Gas and diesel fueled automobiles
are responsible for 60 percent of the smog-forming pollutants
in California. Ninety-five percent of Californians live
in areas that failed to meet health-based standards for
a variety of air pollutants in 1998. Do you support the
current Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program as a means
to cleaning up California’s air?
California continues to lead the nation
in stricter emission standards and efforts to reduce emissions
from cars, buses and trucks. However this progress is
somewhat offset by the increase in automobiles on the
roads, requiring continued strong efforts to reduce emissions.
The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program requires that
10 percent of the new car fleet sold in 2003 be zero-emission
vehicles. Such a bold plan has caused both auto and oil
industries to fight the program as too costly to implement.
The ZEV program has pushed the auto industry to heighten
its development of clean cars by ensuring that these cars
will make it to the showroom floor. California is the
largest automobile market in the country, which has led
all major auto manufacturers to develop cleaner emissions
technology in response to the ZEV program. The ZEV program
has done much to bring about development of zero-emission
and reduced-emission vehicles, but the auto and oil industries
are still working against the strict standards. Our elected
officials must know that clean air is a priority and that
Californians support the goal of the ZEV program and want
to see it made a reality.
more information, contact www.pirg.org/calpirg/enviro/cleanair/index.html
California’s forests are threatened
by inadequate and poorly enforced logging regulations.
State forest bill AB 717 now waits for approval by the
State Senate, having passed through the State House.
Do you support AB 717 as a means to better regulate the
timber industry and ensure that our forests are protected
and preserved now and for future generations?
If approved, AB 717 would improve the state's timber
harvest review process and allow for more effective enforcement
of state logging laws. California has an amazing variety
of forests, ranging from ancient Redwood groves to sparser
oak-pine forests to arid woodlands. All of these provide
essential and valuable resources in addition to their
natural beauty. Eighty-five percent of California’s water
supply is filtered through the forests, making them by
far the biggest source of clean drinking water. The forests
are also home to threatened and endangered species such
as the marbled murrelet, Coho salmon and peregrine falcon.
Thousands of people flock to the forests every year to
hike, raft, bike, fish and camp. In 1996 alone, wildlife-related
recreation contributed $7.5 billion to the state’s economy.
Unfortunately, these assets of the forests are not always
considered when the decision is made to log or clear-cut
an area. Sixteen million acres of California’s forests
are open to commercial practices, and of those, seven
million acres are owned privately. This means that the
state has the authority to review logging plans submitted
by timber companies and approve or deny the request.
The California Department of Forestry has a history of
approving 99 percent of the plans submitted, regardless
of whether the plan has been sufficiently developed to
measure the effects of the logging. Loopholes in the
present law regulating timber industries include lax requirements
for logging plans, ineffective fines for violations and
ignoring input from key research agencies. The timber
industry is well aware of these loopholes, and since 1997
has spent over $2.1 million in lobbying and campaign contributions
to California state legislators, hoping to keep logging
laws weak. This was the norm, until the development and
progress of AB 717. Destructive logging degrades once-pure
water sources, damages and decreases species habitat,
increases flooding and landslides as well as ruins scenic
vistas. On top of that, logging activities are heavily
subsidized, causing the public to pay directly as well
as indirectly for forest destruction. AB 717 is a good
first step towards ensuring the survival of California’s
forests, and it is crucial that our elected officials
are strong enough to withstand the pressures that the
timber industry is sure to put on them.
For more information, contact www.pirg.org/calpirg/enviro/forests/index.html
Oil drilling is a constant threat
to the coasts and waters of California, and with 36 additional
oil-drilling leases pending approval, it is crucial that
protective actions be made now. Do you support a ban
on offshore drilling, as well as canceling the oil drilling
leases presently off the coast of California?
It is estimated that even if the entire
coastal area of California were drilled, the oil available
would only support three and a half months of U.S. oil
consumption. The major oil industries currently drilling
offshore have histories of violations and polluting.
The unique coastal and marine ecosystems such as kelp
beds, reefs and coastal wetlands are easily damaged by
oil pollution. Many beaches have been closed at one time
or another due to oil spills in coastal waters, and the
coastal town of Alvia had to be evacuated because of oil
pollution. It is certainly wiser to protect our state’s
treasured coasts and waters than to allow them to be developed
and polluted for a small amount of oil. The better decision
is to drill elsewhere, in more lucrative areas, and those
that do not threaten California.
For more information, contact www.pirg.org/calpirg/enviro/sos/index.html
California leads the nation in recycling,
but there is still more that can be done. Do you support
measures to increase both the depth and breadth of recycling
efforts in California?
Recycling preserves natural resources
by reusing those materials that have already been removed
and altered from their natural form. Recycling also preserves
green space by diminishing the amount of land necessary
for landfills. In addition to these two key environmental
benefits, recycling creates jobs, reduces CO2
and toxic emissions, conserves energy and saves money.
Issues of particular concern now in California include
tire and oil processing/recycling, an expanded Bottle
recycling bill, expanding the state’s plastics recycling
law and incorporating “Green Building” practices into
new buildings and renovations.
For more information, contact www.cawrecycles.org.