Thursday, December 18 2014

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California takes giant step toward approving first crop-based carbon standards

The California Air Resources Board today gave a “thumbs up” to a pioneering staff proposal that would allow U.S. rice farmers to sell credits on the state’s landmark carbon market. The board directed staff to evaluate and consider public comments, then finalize the Rice Cultivation Projects Compliance Offset Protocol for a vote as early as next spring.

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Neutrogena fined for hazardous waste violations at its facility in Los Angeles

The Neutrogena Corporation will pay more than $400,000 to settle a civil action resulting from a Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) investigation of hazardous waste violations at its Los Angeles manufacturing facility.

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Goodbye and Good Riddance: TURN Looks Forward to New Leadership at the CPUC

TURN said today that President Peevey’s departure from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is long overdue, and that the appointment of new independent leader at the agency would be good news for consumers. Peevey’s term ends on December 31, and he is not likely to be reappointed.

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Next Napa quake could be devastating

The magnitude 6 earthquake that shook the Napa Valley in August was the strongest the region had felt in more than 20 years. But the next earthquake in the area could be much stronger, according to preliminary research from the University of California, Davis, presented this week at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

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In Conjunction with "Wild" Movie Release, Pacific Crest Trail Association PSA Stresses Need to Preserve Popular Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) today released a powerful, new education and awareness video in conjunction with the December launch of Wild, the Fox Searchlight film starring actress Reese Witherspoon and set against the stunning backdrop of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. PCTA is the only non-profit organization dedicated to caring for and championing the entire Pacific Crest Trail – a trail under constant threat from development – for current and future generations.

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Leading Bird Conservation Group Calls for Expanded Yellow-billed Cuckoo Critical Habitat

American Bird Conservancy (ABC), one of the leading U.S. bird conservation groups, has asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to significantly expand its proposed critical habitat designation for the western population of Yellow-billed Cuckoo, which was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in October.

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Tens of Thousands Voice Support for Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

Today groups announced the collection of more than 80,000 public comments supporting the permanent protection of the Berryessa Snow Mountain area. The supporters join more than 200 businesses that have already spoken out in favor of a national monument designation, along with all five counties that would be included in the monument. The latest comments are a demonstration of the growing movement calling on the Obama Administration to take action to protect the special area.

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Forest Service to "Keep it Wild" with historic mule pack trains in January 1 Rose Parade

U.S. Forest Service rangers, firefighters and volunteers will take to Colorado Boulevard for the 126th Rose Parade in Pasadena on January 1. The agency celebrated its centennial a decade ago with a Rose Parade entry in 2005.

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California Conservation Investment by NRCS, Farmers and Ranchers Reaches $200 Million in Federal Fiscal Year 2014

California’s agricultural landscape received a healthy boost of conservation in fiscal year 2014. Over 2,400 farmers and ranchers teamed up with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and partners to voluntarily invest time and money in protecting and improving soil, water, air, plants and wildlife habitat across California’s landscape, through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

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Equipment Grants Offered to Local Government for Oil Spill Response

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) announced today it is offering Response Equipment Grants to local governments. The grants have an average value of a $30,000 and include the cost of oil spill response equipment, a mobile trailer and equipment deployment training, but not maintenance or replacement.

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Feinstein Announces Confirmation of Haywood Gilliam as District Judge

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced the confirmation of Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., to be a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of California.

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BLM Report: Illegal Off-road Vehicles Overrunning Parts of West Mojave Desert

A new Bureau of Land Management report finds that hundreds of thousands of acres of the west Mojave Desert were illegally overrun with off-road vehicles over the Thanksgiving weekend, including fragile desert areas. According to the law-enforcement report, BLM rangers documented illegal and destructive incursions into wilderness and “limited use” areas as well as “heavy illegal OHV use” in many areas. Rangers admit they don’t have the resources to protect both public safety and the natural resources of the public lands from destructive and illegal ORV use. The report estimates 33,000 ORVers visited the Barstow area alone.

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ACLU Reaches Landmark Settlement over Rampant Violence and Abuse by Guards in L.A. County Jails

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal), the ACLU, and the law firm of Paul Hastings LLP today announced a historic settlement in Rosas v. Baca, a federal class-action lawsuit that alleged Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and his top staff condoned a long-standing and widespread pattern of violence and abuse by deputies against those detained in the jails. The L.A. County Jail system is the largest in the United States, with a current population of approximately 19,000.

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Warning to consumers of potential scams during AB 60 license process

Implementation of Assembly Bill 60 (Alejo) has the potential to improve safety and decrease the number of uninsured motorists on California roads. Unfortunately, with this historic opportunity to license undocumented immigrants in California, it is also expected that criminals will attempt to scam these new drivers.

