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Public Press Weekly: The Golden State, Tarnished

San Francisco Public Press
 — Feb 17 2018 - 9:55am

Doom and gloom, extreme weather, the apocalypse and the end of humanity as we know it are some of the ideas floated when talk turns to climate change and global warming. (San Francisco Chronicle). The culprits are many, and so are proposed solutions. Take cap-and-trade, for example; it’s one way to rein in carbon emissions. Another way? A court fight. Richmond is the latest city in the state to sue oil companies — in the legal crosshairs is Richmond’s biggest employer, oil giant Chevron — for their role in causing climate change. (CALmatters). The oil industry, however, appears to be holding its own, defending its interests in the cap-and-trade world. Last year, Chevron and Western States Petroleum Association were the two top spenders in lobbying government bureaucrats on this issue. (Los Angeles Times). But smokestacks and chemical clouds aren’t the only sources of atmospheric noxiousness getting the attention of the environmentally woke. Farmland fertilizer is a heavy contributor to California’s smog, so say UC Davis researchers; it spews up to nearly half of those nasty nitrogen oxide emissions. (Fresno Bee). As for mucking up the land, President Donald Trump’s plan to expand oil drilling offshore is getting a big thumbs-down from the state government. The idea, apparently, is that the state won’t let a drop of that petroleum from any offshore oil rigs travel through California, as in no pipelines, no oil spills. (New York Times). Perhaps the state folks were taking stock of what’s happening over in Richmond, which has seen an uptick in shipments of coal and other heavy-metal-infused stuff rumbling through town, leaving a layer of toxic dust in their wake. (East Bay Express). A cut in pollution is a laudable goal in protecting the state’s natural resources, some of which, like water, are scarce and vulnerable to exploitation. (California Sunday Magazine). Complicating the environmental landscape is that sometimes, the good can be the enemy of the good in fighting climate change. A Bay Area lawmaker wants to build more transit projects to reduce cars on the road (less greenhouse gas), for example, and to also make it harder to sue under the environmental laws that can delay these projects. Sheesh, fewer cars in exchange for fewer environmental lawsuits? (Los Angeles Times). But fighting the combustible engine may be a losing proposition. Yes, traffic gridlock is everywhere, but are Californians aiming to buy fewer cars? Nope, at least not in Southern California. (New York Times). Perhaps things are different here up north, where thoughts can turn to pedals and pedestrians. Check this out: For the non-car, bike-sharing crowd, Uber is introducing 250 pedal-assist electric bicycles in San Francisco. (New York Times). But, hey, biking, walking, less smog are all well and good, but wake up and smell the coffee: Fighting climate change is tough. Oh, wait, maybe you won’t want to drink that coffee — somebody’s suing to have coffee shops issue warnings that a chemical in the brew could cause cancer. (CNN).

Housing, What the Heck

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place …

Good news for the city’s intravenous drug users, an estimated 22,000 of them. San Francisco plans to open two safe injection places this summer. “S.F. to Open Controversial Safe Injection Sites” (SF Weekly).