Public Policy Articles

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Nuclear Disarmament

"The best U.S. weapon against Iran is diplomacy"
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial visit to the United States was further evidence that relations between the U.S. and Iran continue to move rapidly in the wrong direction. John Burroughs argues that this is the moment when the U.S. needs to abandon its policy of avoiding direct communication with Iran and engage the nation head-on in diplomatic talks about its nuclear enrichment program and other sources of concern. Only through negotiations can tensions be eased and confrontation averted.
Newsday – John Burroughs, September 26, 2007

"Defining our nuclear strategy"
Unpredictable world leaders like those in Iran and North Korea are keeping the threat of nuclear weapons alive, and the United States is sending mixed messages about its own nuclear standing. In this editorial, former Congressman and Iraq Study Group co-chair Lee Hamilton draws on his years of experience working on these issues to suggest a course of action for our nation.
The Indianapolis Star – Lee Hamilton, September 10, 2007

"On Nuclear Negotiations"
The world is at a highly dangerous and complicated juncture in the Nuclear Era. Iran and North Korea are developing nuclear technology, and even as the United States is working to derail those efforts, we are not doing enough to move ourselves toward disarmament. Drawing on recent speeches by prominent politicians addressing the nuclear threat, this article suggests how both the U.S. and Russia can work concurrently to move us all in the right direction – away from nuclear proliferation.
San Francisco Chronicle – Steve Andreasen, July 19, 2007

"Loose talk about nukes could sink U.S. interests"
The term “Cold War” has received an alarming amount of press lately. The decades-long period of nuclear tension between the United States and Soviet Union ended in the 1980s, but ever-increasing instability in the Middle East carries with it the renewed threat of a nuclear attack. This editorial cautions the United States and its leaders that our own refusal to completely and emphatically rule out the use of nuclear weapons makes it difficult for us to expect other nations with nuclear ambitions to relent in their own efforts.
USA Today – Editorial, June 11, 2007

"Avoiding a Space Arms Race"
In this editorial from Arms Control Today, Daryl Kimball – executive director of the Arms Control Association – calls for talks on space at the Conference on Disarmament and for the U.S. Congress to deny funding for the Bush Administration’s proposal for a space-based test bed.
Arms Control Today – Daryl Kimball, April 2007

Read Archived Nuclear Disarmament Articles

Medical Research

"Broad donates $20 million to UCLA for stem cell research"
The University of California at Los Angeles received a $20 million gift from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation for the advancement of stem cell research.
Fresno Bee – September 10, 2007

"Stem cells partition labs"
When President Bush vetoed, for the second time, a bill that would open more lines of embryonic stem cells for federally-funded research, his decision affected medical professionals in ways beyond the obvious. Because federal funds can not be connected, even indirectly, to stem cell lines impacted by the veto, privately-funded stem cell researchers working side-by-side with federally-funded colleagues need to keep every aspect of their work separate – from the space where that work is conducted, all the way down to the brand of pens used in the lab. This article chronicles the bureaucracy that throws new challenges at doctors and researchers who already have the difficult task of curing major diseases.
St. Petersburg Times – Wes Allison, July 5, 2007

"Untie the Hand. It's time for the president to revise his stem cell policy."
The Washington Post calls upon President Bush to change his current policy on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Elias A. Zerhouni, head of the National Institutes of Health, recently broke from Administration ranks in saying that more stem cell lines are needed for science and the nation to be “better served.” A majority of Americans favors a change in this policy and the House of Representatives supports expansion of stem cell lines. As other countries forge ahead with their research, Dr. Zerhouni commented: “It is important for us not to fight with one hand tied behind our back.”
The Washington Post – Editorial, March 22, 2007

"Unlocking the promise of embryonic stem cells"
In this Oakland Tribune opinion-editorial, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein makes the case for expanding federally funded embryonic stem cell research policy, writing “The legislation would fill a gap created by the failed policies of the Bush Administration.” As a result of this policy, stem cell research is at a disadvantage and has caused researchers to leave U.S. labs for other countries. With a majority of Americans favoring expansion of the President’s policy, Senator Feinstein urges the Senate to pass the legislation and President Bush to sign it.
The Oakland Tribune – Senator Dianne Feinstein, March 12, 2007

"Stem cell games"
The Los Angeles Times takes President Bush to task for his refusal to expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Despite the public’s support for changing the policy, and House passage again this year of legislation that would do so, the Administration is steadfastly opposed to altering its course. Meanwhile, research progress has been halted because of this flawed policy.
The Los Angeles Times – Editorial, January 12, 2007

