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After spending $17 million, Santa Cruz City officials now want to re-engage the public by backing off on their promised desal vote in 2014. In response, the Desal Alternatives steering committee has issued a call to all citizen supporters to advocate that the City Council adopt water security measures that can be implemented immediately.
Long-term trends show that climate change is impacting the Lake Tahoe Basin with drier years, less precipitation, higher lake temperatures and projected lower lake levels. These conclusions are found within the 2013 Tahoe State of the Lake Report released on August 7 by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at the University of California, Davis.
Assembly member Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) and eight other California lawmakers are calling on the Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency to investigate reports of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) beneath the seabed floor off the California Coast. Assembly members Mark Stone, Marc Levine, Richard Bloom, Adrin Nazarian, Bob Wieckowski and Senators Fran Pavley, Noreen Evans and Hannah-Beth Jackson have signed on in support of Williams' letter to federal regulators.
The federal government announced on August 2 the start of two new analyses of fracking risks to California public lands. The Bureau of Land Management will begin developing a new “environmental impact statement” for fracking in Central California, along with a statewide independent scientific assessment of the dangerous oil extraction process. Completion of the environmental impact statement and scientific review are likely to take more than a year.
On August 3, over 2,000 people marched from the Richmond BART station to Chevron's Richmond refinery. Over 200 people were arrested at a sit-in at the gate and released on the scene. There will be a protest on the one-year anniversary of the explosion on August 6 at Richmond Civic Center Plaza. On August 17, the coalition that organized the action will meet at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists.
Governor Brown has proposed building two massive $50 billion water tunnels to divert the Sacramento River to corporate interests in the Central Valley. Fracking opponents say the peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta could play a role in increasing fracking in California, so that oil companies and huge agribusinesses can make even more profits.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on July 10 challenging San Benito County’s approval of a major new oil development in the Salinas Valley watershed. The 15 new oil wells approved by the county last month will use cyclic steam injection, a dangerous and polluting form of oil extraction that targets heavy crude. The new wells would be located in an area used by California condors, which are critically endangered, along with other wildlife.