Subject: Studies in the News 07-40 (July 9, 2007)

Studies in the News
Environment, Growth Management and Transportation Supplement

Contents This Week

   Ethanol effect on agriculture
   The state of air pollution
   Air emissions impact of plug-in hybrids
   Cancer risks from nearby railyards
   South Coast air quality plan
   Regulations target construction equipment
   Local governments must curb bacterial pollution
   Some beaches in poor shape
   Possible dangers with microbe lab
   California's Clean Air Act waiver
   Trends in carbon dioxide emissions
   Addressing climate change mitigation
   Reporting greenhouse gas emissions
   Analysis of California climate initiative
   Early actions to mitigate climate change
   Climate change risks for insurance programs
   Condition of coastal estuaries
   San Mateo Creek endangered
   Permanent drought in southwest
   Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
   Sea turtles imperiled in tuna fishing
   Environmental impacts of wind-energy projects
   New federal forest rules invalidated
   Analysis of toxic chemicals releases
   Risks of chlorine gas railcars
   Do real planning
   LNG spill risks
   Marine deaths linked to toxin
   EPA sued over cruise ship inaction
   State of the state parks
   Pesticides may endanger wildlife
   Suit filed over sludge composting plant
   Plastic shopping bag ordinance
   Refineries may be a source of mercury in SF Bay
   Logging burned trees may make fires worse
   Esperanza fire accident
   Bay Area airports must expand to meet demand
   Record southland port trade predicted
   Perspectives on public private partnerships
   Studies in the News, April 2007 - June 2007
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:



Ethanol Expansion in the United States: How Will the Agricultural Sector Adjust? By Paul C. Westcott, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. (The Service, Washington, DC) ) May 2007. 20 p.

Full Text at:

["A large expansion in ethanol production is underway in the United States. Cellulosic sources of feedstocks for ethanol production hold some promise for the future, but the primary feedstock in the United States currently is corn. Market adjustments to this increased demand extend well beyond the corn sector to supply and demand for other crops, such as soybeans and cotton, as well as to the livestock industries. USDA’s longterm projections are used to illustrate anticipated changes in the agricultural sector."]

[Request #S74001]

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State of the Air: 2007. By the American Lung Association. (The Association, New York, New York) 2007.

["The association found that the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside metropolitan area had the worst air based on 2003 through 2005 figures.... The Pittsburgh area was ranked as the nation's second most polluted metropolitan area followed by Bakersfield, Calif., Birmingham, Ala., Detroit and Cleveland. Visalia, Calif., Cincinnati, Indianapolis and St. Louis rounded out the top 10. The news wasn't all bad for Los Angeles. Despite the dubious distinction, the number of days residents breathed the nation's worst ozone levels was fewer than in previous years." San Francisco Chronicle (May 1, 2007) 1.]

Report. 212 p.

Executive Summary. 1 p.

[Request #S74002]

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Air Emissions Impacts of Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles in Minnesota’s Passenger Fleet: Report for the Plug-in Hybrid Task Force. By Anne Claflin and others, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. (The Agency, St.Paul, Minnesota) March 2007. 46 p.

Full Text at:

[“The Plug-in Hybrid Task Force and the Minnesota Legislature tasked the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to evaluate the emissions impacts of incorporating PHEVs into the vehicle fleet. This study models the environmental impacts, specifically criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, associated with converting portions of all light-duty vehicles to PHEVs. We also evaluate the emission consequences of converting the fleet of light-duty vehicles to PHEVs. As an additional alternative to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, a scenario involving pure hybrid electric vehicles was considered.”]

[Request #S74004]

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Draft Health Risk Assessment for the Union Pacific Railroad Commerce Railyard. By Jing Yuan and others, California Air Resources Board. (The Board, Sacramento, California) May 2007. 107 p.

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[“Residents who live in the shadow of Southern California's booming rail yards face cancer risks from soot as much as 140% greater than in the rest of the region. In addition, clouds of diesel exhaust blown by the wind from the rail yards blanket wide swaths of Greater Los Angeles, upping annual cancer risks slightly for millions more residents. Hardest hit in the region are neighborhoods in Commerce that are near one Union Pacific and three BNSF yards. Residents in the tidy, working-class neighborhoods of Bandini and Ayers-Leonis are 70% to 140% more likely to contract cancer from diesel soot than people in the rest of Los Angeles.” Los Angeles Times (May 25, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74005]

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Draft Final 2007 Air Quality Management Plan. By the South Coast Air Quality Management District. (The District, Diamond Bar, California) June 1, 2007.