Read Archived Medical Research Articles


"Majority Of Americans Want Local Action On Global Warming, Says Poll"
A public opinion survey conducted by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and GfK Public Affairs discovered that almost 75 percent of Americans would agree to help finance local projects that reduce global warming.
Science Daily – Yale University press release, October 5, 2007

"Pesticide exposure tied to asthma in farmers"
A recent study of nearly 20,000 farmers found that high pesticide exposure can double the risk of asthma.
Scientific American – Anthony J. Brown, MD, September 17, 2007

"States tackle global warming"
While the federal government is dragging its heels on addressing global warming, states such as Vermont and California are taking the matter into their own hands and proposing initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Atlanta Journal Constitution – Lyle Harris, September 18, 2007

"Governor: Sign air district bill"
This editorial urges Governor Schwarzenegger to sign SB 719 (Machado), affirming his belief that the San Joaquin Valley’s air district needs to take more aggressive steps to combat air pollution problems.
Fresno Bee – Editorial, September 12, 2007

"Environmentalists sue EPA over ship pollution"
Earthjustice, on behalf of the environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth, alleges that the federal EPA neglected to regulate ship engine emissions by the April 2007 deadline.
Oakland Tribune – Francine Brevetti, September 8, 2007

"Clean air deadline seen as too long"
Residents of Arvin, California – the smoggiest town in the smoggiest region of the United States – continue to stand up and make their voices heard on the issue of cleaning up the air they breathe. Most recently, a mass of demonstrators picketed outside a meeting of the California Air Resources Board, which earlier this year voted to extend a deadline for cleaner air from 2013 to 2024. The concerned citizens then moved into the meeting itself, where one after another spoke about the health issues facing their families, and their unwillingness to sit back and allow the Valley’s poor air to harm them for another decade.
The Bakersfield Californian – Stacey Shepard, August 29, 2007

"Greenhouse Gases Likely Drove Near-record U.S. Warmth In 2006"
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association released a report stating that greenhouse gases produced an unusually high warming pattern last year, resulting in the second highest temperatures since record keeping began in 1895.
American Geophysical News Release – August 28, 2007

"EPA visit to Fresno sparks protests"
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson’s visit to the San Joaquin Valley prompted community activists to object to being excluded from a meeting on air pollution.
Fresno Bee – Barbara Anderson, August 8, 2007

"School bus company to fix or replace all its diesel vehicles"
As a result of a settlement, Durham School Services, California’s second largest school bus company, will replace or retrofit buses to reduce children’s exposure to diesel fumes. Diesel exhaust has been identified as a carcinogen and contributes to asthma and other respiratory problems.
San Francisco Chronicle – Bob Egelko, August 8, 2007

"Firms fume over proposed diesel rules"
Newly appointed Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols is getting push back from the construction industry in an attempt to postpone new equipment requirements which curb diesel emissions and reduce air pollution.
San Francisco Chronicle – Greg Lucas, July 23, 2007

"It’s not easy being green, Schwarzenegger learns"
The San Joaquin Valley’s air troubles have received increased attention around California in the last few weeks. Governor Schwarzenegger’s decisions to fire Robert Sawyer from his position as chairman of the California Air Resources Board and replace him with Mary Nichols, a highly respected and experienced veteran on the issues facing the board, were ostensibly positive moves, but have in fact harmed the Governor’s green reputation. If he wants to prove his commitment to solving the Valley’s air problems, he needs to throw his considerable muscle at the issue, effective immediately.
The Modesto Bee – Editorial, July 5, 2007

"More Valley Smog"
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Governing Board recently sided against the public health of the region’s residents by voting to delay compliance with federally-mandated clean air standards until 2024. On the heels of this San Francisco Chronicle editorial, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) upheld the local air board’s decision, which could have been overturned. Governor Schwarzenegger then issued a statement condemning ARB’s vote, and subsequently fired ARB Chairman Dr. Robert Sawyer. The dominoes continue to fall, while the Valley’s air pollution problems are not improving.
San Francisco Chronicle – Editorial, June 19, 2007

