Tuesday Must Reads: State Regulators Recommend No Fines Against PG&E for Deadly San Bruno Blast; CO2 Levels Soar Worldwide



News stories that East Bay progressives and environmentalists shouldn’t miss:

1. State regulators sparked criticism from consumer groups yesterday when they recommended no fines against PG&E for the deadly San Bruno blast of 2010. Regulators with the California Public Utilities Commission said that, instead of fines, the utility should be required to spend $2.25 billion on upgrading its aging natural gas lines, SFGate reports. The CPUC contends that levying fines against PG&E for the explosion that killed eight people “does not make sense,” because it would leave the utility without enough money to complete the safety upgrades. But San Bruno officials and consumer advocates quickly criticized the CPUC’s recommendation, and said PG&E should be fined for its gross negligence. The CPUC recommends that the $2.25 billion for upgrades come from PG&E’s shareholders — and not its customers.

2. Carbon dioxide levels are continuing to soar worldwide, as nations around the globe have failed to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the Chron$ reports. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has reached 399.5 parts per million, according to new readings from Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii, a concentration not seen in at least 800,000 years.

3. The Berkeley City Council will consider tough restrictions on new payday loan businesses that attempt to open in the city, the Trib reports. High interest payday loans prey on low-income consumers and often force people into bankruptcy.

4. The Chron$ has an interesting piece today on the last remaining old growth redwood in the East Bay hills, located in Leona Heights in Oakland. Loggers clear cut the giant old growth redwood forest that covered the East Bay hills in the mid-19th century to build the cities of Oakland and San Francisco.

5. In case you missed it, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday that cities and counties can ban medical cannabis dispensaries even though medical pot is legal in California.

6. And the Golden State Warriors lost a heart-breaker last night to the San Antonio Spurs, blowing a 16-point lead late in the fourth quarter of their second-round playoff game and losing in the final seconds of double overtime.

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