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ENVIRONMENT


An irritated chairman of a state Senate Budget subcommittee says he intends to thwart a recent move by the state Air Resources Board that could give California’s biggest polluters a cushion of more than $300 million. In a sharp rebuke of the board, Sen. Bob Wieckowski said Thursday that he’ll insert language into the 2018-19 budget bill instructing regulators to reduce the free compensation they’re giving oil refineries and other industries covered under cap and trade, California’s signature climate policy.

Within California’s gargantuan bureaucracy there is a group of experts that more or less counts the grains of sand on state beaches? Pretty much. The scientists and agency officials work from a statewide ‘sand budget’ that determines the volume of sand that should reside on the beach. These are not people with rakes, bagging the red cups from last night’s party. Or the guys in small tractors smoothing the beach in front of luxury hotels. No, this is the California Coastal Sediment Management Working Group. It figures that in a state where famed beaches are manicured and sand curated, there would be attention paid to movement and disposition of sand itself.

The California Democratic party’s ‘supermajority’ was mightily tested with the nail-biting passage of a $52 billion transportation package, that will add 12 cents to the price of gasoline. What does that bode for another supermajority vote that could raise gas prices: the reauthorization of the the state’s landmark climate change legislation, cap-and-trade?

Struggling with what officials call the largest and most expensive toxic contamination in California history, embattled state regulators have changed the formula for assessing the level of lead-laced soil in residential areas—a move that could result in a significant number of homes falling off the priority cleanup list.

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