["Officials have proposed a ban on wood-burning fireplaces in all new homes in Los Angeles, Orange and portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In addition, on winter days when pollution spikes, wood-fueled blazes in all fireplaces would be banned in highly affected areas.... The plan also includes truck-only lanes on the 710 and 15 freeways, and electric rail lines from Los Angeles' Westside to Ontario airport and from the ports to Inland Empire warehouses. Reducing paint thinner emissions and gas station and refinery leaks is also part of the host of proposed measures.... Another vote is scheduled for September to finalize the fireplace regulation." Los Angeles Times (June 1, 2007) 1.]

Report. Various pagings.

Executive Summary. 23 p.

[Request #S74006]

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Staff Report: Initial Statement of Reasons for Proposed Rulemaking. Proposed Regulation for In-Use Off-Road Diesel Vehicles. By the Staff of the California Air Resources Board. (The Board, Sacramento, California) April 2007.

[“The 'off-road' regulation is considered a key piece of the implementation plan to meet federal air pollution standards, and is seen by the board and activists as crucial for cutting diesel particulate matter thought to contribute to cancer and premature death. The regulation is also expected to be one of the most costly in the history of the board. ARB has delayed until July 26 adoption of the off-road rule... The construction industry plans soon to float to air board officials a counter regulatory proposal outlining what the industry believes would be a more economically feasible plan to reduce engine emissions from a variety of equipment." Inside EPA (June 22, 2007) 1.]

Staff Report. 80 p.

Appendix A: Proposed Regulation. 35 p.

[Request #S74007]

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Tentative Resolution No. R9-2007-0044: Total Maximum Daily Loads for Indicator Bacteria, Project I: Beaches and Creeks in the San Diego Region. By the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region. (The Board, San Diego, California) April 25, 2007.

["State regulators discussed a plan to reduce bacterial pollution at beaches, river mouths and creeks along 62 miles of coastline from Laguna Beach to San Diego.... Unlike the agency's previous plans to reduce contaminants that can harm wildlife and aquatic habitat, this blueprint is the first aimed at safeguarding people's health by curbing bacteria in urban runoff.... Environmentalists said the plan is long overdue. Officials from several local governments contend it is too stringent and overly expensive to follow. They also are concerned the cleanup goals might be tough to accomplish because bacteria -– most of it benign to humans -– exist everywhere in the natural environment." San Diego Union-Tribune (April 26, 2007) 1.]

Tentative Resolution. 54 p.

Summary Report.5 p.

Technical Report. 207 p.

[Request #S74008]

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Beach Report Card, 2006-2007: 17th Annual Report. By Heal the Bay. (Heal the Bay, Santa Monica, California) May 23, 2007. 88 p.

Full Text at:

[“For the second straight year, Los Angeles County had the worst coastal water quality in the state with seven beaches ranking among the state's 10 most polluted. The biggest surprise in this year's report: the dramatic deterioration in water quality along the several-mile Long Beach coastline, which ranked worst in the state. Other entries on the 10-worst list were in San Mateo, Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties. Overall, however, water quality along the state has been 'above average,' mostly because of the low rainfall. From San Luis Obispo County north to Humboldt County, more than 90% of the beaches earned A's in terms of quality.” Los Angeles Times (May 24, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74009]

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Draft Revised Environmental Assessment for The Proposed Construction and Operation of a Biosafety Level 3 Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California. By the National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. (The Administration, Livermore, California) March 2007.

["'A suicidal plane crash' by terrorists could unleash into the environment some of the world's scariest diseases from a proposed killer-microbe lab. And a saboteur inside the lab could conceivably set off a bomb that might cause a 'catastrophic' breach of all microbe containment systems. However the study concludes that a direct terrorist assault on the facility is 'highly unlikely' to succeed." San Francisco Chronicle (April 12, 2007) 1.]

Environmental Assessment. 95 p.

Press Release. 2 p.

