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Bay Delta Conservation Plan's Terminal Flaws Remain - by Dan Bacher
"These minor changes appear to save money for the water-takers on construction and possibly operation costs, but they still do not address local concerns," said Osha Meserve, counsel for Local Agencies of the North Delta (LAND). “It is a misnomer to call the new configuration ‘gravity flow’ as if it will operate on its own." Photo of American River, one of the main tributaries of the Sacramento River, above the Watt Avenue in Sacramento. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the p...
Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:23PM
House Passes Salmon-Killing Drought Relief Bill - by Dan Bacher
or many years, corporate agribusiness interests and their Astroturf groups, including the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta and the Latino Water Coalition, have blamed Endangered Species Act protections for Delta smelt and Central Valley Chinook salmon for creating an alleged "Dust Bowl" on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. However, the campaign to blame Delta smelt and salmon for reductions in Delta exports was shown to be a big “red herring,” pardon the pun, when Restore the ...
Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:58AM
California Supreme Court to Review North Coast Railroad Environmental Lawsuit - by Teri Shore
For Immediate Release Patty Clary, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) 707.834.4833 Scott Greacen, Friends of the Eel River (FOER) 707.502.4555 Conflicting appellate court decisions create uncertainty regarding environmental assessments required of High Speed Rail and other publicly owned railroads The state’s highest court on Wednesday agreed to review an appeal of a lower court’s decision that would exempt publicly owned railroads from having to comply with California’s ...
Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:08AM
Western States Petroleum Association's Astroturf Campaign Exposed! - by Dan Bacher
The PowerPoint deck from a presentation by WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd lays out the construction of what environmentalists contend is an elaborate ‘Astroturf' campaign by WSPA, the the oldest petroleum trade association in the United States and the most powerful corporate lobbying organization in Sacramento.
Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:56AM
State Department chose Chevron as finalist for "corporate excellence" award - by Dan Bacher
Fortunately, the State Department didn't pick Chevron as one of the three winners of the "corporate excellence" award on December 9. "We organized a big letter with 30 NGOs signing on and a petition to oppose the award and fortunately Chevron lost today," said Paul Paz y Miño of Amazon Watch. (http://amazonwatch.org/) Instead, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine Novelli presented the Secretary of State's 2014 Award for Corporate Excellence (...
Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:38AM
Plans Halted for Widening Highway Through Ancient Redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park - by Center for Biological Diversity
SAN FRANCISCO— After years of opposition, Caltrans has rescinded its approvals for a controversial highway-widening project that would endanger ancient redwood trees in Richardson Grove State Park, along Highway 101 in Humboldt County. Conservation groups and local residents this week dismissed a lawsuit they filed in federal court in July in exchange for Caltrans abandoning the project approvals and agreeing to restart the environmental review if the agency pursues the project. Caltrans ha...
Posted: Fri Dec 5, 2014 8:22PM
Conservation groups call on Feinstein to oppose Valadao drought bill - by Dan Bacher
"We urge a no vote on H.R. 5781, to avoid Congress micromanaging water usage and allocation in California," EWC Co-Facilitators Conner Everts and David Nesmith wrote. "Before allowing disruption of California’s 150-year old water rights system and major federal environmental protection laws, EWC wants Congress to undertake careful deliberation over H.R. 5781 by both houses."
Posted: Fri Dec 5, 2014 5:21PM
House 'Drought Relief' Bill Would Eviscerate Environmental Protections - by Dan Bacher
“This bill will actually perpetuate our drought emergency by giving away all the water in storage to Big Ag,” said Tom Stokely, water policy analyst for the California Water Impact Network. “It will drain Trinity Lake, depleting the last cold water reserve available for Klamath and Trinity River salmon and steelhead. We’ll see fish kills that make the great die-off of 2002 look minor by comparison."
Posted: Fri Dec 5, 2014 11:22AM
Brown Administration Abandons Raid on Fishing License Funds! - by Dan Bacher
The proposed use of the dedicated license funds to "manage" the alleged "marine protected areas" would have been a great mockery of justice, considering that these "marine protected areas" are not authentic ones that actually protect the ocean. The questionable "marine protected areas" created under the MLPA Initiative fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, corporate aquaculture, pollution, military testing and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering. Map of...
Posted: Thu Dec 4, 2014 10:04AM
California's Tricolored Blackbirds Get Emergency Protection - by Center for Biological Diversity
VAN NUYS, Calif.— The California Fish and Game Commission today enacted emergency protections for tricolored blackbirds in response to a petition (see PDF) filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in October. The commission has protected the tricolored blackbird under the California Endangered Species Act for 180 days. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will next evaluate the petition and recommend to the commission whether to protect tricolors on a permanent basis and impose limits on...
