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Video showing drought-depleted reservoirs - from the California Department of Water Resources

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently released a silent video showing the depletion level of several Northern California reservoirs. DWR’s Daily Reservoir Storage Summary lists Folsom Lake at 31 percent of capacity, Lake Oroville at 34 percent, and Lake Shasta at 40 percent.

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Covered California Announces Rate Increases for 2016

Consumers should review new health insurance policies closely for “hidden premiums,” including narrow provider networks, high deductibles and climbing cost-sharing that can result in major unexpected medical bills, Consumer Watchdog said today.

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Joshua Tree, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks regularly have air that's unhealthy for most park visitors and rangers

A new analysis, released today by National Parks Conservation Association, shows that every one of the 48 national parks with the greatest Clean Air Act protections are plagued by significant air pollution problems and climate change impacts. In fact, air quality in parks can be as bad – or worse – than in some major cities due to emissions from outdated coal plants and other sources of pollution.

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Partners with U.S. Department of Labor To Combat Wage Theft

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) have signed a cooperative agreement to crack down on employer wage theft and other illegal labor practices. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by both agencies will facilitate the sharing of information and enhance enforcement of labor violations.

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Animal Protection, Conservation Organizations Sue Mendocino County in Response to Wildlife Services Contract Renewal

Animal-protection and conservation organizations filed suit today challenging Mendocino County’s contract renewal with Wildlife Services, a notorious federal wildlife-killing program that killed close to 3 million animals in the United States in 2014.

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State Agencies Collaborate to Improve Freight's Economic and Environmental Performance

Tuesday, leaders from state government will join the California Freight Advisory Committee at their July meeting, where they will take the first steps towards implementing Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15, which calls for a single, unified Sustainable Freight Strategy for the state.

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Calif. Death-with-Dignity Plaintiffs Vow to Appeal Case's Dismissal

Gravely ill plaintiffs vowed to appeal a judge’s dismissal today of their suit asserting the California constitution and existing state law allow terminally ill adults the option of death with dignity, also known as medical aid in dying.

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Berryessa Fire Timelapse

A wildfire started a yesterday in the hills by Lake Berryessa. I was lucky enough to live close and see the fire starting early. I quickly grabbed my camera gear and ran to go shoot some time lapses of the massive fire. I drove all around Yolo county and parts of Winters to capture this footage.

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L.A. offered $1.6 Million for Pioneering Low-Income Electric Carsharing Program in Low-Income Communities

Following a competitive proposal process, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has offered $1.6 million to the City of Los Angeles to set up a pilot carsharing program for electric vehicles in disadvantaged communities. The grant will fulfill a key mandate of SB 1275, the Charge Ahead California Initiative, enacted last year to make clean transportation more widely available, particularly in low and moderate-income neighborhoods. Advocates applauded the pilot as a significant step toward ensuring that Californians of all income levels benefit from the state’s effort to clean the air, reduce our dependence on petroleum, and combat global warming.

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Bill would designate important wilderness in Castaic region, create national memorial and monument for victims of the St. Francis Dam disaster

The California Wilderness Coalition joined local residents, and community, business and conservation leaders from northern Los Angeles County and Ventura County in applauding a new proposal by Congressman Steve Knight (R-CA-25) that would designate the Castaic Wilderness in the northern portion of the Angeles National Forest.

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Court Order Sought to Force Disclosure of California Pesticide Spraying

Public-health and environmental groups, along with the city of Berkeley, are seeking a court order on Friday to require that a California agency publicly disclose and analyze any pesticide spraying it conducts that poses risks to people, wildlife or the environment. The groups are asking a Sacramento court for a preliminary injunction to require that the California Department of Food and Agriculture follow state environmental laws when spraying harmful pesticides. This summer the Department is spraying residential neighborhoods and school playing fields in Sacramento with three pesticides linked to cancer, birth defects and miscarriage. These pesticides, intended to kill Japanese beetles, are also highly toxic to bees.

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Cal OES Director Secures Fire Management Assistance Grant from FEMA to Assist Response Agencies Battling Wragg Fire

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 Wragg Fire burning in Napa, Yolo and Solano Counties. The FMAG also enables local, state and tribal agencies to recover eligible costs.

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UC president announces $15/hour minimum wage

University of California President Janet Napolitano announced today (July 22) that the minimum wage for its workers — both direct and service contract employees — will be raised to $15 an hour over the next three years. In addition, she directed that all contractors doing business with UC comply with government and university workplace laws and policies.

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Gatto and Gaines Announce Legislation Allowing First Responders to Jam and Take Down Drones Interfering with Fires

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) and Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) introduced legislation to today to help protect emergency responders engaged in their life-saving work. Senate Bill 168 grants immunity to any emergency responder who damages an unmanned aircraft in the course of firefighting, air ambulance, or search-and-rescue operations.

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Agencies Promoting Delta Water Diversions Asked to Correct Tunnel Vision

Conservation groups in California warned regulators today that their rush to approve construction of massive water-diversion tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta violates state and federal laws. The letter sent to federal and state agencies that are promoting the so-called Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP)/California Water Fix underscored the agencies’ failure to consider alternatives that would reduce diversions and increase freshwater flows through the Delta.