[Request #S74010]

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Examining the Case for the California Waiver: Statement of Jonathan H. Adler, Case Western Reserve School of Law, before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. (The Committee, Washington, DC) May 22, 2007. 8 p.

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["If the EPA were to deny California’s waiver request, it is most likely to do so because California’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles is not necessary to meet 'compelling and extraordinary conditions.' In the past, California has been able to argue that more stringent controls on vehicular emissions regulated by the EPA were necessary due to California’s uniquely severe urban air pollution problems. None of these arguments are applicable in the context of global climate change. California is but one contributor of greenhouse gas emission to the global climate commons, and the degree of warming experienced by California is a consequence of global atmospheric concentrations."]

[Request #S74011]

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The Carbon Boom: State and National Trends in Carbon Dioxide Emissions Since 1990. By Alison Cassady, Environment California Research & Policy Center. (Environment California, Los Angeles, California) April 2007. 44 p.

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["Using the most recent state fossil fuel consumption data from the Department of Energy, this report examines trends in carbon dioxide emissions nationally and by state for the 15 years spanning 1990 to 2004.... Carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuel consumption is on the rise in the United States, increasing by 18 percent between 1990 and 2004. Electric power plants and the transportation sector—particularly cars and light trucks—drove the increase in emissions nationwide. Between 1990 and 2004, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector jumped by 28 percent and from the transportation sector by almost a quarter."]

[Request #S74003]

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Climate Action Team Proposed Early Actions to Mitigate Climate Change in California. By the Climate Action Team, California Environmental Protection Agency. (The Team, Sacramento, California) April 20, 2007. 14 p.

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["The California Air Resources Board, under the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 has the primary responsibility for reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions. However, actions by many other state agencies are essential to meeting the emission reduction requirements of the Act. A substantial portion of the GHG emission reductions proposed in the 2006 Climate Action Team Report to reach 1990 emission levels by 2020 are strategies to be taken by agencies other than the ARB."]

[Request #S74012]

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The Climate Registry Information Package. By the Climate Registry Steering Committee. (The Registry, Los Angeles, California). March 2007. 51 p.

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["Thirty-one states, representing over 70 percent of the U.S. population, are charter members of The Climate Registry, marking the largest national effort to take action on climate change.... The newly formed climate registry is a tool to measure, track, verify and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions accurately, transparently and consistently across borders and industry sectors.... Currently, greenhouse gas emissions are not required to be reported in the United States. The lack of leadership at the federal level - combined with the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring - has compelled more than half of the states throughout the U.S. to create The Climate Registry." Environment News Service (May 8, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74013]

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Program on Technology Innovation: Economic Analysis of California Climate Initiatives: An Integrated Approach. By Larry J. Williams, Electric Power Research Institute. (The Institute, Palo Alto, California) June 2007.

["The main conclusion of this study is that the proposed emission limits can, indeed, be achieved, but that the costs involved will vary widely depending upon the eventual approaches chosen to implement specific policy goals....Broad cap-and-trade programs are more cost-effective than are command-and-control regulations because the former can equalize the cost of avoiding an additional ton of emissions (marginal abatement costs) across all available options. Current uncertainties about the future course of California’s climate policy are likely to affect consumer behavior, business R&D spending, and investments in long lived capital assets. Failure to resolve these issues leaves firms and households uncertain about even relatively near-term investment decisions."]

Report. 60 p.

Executive Summary. 7 p.

[Request #S74014]

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Proposed Early Actions to Mitigate Climate Change In California. April 2007 AND: Press Release: California Moves Swiftly to Further Address Climate Change Emissions. June 21, 2007. By the California Air Resources Board. (The Board, Sacramento, California)

["State regulators indicated they will move cautiously toward reducing greenhouse gases. Officials adopted 'early action' measures that could eventually require cars and trucks to use alternative fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel, restrict the use of some automobile air-conditioning refrigerants and force landfills to capture methane gas formed by rotting garbage. But they ordered staff members to come back in six months with an analysis of concerns raised by business and environmental groups concerned about strategies used to tackle climate change.... The cautious approach to implementation was met with relief by a coalition of business groups. Others were disappointed in the board's stance." Los Angeles Times (June 22, 2007) B3.]

Report. 20 p.

Press release. 1 p.

