Index
Saturday
Mar212015

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT (National): Fracking regulation, new rules: "Obama administration's new fracking rules criticized by both sides"; also, "Obama administration tightens federal rules on oil and gas fracking" .... ....  

* Los Angeles Times  "Obama admnistration's new fracking rules criticized by both sides" - From the LAT:

As the Obama administration took the first step Friday to regulate the drilling method known as fracking, opposition to the safety measures underscored the challenge of policing a practice that has cut U.S. dependence on foreign oil but raised fears of environmental damage and water contamination.

Criticism of the regulations was swift and came from energy companies and lawmakers representing fracking states, including California, who said the rules would undercut the domestic energy market. But Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, a former petroleum engineer who has experience with the practice formally known as hydraulic fracturing, said safety standards had not evolved since she fracked wells more than 20 years ago in Oklahoma.

“Many of the regulations on the books today haven't kept pace with advances in technology,” said Jewell, who announced the new rules during a conference call with reporters. She said they were aimed at preventing leakage of the fluids used in fracking, and at requiring companies to make public the chemicals used in their operations. “There is a lot of fear,” Jewell said. “There's a lot of public concern particularly about the safety of groundwater.”

Among other things, the rules require ........................

***ALSO:

* Washington Post:  "Obama administration tightens federal rules on oil and gas fracking"

Saturday
Mar212015

SACRAMENTO: Legislative Analyst's Office, new report, California housing costs, home prices and rents "Coast key to state's housing costs" ....  

* Capitol Weekly:  "Coast key to state's housing costs" - From Capitol Weekly:

The fact that home prices and rents are high in California is not news, but just how high may come as a surprise, courtesy of the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal adviser.

For decades, people living in California paid more for shelter than those in most of the rest of the country. But during the 1970s, “the gap started to widen. Between 1970 and 1980, California home prices went from 30 percent above U.S. levels to more than 80 percent higher,” the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported. 

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Today, the average California home costs $440,000, or two-and-half-times the average $180,000 price tag of a home elsewhere in the nation, the LAO said. (The summary and full report is available here.) The higher costs are driven by insufficient new construction to meet demand in coastal areas, soaring land prices and, to some extent, construction costs.

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The division between coastal and inland California is exacerbated by housing availability .......................

Saturday
Mar212015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): San Francisco, litigation, public safety officials: "Police Chief Greg Suhr must stand trial over lawyer's firing"; also, "Judge tosses ex-S.F. firefighter's DUI rig crash case" ....

***San Francisco, litigation, public safety officials....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Police Chief Greg Suhr must stand trial over lawyer's firing"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Judge tosses ex-S.F. firefighter's DUI rig crash case"

Saturday
Mar212015

SACRAMENTO: Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, fundraising, lieutenant governor candidacy, 2018 election?: "CA Senate leader returns to SD roots, raises cash" .... , 

* U-T San Diego:  "CA Senate leader returns to SD roots, raises cash" - "De Leon is eyeing lieutenant governor post"

— San Diego-native Kevin de León watched his mother clean “big ritzy houses in La Jolla” as a child, according to the biography he often recites. On Thursday night, de León, leader of the California State Senate, returned to one of La Jolla’s ritzy establishments, Donovan’s Steakhouse, but this time to raise money for his own bid for higher office.

De León, who grew up in Barrio Logan and is now a Los Angeles Democrat, has opened a 2018 campaign account for Lieutenant Governor.

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With his eye on the statewide lieutenant governor’s post, it makes sense that de León “is calling on his friends in San Diego,” said John Dadian, a local political consultant. Dadian said the politician will probably call upon friends in towns large and small across California over the next several years.

Saturday
Mar212015

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: Exide Technologies, closure, cleanup of Vernon plant: "Exide faces a long, costly cleanup of closed Vernon plant" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Exide faces a long, costly cleanup of closed Vernon plant" - From the LAT:

The deal federal prosecutors struck with Exide Technologies this month to permanently close its battery recycling plant in Vernon and avoid criminal charges marks the beginning of a long and costly cleanup. The plant leaves behind decades' worth of pollution and hazardous waste, along with many questions about how the mess will be taken care of.

Who will oversee the cleanup and how long will it take?

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How much will it cost and who will pay?

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Which homes will be cleaned?

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What if Exide does not comply?

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What is the status of tests for lead poisoning in nearby communities?

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What have the blood tests shown?

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