Joshua Trees Petitioned for Endangered Species Act Protection
Published Oct 1, 2015 - 10:08:58 AM
Today, WildEarth Guardians petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to list the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Multiple climate models predict severe range contractions in the next century for this iconic southwestern species. The trees will have difficulty moving to more hospitable habitat because they reproduce and disperse so slowly.
UC launches first phase of new $15 an hour minimum wage policy
Published Oct 1, 2015 - 8:43:14 AM
The University of California’s new minimum wage policy takes effect today (Oct. 1) with thousands of direct and contract employees slated to receive the first of three years of raises that will increase their earnings to at least $15 an hour by 2017.
Emergency Drought Barrier Removal Underway in Delta
Published Oct 1, 2015 - 8:34:27 AM
Work by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to dismantle an emergency drought barrier that has spanned West False River between Jersey and Bradford islands since June is well underway, with breach in the barrier expected today.
Plains Oil Spill: Santa Barbara Group Demands Increased Pipeline Safety
Published Oct 1, 2015 - 7:45:20 AM
The Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) sent a letter on behalf of twenty-eight environmental organizations to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”), urging the agency to implement increased safety requirements prior to restart of the pipeline responsible for the May 19, 2015 Plains All American Pipeline Oil Spill off the Santa Barbara coastline near Refugio State Beach. EDC called on PHMSA to require Plains), the operator of the faulty Line 901 and its connecting Line 903, to: (1) require annual inspections of the lines with third party oversight; (2) implement best achievable technologies such as coupling leak detection technology with automatic shutoff systems; and (3) require assurance that Plains will comply with several oil spill response and emergency plans.
USDA California Agencies Offer Post-Fire Assistance; Assessments Underway
Published Sep 30, 2015 - 11:58:34 AM
In the wake of the Valley and Butte fires, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) staffs in California are meeting with landowners and Agencies to assess damages and offer technical and financial assistance where possible.
Water Year 2015 Ends as California’s Warmest Ever
Published Sep 30, 2015 - 10:00:29 AM
The turn of the calendar from September to October each year goes without fanfare in most of California, but for the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) State Water Project (SWP), each October 1 is the start of a new water year. Water Year 2015 has been noteworthy for much less precipitation than normal in California, temperatures much warmer than normal and a growing El Niño in the Eastern Pacific that many Californians hope will end the state’s drought. Most of all, Water Year 2015 will be remembered as the fourth year of one of the state’s most severe dry periods on record.
Winery wastewater a viable water source for vineyards
Published Sep 29, 2015 - 8:27:51 AM
Making wine requires water beyond what it takes to grow grapes. There are bottles to wash, barrels to scrub and floors to clean. But what if the water left over from all that cleaning was treated and reused to irrigate vineyards? It sounds like a promising practice, especially during a drought, but would it hurt the vines, the soil or even the wine?
George Skelton: Aid-in-dying bill aligns with religious liberty
Full story: LA Times
Rough Fire Incident Commander Rocky Opliger's Letter to the Community
Published Sep 25, 2015 - 4:22:19 PM
As Incident Commander for California Interagency Incident Management Team 4, responsible for the South Zone of the Rough Fire, I appreciate all the cooperation that went into suppressing this massive wildfire. Local people and organizations worked together to provide the infrastructure and support that allowed thousands of firefighters from all over the country to suppress the fire spread.
Big Drought Rally in Mt. Shasta Saturday
Published Sep 25, 2015 - 11:54:53 AM
Water and the drought will be the focus of a rally on Saturday September 26. The event is expected to draw crowds from California and Oregon at the Headwaters of the Sacramento River at Mt. Shasta City Park – known for the purity and abundance of its waters.
Teacher with thyroid cancer still in toxic room due to district remediating wrong room
Published Sep 25, 2015 - 8:21:53 AM
New evidence indicates that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District failed to remediate the Malibu High School PE office that tested positive for high levels of PCB contamination in 2014 and mistakenly tested and remediated a completely different office on the opposite side of the building, which incidentally also contained high levels of PCBs.
Exhausted, Starving Seabirds Continue To Swamp International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay Center
Published Sep 24, 2015 - 12:39:49 PM
An unprecedented number of exhausted, hungry seabirds continue to flood International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay Center. More than 250 rescued Common Murres – mostly young, malnourished chicks unable to maintain their weight and body temperature – have been delivered to the center in the last few weeks.
Op-Ed: ‘Trump Effect’ is now having an impact on Los Angeles County policy on jail deportations
Published Sep 24, 2015 - 12:04:44 PM
It appears the ‘Trump Effect’ is now having an impact on Los Angeles County policy. The L.A. Sheriff today issued a draft policy that appears politically motivated and impacted by sensationalized tragedy, and it reaches far beyond that which was requested by the Board of Supervisors. It is a policy that entangles local criminal law enforcement with the enforcement of outdated, unjust civil immigration laws. Unless modified, the policy will result in senseless deportations, potential civil rights violations, and eroded public safety for all Angelenos.
John Rennie Short: Taxpayers are subsidizing the risky practice of building more homes at the wildland-urban interface
Published Sep 23, 2015 - 12:15:19 PM
The western US is burning.
This year’s damaging experience is just the latest in a recent series of devastating wildfire seasons, a trend that will only likely increase over the coming years.
Study links California regulations, dramatic declines in cancer risk from exposure to air toxics
Published Sep 23, 2015 - 11:52:11 AM
An Air Resources Board study, published today in the prestigious scientific journal “Environmental Science & Technology,” shows that the cancer risk from exposure to the state’s most significant air toxics declined 76 percent over a 23-year period in California, a direct result of regulations targeting unhealthful emissions from these air pollutants.
