Conservation groups notified the National Marine Fisheries Service of their intent to sue the agency for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the pinto abalone, an approximately six-inch snail with an iridescent inner shell that was once common in rocky, intertidal coasts from Alaska to Baja California.
As the oil industry spent record amounts on lobbying in Sacramento and made record profits, documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity reveal that almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater were illegally dumped into Central California aquifers that supply drinking water and irrigation water for farms.
On September 24, the Surfrider Foundation scored a huge victory in its protracted legal battle against billionaire and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla to restore beach access at Martin’s Beach in San Mateo County, California. In 2010, Khosla had locked gates that provided the only public access to the beach. “Today’s court decision upholding the Coastal Act is an important victory for Martin’s Beach and ultimately strengthens the public's right to beach access in California,” says Angela Howe, Legal Director for the Surfrider Foundation.
On October 6, the Department of the Interior and the Drakes Bay Oyster Company announced a settlement agreement that will dismiss the oyster company’s failed litigation and assign clean-up costs for the mess caused by the company’s non-native oyster cultivation. The settlement agreement follows four consecutive Federal court decisions that upheld DOI’s November 12 decision to let Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lease expire as long planned, thereby protecting the West Coast’s first marine wilderness at Drakes Estero within Point Reyes National Seashore.
On September 23, Native American Tribal members joined environmental groups in a protest on the north end of the Willits Bypass highway project. Protestors entered the construction zone north of town in the early morning hours, stopping the fast and furious flow of dirt-filled, double-belly dump trucks that have been working from dawn to dusk to cover the wetlands and archeological sites the activists seek to protect.
Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaire owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, and his wife, Lynda, have been instrumental in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations, as well as to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels. One of the largest private water brokers in the U.S., the Resnick holding company Roll International makes millions of dollars in profits off marketing subsidized public water back to the public.
On August 29, the California Coastal Commission on August 29 sent a letter to the developer of the Monterey Bay Shores Resort, Ed Ghandour, informing him his response to the requirements of the conditional Coastal Development Permit (CDP) was deficient. The Coastal Commission tentatively approved the development in April, after years of opposition from environmental groups. Monterey Bay Shores is planned to be built along a pristine stretch of coastal dunes in Sand City, and at risk is a population of Western snowy plovers, a federally threatened species who nest and raise their broods in the footprint of the proposed resort.