Pollution's worst enemy

Aug 16, 2018

UC Berkeley economists show that environmental regulations play primary role in pollution decrease


Daily Californian's JACKSON GUILFOIL: "A study from UC Berkeley economists showed that environmental regulations were the primary driver of a 60 percent pollution decrease in the United States from 1990 to 2008, despite growth in industrial production."


"The researchers found that stricter environmental regulations compelled manufacturing plants to reduce their pollution levels by cleaning up their production processes. This study, however, comes at a time when the Environmental Protection Agency has been trying to roll back environmental regulations under the current administration."


"One point I take away from this study is that if regulation has a role in decreasing emissions, rollback might increase pollutions,”said Joseph Shapiro, co-author of the study and associate professor in the UC Berkeley Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. “Pollution is not going down because we’re producing fewer goods or different kinds of goods, but because we’re changing the process by which we produce these goods."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: First came the proclamations against Trump's offshore drilling plan. Now comes the legislation -- LA Times's ROSANNA XIA; Massive Carr Fire tornado trapped, killed Redding firefighter, report says -- The Chronicle's KEVIN FAGAN; Report finds 'worrisome' levels of lead, arsenic in some baby foods -- The Chronicle's TARA DUGGAN; Body of firefighter killed in California returns to Utah -- AP; Wildfire areas have high poverty and small tax bases. Will that affect future construction? -- Sacramento Bee's KELLEN BROWNING/MICHAEL FINCH II; People reach out to couple whose trailer sparked Carr Fire -- Sacramento Bee's GABBY FERREIRA/DON SWEENEY 


Will Washington State Voters Make History on Climate Change?


From ROBINSON MEYER in the Atlantic: "This November, voters in Washington State may do what no group of people—in or outside the United States—has done before."


"They will vote on whether to adopt a carbon fee, an aggressive policy to combat climate change that charges polluters for the right to emit carbon dioxide and other potent greenhouse gases."


"Their decision will reverberate far beyond the Olympic Peninsula. If the measure passes, Washington will make history, becoming not only the first state in the union to adopt a type of policy called a carbon tax—but also the first government anywhere to do so by ballot referendum."


California's largest fire ever keeps growing


LA Times's ALEJANDRA REYES-VELARDE: "The largest fire in California history continued to grow Wednesday while firefighters worked to protect threatened communities."


"As of Wednesday morning, the Ranch fire had consumed 314,925 acres and was 64% contained. It has destroyed 147 homes so far. One firefighter, Matthew Burchett, 42, of Draper City, Utah, has died battling the fire."


Port of Oakland exports drop as trade war escalates


The Chronicle's ROLAND LI/WENDY LEE: "The Port of Oakland, one of the busiest West Coast ports and a hub for trade with China, is seeing exports fall as the trade war escalates."


"In July, exports fell 7.3 percent year over year — their fifth monthly drop in a row."


"There’s been some decline over the last few months,” said Michael Zampa, a spokesman for the port, which supports more than 73,000 jobs in the Bay Area and is the third-busiest U.S. port on the West Coast by container volume."


Real ID isn't the only problem with California's DMV


Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "As California’s Department of Motor Vehicles takes heat for a 46 percent rise in customer wait times over the last year, DMV officials are largely blaming the delays on the number of customers flocking to local offices to get their Real IDs."


"It’s true lines are longer because more people are going to offices for the new licenses, which the federal government is requiring starting in 2020 for people who want to board a flight without a passport."


"But an underlying cause of the DMV’s misery this year is a familiar one in California state government: A creaky, decades-old computer system the department agrees is “a 40-year-old dinosaur.” The department also told The Sacramento Bee that it has had dozens of technology outages in the past 20 months that have disabled operations, sometimes for hours at a time."


Monsanto loses another court case over its widely used weed killer


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "The state Supreme Court rejected a challenge by Monsanto Co. on Wednesday to California’s decision to list the main ingredient in its Roundup herbicide as a cause of cancer, the same chemical that a San Francisco jury found responsible for a former school groundskeeper’s cancer in a $289 million verdict last week."


"The justices denied Monsanto’s request for a review of a lower-court ruling that upheld the state’s authority to add the herbicide glyphosate to its Proposition 65 list of carcinogens. Justice Ming Chin voted to take up the appeal, but four votes were needed to grant a hearing by the court, which currently has six members."


"Prop. 65, a 1986 ballot measure, requires the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects. A listing prohibits businesses from discharging the chemical into sources of drinking water and requires them to warn members of the public who may be exposed to the substance."


Labor leaders demand UC end contracts with ICE-collaborating businesses


Daily Californian's MANI SANDHU: "UC labor leaders are demanding that the UC system end contracts with businesses that work with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, in response to President Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant families at the border."


