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Tuesday, March 3 2015

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Urban Water Conservation Drops From 22 Percent to Near 9 Percent in January

As California enters a fourth year of drought, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) announced a steep decline in water conservation during the month of January, considered the driest January since meteorological records have been kept. Additionally, per capita water use inched up in January as compared to December 2014.

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Leave It To Beavers: Once considered a pesky rodent, the animals are busy saving California's salmon populations

In an unexpected twist to California’s drought saga, it turns out that beavers, once reviled as a nuisance, could help ease the water woes that sometimes pit the state’s environmentalists and fishermen against its farmers.

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Skip Your Shower with Surfrider to Save 1 Million Gallons of Water

Today, the Surfrider Foundation launches its Every Drop Counts campaign (wwd.surfrider.org), calling on the public to make a pledge to conserve water by forgoing a shower this World Water Day, March 22. Throughout March, the non-profit organization, dedicated to the protection of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, aims to raise awareness on the issues affecting water supply and for water quality protection.

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Tunnel Critics: Drought Shows Folly of Tunnels, Would be of NO Use this Year, but Would Cost Millions

Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build water export Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today responded to federal agencies’ curtailment of water deliveries. “It is lucky for the South of Delta agricultural Central Valley Project contractors (and Kern County Water Agency) that the tunnels were not already built. If so, they would have had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars with no water supply,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. “The tunnels would not have provided them with any appreciable additional water. With multiple years of no, or very limited water supply, could those water takers afford to keep making their loan payments for the multi-billion dollar tunnels? If the water contractors could not afford to make the payments, would the bond holders foreclose? Even so, the land would not be worth much without water. Plus, rate payers and property tax payers in the Metropolitan Water District and Santa Clara Valley Water District would be stuck with higher taxes and water rates for less water than ever before.”

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Warming temperatures implicated in recent California droughts, Stanford scientists say

California has experienced more frequent drought years in the last two decades than it has in the past several centuries. That observed uptick is primarily the result of rising temperatures in the region, which have climbed to record highs as a result of climate change, Stanford scientists say.

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State Water Project Deliveries Increased Slightly

Few storms have graced California so far this winter, but those that did – in mid-December and early February – will allow the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to increase water deliveries to most customers of the State Water Project (SWP) by an additional 204,000 acre-feet (AF).

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DTSC Cites Gallo Glass Company for Using Hazardous Waste in Wine Bottles

On behalf of the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the California Attorney General’s Office has filed a complaint against Gallo Glass Company, alleging the company used hazardous waste in the manufacture of glass wine bottles made at its Modesto plant.

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Sponsors Cyber-Exploitation Legislation

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a package of bills that will increase protections for victims and provide tools for law enforcement to prosecute the growing number of cyber-exploitation cases in California.

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The 2015 Drought so far - March 1

Droughts are strange, and this one is becoming scarier. February began with a nice few stormy days, but has since looked like this January – very dry. And so far, the March forecast is not wet.

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OEHHA Adopts Updated Public Health Goal for Perchlorate

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) today published an updated public health goal (PHG) of 1 part per billion (ppb) for perchlorate in drinking water.

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Schools Can Now Apply Online for Energy Efficiency Funding Through Proposition 39

The California Energy Commission has launched a new online system for schools to submit Energy Expenditure Plans under the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39). The system provides schools a streamlined process to submit all the elements of a plan for review and approval under the newly authorized 2015 Program Implementation Guidelines.

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Families Separated By Coercive Immigration Practices May Be Reunited in U.S.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of noncitizens who signed “voluntary return” forms in Southern California and were expelled to Mexico will be given the opportunity to apply to return to the United States and seek legal status, a United States district court ordered today. Judge John A. Kronstadt approved a settlement that addresses deceptive tactics used by immigration enforcement officers who deprived those who signed the “voluntary return” documents their right to see a judge and have their fair day in court.

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Welltopia: A new online resource for Californians

Welltopia, a new website launched today by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement (IPHI), offers a wide range of essential resources to help Californians, especially those on limited incomes, build healthier lives and communities.

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Legal Petition Pushes Gov. Brown For Emergency Fracking Moratorium After Oil Waste Illegally Dumped into California Aquifers

After California officials admitted allowing hundreds of oil industry disposal wells to illegally inject wastewater into protected aquifers, more than 150 environmental and community groups filed a legal petition today pushing Gov. Jerry Brown to use his emergency powers to place a moratorium on fracking and other well stimulation techniques. The groups point to tests showing dangerously high levels of cancer-causing benzene in fracking flowback fluid, which is often dumped into California injection wells.