"Ag and emissions: Time growers got on path of sustainability"
This editorial in the Ventura County Star argues that growers in California need to reduce their pesticide usage as required by law. From the author: “How much longer will a more enlightened society be willing to put up with conventional farming when there is another way to grow food that respects natural resources, works with nature instead of against it, and leaves communities with cleaner air, cleaner water and healthier ecosystems?” An opposing view is offered by May-Ann Warmerdam, Director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
Ventura County Star – Opinion-Editorial, Mary Haffner, June 10, 2007

"Bucolic town bears brunt of Valley smog. Arvin logs the highest number of smog violations in the country, and residents want a cleanup plan soon"
Defying the stereotype of a vehicle-clogged, metropolitan smog trap, the nation’s most frequent smog offender, Arvin, is a quiet farm community of more than 16,000 in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Local city officials are surprised and appalled at the condition of Arvin’s air quality, and say that they never suspected it until late last year when a community activist from Fresno informed them. While the regional air quality governing board has discussed Arvin’s bad-air days at district meetings and on its website for many years, no one formally told Arvin city officials.
The Fresno Bee – Mark Grossi, June 10, 2007

"New voices for air board. Maybe governing body will begin to make better decisions"
This editorial from The Fresno Bee discusses why the recent passage of Senate Bill 719, which would add four members to the Governing Board of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, is good news for the Valley given the Air District’s record of air cleanup delays. “Better to bring in some new voices, open up the process and inject a little of the urgency now missing from the air board’s efforts. Continued delay is more than simply frustrating. It’s deadly.”
The Fresno Bee – Editorial, May 19, 2007

"Toxins infest Central Valley farming residents"
Initial results of a pilot program in Lindsay, California, a Central Valley farming community, indicates residents have more chlorpyrifos in their bodies during the month-long spraying peak than the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers acceptable for pregnant and nursing women. The program, a collaboration with Pesticide Action Network, Commonweal, and El Quinto Sol de America, tested 12 adults in various locations throughout the town during peak spraying season last summer, and paired that data with air monitoring data, also done by the groups. The air monitoring showed for three years running chlorpyrifos in the air in town and near schools exceeded the EPA’s acceptable level for short-term exposure. The results shed light on a problem residents suspected but could not prove: that a neurotoxic pesticide banned for household use has been drifting off nearby fields and into their schools and homes, with unknown long-term health consequences.
San Mateo County Times – Douglas Fischer, May 16, 2007

"Hold your breath. Air board accepts delay, makes promises it must now keep"
This editorial from The Fresno Bee highlights the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Governing Board’s recent and controversial 9-2 vote to support the District staff’s proposal to postpone air cleanup until 2024. “The 9-2 vote disappointed many, but surprised very few.”
The Fresno Bee – Editorial, May 2, 2007

"A smog board that likes smog"
This San Francisco Chronicle editorial criticizes the San Joaquin Valley’s Air Pollution Control District Governing Board for voting to postpone smog attainment until 2024, and mentions a possible legislative fix for the Air District’s lackluster performance. Senate Bill 719, sponsored by two Valley state senators – Dean Florez (D-Shafter) and Mike Machado (D-Linden) – would remake the Governing Board by adding extra seats for small cities, where elected leaders are closer to the problem, and slots for health experts.
San Francisco Chronicle – Editorial, May 2, 2007

"Advocates urge air district to rewrite cleanup plan"
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Governing Board is set to vote on Monday, April 30, on whether to accept the Air District’s proposed plan of delaying compliance with federal smog standards to 2023. In response to the Air District’s proposed plan, many community, medical/health, and environmental groups throughout the region are asking the Governing Board to vote down the Air District’s proposal. If the Air District’s plan is approved as it is, “a child today will have to wait until high school graduation to breathe clean air,” said Lisa Kayser-Grant, head of Moms Clean Air Network.
The Bakersfield Californian – Stacy Shepard, April 25, 2007

"Clean cars: Paying the price for an SUV"
A proposed California state law would impose a fee of up to $2,500 on gas-guzzlers while providing buyers of more fuel-efficient cars a rebate up to the same amount. The “Clean Car Discount” bill, AB 493 (Ruskin), won approval of the Assembly Transportation Committee two weeks ago and has the backing of most major statewide environmental groups. The bill also is endorsed by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a business organization that includes the major tech companies in Silicon Valley, including IBM, Google, Apple and Cisco. “Forty percent of California’s greenhouse gases are from transportation,” said Carl Guardino, the group’s CEO. “This is a market-driven approach to drive the production and purchase of cleaner cars.”
San Jose Mercury News – Paul Rogers, April 9, 2007

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