"The UC paid more than $200 million during 2011-15 through contracts with 25 businesses — including AT&T, Maxim Healthcare Services, Time Warner Cable and General Dynamics Information Technology, or GDIT — that also provide services for ICE, according to a document from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, or AFSCME Local 3299, the UC’s largest employee union."


"To add insult to injury, not only are they outsourcing our jobs, they’re outsourcing our jobs to the people who are behind Trump’s zero tolerance policy,” said AFSCME Local 3299 spokesperson John de los Angeles. “We want UC to stand up for the communities that they’re exploiting."


READ MORE related to Immigration: Suspected ISIS member accused of killing police officer in Iraq arrested in Sacramento, where he settled as a refugee -- LA Times's ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN


Rich business owners are using pension plans to stash money and get a tax break


Bloomberg's BEN STEVERMAN: "There’s one area where the traditional pension plan is getting new life: as a tax dodge for wealthy business owners."


"Pensions, also known as defined-benefit plans, can be used by doctors, law partners and wealth managers to stash hundreds of thousands of dollars in income a year. By doing so, they’ll get around the income limits Congress created to bar them from a generous new tax break for pass-through entity owners, who report the firms’ income on their individual tax returns."


Anti-Trump protesters shout down Kevin McCarthy in Sacramento


Sacramento Bee's ANGELA HART: "Protesters shouted down House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in Sacramento Wednesday, voicing anger for his alignment with President Donald Trump and his administration’s stance on immigration."


"McCarthy, where’s your heart?! McCarthy, where’s your heart?!” protesters yelled, interrupting a wide-ranging conversation with the Bakersfield Republican, hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California."


"McCarthy had just finished pressing his case for tougher border security, when roughly a dozen protesters stood up, shouting and holding up neon green banners that read “No justice, no peace.” McCarthy sat calmly and listened to the protesters, at times with a slight smile on his face."


30 more women sue USC over former gynecologist as new interim president welcomes freshmen to campus


LA Times's MATT HAMILTON: "An additional 30 women sued USC on Wednesday, claiming that the university failed to protect them from abuse and mistreatment by the longtime campus gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall."


"The new claims bring the total number of patients suing USC to more than 340 and come as students return to the Los Angeles campus for the start of the fall semester."


Housing on BART land has been a third-rail issue. Will this effort be different?


The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "When Assemblyman David Chiu gazes at a moat of asphalt encircling a suburban BART station, he sees a solution to the region’s housing crisis."


"Many BART parking lots fill with cars during the day and turn into empty moonscapes at night, wasting prime land that could be lined with apartments and shops, with compact parking structures for riders, said Chiu, D-San Francisco. Though others share this vision, development of BART parking lots is a contentious issue: Bickering over height limits, aesthetics and parking spaces has long hobbled the transit agency’s ability to get it done."


"Chiu is pressing a bill that aims to fix the problem by requiring BART to zone its vacant property for housing and retail, and limiting cities’ ability to obstruct or delay that development."


Berkeley police met with outrage after releasing personal information of arrested 'antifa' activists


Daily Californian's MADELEINE GREGORY: "Berkeley Police Department is under fire after releasing the names and pictures of protesters arrested at an Aug. 5 rally where “alt-right” and “antifa,” a term for anti-fascist, groups clashed."


"The arrests took place during a “No to Marxism” demonstration organized by alt-right protesters, and most of those arrested were counterprotesters. Though the BPD later took down the mugshots it posted, BPD left the names of the arrestees up on Twitter. BPD claims that it released information that is already public — information that would help increase public safety and deter crime."


"This is done not in an effort to shame, or to chill freedom of speech, but to deny lawbreakers anonymity,” read a statement from BPD."


READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: Ex-police officer at center of LAPD cadet scandal pleads no contest to statutory rape charges -- LA Times's JAMES QUEALLY; Deputies fired 'excessive, unnecessary' rounds in deadly Highway 50 shooting, report finds -- Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON/MARCOS BRETON


Did Rand Paul talk Donald Trump into revoking ex-CIA chief John Brennan's clearance?


McClatchy DC's LESLEY CLARK: "President Trump seemingly followed the advice of his new friend, Sen. Rand Paul, when he revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan."


"It was an angry Paul who last month called for Brennan’s clearance to be yanked, after Brennan called Trump’s appearance at a news conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin “nothing short of treasonous."


"Paul assailed Brennan in a Fox News interview as “completely unhinged” and a “Trump hater” and in a series of tweets on July 23, said he planned to meet with Trump at the White House and tell him that “John Brennan and other partisans should have their security clearances revoked."


READ MORE related to POTUS45: Man faces felony charge in defacing of Trump's star -- LA Times's SARAH PARVINI

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