Posted: Wed Dec 3, 2014 5:21PM
Minority Children More Likely to Attend School Near Fracking, Face Higher Health Risks - by Californians Against Fracking
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – A new analysis released on November 18 on the distribution of California oil and gas wells in relation the state’s public schools finds that minority children are at a much greater risk of health problems related to fracking and other methods of oil drilling than white children (See PDF).
Posted: Tue Dec 2, 2014 8:38PM
Monterey Bay Shores Resort Faces New Financial and Compliance Issues - by via Sierra Club, Ventana Chapter
The Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club is reporting that New York lenders Fourth Third LLC and Medley Capital are contesting in court that Monterey Bay Shores developer Ed Ghandour defaulted on a $29.5 million loan on June 15. The lenders have requested control of the property, which the court will decide on soon. Additionally, a November 14 letter written to Ghandour by the California Coastal Commission (CCC) cites deficiencies in compliance documents for the proposed Sand City mega-resort (...
Posted: Tue Dec 2, 2014 7:04PM
Group says Bechtel-funded water storage study is 'half-baked' - by Dan Bacher
"We really worry about the framing of research, and the pollution of its intent and findings, when it is wholly funded by those with a massive financial stake in the outcome," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. "We also find it equally disturbing that academic leaders in water spend such little time studying, developing, and creating plans for implementing water technologies that could help alleviate problems with drought. Instead, they continue to promo...
Posted: Tue Dec 2, 2014 8:13AM
Why I won't step foot in a Walmart - by Dan Bacher
Groups that really care about the environment and fish and wildlife restoration won't take a cent from the Walton Family Foundation and Walmart because the grants are designed to greenwash the corporation's terrible environmental policies and further the Walton Family's neo-liberal economic and environmental agenda. Photo of Mike Williams of the Brown Berets de SacrAztlan at the protest at Walmart in Sacramento on November 28 by Steve Payan.
Posted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:24PM
Laird announces release of Marine Protected Areas 'Partnership Plan' - by Dan Bacher
The MLPA Initiative, called an "open, transparent and inclusive" process by Laird, other state officials and corporate "environmentalists," was anything but. The process was characterized by its private funding by the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation; its failure to create authentic marine protected areas; numerous conflicts of interests, including the leadership of the South Coast process by the President of the Western States Petroleum Association; incomplete and terminally flawed science; ...
Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 11:04AM
New report documents Big Oil's huge increase in lobbying expenses! - by Dan Bacher
The Western States Petroleum Association spent a record $4 million in the last three months alone, more than twice historical levels. WSPA has spent more than $7 million so far in 2014, leading all statewide lobbying by a wide margin. The group paid nearly $2.5 million to KP Public Affairs, the state’s highest paid lobbying firm, in 2013-2014.
Posted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:42PM
Erin Brockovich slams oil industry's use of unlined disposal pits - by Dan Bacher
According to Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) records, at least 432 unlined pits are currently being used for disposal of oil and gas wastewater in the Central Valley, and most have been operating with significantly out-of-date waste discharge permits, or no permits at all.
Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:43AM
Feinstein delays controversial drought legislation until next year - by Dan Bacher
Ronald Stork, Senior Policy Director of Friends of the River, said, "Feinstein said it will be reintroduced and go through the regular order in the new GOP led-Congress instead of being hatched in secret in the back rooms. That's a good thing, but it doesn't matter if California's two Senators are unwilling to stand up to the San Joaquin Valley Congressmen. Somebody has to show some courage."
Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:06AM
SB 4 Well Stimulation Treatment Regulations - Second Revised Text of Proposed Regulations - by Tomas DiFiore
SB 4 and Seismic Activity in the Vicinity of Hydraulic Fracturing Subseismic activity of magnitude 2.7 - That's the operator's reponsibility threshold. Under the 'good' neighbor notification and well monitoring protocols, the public can ascertain the timeframe of the operations and monitor the area at the CISN for changes and trends. In the most recent, proposed SB 4 California Well Stimulation Regulations (Second Revised Text), the language regarding well bores and known faults have been s...
Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:30AM
Feinstein's fish-killing drought bill being negotiated in secrecy - by Dan Bacher
“It is disappointing that Senator Feinstein is not standing up for the economic engine of the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary, its water quality and native species that serve not only California’s economic engine but Oregon and Washington as well,” said Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “Instead of calling for every available bucket of water to be shipped immediately to unsustainable industrial agriculture, Sen. Feinstein should instead be pursuing water dema...
Posted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:19AM