The White House has finally found someone to take on the stress of overseeing President Trump’s fossil fuel-friendly environmental agenda in the heart of hostile territory: California and nearby states. But there’s one glaring problem.
The California Water Commission – the entity responsible for awarding $2.7 billion in Proposition 1 funds to water storage projects in a few months – didn’t quite see eye-to-eye with officials pushing for Sites Reservoir, primarily on the benefits to salmon the project would provide.
The Trump administration on Friday named Mike Stoker, a Santa Barbara County attorney and former oil company spokesman who some credit with coining the “lock her up!” chants against Hillary Clinton at the Republican Convention in 2016, as the new West Coast head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Stoker will lead the U.S. EPA Region 9 office, which is based in San Francisco.
A congressman set off a legislative bomb in California’s water wars last week. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) inserted a rider into an Interior Department appropriations bill that would exempt from all judicial review the intensely contested Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta twin tunnels project.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke yesterday huddled with more than two dozen conservation group leaders, including some of his staunchest critics, in his latest bid to generate both ideas and support for his ambitious departmental reorganization plans. … Also in attendance were Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt; Susan Combs, the acting assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks; and Greg Sheehan, the principal deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service (Greenwire, March 30).
It’s been a tumultuous year for the Imperial Irrigation District. On the energy side, IID canceled tens of millions of dollars in contracts following allegations of financial conflicts of interest against the consultant ZGlobal Inc. On the water side, the publicly owned utility was jolted by a court ruling that could make it more difficult to limit the use of Colorado River water by Imperial Valley farmers.
If you care about the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or protecting California water rights, you should be very alarmed by something that just happened 3,000 miles away in the halls of Congress. Backed by southern California interests, the House Appropriations Committee just unveiled the fiscal year 2019 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.
Get outta here. A Southern California congressman has slipped a rider into a federal spending bill that would exempt the Delta tunnels from lawsuits — pause to hear water attorneys howling like coyotes — including suits already brought by the city of Stockton and county of San Joaquin.
California’s Republican members of Congress want to raise Shasta Dam to increase the reservoir capacity and provide more water for San Joaquin Valley farmers. To pull that off, they’d have to gut part of the legacy of Republican Gov. George Deukmejian, who died last week.
For years now, thousands of studies have linked rising sea levels to climate change. But one Republican congressman had an alternate explanation he floated this week during a meeting of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology with leading climate scientist Philip Duffy.
California cities and towns may find themselves on a water budget in the next decade under a pair of bills approved Thursday by the legislature. The measures follow Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to make water conservation a permanent way of life in a state long accustomed to jewel-green lawns and suburban tracts studded with swimming pools.
As a result of California’s highly variable climate, the practice of storing water predates statehood. And for more than a century, storage projects in California have generated heated controversy. A century ago, John Muir led a famous and unsuccessful effort to stop the damming of Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley.
Despite what you may have gleaned from television and the movies, zombies aren’t always constituted of flesh and blood. Sometimes they come in concrete and rock. Exhibit A is a $3-billion dam proposal on the San Joaquin River known as Temperance Flat.
It’s not news that there are big differences on energy and the environment between Democrats and Republicans. But now the Pew Research Center has found that there are significant differences between older and younger Republicans as well. By a margin of 21 points, Republican Millennials are less supportive of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) than are Republican Boomers.
California voters are being asked to weigh in on new borrowing, new government restrictions and a drought-friendly tax break on the statewide primary ballots that will be counted June 5. There are five propositions in all, a small menu of proposed laws all written by the California Legislature.
Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia watched with ill-disguised frustration as a hearing aimed at expediting state projects to restore habitat and control dust storms at the shrinking Salton Sea instead dissolved into discussion of why the efforts were falling further behind schedule. “We have a plan, we have money, there is additional money lined up, and we have a constituency — myself included — that is running out of patience,” Garcia (D-Coachella), chairman of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, said.
California’s safe drinking water and natural resources are increasingly threatened by drought, wildfires, floods and mudslides. Proposition 68 is designed to help make our communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. The measure was placed on the June 5 ballot by a bipartisan, two-thirds vote of the Legislature to make much-needed investments to bolster the reliability of our water supply and the infrastructure we depend on to help get us through wet and dry years.
It’s time, Californians, to hold on to our collective wallets. “It does NOT raise taxes,” proponents of Proposition 68 insist in the official state voters’ guide. Then where do they think the money will come from to repay the $4 billion in bonds that are supposed to go for parks and “climate adaptation,” whatever that is? … The Prop. 68 repayment is $7.8 billion – $4 billion in principal, plus $3.8 billion in interest. That means $200 million a year for 40 years from the state’s general fund.
The House Interior Appropriations Committee, led by Rep. Calvert, have included a rider in the Fiscal year 2019 Interior Appropriations bill (Section 437) that would exempt the California WaterFix project from judicial review under state or federal law. This legislative rider would preempt state law as well as precluding judicial review under federal law (so much for State’s rights, eh?).