Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Must Reads: Fracking Bill Advances in Legislature; California to Merge Cap-and-Trade Market with Quebec

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 6:55 AM

News stories that East Bay progressives and environmentalists shouldn’t miss:

1. A bill that would strengthen regulations for fracking in California passed a legislative committee yesterday, despite opposition from the oil and gas industry, the SacBee$ reports. The legislation would require more disclosure of the toxic chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial process used to extract oil and natural gas buried deep in the earth. The bill is being backed by numerous environmental groups, although some environmentalists contend that it’s not tough enough.

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2. California is set to merge its newly formed cap-and-trade market with Quebec, enabling energy producers to trade carbon credits with the Canadian province in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases, the SacBee$ reports. The California Air Resources Board is scheduled to vote on the proposal this week. The state had hoped to join with a consortium of Western States to form a large cap-and-trade market, but to date California remains the only state in the nation with the program.

3. Climate Change likely will cause massive wildfires and severe water shortages in California and across the West, according to KPCC radio (via Rough & Tumble), citing reports from scientists gathered at USC who are preparing a comprehensive report.

4. Several Senate Republicans indicated that they would not filibuster legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales in the country, including at gun shows, the LA Times$ reports. The decision opens the door for passage of a bipartisan bill crafted by Democrats and some Republicans. Although requiring background checks is extremely popular with American voters, the fate of the bill is uncertain in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

5. A toll lane experiment in Southern California has worsened overall traffic on the 110 freeway, the LA Times$ reports. The experiment’s results could stall the planned expansion of toll lanes in LA County — although the program has generated millions in revenues so far for transportation agencies.

6. And Oakland police arrested a San Leandro man on murder charges, saying he fired the stray bullet that killed former Tribune freelance photographer Lionel Fluker in East Oakland last week, the Trib reports. The alleged shooter, Anthony Lister, was in a gun battle with another man and was injured as well.

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