Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Must Reads: Statewide Ban on Plastic Bags Moves Forward; Feds Blame Lax Oversight for Massive Chevron Fire

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 6:49 AM

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

1. Legislation that would ban the use of plastic bags throughout California got a big boost when the powerful California Grocers Association announced its support for the bill, the LA Times$ reports. SB 405 is headed to a state Senate committee on Wednesday. If it becomes law, it would supersede local plastic bag bans currently in place throughout the state. A ban on single-use plastic bags in Alameda County went into effect on January 1.

2. Federal investigators blamed lax oversight by state regulators for the massive Chevron fire in Richmond last August that sickened 15,000 area residents, SFGate reports. The US Chemical Safety Board said state regulators effectively allowed Chevron to monitor its own refinery and the oil giant failed to properly do so. Because of budget cuts, Cal/OSHA only has only seven regulators to monitor the state’s numerous refineries and chemical factories.

3. Authorities still don’t know who was responsible for two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday, killing three people and injuring more than 100, The New York Times reports. Investigators also don’t know why the bombs were planted and detonated.

4. Bipartisan proposals in Congress on immigration reform and background checks for gun purchases appear to be headed for trouble in the conservative GOP-controlled House of Representatives — even though some Republican senators support both measures, Politico and the National Journal report (via Rough & Tumble).

5. And former Berkeley City Councilwoman Maudelle Shirek, often described as the “conscience of the council” during her twenty years in office, died late last week at the age of 101, the Trib reports.

$ = News stories that may require a paid subscription to read.

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