California Lawmakers Push for Oversight of Delta Tunnels Project

By Nick Cahill : courthousenews – excerpt

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A group of Northern California lawmakers seeking more sway over a mammoth $17 billion water project introduced a proposal Friday that would require new construction contracts to be reviewed by the Legislature.

The Legislative Delta Caucus says because of the scope of the California WaterFix, the project should require more scrutiny from both the public and lawmakers now that former Gov. Jerry Brown has left office.

Brown fiercely advocated for the expensive public works project that he and supporters believe will both update the state’s aging water delivery infrastructure and protect it against sea level rise and other effects of climate change. Also known as the Delta Tunnels, the project calls for two 30-mile tunnels that would funnel water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to aqueducts that supply farmers and cities farther south.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, believes his proposal will shed new light on the “flawed” project that environmental groups bitterly oppose….

Senate Bill 204 would require the state agencies in charge of WaterFix, namely the state Department of Water Resources, to submit information about pending contracts with private companies to the Legislature before finalizing deals…

Democratic Assemblyman Jim Frazier, whose district covers parts of the delta, called SB 204 a “common-sense, good-government bill.”. (more)


Gov. Newsom must mop up Brown’s water mess

By Jonas Minton : secbee – excerpt

Despite many high priority issues on his plate, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first tests will be how he deals with California’s water challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the last days of his term Gov. Jerry Brown made a bad bargain with the Trump administration and special interests. It’s yet another mess for the new governor to mop up…

Despite many high priority issues on his plate, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first tests will be how he deals with California’s water challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the last days of his term Gov. Jerry Brown made a bad bargain with the Trump administration and special interests. It’s yet another mess for the new governor to mop up…

During his last month, Brown quietly signed an agreement with the Trump administration to transfer water from Southern California and portions of the Bay Area to corporate farms in the San Joaquin Valley. In return, the Trump administration dropped its threatened opposition to Brown’s legacy project — the massive tunnels that would divert water from the San Francisco Bay Delta. This was done with no public notice, hearing or environmental analysis…

Scientists have concluded that the effects of this closed-door deal are likely to cause the extinction of multiple California fish species. As a result, there are already over 20 lawsuits from water districts, farmers and environmentalists… (more)



What caused nearly 20,000 quakes at Oroville Dam? Scientists weigh in on mystery

: sfchronicle – excerpt

The earthquakes hit just days after last year’s near-catastrophe at Oroville Dam, when the spillway cracked amid heavy rains and 188,000 people fled in fear of flooding.

The timing of the two small tremors about 75 miles north of Sacramento was curious, and frightening. Were the quakes part of a seismic hot spot that caused the giant concrete spillway to tear? Was the weight of the water behind the dam triggering the quakes? Could all of Lake Oroville be prone to slipping?

A group of seismologists, summoned from the U.S. Geological Survey’s research facility in Menlo Park, was put on the case. Their findings were published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America on Monday…

Fortunately, the researchers concluded, the nation’s tallest dam is not in imminent danger. They don’t think earthquakes caused the fracture. Just the opposite may be true, they said… (more)


Our View: ‘Local control’ of housing is the problem, not the solution

By Patricia Chiang : bizjournals – excerpt

One of the basic laws of the physical universe that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It generally applies to the political universe, too.

Housing advocates like YIMBYs have raised their profile and stepped up their game in the last couple years, backing candidates and supporting legislation that aim to reverse California’s decades of failure in producing housing sufficient to accommodate its growth.

Their few nascent successes have generated an equal and opposite reaction from housing opponents. So California’s NIMBYs are getting organized as well. They are joining together to push back against proposals that would require smaller communities to do more to enable housing or to be held accountable if they fail to do so. Under the banner of groups like Livable California, they are forming coalitions with like-minded groups and officials and have paid visits to Sacramento to lobby state legislators…

“Local control” is not a blueprint for effective action. It is a virtual guarantee of inaction. But then, maybe that’s the point… (more)

There is a natural limit to growth imposed by nature. There is a limited amount of water and natural resources that effect quality of life and many citizens feel these limits need to be respected by limiting growth to not exceed those resources. Livable California is a nonpartisan citiizen’s response to the state legislative efforts to force development over reason.

Why is all the development along the coast at or near the point of sea level rise? So the wealthy landowners can realize high profits on “high-valued” seaside property before the ocean swallows it, leaving the buyers submerged, or the big one hits . Nature always wins.

Will State Climate Policy Usurp Local Land Use Control?

By Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP : lexology – excerpt

Whether in CEQA or Efforts to Halt Climate Change, Will the State Wrest Control of Land Use Decisions Away From Locals?…

As the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) concludes yet another round of public comment on proposed amendments to the California Environmental Quality Act’s (CEQA) implementing Guidelines, many landowners and members of the regulated community have far greater concerns about the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) ever-expanding call for land use restrictions in its greenhouse-gas-reduction regime…

CEQA Guidelines, SB 743 and VMT

One of the primary topics at issue in the CEQA Guidelines’ proposed revisions has to do with traffic impacts…

CARB and Land Use


At issue is the latest iteration of CARB’s blueprint for reducing emissions across all sectors of the California economy, the Scoping Plan,1 which is required under AB 32, the 2006 law that formally set mandates for California’s emissions reductions quantity and timing…

Natural and Working Landscapes

Climate science has long noted a capacity of open space, agricultural areas, forests and other “natural” areas to sequester and hold carbon emissions…

Ironically, a California court of appeal recently ruled in an unpublished decision that CEQA does not require a greater mitigation ratio than 1:1 for replacement of lost or converted farmland. As a climate impact, however, it is not at all clear that a similarly balanced ratio will govern under CARB’s new regime… (more)


S.F. water agency opposes plan to save local salmon, cries ‘drought’

By :

About 150 miles beyond the Bay lies the Tuolumne River. Many San Franciscans visit the area to fish, raft, attend music festivals and see the bald eagles, beavers and river otters that call the area home. The river also visits us. Every time we turn on the tap, we welcome Tuolumne water collected in the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir into our home.

It should come as no surprise that taking water from the river impacts wildlife. Historically, the fall Chinook salmon run numbered 100,000. The number has declined to only a few hundred in recent years. While there are multiple reasons, the amount of water diverted is a major factor.

Thankfully, the state is closer to improving conditions for salmon and other wildlife. Following almost a decade of research, the State Water Resources Control Board released its final Bay Delta Plan earlier this month. Environmentalists and fishing associations label it a modest measure to increase the amount of water flowing in the Tuolumne.

But the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in partnership with the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts still oppose the plan. Officials say the plan could leave users vulnerable in times of drought…

Before the SFPUC responds to the Bay Delta Plan, it should hold a meeting to educate the public and take comment. To date, the agency has only discussed the matter in closed session. But the fate of such a vital resource deserves more sunshine…Ask me more by emailing

Robyn Purchia is an environmental attorney, environmental blogger and environmental activist who hikes, gardens and tree hugs in her spare time. Check her out at (more)

We support the pubic discussion about our water plan. The public needs to know the impact the additional population is having on our water system. Just how close we are to reaching certain limits.

Fragranced products to blame for smog as much as cars, study finds

The study, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UC Davis, establishes a stronger link than ever before between air pollution and the lotions, perfumes, hair sprays, and other grooming and cleaning products that Bay Area residents use every day…(more)

I am posting this for my friends who are particularly sensitive to anything scented. Cigarettes were early targets but, now scientists are reporting problems with many household products. Construction dust and cleaning supplies are huge contributors to the particulate matter in the air.

Oregon Organic Farm Threatened With Forced Herbicide Use Reaches Settlement With County


by Darren Smith : jonthanturley – excerpt

Last weekend we featured two articles (HERE and HERE) describing a controversy involving the forced use of chemical herbicides on an organic farm that according to County officials was out of compliance in controlling noxious weeds that were threatening neighboring farms and crops.

The 2,000 acre organic farm in North Central Oregon is facing what could be a be an existential threat to its operations after county weed control authorities sent notice mandating that the farm use chemical herbicides to eradicate weed growth.

I attended the public hearing held at the Sherman County seat located in Moro, Oregon. Due to a very high volume of interest expressed by residents and those outside the community, the venue was changed from the County Courthouse to a gymnasium at the Sherman County High School. There was a great deal of uncertainty manifest in this hearing with strongly held opinions on many sides and one can say with near certainty that the publicity generated caused turmoil in this small community. In fact, the concern was so great, that a number of law enforcement officials were dispatched to the area to provide security to address a worry that things might get out of hand. But in the end the two sides reached an agreement that precludes the forced use of herbicides–and offered both a carrot and stick for both parties to strongly consider…(more)

How much damage can the government do before the public reacts? It appears we had two good outcomes in two states this week that prove when the public protests buildings casting shadows on parks and forced use of poisons on organic farms the government sometimes still listens.

Continue reading “Oregon Organic Farm Threatened With Forced Herbicide Use Reaches Settlement With County”

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