News stories that East Bay environmentalists and progressives shouldn’t miss:
1. Southern California, along with much of the Southwest, could become much more susceptible to drought because of climate change, according to a new study led by NASA, the LA Times$ reports. The study essentially predicts that dry regions around the world will become drier and wet regions will become wetter. Drought and dry conditions also could lead to more massive wildfires in Southern California and an increase demand for water from the Sierra.overhaul federal environmental law and streamline approval of flood-control projects nationwide, the Chron$ reports. Some environmentalists contend that the Democrat’s plan, which has widespread support from Republicans, gives too much power to the US Army Corps of Engineers, an agency with a troubling record of sponsoring projects that have harmed the environment.
3. East Bay state Senator Mark DeSaulnier wants a state panel of experts that is already examining aspects of the new Bay Bridge to also conduct a comprehensive review of the bad bolts on the span, the CoCo Times reports.
4. A horrific limousine fire killed five nurses on the San Mateo Bridge over the weekend, as the women were celebrating a bridal shower, the Chron$ reports. Nine nurses in all were in the limo, but four managed to escape with the driver, while five remained trapped in the burning vehicle.
5. California is losing tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue every year because of a loophole in Prop 13 that allows corporations to avoid property tax increases — a loophole not available to homeowners, the LA Times$ reports. However, it’s unclear whether the Democratic-controlled legislature will close the loophole anytime soon.
6. And many Democrats in Sacramento are proposing to restore funding for social-safety-net programs that were cut during the recession, the SacBee$ reports. Governor Brown, however, opposes such plans, despite the fact that state revenues are $4.5 billion higher this year than projected.
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