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Sherpa Fire: Smokin’ Hot (for scientists)

The Sherpa fire, which broke out June 15 in mountainous terrain at the top of Refugio Road in Goleta, has charred nearly 7,500 acres. But the blaze, expected to reach full containment by midnight tonight, may turn out to have a silver lining — at least from a scientific standpoint.


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Reportedly Up To 210,000 Gallons of Crude Oil Spilled in Ventura County

At 5:30 am this morning, a leak in a pipeline in Hall Canyon, California was reported. According to reports thus far, as many as 210,000 gallons of crude oil has been spilled.

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Supreme Court Split Decision on U.S. v. Texas Does Not Affect Original DACA Program

Ready California, a statewide collaborative working to ensure that the maximum number of eligible Californians benefit from DACA and DAPA, is disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 4-4 split decision on United States v. Texas. This decision means that the expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) programs will continue to remain on hold. The programs, announced by President Obama in 2014, would have protected millions of immigrants – 1.5 million in California alone – from deportation while authorizing them to work legally.

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California Driver Cell Phone Usage Up Despite Dangers

Despite the well-known dangers of distracted driving, the number of California drivers who use mobile devices while they drive is on the rise.

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Santa Clara Valley Water District Taxpayers Protest Hidden Taxes Funding Delta Tunnels Planning

Today, ratepayers from Santa Clara Valley Water District questioned unfair, and possibly illegal, fees that have emerged in documents recovered under the Public Records Act. The documents reveal an elaborate money transfer system set up years ago that is funding planning for the controversial Delta Tunnels project. Fees that taxpayers and ratepayers never approved.

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Watchdog praises shutdown of Diablo Canyon but concerned about safety, environmental risks posed by current operation of reactor

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP) learned this morning of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) proposal to withdraw its application for license renewal for the two reactors at Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. The current licenses expire in 2024 and 2025. PG&E’s proposal secures a date certain for the final shutdown of the last nuclear plant in the state of California. Since 2009, when PG&E submitted its license renewal application to the NRC, SLOMFP has opposed the operation of Diablo Canyon on safety and environmental grounds.

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Controller Yee Applauds Historic Agreement Governing Closure of California’s Last Nuclear Power Plant

State Controller Betty T. Yee, chair of the California State Lands Commission, issued the following statement today, following an announcement that Pacific Gas & Electric and Friends of the Earth have agreed on a historic joint proposal that will govern the closure of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, the last nuclear power station in California.

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Cal OES Director Secures Fire Management Assistance Grant from FEMA to Assist Response Agencies Battling Fish Fire in Southern California

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci today secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help ensure the availability of vital resources to suppress the Fish Fire burning in Angeles National Forest of Los Angeles County. The FMAG also enables local, state and tribal agencies to recover eligible costs.

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Diablo Canyon nuclear plant to be shut down, power replaced by renewables, efficiency, storage

An historic agreement has been reached between Pacific Gas and Electric, Friends of the Earth, and other environmental and labor organizations to replace the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors with greenhouse-gas-free renewable energy, efficiency and energy storage resources. Friends of the Earth says the agreement provides a clear blueprint for fighting climate change by replacing nuclear and fossil fuel energy with safe, clean, cost-competitive renewable energy.

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Groups Call for Federal Investigation of Utah Plan to Finance Oakland coal Export Terminal

Conservation, health, and good government groups today sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for a formal investigation into potential legal and ethical violations in Utah’s extraordinary $53 million taxpayer-funded loan to build a deepwater terminal in Oakland, Calif., to export coal.

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Cal OES Director Secures Fire Management Assistance Grant to Assist in Battling Border Fire

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help ensure the availability of vital resources to suppress the ‘Border’ Fire impacting San Diego County. The FMAG also enables local, state and tribal agencies to recover eligible costs.

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Andrew W. Gurman, MD: AMA Applauds CA's Insurance Commissioner’s Stand for Preserving Health Insurance Competition

The American Medical Association strongly agrees with the assessment of California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones that bigger is not better when it comes to the proposed merger of two corporate giants in the health insurance industry. We applaud the Commissioner's decision to join the AMA and a growing list of others who have strongly urged the U.S. Department of Justice to block the proposed Anthem-Cigna merger.

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Insurance commissioner urges U.S. Justice Department to block Anthem/Cigna merger

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today urged the U.S. Department of Justice to block the merger deal between Anthem, Inc., and Cigna Corporation. After an extensive review of the Anthem and Cigna merger, Commissioner Jones issued detailed findings that the merger of the second and fourth largest national health insurers is anti-competitive and will harm California consumers, businesses, and the California health insurance market.

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BLM Announces Fire Restrictions for Lands Managed by Arcata, Redding and Ukiah Field Offices

Effective Monday, June 20, the Bureau of Land Management will implement fire restrictions for public lands managed by the Arcata, Redding and Ukiah Field Offices. Restrictions affect public land managed by the BLM in Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity, Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Siskiyou, Lake, Sonoma, Napa, Yolo, Colusa, Glenn and Solano counties. The restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.

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CARB, NOAA, NASA and San Jose State University scientists team up to study ozone transported across Pacific

This summer dozens of scientists from State and federal agencies and universities are using four different aircraft with more than 200 flight hours, balloons that measure ozone aloft, and a laser-based instrument that measures ozone above the ground up to 12,000 feet, to investigate ozone which enters California from the Pacific Ocean. The three-month research project (mid-May to mid-August) will help scientists learn if ozone entering the state from the Pacific has an effect on air quality at the surface in the San Joaquin Valley.