[Request #S74015]

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Climate Change: Financial Risks to Federal and Private Insurers in Coming Decades Are Potentially Significant. By the U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-07-285. (The Office, Washington DC) April, 2007. 74 p.

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["Private insurers use computer models and other strategies to shift away from risk-prone areas, but federal insurers haven't responded the same way to climate-change concerns. Federal insurers 'have little reason to develop information on their long-term exposure,' because they aren't required to do so, and focus on discounted premiums to sell more policies...Since 1980, the flood-insurance program has quadrupled its coverage to almost $1 trillion. Meanwhile, crop insurers have increased their portfolio by nearly 26 times, reaching $44 billion. More policyholders mean that a repeat of Midwest flooding that damaged crops in 1993 would cost the government five times more." Wall Street Journal (April 19, 2007) A7.]

[Request #S74025]

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National Estuary Program Coastal Condition Report. By the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (The Agency, Washington, DC) June 2007.

["More than one-third of the coastal waters that link America's rivers and oceans are in poor condition.... The EPA analyzed 1,239 sites in its first survey of the country's 28 major estuaries, which provide breeding grounds and shelter for fish and birds. It found that bodies of water with large numbers of people living nearby suffered the most. While counties with big estuaries make up only 6 percent of the coastal land area, they contain more than two-thirds of the coastal population. The impact of building communities and shipping facilities, and providing them with sewers, put the estuaries under stress."]

Introduction and Summary. 80 p.

San Francisco Estuaries. 14 p.

Morro Bay Estuary. 10 p.

Santa Monica Bay Restoration. 11 p.

[Request #S74016]

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America's Most Endangered Rivers: 2007. By American Rivers. (American Rivers, Washington, DC) April 2007. 34 p.

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["A national conservation group named San Mateo Creek as the nation's second-most imperiled waterway on its annual list of the 10 most endangered rivers.... It picked San Mateo Creek for the No. 2 spot because of 'the magnitude of the threat' posed by a planned toll road, plus state and federal agencies' decisions expected in the next two years that 'will decide the future of the creek.' The creek stretches for 22 miles from its headwaters in the Cleveland National Forest and the Santa Ana Mountains in Riverside County to the Pacific Ocean at San Onofre. It also borders Camp Pendleton."]

[Request #S74020]

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Model Projections of an Imminent Transition to a More Arid Climate in Southwestern North America. By Richard Seager and others. IN: Science, 10.1126/science.1139601 (April 9 2007)

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["The driest periods of the last century -— the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the droughts of the 1950s -— may become the norm in the Southwest United States within decades because of global warming.... The research suggests that the transformation may already be underway. Much of the region has been in a severe drought since 2000, which the study's analysis of computer climate models shows as the beginning of a long dry period. The study predicts a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest -— one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation." Los Angeles Times (April 6, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74017]

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Millennium Assessment Reports. By the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. (The Assessment, Washington, DC) 2005. Various pagings

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["Initiated in 2001, the objective of the Millenium Assessment (MA) was to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and the scientific basis for action needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of those systems and their contribution to human well-being. The MA has involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Their findings, contained in five technical volumes and six synthesis reports, provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide (such as clean water, food, forest products, flood control, and natural resources) and the options to restore, conserve or enhance the sustainable use of ecosystems."]

[Request #S74018]

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“Behavioral Responses of Sea Turtles to Lightsticks Used in Longline Fisheries.” By J.H. Wang, and others. IN: Animal Conservation, vol. 10, no. 2 (2007) pp. 176-182.

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[“Longline fishermen use light sticks similar to the glowing tubes that delight trick-or-treaters to lure tuna and swordfish to baited hooks. New research suggests that for endangered sea turtles, the lights may hold a fatal attraction. Young loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, which are protected because of declining numbers, are inadvertently hooked during longline fishing.” San Diego Union-Tribune (May 10, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74019]

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Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects. By the Committee on the Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects, National Research Council. (National Academies Press, Washington, DC) 2007. 346 p.

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["Wind facilities can have certain adverse environmental effects by damaging habitat and killing birds and bats that fly into turbines. However, the committee saw no evidence that fatalities from existing wind facilities are causing measurable changes in bird populations. A possible exception is deaths among birds of prey near Altamont Pass, Calif. -- a facility with older, smaller turbines that appear more apt to kill such birds than newer turbines are.... The report outlines a process to help communities and developers assess a project's likely aesthetic effects, and suggests ways to minimize them.... Governments at the state and local levels should provide developers and the public with guidance to help them plan for wind-energy development."]