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NASA Analysis: 11 Trillion Gallons Needed to Replenish California Drought Losses

It will take about 11 trillion gallons of water (42 cubic kilometers) -- around 1.5 times the maximum volume of the largest U.S. reservoir -- to recover from California's continuing drought, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data.

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Calls grow to eliminate grand juries' secrecy in police killings
Full story: SF Chronicle

Allen's Hummingbird named Audubon California's 2014 Bird of the Year

One of California’s most beloved birds today was named the 2014 Audubon California Bird of the Year. The Allen’s Hummingbird – which lives exclusively along the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Oregon – received the designation after totaling nearly 30 percent of votes cast during an online poll this fall.

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Dutch scientists show: the 1962 Alcatraz Escape was possible

On 11 June 1962, three prisoners escaped from the heavily guarded prison island of Alcatraz just north of San Francisco. Where did their handcrafted rubber boat take them that night? The fate of Clarence Anglin, John Anglin and Frank Morris has continued to mystify the world down to the present day. When Dutch scientists were developing a model of the San Francisco Bay to study the impact of sea-level rise, they realised that this model could also shed light on one of the USA’s most intriguing stories. They have now completed their simulation work and conclude that an escape was indeed possible. In hindsight, the best time to launch a boat from Alcatraz was 23.30, one and a half hours later than has generally been assumed. A rubber boat leaving Alcatraz at 23.30 would most likely have landed just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The model also shows that debris in that scenario would be likely to wash up at Angel Island, exactly where one of the paddles and some personal belongings were found.

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UC Davis: New Million Cat Challenge aims to rescue shelter cats

One million homeless and abandoned cats may get a new lease on life over the next five years thanks to the efforts of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at the University of California, Davis; the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida; and hundreds of animal shelters throughout North America.

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Los Padres National Forest & CAL FIRE Transition out of Fire Season

Recent rains and cooler temperatures across the region have lowered the threat of wildfires allowing CAL FIRE’s San Luis Obispo Unit to transition out of fire season effective Monday, December 15, 2014, at 8 a.m. Rain across Los Padres National Forest has provided sufficient moisture levels to transition out of High Fire Season and reduce fire restrictions on the forest effective immediately.

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Dan Bacher: House Passes Salmon-Killing 'Drought Relief' Bill

In spite of intense opposition by fishermen, environmentalists, Indian Tribes and Northern California Representatives, the U.S. House of Representatives on December 9 passed "drought relief" legislation, H.R. 5781, that would eviscerate protections for Delta smelt, Chinook salmon and other fish species.

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New Campaign Shows How CA Climate Change Laws Help Disadvantaged Communities

Today The Greenlining Institute launched a new campaign to highlight how California’s climate change and clean energy laws bring jobs and consumer savings to communities of color and low-income neighborhoods across California even as they fight smog and promote health. Centerpiece of the new campaign is a just-launched website, UpLiftCA.org, with the tagline, “Our Air. Our Jobs. Our Neighborhoods.”

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Satellite Animation Shows Return of the Pineapple Express

The ‘‘Pineapple Express’’ happens when warm air and lots of moisture are transported from the Central Pacific, near Hawaii, to the Eastern Pacific Ocean. An animation of satellite imagery from NOAA's GOES-West satellite showed the stream of clouds associated with that moisture from Dec. 9 to Dec. 12, 2014 and brought rain and snow to the western U.S.

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Op-Ed: Marco Simons: Chevron fails to win State Department's Award for Corporate Excellence

After an outcry from 30 civil society organizations who objected to Chevron's nomination for the award - and other denouncements across the internet - the State Department announced that the 2014 Award for Corporate Excellence would be given to Coca-Cola, EcoPlanet Bamboo, and Wagner Asia Equipment - not Chevron.

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Congressional Reps Get It Wrong: CA Drought Primary Cause Behind Low Delta Exports, Not Delta Fisheries Protections

Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom salmon and other Pacific fisheries, along with researchers from California Water Research of Santa Cruz, announced today that federal biologists’ findings demonstrate that Delta smelt and salmon protections had little impact on water pumping operations from the Delta in 2014.

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Ocean scientists find unusual species off California's coast
Full story: Sacramento Bee

California communities are fighting back against the prospect of a 25-fold increase in the amount of crude-by-rail
Full story: FacesOfFracking.org

Ex-California lawmakers enjoy second wind as D.C. lobbyists
Full story: McClatchy DC

Native Americans challenge construction of Mojave Desert solar plant
Full story: LA Times

Certified Statewide Results Show Record Low Turnout for Regular General Elections in California

Final statewide results certified by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen today show the November 4, 2014, General Election brought a record low turnout for a regularly scheduled general election: 42.2 percent of registered voters. By contrast, the last gubernatorial general election in November 2010 drew nearly 60 percent of registered voters

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