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Lawmakers OK Plan for Pioneering Gun Violence Research Center in California

California lawmakers have agreed to spend $5 million to open a first-in-the-nation gun violence research center, a move intended to circumvent a ban on federal firearm studies.

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New Motor Voter Act Could Diversify Electorate, Expand It 10 Percent in First Year

The New Motor Voter Act could make California’s electorate significantly more representative of the state as a whole and could add more than 2 million people to the voter rolls in the first year—an increase of more than 10 percent. However, key implementation issues will determine whether the law achieves its potential.

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Interactive map shows 12 million+ Americans nationwide live in the oil & gas threat zone, including California

Yesterday, Clean Air Task Force and Earthworks unveiled a suite of tools designed to inform and mobilize Americans about the health risks from toxic air pollution from the oil and gas industry. For the first time, Americans across the country—from Washington County, PA, to Weld County, CO to Kern County, CA—can access striking new community-level data on major health risks posed by oil and gas operations.

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Guilty Plea and Sentence for Woman Charged with Defacing Rock Formations in 7 National Parks in Western U.S.

Casey Nocket, 23, of San Diego, pleaded guilty today to seven misdemeanor counts of damaging government property. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto sentenced Nocket two years’ probation and 200 hours of community service, Acting United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert and National Park Service Chief of Law Enforcement Charles Cuvelier announced.

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CA Legal Orgs Bring First-of-its-kind Lawsuit Challenging Harmful Driver’s License Suspension Policies in Solano County

A lawsuit was filed today against Solano County Superior Court, challenging the court’s practice of suspending the driver’s licenses of people who are too poor to pay exorbitant traffic fines. In 2015, over 11,000 driver’s licenses were suspended in Solano County for failure to pay alone. In California, millions of people do not have valid driver’s licenses because they cannot afford to pay traffic fines and fees. This is the first lawsuit in California to challenge the suspension of driver’s licenses as a means of collecting unpaid traffic fines.

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UCLA scientists discover protective strategy against pesticide-linked Parkinson's disease

The research focused on the fungicide ziram, which is used extensively in heavily agricultural areas such as California's Central Valley and which causes the loss of the main source of dopamine in the central nervous system. Loss of this source, called dopaminergic neurons, is associated with Parkinson's disease.

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California 'street tree' benefits valued at $1 billion

Streets lined with gold? Not exactly, but a new report from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station estimates trees lining Californian streets and boulevards provide benefits to municipalities and residents worth $1 billion.

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Stanford Rape Case Highlights Misogyny in Society

Brock Turner, 20, treated a young woman, 23, like a piece of meat, raping her behind a dumpster while she was unconscious. His father’s chief concern? That Brock doesn’t even enjoy steak anymore, having lost his appetite. Many women lost theirs, reading the father’s statement.

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PG&E Flying Low in Trinity, Shasta and Tehama Counties to Check for Drought-stricken Trees

In response to the drought, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is patrolling by helicopter to check for drought-stricken trees near power lines. Flights will occur in remote areas of Trinity, Tehama and Shasta counties on Monday, June 13.

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LASD Statement Regarding the Orlando Attack & West Hollywood Gay Pride Parade and Festival

A male was detained in the city of Santa Monica this morning who was in possession of weapons and other dangerous material. Any possible nexus with this individual and the Pride event in West Hollywood is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Gabe Ortiz: California’s Senate Race Shows How The Ghost Of Prop. 187 Continues To Haunt Republicans

In the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Republicans have been shut out of a spot on the fall ballot “for the first time since the state’s first direct election of Senators in 1914.”

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The Otter Project Takes Action to Protect Salinas River Flows

Late Thursday, June 2nd, The Otter Project delivered a “Sixty-Day Notice of Intent to Sue for Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act Violations in Relation to the Salinas Valley Water Project” to NOAA Fisheries, Army Corps of Engineers, and Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA). A “60-Day Notice of Intent” is generally sent to agencies so that they have the opportunity to take corrective action before a lawsuit is filed.

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ACLU Challenges Dignity Health's Denial of Insurance for Transgender Employee

The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal lawsuit against the fifth largest health care system in the U.S., Dignity Health, because it denies transgender employees health insurance coverage for medically necessary transition-related health care.

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The Animal Legal Defense Fund Calls on USDA to Hold Repeat Big Cat Exploiter Accountable

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s leading legal advocacy organization for animals, has requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) open an investigation of the Barry Kirshner Wildlife Foundation, a notorious roadside zoo located in Oroville, California. Less than a year ago the USDA ordered a fee of $5,464 from the zoo for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) relating to public handling of big cats and lack of appropriate veterinary care. While the zoo paid the fine, new evidence suggests that the establishment is still flagrantly disregarding bare minimum AWA standards meant to keep animals and the public safe.

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Op-Ed: Ernesto Falcon: Growing Coalition Opposes California Exerting Copyright Over Public Records

California's A.B. 2880 will give government agencies the power to put copyright restrictions on their work. That means state bureaucrats will be able to wrap their reports, research, e-mails, and even videos of public meetings in onerous legal restrictions, backed by federal lawsuits and six-figure penalties. The bill would change California from one of the most open state governments to one of the least open. EFF opposed the bill and explained its dangers to the State Assembly.

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