[Request #S73932]

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Citizens For Better Forestry, et al. vs. U.S. Department of Agriculture, et al. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. C05-1144. March 30, 2007. 60 p.

[“A federal judge tossed out Bush administration rules that gave national forest managers more discretion to approve logging and other commercial projects without lengthy environmental reviews. [The judge] ruled that the administration failed to adequately consider the environmental effects the new rules would have and neglected to properly gather public comment on the issue. The ruling overturns a key administration environmental rule that governs all 192 million acres of national forests and stops pro-business plans in the parks under way for more than two years.” Fresno Bee (March 30, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74021]

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Toxic Pollution and Health: An Analysis of Toxic Chemicals Released in Communities across the United States. By Alison Cassady and Alex Fidis, U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. (The Group, Washington, DC) March 2007. 65 p.

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["In 2004 alone, U.S. industrial facilities released 1.5 billion pounds of toxic pollutants linked to serious health effects, threatening hundreds of communities across the country.... Due to a recent EPA action restricting the public’s right-to-know, this report may provide one of the last complete pictures of toxic pollution. The report analyzes these dangerous releases by state, country and zip code to provide a detailed toxic pollution picture."]

[Request #S74023]

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Toxic Trains and the Terrorist Threat: How Water Utilities Can Get Chlorine Gas Off the Rails and Out of American Communities. By Paul Orum, Center for American Progress. (The Center, Washington, DC) April 2007.

["More than 25 million Americans are living in harm's way because many sewage treatment and water purification plants continue to use large rail tank cars to ship deadly chlorine gas that kills bacteria.... Prompted by a wide consensus that hazardous chemicals shipped in the quantity carried by rail cars could be used as chemical warheads in a terror attack, the study finds that the threat could be inexpensively neutralized.... The report lists 37 facilities across the nation, including wastewater treatment plants in San Jose, Stockton and Elk Grove, that have yet to make the switch." Oakland Tribune (April 3, 2007) 1.]

Report. 32 p.

Press release. 2 p.
press release

[Request #S74032]

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Do Real Planning. By the Los Angeles Planning Commission. (The Commission, Los Angeles, California) April 2007. 2 p.

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["Unwilling to tolerate shoddy development any longer, the Los Angeles Planning Commission is floating a list of 14 bold principles. Some of the principles the commission released had a familiar ring -— putting more housing and jobs near mass transit and combating 'mansionization' of neighborhoods, for example. Others, aimed at creating a better-looking metropolis, call for burying overhead wires, vastly increasing landscaping and arresting 'visual blight.'" Los Angeles Times (April 24, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74024]

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Maritime Security: Opportunities Exist to Further Clarify the Consequences of a Liquefied Natural Gas Tanker Spill. By Mark Gaffigan, Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-07-840T. (The Office, Washington, D.C.) May 7, 2007. 11 p.

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["The six studies examining the potential effect of a fire resulting from an LNG spill produced varying results; some studies also examined other potential hazards of a large LNG spill and reached consistent conclusions on explosions.... GAO’s expert panel generally agreed on the public safety impact of an LNG spill caused by a terrorist attack, disagreed on conclusions of a specific study, and suggested future research priorities. Experts agreed that the most likely public safety impact of an LNG spill is the heat impact of a fire and that explosions are not likely to occur unless LNG vapors are in confined spaces."]

[Request #S74026]

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Crisis Off Our Coast: Deadly Domoic Acid Killing Record Numbers of Animals in Southern California: Press Release. By the International Bird Rescue Research Center. (The Center, San Pedro, California) April 25, 2007) 1 p.

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["A particularly virulent outbreak of naturally occurring toxin off the California coast has been linked to the deaths of hundreds of marine mammals and birds.... The toxin, domoic acid, is produced by microscopic algae and has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Scientists suspect the upsurge has been caused by such things as overfishing, destruction of wetlands and pollution, all of which have harmed fisheries and allowed algae to flourish." Los Angeles Times (April 27, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74027]

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Friends of the Earth v. Stephen Johnson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. District Court, District of Columbia. Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief. May 9, 2007. 10 p.