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Monterey Coastkeeper Joins Lawsuit Against US EPA and Army Corps Over New "Waters of the United States" Rule

Monterey Coastkeeper, the water quality program of The Otter Project has joined in a critical lawsuit against the US Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers. The lawsuit, filed at 9am PDT today in the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, challenges illegal industry giveaways in the joint Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) rule that defines which “waters of the United States” can be protected against being destroyed, degraded, or polluted without a permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

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Cambodian Refugee Facing Deportation, Asks ICE for a Chance to Donate Kidney to Dying Brother

Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) granted Cambodian refugee Touch Hak temporary relief from deportation due to a groundswell of community support demanding that he be allowed to remain in the country to donate his kidney to his older brother Puthy. His brother is a U.S. citizen who is in end-stage renal failure and has been undergoing dialysis for almost three years. “Puthy was a true older brother to me because he protected and supported me no matter what. There’s nothing I wanted more than to donate my kidney to save his life,” said Touch.

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Recent storms impact stream channels on the Klamath National Forest

Heavy rainstorms over the Klamath National Forest within the past week triggered a number of debris flows, with some blocking access roads. Water, rocks, mud and trees were swept downslope in the Music Creek, Beaver Creek, Grider and Walker Creek drainages.

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Southern California mountain lion matters of life and death

The biggest threat to Southern California mountain lions is us, confirms a comprehensive 13-year study of the population’s mortality and survival from the University of California, Davis.

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PETA Sues Pasadena Over Failure to Hand Over Records on Outed SeaWorld Spy

To find out whether SeaWorld has colluded with the Pasadena Police Department (PPD) to silence animal advocates, PETA filed a lawsuit this morning against the City of Pasadena and PPD Chief Phillip L. Sanchez challenging the city’s failure to comply with PETA’s Public Records Act requests for records relating to “Thomas Jones,” the SeaWorld protester who attempted to incite animal advocates to perform illegal acts and was recently exposed as SeaWorld employee Paul T. McComb. Other SeaWorld agents are expected to be revealed in time.

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How much water does the West really have? Groundwater Explained (VIDEO)

Seventy five years ago, American scientists discovered a secret about how the planet’s water works. The phenomenon involves the Earth’s lakes, rivers and streams, and their connection to the treasured stashes of water that can be found in the deep pools that have been sequestered between layers of underground rock for centuries.

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Op-Ed: Seth Shteir: Joshua Tree Expansion Study a Step Forward but Raises Lingering Development Concerns

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), which has worked to protect the Eagle Mountain region for nearly two decades, welcomes the National Park Service’s study for the potential to return these lands to Joshua Tree National Park. The Eagle Mountain area, home to golden eagles, desert tortoises, and historically and culturally-significant sites, would be a welcome addition to Joshua Tree National Park and its 2 million annual visitors.”

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Boxer Statement on Collapse of Bridge on Interstate 10 Linking California and Arizona

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), issued the following statement calling on lawmakers of both parties to come together behind a 6-year transportation bill after the collapse of a bridge on Interstate 10, the main roadway that links Southern California and Arizona. One driver was injured and hundreds of motorists were stranded when the Tex Wash bridge collapsed Sunday afternoon during heavy rains.

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CDPH Confirms First Human West Nile Virus Death of 2015

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today announced the first confirmed death in California due to West Nile virus (WNV). The deceased person was a senior citizen in Nevada County.

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CDFW, Partner Agencies Conclude Operation Yurok in Humboldt County

Officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently participated in a large-scale, multi-agency operation to address the devastating effects of illegal marijuana cultivation on fish, wildlife and the environment in northern California's watersheds. The four-day mission concluded Thursday, July 16.

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Visitors Reminded To Observe Property Rules at State Ecological Reserves

Visitors to state ecological reserves should be aware of the property rules and report illegal activities to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

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Graphic and Controversial Commercials on CNN & FoxNews Accuse California Rodeo of Animal Cruelty

California Rodeo Salinas, the state's most prominent rodeo and one of the biggest in the nation, is the target of a series of graphic television commercials that began airing this week on CNN, FoxNews and MSNBC asking people to not attend the rodeo because of rampant and deadly, and most often unreported, animal cruelty. The rodeo opens today and runs through July 19.

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Op-Ed: Yvette d'Entremont: Don't Be Afraid of the Big, Bad Law: Vaccinate Your Damn Kids
Full story: Gawker

Natural contaminants, arsenic and uranium, in one-fifth of California's groundwater

Natural contaminants are more prevalent than human-made contaminants in California groundwater used for public supply, is the conclusion of a decade-long study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists. The study evaluated the quality of nearly all of the groundwater used for public supply in California and is the most comprehensive assessment of groundwater in any state to date. Groundwater provides about one-third of California’s drinking supply in a typical year, but more during drought conditions.

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Ann Hayden: Note to Congress: Pitting fish against farms won't solve California's drought

A bill to supposedly address California’s devastating drought, authored by Rep. David Valadao, cleared the House Natural Resources Committee last week and could come up for a full vote as early as this week.

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