Friday Review – 4.7

Stay up to date with important news of the week with the weekly Friday Review.

California Legislature votes to raise gas taxes, vehicle fees by $5.2 billion a year for road repairs and transit [Los Angeles Times]

After a week of fierce debate between opposing interests, the state Legislature on Thursday approved a plan to raise gas taxes and vehicle fees by $5.2 billion a year to pay for the repair of California’s pothole-ridden, decaying system of roads, highways and bridges. The bill squeaked through the Senate on a 27-11 vote and cleared the Assembly with 54 votes, the bare minimum required in both houses. The measure sparked suspenseful wrangling in the waning hours of Thursday, with Assembly Democrats initially three votes short of securing the two-thirds threshold needed to approve a new tax. Ultimately, all but one Assembly Democrat, Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), backed the bill. View Article

Salinas Valley ag industry coalition agrees to pilot replacement drinking water program [Monterey County Herald]

A coalition of 21 Salinas Valley landowners, agricultural companies and operators have reached an agreement with state water regulators to provide replacement drinking water for some 850 rural Salinas Valley residents whose small water systems and domestic wells have been contaminated with nitrates. Without admitting responsibility for the contamination, the Salinas Basin Agricultural Stewardship Group has agreed in cooperation with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to supply drinking water for up to two years starting this month to those whose water exceeds state and federal nitrate standards, according to a release issued Thursday. View Article

Environmental groups suing EPA over allowing continued use of controversial pesticide [Capital Public Radio]

Environmental groups are suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to allow the continued use of a controversial pesticide, widely used on crops in California. The groups say the EPA needs to ban Chlorpyrifos….Cynthia Cory with the California Farm Bureau says her organization is happy with the recent move by the EPA. She says the bureau wants five years for risk assessment, even if that means restrictions will eventually be put in place. “We’ll live with that as long as we’re doing it not in the courts but with the scientists and the risk-assessment process,” says Cory. View Article

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