are known as habitat conservation plans. Congress authorized them in 1982 as a way to meet certain requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act. The plans allow for the expansion of homes, roads and businesses while setting aside land where threatened and endangered species live." San Diego Union-Tribune (October 14, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65014]

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Report of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Advisory Panel. By Daniel Hirsch, University of California, Santa Cruz, and others. (The Panel, San Francisco, California) October 2006. 29 p.

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[“Radioactive emissions from a 1959 nuclear accident at a research lab near Simi Valley appear to have been much greater than previously suspected and could have resulted in hundreds of cancers in surrounding communities. Chemical contamination from rocket engine testing at the site continues to threaten soil and groundwater in the area around Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The nuclear meltdown, which remained virtually unknown to the public until 1979, could have caused between 260 and 1,800 cases of cancer ‘over a period of many decades.’ “ Los Angeles Times (October 6, 2006) A1.]

[Request #S65015]

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Tsunami Alert and Evacuation On the San Mateo County Coast. By the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury. (The Jury, Redwood City, California) November 2006. 11 p.

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["A report concluded that the ability of the county's coastal communities to respond to a tsunami warning is 'mixed.' "A tsunami could cause significant loss of life along the San Mateo coast, particularly if it occurs when the beaches are crowded,' the report indicates, adding that coastal communities from Daly City south to Pescadero should develop an emergency-response plan, upgrade their tsunami education programs, install signs along the coast and make other changes to improve preparedness for the arrival of a tsunami." Oakland Tribune (November 24, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65016]

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“Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services.” By Boris Worm, Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, and others. IN: Science, vol. 314, no. 5800. (November 3, 2006) pp. 787-790.

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[“The world's oceans are under an increasing assault from over-fishing, pollution and global warming that threatens to wipe out vital fisheries and to create a crisis in food supplies before the middle of this century, an international team of scientists warns. There is still time to reverse the trend, but only if quick action protects depleted fisheries more effectively and saves ocean habitats by creating new marine reserves. About 90 percent of all the fish and seafood species in the world's oceans have been depleted within the past century, meaning that the annual catch of them has been cut at least in half.” San Francisco Chronicle (November 3, 2006) A1.]

[Request #S65017]

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State of the Arctic. By J.Richter-Menge, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, U.S. Army, and others. (Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seattle, Washington) October 2006. 42 p.

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["An international team of scientists reported that rising temperatures were steadily transforming the Arctic —- warming millions of square miles of permafrost, promoting lush greenery on previously arid tundras and steadily shrinking the annual sea ice. Yet the researchers also found new patterns of cooling ocean currents and prevailing winds that suggested the Arctic, long considered a bellwether of global warming, may be reverting in some ways to more normal conditions not seen since the 1970s." Los Angeles Times (November 17, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65018]

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Application of Pesticides to Waters of the United States in Compliance With the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act: Final Rule. By the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. IN: Federal Register, vol. 71, no. 227. (November 27, 2006) pp. 68483-68492.

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["Pesticides can now be sprayed into and over waters without first obtaining special permits. The heavily lobbied decision is supposed to settle a dispute that's roiled federal courts and divided state regulators. It's popular among those who spray pesticides for a living, but it worries those who fear poisoned waters will result.... EPA officials concluded that a pesticide, when it's deliberately applied, isn't a 'pollutant' under the Clean Water Act. Consequently officials ruled that federal 'discharge' permits aren't necessary when using pesticides to control waterborne pests." Sacramento Bee (November 28, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65019]

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"Genomes Highlight Plant Pathogens' Powerful Arsenal." By Erik Stokstad. IN: Science, vol. 313, no. 5791 (September 1, 2006) p. 1217.

["The fight to save California's emblematic oaks from disease is gaining momentum as scientists decipher the genetic code of the microbe responsible for sudden oak death. Sudden oak death has killed more that a million oak trees in 14 counties along the California and Oregon coasts since it was first reported a decade ago." Oakland Tribune (September 5, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65020]

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Plastics in the World's Oceans. By Michelle Allsopp and others, Greenpeace International. (Greenpeace, Amsterdam, Netherlands) November 2006. 43 p.

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["Plastics consistently make up 60 to 80 percent of all marine debris. About 80 percent of the plastic in the ocean washes in from rivers, storm drains, beaches, sewage treatment plants and other sources; about 20 percent gets dumped in the ocean from vessels. Floating plastic debris can be cut worldwide by cleaning beaches, reducing garbage in storm drains, improving the handling and transport of raw pellet and other plastic materials, and adopting an international treaty prohibiting vessels from dumping trash at sea. The ultimate solution lies in policies that allow the use of plastics and synthetics only in cases where they are absolutely necessary, it said." San Francisco Chronicle (November 6, 2006) A1.]

[Request #S65021]

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Pulse of the Estuary: Monitoring and Managing Water Quality in the San Francisco Estuary: 2006. By the San Francisco Estuary Institute. (The Institute, Oakland, California) 2006. 88 p.

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["The amount of phytoplankton —- nature's most important building block in the food chain that feeds fish, clams, birds, harbor seals and other animals —- is increasing dramatically in San Francisco Bay. For now, experts say, the growth appears to be a good thing. But if it keeps steadily expanding in the years ahead, fish and wildlife could be threatened. Too much plankton also can be dangerous, causing harmful algae blooms that choke oxygen from the water. Scientists aren't sure what's behind the phenomenon." Oakland Tribune (September 17, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65022]

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Economic Modeling of Relicensing and Decommissioning Options for the Klamath Basin Hydroelectric Project. By M. Cubed and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Technical Services Center. Prepared for the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of the Interior. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) November 2006. 92 p.

