Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thursday Must Read: Californians Back Soda Tax to Fight Obesity; Boxer Pushes New Carbon Tax Plan

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A super-majority of California residents — 68 percent — say they support a tax on soda, but only if the proceeds are used to improve nutrition and fitness programs in schools, the Chron and Merc report, citing a new Field Poll. The poll provided hope for nutrition advocates who are seeking to limit the amount of sugary soda that kids ingest. But the poll showed that support for a soda tax drops dramatically — to 40 percent — if the funds are not specifically earmarked for nutrition programs. Richmond voters overwhelmingly defeated a soda tax in November that did not legally require the city to spend the proceeds on fighting obesity.

2. California Senator Barbara Boxer has signed onto a proposal to implement a national tax on carbon in which three-fifths of the proceeds would be refunded directly to taxpayers, the Chron reports. The proposal is based on a popular Alaska program that places royalty fees on oil extraction and gives the proceeds directly to residents. Environmentalists generally prefer a carbon tax to cap-and-trade proposals as a way to limit fossil fuel consumption because they’re simpler.

3. A corroded pipe that Chevron should have replaced was the primary cause of the massive fire at the Richmond refinery last summer, according to a new investigate report of the incident, the CoCo Times reports. The investigation also confirmed that Chevron workers worsened the situation by attempting to repair the pipe while the refinery was in operation.

4. Some state lawmakers are pushing a plan to reclassify plastic as a “hazardous” material in an effort to reduce the amount of plastics that end up in the Pacific Ocean, the LA Times reports. Recent studies have shown that plastics contain numerous toxic chemicals. After the government reclassified CFCs as being hazardous because of their effect on atmospheric ozone, they went off the market.

5. And Barry Bonds may get his conviction for obstruction of justice overturned, the Chron reports. Appellate justices seemed skeptical during a hearing yesterday as to whether the former Giants slugger had purposely misled a grand jury when he gave evasive answers about steroid use.

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