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Pacific
Institute Online Update for November 2003


In
This Issue

Stockton
Privatization Ruling a “Wake Up Call”
W. Oakland: Agencies, Residents, Institute Talk
Clean Air
Environmental Indicators Project Hires New Coordinator


HeadlinesWater
Privatization Ruling a “Wake Up Call”
Lack
of Review Scuttles Stockton, California Water Deal

You
can’t rebuild a major wastewater-treatment plant,
use new technology, and change plant operators without
proper review. That was the common sense message
that Judge Bob McNatt sent with his recent ruling
that Stockton, California’s in-progress water privatization
deal was void. The ruling was prompted by a lawsuit
brought by a coalition of local Stockton groups
with assistance from the Sierra Club. The groups
filed suit after the mayor and city council raced
to complete the privatization deal ahead of a successfully
passed ballot initiative that requires public review
of just such deals.

Dr.
Gary H. Wolff, the Pacific Institute’s Principal
Economist and Engineer, said in a press release
that, “This ruling should serve as a wake-up
call to cities, towns, and corporations involved
in water privatization: Don’t sign a contract until
you’ve involved customers and citizens in an honest,
rigorous, transparent review of the economic, environmental,
and social risks associated with water privatization.”
Dr. Wolff, who was the lead author of a Pacific
Institute technical review of the deal, warned Stockton’s
mayor and city council in October of 2002 that pushing
the complicated privatization agreement through
without proper review was bound to cause legal problems
for the city.

A
press release on the ruling along with Dr. Wolff’s
letter and the Pacific Institute’s technical review
of the Stockton deal are all online.

Institute
Brings Agencies, Residents Together to Talk Clean
Air

Decision
makers from a host of government agencies got together
with West Oakland community groups and residents
to discuss how to clean up West Oakland’s polluted
air. The meeting brought the West Oakland Environmental
Indicators Committee and the Pacific Institute together
with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District,
the Port of Oakland, US EPA, California Department
of Health Services, elected officials from the city
to the state level, truckers, business owners, and
residents to discuss how to reduce diesel pollution
and truck impacts in West Oakland. Residents presented
findings from a study to be published this month
and obtained commitments from all levels of government
to work with the community to reduce diesel pollution.

Environmental
Indicators Project Hires New Coordinator

West
Oakland took an important step towards self-sufficiency
last month with the hiring of a Community Technical
Assistance Coordinator who will help update and
apply the environmental indicators research begun
by the Indicators Project and the Pacific Institute.
Azibuike Akaba, an environmental scientist formerly
with Communities for a Better Environment, will
take over facilitating the Environmental Indicators
Project and providing technical assistance to support
community campaigns.



Staff Updates

10/24,
Colorado River delta | Michael Cohen met with Arturo
Herrera, Commissioner of the Mexican Section of
the International Boundary and Water Commission,
to discuss bi-national cooperation on the preservation
of the Colorado River delta. The meeting took place
in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

10/23-10/24,
Water and Sustainability | Michael Cohen participated
in a Watershed Vulnerability Assessment Project
experts workshop, hosted by SCERP and New Mexico
State University, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

10/17,
Environmental Justice | Meena Palaniappan provided
a policy briefing for California Assemblywoman Wilma
Chan’s office on diesel pollution and its health
impacts in West Oakland and California.

10/17,
Water Efficiency | Dr. Peter H. Gleick gave a keynote
presentation on “Global Water: New Opportunities
for a New Century” to the 2003 Xeriscape Conference
held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Gleick’s presentation
was covered by the Associated
Press
(10/19/03) and the Albuquerque Tribune
(10/19/03).

10/16,
Water and Health | Dr. Peter H. Gleick gave a lecture
on “Global Change: Implications at the Water-Human
Health Interface” at the Institute of Medicine
of the National Academy of Science in Washington,
DC.

10/15,
Water Privatization | Dr. Peter H. Gleick gave a
talk at the Washington, DC offices of the World
Bank on water privatization.

10/14,
Water and Sustainability | Dr. Peter H. Gleick gave
a keynote presentation on “The Value of Water:
New Thinking for the 21st Century” to the 2003
ICAST Water Forum held in Houston, Texas

10/11,
Water and Sustainability | Dr. Peter H. Gleick gave
the keynote address at the Sierra Club’s “Water
for People and The Environment, South Central Texas
Regional Water Conference,” held just outside
of New Braunfels, Texas.

10/9,
Water and Sustainability | Dr. Peter H. Gleick gave
a lecture on “Water in the West: New Solutions
to Old Problems” at the Cityplace Conference
Center in Dallas to kick off his tour of Texas.
That evening Dr. Gleick presented on “Global
Water: Crisis and Opportunity” at the Dallas
Institute of Humanities and Culture.

10/2,
Environmental Justice | Meena Palaniappan presented
on West Oakland’s community-based research on diesel
pollution at an Asthma and Diesel Conference sponsored
by the Regional Asthma Management Program.

9/18,
Salton Sea | Michael Cohen presented on “The
Salton Sea Challenge” at the Water Education
Foundation’s biennial Colorado River Symposium held
in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Upcoming

11/10,
Water Privatization Talk (Berkeley, CA) | Dr. Peter
H. Gleick will give a talk on water privatization
to the 2003 meeting of the League of Women Voters
Environmental Concerns Committee, Berkeley chapter.
For info, contact Carol Stone at
seastone11
@ hotmail.com.

11/15,
Diesel Report Release and Community Outreach (West
Oakland, CA) | West Oakland breathes more than its
fair share of dangerous diesel exhaust, but solutions
abound. That’s the core message of a new report
that the Pacific Institute and our West Oakland
partners will release on Saturday, 11/15 at 10:00
am. Following the release, residents and organizers
will educate local residents on the results of the
report. For info, contact
the Pacific Institute.



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Copyright
2003 Pacific Institute for Studies in Development,
Environment, and Security