As expected, the state this afternoon put teeth in its landmark regulations enacted in 2006 to combat global warming, adopting the nation's most comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Such emissions must be cut 30 percent by 2020.
But that is not enough for the editorial board of the San Jose Mercury News, which called on the state to follow up Friday with tough new rules to clean up diesel truck emissions.
"The trucking industry is one of the last remaining major sources of air pollution that California hasn't regulated," states this morning's editorial. "It got a pass because for years, it was thought that if you could see pollutants, like the black smoke puffing out of diesel stacks, the particles were too big to hurt you. But newer studies show that diesel pollution causes cancer, asthma and major heart problems."
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Among the studies the editorial board cited was one from Cal State Fullerton that found diesel pollution causes 3,800 premature deaths every year and costs the state economy $28 billion a year.
"People who live within a mile of highways are at the greatest risk. And guess what. That's half of us," states the Merc editorial.
Cal State Fullerton research also played a role in setting up the pioneering rules adopted by the Air Resources Board, which has always had to weigh the benefits of health vs. the economy. But a 1996 study CSUF did for the ARB determined few businesses left California or decided not to relocate here due to our historically stringent air pollution control regulations.
Speaking of business interests, air pollution control and editorial boards, the Sacramento Bee also editorialized on the global warming plan this morning--and concluded the actual havoc it will wreak on the California economy has been minimized or ignored.