Weekly Green: March 22, 2012

 

Hello all. In this week's headlines:

  • It's World Water Day;
  • Americans want tighter fracking regulations;
  • Methyl iodide pulled from market;
  • Closing state parks is "penny foolish";
  • Delta pipe's impact on water bills could sink plan;
  • Shark-finning ban OKd by EU nations;
  • and much more.

Leading Off

 
As the world's population grows beyond 7 billion, clean water is growing scarcer in densely populated areas as well as in remote villages. Collected here are recent images showing water in our lives -- how we use it, abuse it, and depend on it.
 
 
Here in California, policymakers and environmental activists are preparing to revive efforts to shine a spotlight on the practice through more disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking. 
 
 
Air pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil and gas drilling method, may contribute to “acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites,” according to a new study.
 
 
In a pretty impressive act of journalism, the Associated Press recently conducted a "statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production." The result: "No statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump."
 
 
A pesticide used primarily in the strawberry industry is being pulled from the U.S. market by its Japanese manufacturer, a surprising move that comes after harsh criticism from environmentalists and farmworkers who claim the chemical is toxic and may cause cancer.
 
 
Just because the state says the public can't enter a park doesn't make it so, and that's the chief reason officials should reexamine their plan to close up to 70 parks starting in July.

Environmental News

 
Many fear that the Obama administration, eager to create American manufacturing jobs, is about to apply additional duties on solar cells and solar panels made in China, possibly driving up solar prices and curtailing solar adoption in the United States just as the industry is taking off. 
 
 
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a group of business and labor leaders released a letter this week urging Congress' L.A. delegation to help pass a transportation measure they say will create jobs and further the region's aggressive rail expansion.
 
 
We caught up with Villaraigosa this week to see how he’s managed to stay green in a time when, as a famous frog once lamented, it’s anything but easy.
 
 
Proponents of California's $98.5 billion high-speed rail project, freshly battered by critics and teetering before the Legislature, are preparing a series of eleventh-hour changes to reduce the project's cost and improve its chance of approval.
 
 
For now, the bans -- adopted so far by about 20 cities and counties in California -- will offer a necessary patchwork of regulations with differing levels of stringency. Here's a better idea: State legislators, who've discussed the issue at length, should finally pass a unified law that would end the confusion and the scattershot approach.
 
 
The city is pursuing what is considered to be the broadest ban of polystyrene foam in the state, one that would reach beyond to-go containers to cover packing peanuts, ice chests and children's toys.
 
 
The U.S. Geological Survey is developing a series of reports on how much carbon and other greenhouse gases the nation’s ecosystems hold
 
 
Of all the unanswered questions about a plan that could result in a giant pipeline to move water out of the Sacramento River, and under the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, perhaps the biggest is how high Californians' water bills will rise.
 
 
Climate change will likely affect different places in different ways, but in California it could mean hotter summers and more wildfires. The itchy eyes and sneeze-inducing allergies that plague many people during pollen season could also hang around longer if weather patterns continue to change. All of that is bad for asthmatics, children and the elderly, but also for poor people – as it turns out.
 
 
Employment in oil and gas extraction has risen more than 50 percent since the middle of the last decade, but that amounts to only 70,000 jobs, around one-twentieth of 1 percent of total U.S. employment. So the idea that drill, baby, drill can cure our jobs deficit is basically a joke.
 
 
The world is contaminated, and our bodies are contaminated along with it. The extent to which contamination is hurting us is not fully known, and full effects remain to be seen.
 
 
European Union nations on Monday backed a complete ban on the practice of removing sharks' fins before throwing the fish back into the sea to die.
Hello all. In this week's headlines:
 
It's World Water Day;
Americans want tighter fracking regulations;
Methyl iodide pulled from market;
Closing state parks is "penny foolish";
Delta pipe's impact on water bills could sink plan;
Shark-finning ban OKd by EU nations;
and much more.
 