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["Environmentalists sued the Bush administration over its inaction on pollution from cruise ships, saying the government has failed to respond to a petition filed more than seven years ago by groups seeking tighter controls on sewage and toxic discharges from the fleets of 'floating cities.'... California, one of four states that regulate cruise ship discharges, prohibits all dumping, including gray water and treated as well as untreated sewage, within 3 miles of the coast. The state's authority to exceed federal regulation of sewage is unclear and has been the subject of discussions between California and the EPA." San Francisco Chronicle (May 10, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74028]

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State of Our State Parks Report: 2007. By the California State Parks Foundation. (The Foundation, Kentfield, California) March 2007. 8 p

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["State parks face a $1.2 billion maintenance backlog and critical threats from development and highway construction. Although last year voters approved $400 million in bond spending for parks, problems will mount unless lawmakers spend more on California's 278 state parks and insulate them from development.... As grave as the funding shortfall is, park advocates said, California parks face greater threats from development and highways." San Francisco Chronicle (March 26, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74029]

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Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. Complaint. May 30, 2007.

["According to a lawsuit, the nation's top environmental agency has illegally approved 60 pesticides without first checking to see if they could harm endangered wildlife, including many Bay Area species.... The lawsuit seeks to compel the EPA to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the issue as required by federal law. It also asks that the EPA be forced to study the cumulative environmental impacts of several pesticides as well as the potential harm caused by so-called 'inert' chemicals used to produce pesticides.... EPA officials dismissed the allegations, saying the agency appropriately investigates pesticides to make sure they do not have a significantly detrimental impact on protected species." San Francisco Chronicle (May 31, 2007) 1.]

Complaint. 49 p.

Press release. 1 p.
press release

[Request #S74030]

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Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. County of San Bernardino. San Bernardino County Superior Court. Petition for Writ of Mandate. March 29, 2007. 19 p.

[“Environmentalists and high-desert residents trying to stop an open-air sewage sludge composting plant from being built near Hinkley filed a lawsuit against San Bernardino County, alleging that it violated state environmental laws in approving the facility. In February, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the project despite strong objections by residents worried about potential health hazards. The lawsuit alleges that the county approved the composting plant without fully analyzing its potential impact on air quality and public health. The suit also contends that the project doesn't adequately protect the threatened desert tortoise and the Mojave ground squirrel.” Los Angeles Times (March 30, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74033]

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Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance. Ordinance No. 81-07. By the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. (The Board, San Francisco, California) April 10, 2007. 10 p.

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[“The city's Board of Supervisors approved groundbreaking legislation to outlaw plastic checkout bags at large supermarkets in about six months and large chain pharmacies in about a year. The ordinance is the first such law in any city in the United States. Under the legislation, which passed 10-1 in the first of two votes, large markets and pharmacies will have the option of using compostable bags made of corn starch or bags made of recyclable paper.” San Francisco Chronicle (March 28, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74031]

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Letter to Petroleum Refineries Requiring Technical Reports on the Mass Balance and Fate of Mercury in Crude Oil. By the Staff of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. (The Board, Oakland, California) April 2007.

["Hundreds of pounds of mercury from Bay Area oil refineries are unaccounted for and could be flowing into San Francisco Bay every year, poisoning fish and threatening public health.... New research has concluded that roughly 3,700 pounds of mercury a year are coming into the five Bay Area refineries in crude oil -- and nobody knows where it goes after the oil is refined into gasoline. The staff of the regional water board plans to order all five Bay Area refineries to measure the mercury concentrations in their crude oil and document where it ends up -- in the air, in wastewater and in solid waste sludge -- or face fines of $1,000 a day." San Jose Mercury News (April 10, 2007) 1.]

Staff Report. 2 p.

Letter. 7 p.

