Friday's Briefing: High Court Orders Paint Companies to Clean Up Lead in Oakland and Other Cities; Perfumes and Fragrances Cause as Much Smog as Autos


Stories you shouldn't miss for Feb. 16, 2018:

1. The California Supreme Court ordered paint companies to clean up lead in houses in Oakland and other cities, reports Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle. The decision, however, only applies to structures built before 1951, which is when paint companies stopped advertising lead-based paint. Paint companies have estimated that the clean-up will cost $400 million - and they want California taxpayers to pay for it through a bond measure they're pushing this year. The paint companies said they will also appeal the California decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

2. Perfumes, shampoos, moisturizers, and colognes produce just as much smog-causing emissions as cars and trucks, reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle, citing new research from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UC Davis. The volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, from fragrances "react with sunlight and produce ozone or particulate matter, the building blocks of smog, which can damage people's lungs."

3. A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to implement Obama-era energy-efficiency rules designed to combat climate change, reports Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled that Trump's energy secretary, Rick Perry, illegally blocked the efficiency rules on air conditioners, building heaters, and other appliances. The Trump administration is expected to appeal the decision.

4. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted for President Trump's controversial border wall as part of an immigration package in the Senate that also would have established protections for Dreamers - young undocumented people who came to this country as children, reports Sarah D. Wire of the LA Times$. California's other Democratic senator, Kamala Harris, voted against the proposal, saying Trump's proposed wall on the U.S. border with Mexico is "a waste of taxpayer money." The Senate was unable this week to reach a deal on immigration and Dreamers.

5. Climatologists predict there's at least a 40 percent chance that California's dry weather pattern will persist for the next three months, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. If true, it all but guarantees that this winter will be among driest ever.

6. The beloved Mariposa redwood grove in Yosemite National Park is scheduled to reopen on June 15, after a three-year, $40 million restoration project, reports Paul Rogers of the Mercury News$. The popular attraction features "roughly 550 giant sequoia trees, some of which are among the largest trees in the world, reaching 285 feet tall and 2,000 years old."

7. And Donald Trump had an affair in 2006 with former Playboy Playmate of the Year Karen McDougal - less than two years after marrying his current wife, Melania Knauss, and just months after their son, Barron, was born, reports Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker. Before the 2016 presidential election, the owners of the Trump-friendly tabloid, the National Enquirer, paid McDougal $140,000 for her story and then buried it.

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