Leading Off
 
World Water Day
As the world's population grows beyond 7 billion, clean water is growing scarcer in densely populated areas as well as in remote villages. Collected here are recent images showing water in our lives -- how we use it, abuse it, and depend on it.
http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/03/world-water-day/100267/
 
65% Americans Want Tighter Fracking Regulations
Here in California, policymakers and enviromental activists are preparing to revive efforts to shine a spotlight on the practice through more disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking. 
http://www.ecovote.org/blog/tighter-fracking-regulations-favored-65-percent-americans
 
Study: 'Fracking' may increase air pollution health risks
Air pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil and gas drilling method, may contribute to “acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites,” according to a new study.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-fracking-increases-air-pollution-health-risks-to-residents-20120320,0,7159850.story
 
Controversial strawberry pesticide pulled from US
A pesticide used primarily in the strawberry industry is being pulled from the U.S. market by its Japanese manufacturer, a surprising move that comes after harsh criticism from environmentalists and farmworkers who claim the chemical is toxic and may cause cancer.
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/21/4355789/controversial-strawberry-pesticide.html
 
LA Times: Penny foolish on California's parks 
Just because the state says the public can't enter a park doesn't make it so, and that's the chief reason officials should reexamine their plan to close up to 70 parks starting in July.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-parks-california-closing-20120317,0,4470243.story
 
Environmental News
 
At San Jose solar convention, SolarWorld's trade case against China looms large
Many fear that the Obama administration, eager to create American manufacturing jobs, is about to apply additional duties on solar cells and solar panels made in China, possibly driving up solar prices and curtailing solar adoption in the United States just as the industry is taking off. 
http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_20208965/solarworld-panel-china-trade-san-jose-solar-convention
 
L.A. leaders urge passage of federal transportation bill 
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a group of business and labor leaders released a letter this week urging Congress' L.A. delegation to help pass a transportation measure they say will create jobs and further the region's aggressive rail expansion.
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/03/la-leaders-urge-passage-of-federal-transportation-bill-.html
 
Against all odds, L.A.’s mayor stays green
We caught up with Villaraigosa this week to see how he’s managed to stay green in a time when, as a famous frog once lamented, it’s anything but easy.
http://grist.org/cities/mayor-mas-awesome-against-all-odds-l-a-s-mayor-stays-green/
 
High-speed rail proponents make changes to win over California lawmakers
Proponents of California's $98.5 billion high-speed rail project, freshly battered by critics and teetering before the Legislature, are preparing a series of eleventh-hour changes to reduce the project's cost and improve its chance of approval.
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/18/4346498/high-speed-rail-proponents-make.html
 
Santa Cruz Sentinel: Ban the Bags, Everywhere
For now, the bans -- adopted so far by about 20 cities and counties in California -- will offer a necessary patchwork of regulations with differing levels of stringency. Here's a better idea: State legislators, who've discussed the issue at length, should finally pass a unified law that would end the confusion and the scattershot approach.
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/ci_20228895/we-see-it-ban-bags-everywhere
 
Santa Cruz plans to extend foam ban to packing peanuts, ice chests, toys
The city is pursuing what is considered to be the broadest ban of polystyrene foam in the state, one that would reach beyond to-go containers to cover packing peanuts, ice chests and children's toys.
http://www.mercurynews.com/central-coast/ci_20222054/santa-cruz-plans-extend-foam-ban-packing-peanuts
 
How Much Carbon Do California’s Forests Hold?
The U.S. Geological Survey is developing a series of reports on how much carbon and other greenhouse gases the nation’s ecosystems hold
http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/03/21/how-much-carbon-do-californias-forests-hold/
 
Delta pipe's impact on water bills could sink plan
Of all the unanswered questions about a plan that could result in a giant pipeline to move water out of the Sacramento River, and under the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, perhaps the biggest is how high Californians' water bills will rise.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/18/MN8T1NM371.DTL
 
Doctors Expect Climate Change to Worsen Lung Diseases
Climate change will likely affect different places in different ways, but in California it could mean hotter summers and more wildfires. The itchy eyes and sneeze-inducing allergies that plague many people during pollen season could also hang around longer if weather patterns continue to change. All of that is bad for asthmatics, children and the elderly, but also for poor people – as it turns out.
http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/03/16/doctors-expect-climate-change-to-worsen-lung-diseases/
 
Natural Born Drillers
Employment in oil and gas extraction has risen more than 50 percent since the middle of the last decade, but that amounts to only 70,000 jobs, around one-twentieth of 1 percent of total U.S. employment. So the idea that drill, baby, drill can cure our jobs deficit is basically a joke.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/opinion/krugman-natural-born-drillers.html
 
Our contaminated world
The world is contaminated, and our bodies are contaminated along with it. The extent to which contamination is hurting us is not fully known, and full effects remain to be seen.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-crews/bpa-ban_b_1363311.html
 
Shark-finning ban OKd by EU nations
European Union nations on Monday backed a complete ban on the practice of removing sharks' fins before throwing the fish back into the sea to die.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/20/MNIV1NN62K.DTL
 
 
 

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