Toxics


East Bay Municipal Utility District Triumphs Again - This Time on National Level

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

Four years after the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors tirelessly fought and passed California’s “Get the Lead Out” bill, President Obama on Thursday signed into law the national version. 

The toughest drinking water plumbing lead content standard in the world, California Assembly Bill 1953 (Chan, D-Oakland), reduced the lead content standard for drinking water plumbing from 8 percent to 0.25 percent and required manufacturers to remove lead from faucets and other water fixtures.

Open Letter to Jerry Brown: My Plan to Restore California Fisheries

By Dan Bacher

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has received awards for his "green" leadership from NRDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the "Beautiful Earth Group" and others in recent weeks in a carefully orchestrated campaign to greenwash his environmental legacy before he leaves office.

In spite of the claims of his collaborators, Schwarzenegger's true legacy is the unprecedented collapse of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, young striped bass, Sacramento splittail and other fish populations spurred by record water exports out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from 2004 to 2006.

San Jose Bag Ban Raises Bar

Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

Hailed by proponents as the most far reaching in the country, San Jose has become the largest city to ban single use plastic carry-out bags. Building off of precedent set by San Francisco in 2007, San Jose’s new ban, which begins implementation in 2012, will effectively outlaw the use of plastic bags in nearly all areas of the retail industry-whereas San Francisco limited its plastic bag ban to grocery stores and pharmacies. In an effort to encourage bringing reusable cloth bags from home, San Jose, unlike San Francisco, will be requiring retailers to charge their customers for disposable paper bags

Department of Toxic Substances Control Takes a Step in the Wrong Direction

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

Last Thursday, environmentalists and public health advocates castigated the Schwarzenegger administration for weakening California's Green Chemistry Initiative. The program, signed into law in 2008, directs the state Department of Toxic Substances Control to identify and regulate the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products like makeup and cleaners. The program was initially lauded by public advocates, but a recent revision to proposed regulations has led some advocates to warn that they will sue if the revised regulations are adopted.

State Approves Pesticides for Strawberries, Vineyards

By Ngoc Nguyen
New America Media

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has given a green light to the strawberry fumigant methyl iodide, after months of intense public concern over its safety.

“This is DPR’s most robust review and we have stronger health protection measures in place than any other state in the U.S.,” said the agency’s director, Mary-Ann Warmerdam, during a press conference Wednesday.

Warmerdam said the state is taking steps to designate methyl iodide a “restricted material,” requiring a permit from the agricultural commissioner in the county where the spraying will take place. The beefed-up precautions, in response to nearly 50,000 public comments over the pesticide’s safety, include stricter buffer zones, the use of DPR-approved special tarps during fumigation, and heightened groundwater and air-quality monitoring.

New Research: Prop 26 a “Trojan Horse” to Prevent Funding of AB 32, Federal Health Care Reform Legislation?

By David Kersten
Kersten Communications

Research done by Kersten Communications indicates that Prop. 26 may be a Trojan horse that would likely prevent additional funding of the landmark AB 32 greenhouse gas reduction measure, but could also affect funding for the implementation of state level health care reform legislation. 

Proposition 26 increases the legislative vote requirement from a majority to a 2/3 vote for new and increased state and local fees and charges, with specified exceptions (e.g. parks fees, some development fees). Prop. 26 would also require a vote of the people for fees levied by local governments. But it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine exactly what fees would remain a majority vote and what fees would become a 2/3 vote. 

New Research: Prop 26 a “Trojan Horse” to Prevent Funding of AB 32, Federal Health Care Reform Legislation?

By David Kersten
Kersten Communications

Research done by Kersten Communications indicates that Prop. 26 may be a Trojan horse that would likely prevent additional funding of the landmark AB 32 greenhouse gas reduction measure, but could also affect funding for the implementation of state level health care reform legislation. 

Proposition 26 increases the legislative vote requirement from a majority to a 2/3 vote for new and increased state and local fees and charges, with specified exceptions (e.g. parks fees, some development fees). Prop. 26 would also require a vote of the people for fees levied by local governments. But it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine exactly what fees would remain a majority vote and what fees would become a 2/3 vote. 

Make a Mess, Clean It Up: The Case For AB 1405

By Rachel Morello-Frosch and Manuel Pastor

If a company makes a mess, it should be responsible for cleaning it up. And if that mess has long-term impacts on the economy, the environment and public health, then the company has a responsibility to invest in the recovery effort. It's the right -- and fair -- thing to do.

BP has made a big mess -- pollution that has negatively impacted tens of thousands of people for years to come. It's only fair that they make a long-term investment to help fix this problem.

More Voices Join In Chorus Against Prop 26

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League
 
Within the last week, two Bay Area newspapers have come out opposed to Proposition 26, the Polluter Protection Initiative on the November ballot, and have detailed the economic and environmental implications the passage of Proposition 26 would have on California. Currently, a majority vote by the State Legislature or a local government agency is required to impose a mitigation fee on a business or industry that causes harm to public health or the environment.

Proposition 26 aims to make it nearly impossible for the state to collect these fees and hold polluters responsible for their pollution by classifying these fees as taxes, making them subject to a 2/3rds vote. Should this initiative pass on Election Day, some of California's biggest polluters will no longer have to pay to clean up their messes.

Legislature Rejects Last Minute Plays to Side-Step Environmental Review

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

At midnight September 1st the gavel came down and the 2009-2010 legislative session came to a close.  While not all bills had the outcome we would have liked, we can happily say that thanks to the hard work of community groups around the state, we have made it through the year without a single bill exempting a project from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) from passing. This is a huge victory that could not have been achieved without the effort of a coalition over 150 (and growing!) environmental and justice groups, housing advocates, businesses and community leaders.