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["A new study has found that decommissioning the dams could cost $100 million less than operating them for another generation.... The economic analysis should provide ammunition for Indian tribes, environmentalists and commercial fishermen eager to see the hydropower dams demolished to reopen more than 300 miles of river that have been blocked to migrating salmon for more than half a century.... The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is scheduled to rule on a new permit early next year. The dam operating firm, PacifiCorp, released its own plan, listing several ways the dams could be modified to ease concerns about salmon." Los Angeles Times (December 2, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65023]

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In the Matter of: Klamath Hydroelectric Project. National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Department of Commerce. 2006-NMFS-0001. September 29, 2006. 94 p.

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["A judge ruled there is ample evidence that salmon will benefit from improved access to the Klamath River, a decision that some believe may ultimately lead to removal of dams on the river. The ruling came in an administrative hearing process over the relicensing of four Klamath River Dams... The ruling comes just days after a federal panel that licenses hydropower dams issued a preliminary environmental report rejecting fish ladders. That report, by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, largely sided with the less-costly proposal to truck salmon around the dams. Dam foes hope the judge's ruling will force the commission to amend its draft plan." Sacramento Bee (September 29, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65024]

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Home Builders Association of Northern California, et al. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California. CIV S05-0629. November 1, 2006. 71 p.

[“A U.S. district judge has rejected the bulk of wide-ranging legal challenges to federal designation of nearly 860,000 acres in California and Oregon as critical habitat for 15 imperiled plants and animals that depend on seasonal wetlands -- also known as vernal pools -- to survive.... The judge ruled that the agency's work passed muster on every point except when it did not designate as critical habitat two tracts involving ongoing public projects. One tract is part of the development of the new University of California, Merced, campus, and the other is the widening of Highway 99 in Tehama County.... The judge agreed with the conservationists that there is insufficient evidence that the agency, in choosing critical habitat, considered recovery of the 15 species to the point where they can be taken off the endangered list." Sacramento Bee (November 7, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65025]

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The San Diego Declaration on Climate Change and Fire Management: Draft. By the Association for Fire Ecology and the Third International Fire Ecology and Management Congress. (The Congress, San Diego, California) November 2006.

["Fire crews, land managers, ecologists and others need a better understanding of how global warming is making wildfires more frequent, bigger and more destructive, thousands of researchers meeting in San Diego agreed.... Scientists who study wildfires are only beginning to understand how global warming could change fire dynamics, from the American West to southern Australia to the Canadian boreal forest." San Diego Union Tribune (November 14, 2006) 1.]

Declaration. 5 p.

Press Release. 2 p.

[Request #S65026]

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Cargo on the Move Through California: Evaluating Container Fee Impacts on Port Choice. By James J. Corbett, Energy and Environmental Research Associates, LLC, and others. (The Associates, Pittsford, New York) July 28, 2006. 41 p.

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[“A proposed $30 fee on each container of foreign-made goods imported through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would raise millions for transportation and air-quality projects without significantly hurting business. The study contradicts the argument by some shippers that such a fee would prompt business to leave Southern California ports for other sites along the West Coast. The fee would cause, at most, about 1.5 percent of ships to shun Los Angeles/Long Beach for other ports. Inland transportation advocates and local governments are watching the issue closely." The Riverside Press-Enterprise (August 16, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S65027]

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Traffic Congestion and Reliability: Trends and Advanced Strategies for Congestion Mitigation. By Cambridge Systematics and the Texas Transportation Institute. Prepared for the Federal Highway Administration. (The Administration, Washington, DC) September 2006. 140 p.

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["The report pays particular attention to the concept of travel time reliability – how consistent travel conditions are from day-to-day – and strategies aimed at improving reliability. The variation in travel times is now understood as a separate component of the public’s and business sector’s frustration with congestion problems. Average travel times have increased and the report discusses ways to reduce them. But the day-to-day variations in travel conditions pose their own challenges and the problem requires a different set of solution strategies."]

[Request #S65028]

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Developing Guidelines for Evaluating, Selecting, and Implementing Suburban Transit Services. By Urbitran Associates and others. Prepared for the Transit Cooperative Research Program, Transportation Research Board. (The Board, Washington, DC) April 2006. 250 p.

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["The state of suburban transit services continues to evolve just as the state of suburbs also evolves. For example, as suburbia extends into new areas the former suburban areas begin to more resemble the downtown areas of decades ago, thus further stretching the resources required to adequately connect those new suburban areas with public transit... Measurement processes for these services can also vary from a relatively stringent quantitative analysis, e.g. meeting a minimum ridership per hour threshold, to a less stringent qualitative view, which could include maintaining community control of local circulators."]

[Request #S65029]

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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, 06-39 - 06-49, September 2006 - December 2006

[Includes: "Sustainable forestry," "Sequoia logging plan rejected," "Local land use regulations," "Cost of traffic and traffic relief," "Los Angeles sues over biosolids," "Carbon pricing," "San Joaquin River settlement," "Airport expansion and land use planning," "Returning trolley cars to Los Angeles," "Recovery of endangered species," "Army report on levee stability," "Smart growth outcomes," "Port security and global supply chains," "Global warming and animal habitats," "Restoring the Salton Sea," "The cost of freight transport," "Air pollution from film industry," "Economics of climate change," "Highway safety plan," and "Need for increased port security."]

[Request #S61825]

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