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Energy Commission adopts report on how state will transform transportation to meet climate and clean air goals

The California Energy Commission adopted its 2014 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) Update, which outlines, among many things, how the state is working to transform the transportation system to zero- and near-zero technologies and fuels to meet its climate and clean air goals during its business meeting today.

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Shareholder Proposal requesting Gender Pay Gap Reporting and Quantitative Reduction Goals opposed by eBay Board

EBay’s Board has committed to publicly oppose a shareholder proposal filed by Arjuna Capital, the sustainable wealth platform of Baldwin Brothers Inc., requesting eBay publicly report the pay disparity between male and female employees and set goals to close the gap.

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State Treasurer Issues Statement on Fitch’s Upgrade of CA's Credit Rating

State Treasurer John Chiang today hailed Fitch’s upgrade of California's credit rating from “A” to “A+.” The move follows continuing efforts by the Treasurer and the Department of Finance to not only identify opportunities to strengthen California’s credit worthiness, but to highlight the improved fiscal discipline recently exercised by the State and its voters, which has helped the State recover from years of severe budgetary and cash flow crises.

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Drive California coalition applauds historic milestone: More than 100,000 undocumented residents now licensed!

Today, the California Department of Motor Vehicles announced that from January 2 through February 20 of this year, 110,000 undocumented Californians had earned drivers' licenses under AB 60, the state's Safe and Responsible Driver Act.

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Plastic Bag Supporters Statement on Certification of Signatures by Plastic Bag Industry on SB 270 Referendum

California vs. Big Plastic, the coalition of local officials and environmental, labor, and business groups supporting the state’s plastic bag ban, today issued the following statement after California Secretary of State Alex Padilla certified signatures gathered by the plastic bag industry that will force a referendum in November 2016 on the state’s plastic ban signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown (SB 270).

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Californians are experiencing their warmest winter since modern record keeping began

While people in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S have been dealing with Arctic Air, the bulge in the Jet Stream over the eastern Pacific Ocean has been keeping the western third of the U.S. in warmer than normal temperatures over the last two months. Infrared data from NASA provided a look at those surface temperature extremes from west to east.

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Appeals Court will hear case on cover-up of Diablo Canyon quake risks

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear, over the objection of Pacific Gas and Electric and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a case brought by Friends of the Earth alleging that the NRC illegally allowed PG&E to alter the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s license.

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ACLU Lawsuit Charges Calaveras County with Unconstitutionally Promoting One Particular Religious Belief

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California today filed a lawsuit against the county of Calaveras, charging the board of supervisors with passing a resolution last summer that unconstitutionally promotes one particular set of religious beliefs over all others.

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Covered California Offers Consumers a Chance to Minimize Their Tax Penalty by Enrolling in a Health Insurance Plan by April 30

Covered California is offering a special enrollment opportunity for consumers who did not know or understand there was a tax penalty for being uninsured in 2014 or who learned they may face a penalty for 2015.

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Waters Off California Among 15 Most Threatened by Ocean Acidification

The first nationwide vulnerability assessment for ocean acidification, published today in Nature Climate Change, shows that coastal communities in 15 states that depend on the nation’s approximately $1 billion shelled mollusk (e.g., oysters and clams) industry are at long-term economic risk from ocean acidification. The assessment illustrates that vulnerable communities are not confined to the Pacific Northwest, which has been the primary focal point of attention and resources. Newly-identified communities at risk reside everywhere from Maine to the Chesapeake Bay to the Louisiana bayou.

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Feds Will Expand Habitat Protections for Endangered Killer Whales on West Coast

The National Marine Fisheries Service announced today that it intends to expand critical habitat protections along the West Coast for endangered “Southern Resident” killer whales. The finding, which says a decision will be made in 2017, comes in response to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity seeking to extend Endangered Species Act protection to the whales’ winter foraging range off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.

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Euthanasia Drugs Reach the Wrong Animals

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed that several turkey vultures have been poisoned from the veterinary euthanasia drug pentobarbital in Marin County.

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Owner of Richmond Metal Plating Company Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges, Closes Business

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced today that Marion Patigler, owner of a Richmond metal plating business with a history of alleged hazardous waste violations, has pleaded guilty in Contra Costa County Superior Court to nine misdemeanor charges. On behalf of her business, Electro-Forming, Co., Patigler pleaded guilty to an additional four felony counts.

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Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Offshore Fracking in California

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Interior Department today for violating three federal laws by rubberstamping offshore fracking off California’s coast without analyzing fracking pollution’s threats to ocean ecosystems, coastal communities and marine wildlife, including sea otters, fish, sea turtles and whales.

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Arsenic, nitrates among pollutants in California drinking water: report
Full story: Reuters

Reward Offered in Abandonment of 191 Dogs in San Bernardino County

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for abandoning 191 dogs in San Bernardino County, California.

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