[Request #S74034]

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"Reburn Severity in Managed and Unmanaged Vegetation in a Large Wildfire." By Jonathan R. Thompson and others. IN: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 10.1073/pnas.0700229104. (June 11, 2007)

Full Text at:

["Logging dead trees after a wildfire and planting new ones can make future fires worse, at least for a decade or two while the young trees create a volatile source of fuel, scientists found in a study that contradicts conventional practices. The findings raise questions about the long-standing practice of salvage logging on national forests. The study, the first of its kind, comes at a time when global warming is expected to increase the size and numbers of wildfires.... Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the Forest Service, noted that every decision on whether to salvage logs is specific to the wildfire site and based on a combination of economic and ecological factors." Associated Press (June 11, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74022]

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Esperanza Fire Accident Investigation Factual Report: Riverside County, California. By Randy Moore, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Brad Harris, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Sacramento, California) October 26, 2006. 118 p.

Full Text at:

["Human error caused the deaths of five firefighters battling the Esperanza Fire near Banning last year. The report concludes that two 'causal factors' behind the deadly burnover involved errors relating to the threat that Esperanza's flames posed to fire personnel. 'There was a loss of situational awareness concerning the dangers associated with potential fire behavior and fire environment while in a complex wildland urban interface situation.' The report also concluded that 'organizational culture' was a contributing factor that led to the burnover. 'The public (social and political) and firefighting communities expect and tolerate firefighters accepting a notably higher risk for structure protection on wildland fires, than when other resources/values are threatened by wildfire.' The report did not contain any safety recommendations on prevention of fatalities." Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (May 23, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74035]

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Capacity Needs in the National Airspace System: An Analysis of Airports and Metropolitan Area Demand and Operational Capacity in the Future. By The Mitre Corporation, Advanced Aviation System Development. (Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC) May 2007. 50 p.

Full Text at:

[“Bay Area airports will need to expand their capacity by 2015 and work together to find regional solutions to air traffic congestion problems or face gridlock and serious delays. The Bay Area needs to increase the number of flights it can handle by 2025, a task it says could be difficult because the region is hampered by ‘geographic, terrain and airspace issues’ that limit its ability to add additional runway capacity. Because of that, the region's airports should explore using existing smaller airports in the region to help take the burden off of San Francisco and Oakland, an option already being considered. The report also suggests using new technology to increase runway capacity.” San Francisco Chronicle (May 16, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S74036]

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International Trade Trends & Impacts: The Southern California Region 2006 Results and 2007 Outlook. By Eduardo J. Martinez, and others, Economic Information and Research Department, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. (The Corporation, Los Angeles, California) May 2007. 51 p.

Full Text at:

[“International trade through Southern California will hit record highs again in 2007, but experts warned of several developing problems and rising objections to the public-health cost of moving international goods. The study warned that the railroad system serving the region was nearly at capacity already. It also said that fees on cargo containers, proposed to help defray the costs of pollution reduction, might drive some business to other ports. The report added that neighbors and environmentalists were increasingly angry over traffic congestion and unchecked diesel emissions from ships, trucks and other port equipment.” Los Angeles Times (May 1, 2007) C-6.]

[Request #S74037]

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Public Private Partnerships: State and User Perspectives: Testimony by California State Senator Alan Lowenthal and others, before the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. (The Subcommittee, Washington, DC) May 24, 2007. Various pagings.

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["There are a series of intermediate steps that states may take to address infrastructure dilemmas and to take advantage of private sector benefits such as innovation and efficiency. First, states could develop more publicly-operated toll facilities, which also invite private capital into the mix through the sale of tax-exempt bonds. States could allow a greater role for the private sector in the operation of facilities. Finally, regardless of whether a facility is public or private, both the federal government and states should do more to encourage demand management strategies in order to achieve higher performance from our existing facilities."]

[Request #S74038]

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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," and "Transportation." IN: Studies in the News, 07-15 - 07-39, April 2007 - June 2007.

[Includes: "FDA offers guidelines to fresh food industry," "Investigation of E. coli in spinach," "California being warmed by urbanization," "Alternate financing for airports," "EPA has authority to regulate CO2," "World vulnerability to climate change," "California tops in minorities living with toxic wastes," "Using catch shares to improve fish stocks," "RFID in transportation applications," "Intergovernmental panel on mitigation of climate change," "Low-carbon fuel standard," "Hazardous waste at military sites," "A new approach to land assembly problems," "States told to prepare for older driver boom," "Pedestrian and bicycle safety," "Safeguarding agricultural imports," "Recommendations for a cap-and-trade system," and "Infrastructure perspective."

[Request #S]

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