Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Must Reads: Brown Signs Bill Blocking BART from Shutting Off Cellphone Service; UN Climate Panel Says Point of No Return for Carbon Emissions Could be 2040

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that prohibits BART and other transit agencies from shutting off cellphone service for commuters — except for emergencies, the Chron reports. The new law stems from BART’s controversial decision in 2011 to kill cellphone service in order to disrupt a demonstration over the killing of a homeless man. The transit agency wanted to block protesters from planning their demonstration via cellphone.

  • neoporcupine/Flickr(CC)
2. The world’s top climate scientists warned today that, at the current rate of energy consumption, the planet will reach a disastrous point of no return for global warming by 2040, The New York Times$ reports. The Nobel-Prize winning UN Climate Panel said that immediate steps need to be taken around the globe to limit greenhouse gases or that the planet’s temperatures will increase to more than 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial times.

3. Famed chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley is part of a growing coalition of environmentalists and food advocates who are calling on Governor Brown to halt fracking in California, the Trib reports. However, Brown signed a bill last week that requires state officials to approve all fracking permits during the next two years — as long as oil and gas companies disclose what chemicals they’re using in hydraulic fracturing.

4. State environmental regulators launched a new program yesterday that requires companies that use hazardous chemicals in their products to justify to the public why it must use toxins instead of nontoxic substitutes, the CoCo Times reports.

5. The US Fish & Wildlife Service reached an unprecedented deal with a new large windfarm in Solano County that allows the windfarm to kill up to three golden eagles a year in exchange for paying for measures that will protect eagles elsewhere in the state, the SacBee$ reports.

6. Governor Brown also signed legislation mandating that domestic workers receive overtime pay for the first time in California, the AP reports.

7. And Tea Party Republicans in Congress are trying to shut down the federal government this weekend unless Obamacare is defunded before it launches on Tuesday, the Washington Post reports.

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