Lawsuit Targets Sprawling Southern California Mega-warehouse Project
Published Sep 23, 2015 - 11:15:24 AM
Environmental justice and conservation groups sued the Southern California city of Moreno Valley yesterday over its approval of the World Logistics Center, a sprawling 40-million-square-foot warehouse project that would add 14,000 truck trips to town every day, worsen already poor air quality and harm birds and other wildlife in the nearby San Jacinto Wildlife Area.
Human remains located within the burn area of Cobb
Published Sep 23, 2015 - 9:49:15 AM
On September 22, 2015 at approximately 6:30 pm, deputies and detectives from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and fire personnel were checking areas and conducting searches within the burn area of the Valley Fire. Human remains were located in the Cobb area.
Greater Sage-grouse Denied Protection; Outlook for Iconic Bird is Bleak
Published Sep 22, 2015 - 2:47:03 PM
In a double-whammy that will doom the sagebrush steppe and the iconic Greater sage-grouse to a dismal future, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today the Obama Administration’s decision to rely on incomplete planning efforts to protect the bird, rather than the true safety net of the Endangered Species Act. In addition to the finding of “Not Warranted” for federal protection under the ESA, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service released Records of Decision for land use plans across the west that fall short of what even the government’s own scientists say is necessary to prevent the extinction of the species.
California Measure Takes Aim at Use of Antibiotics to Fatten Livestock
Published Sep 22, 2015 - 1:30:25 PM
With the threat of antibiotic-resistant germs on the rise, California Gov. Jerry Brown is poised to sign tough restrictions on administering antibiotics to livestock.
Federal Judge Upholds Protections for Southern Sea Otters
Published Sep 21, 2015 - 5:50:07 PM
In a major victory for threatened southern sea otters, U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter on Friday issued a ruling denying a challenge by some fishing organizations to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision that has restored protections for sea otters in Southern California. Environmental Defense Center, The Otter Project and Los Angeles Waterkeeper intervened in the case on behalf of the FWS.
El Niño and La Niña will Exacerbate Coastal Hazards Across Entire Pacific
Published Sep 21, 2015 - 8:53:45 AM
The projected upsurge of severe El Niño and La Niña events will cause an increase in storm events leading to extreme coastal flooding and erosion in populated regions across the Pacific Ocean, according to a multi-agency study published today in Nature Geoscience.
EPA, California Notify Volkswagen of Clean Air Act Violations
Published Sep 21, 2015 - 6:26:01 AM
Today, EPA is issuing a notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (collectively referred to as Volkswagen). The NOV alleges that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. California is separately issuing an In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen, and EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have both initiated investigations based on Volkswagen’s alleged actions.
World’s Largest Green Roof to Sit on Top of Dying California Mall
Full story: EcoWatch
Zion National Park Releases Names of Flash Flood Victims, 6 From California
Published Sep 20, 2015 - 9:54:31 AM
The seven Keyhole Canyon canyoneers who were overtaken by a flash flood in Zion National Park, have been identified. They are Mark MacKenzie, 56, of Valencia, CA;Linda Arthur, 57, of Camarillo, CA;Steve Arthur, 58, of Camarillo, CA;Gary Favela, 51, of Rancho Cucamonga, CA;Don Teichner, 55, of Mesquite, NV;Muku Reynolds, 59, of Chino, CA;and Robin Brum, 53, of Camarillo, CA.
CDFW Warden Saves Baby, Two Elderly Women from Burning Homes
Published Sep 20, 2015 - 7:52:31 AM
A California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officer based in Lake County recently risked his own life to save three lives in the Valley Fire.
State Health Officer Urges Caution During Wildfire Cleanup Efforts
Published Sep 18, 2015 - 2:55:03 PM
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today advised residents of recently burned areas to use caution in cleaning up ash from recent wildfires. The ash from trees burned in forest fires is relatively nontoxic and similar to ash that might be found in your fireplace. However, ash from burned homes and other items will likely contain metals, chemicals, and potentially asbestos, items that can be considered toxic if breathed in or touched with wet skin.
Trinity County Board of Supervisors Say “NO” to State of Jefferson
Published Sep 18, 2015 - 12:25:07 PM
On Tuesday, September 15, the Trinity County Board of Supervisors voted not to join the proposed State of Jefferson. After hearing testimony from the public, the Supervisors adopted a Pro-California declaration, “declining to join the State of Jefferson and advocating improved representation of rural California counties.” This declaration was proposed by Keep It California PAC, a non-partisan political action committee, as an alternative to the proposed State of Jefferson declaration.
Numbers Encouraging, but Shark Bites Still Problematic for Sea Otter Recovery
Published Sep 18, 2015 - 10:36:26 AM
The recovery of southern sea otters appears to have taken an upturn, according to results from the annual California sea otter survey released by the U.S. Geological Survey today. Yet despite an overall increase in sea otter abundance, sharks have been “taking a bite” out of the portion of the population that could fuel expansion into new areas.
AG Kamala D. Harris Issues Consumer Alert Regarding Reports of Price Gouging During Wildfires
Published Sep 18, 2015 - 8:55:08 AM
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a consumer alert on reports of price gouging by businesses, namely hotels, during the devastating wildfires that have swept our state. The Attorney General also issued a warning that the California Department of Justice is prepared to investigate and prosecute those that attempt to wrongfully profit from the destructive fires that are driving Californians out of their homes.
Reopening of Certain Areas in Kings Canyon National Park and Giant Sequoia National Monument
Published Sep 18, 2015 - 8:23:53 AM
The National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service are excited to share with the public the plan and timetable for the reopening of the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park, the road between Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (the Generals Highway), and parts of the Giant Sequoia National Monument.