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BLOG: How Scott Pruitt May Impact Air And Water Protections As Head Of EPA

Donald Trump’s election has jolted environmentalists and voters who care about conservation. Trump has called for abolishing or greatly shrinking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), declared climate change a Chinese hoax and promised to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement. Though Trump appears to have backed off his pledge to “get rid of [EPA] in almost every form,” his choice of Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the agency set off alarms in the environmental community.

State Water Board Extends Public Comment Period For Flow Proposal

The community has two extra months to comment on a controversial State Water Resources Control Board document that proposes cutting water use after Board chair Felicia Marcus sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown last week, effectively extending the public comment period into March.This extension comes just two days after the State Water Board held its second-to-last public hearing on Dec. 20 in Modesto, which at its peak was standing-room only.

 

California And National Drought Summary For December 27, 2016

Numerous storms brought changeable weather to many parts of the country, including significant precipitation in parts of the West, Northeast, and mid-South. Late in the drought-monitoring period, a particularly powerful winter storm produced heavy precipitation from California into the Southwest—and later resulted in a holiday blizzard across the north-central U.S. Meanwhile, the interior Southeast continued to experience varying degrees of drought relief, although streaks of significant rain notably bypassed core drought areas in northern and central Alabama and northern Georgia. In addition, Florida’s peninsula received little rain, exacerbating the effects of short-term dryness.

Final EIR On Delta Fix Released

Gov. Jerry Brown, whose administration proposed the Water Fix, said, “This project has been subjected to 10 years of detailed analysis and more environmental review than any other project in the history of the world. It is absolutely essential if California is to maintain a reliable water supply.” The Water Fix as proposed by Brown still includes the Twin Tunnels. Two 40-foot diameter pipes would run for 30 miles under the Delta to bypass the habitat that supports endangered animal and plant species.

Water Agencies Seek Public Input Over Planned Sustainability Board

With water providers around California facing a state-mandated deadline of June 30, 2017 to form local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, the Castaic Lake Water Agency on Thursday announced a January “Stakeholder Forum” at which public input will be sought. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sycamore Rooms A/B of The Centre, located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway in Santa Clarita.

New Rainfall Pulls Orange County Out Of Worst Drought Conditions

Even before another rain storm brings more water between now and the Rose Parade, residents of Orange County can shout“Hurray!” for the County rising to the level of merely “extreme drought” from “exceptional drought.” Here is the official California Drought Map as of today, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2016: Last week’s map showed northwest Orange County still trapped in exceptional drought. A portion of south County preceded the remainder of the County in leaving the worst drought category.

California To Receive Nearly $22 Million In Conservation Partnership Funding

The USDA has  announced that 88 high-impact projects across the U.S. will receive nearly a quarter billion dollars in federal funding as part of the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). In addition, partners have proposed to contribute up to an additional $500 million to improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. Four projects in California have been named as recipients. The USDA investment here will reach nearly $22 million, with matching funds exceeding $50 million.

Southern California To Get More Rain And Snow

Southern California’s trend of rainy weather is expected to resume this week after several dry and unusually warm days. The National Weather Service says a few disturbances will move through Friday and Saturday, bringing rain and mountain snow. The second system arriving Saturday will be very cold and snow levels may affect travel through mountain passes. Just as the recent strong El Nino ocean-warming phenomenon failed to bring rain to Southern California, the ocean-cooling known as La Nina hasn’t lived up to expectations of drier than normal weather.

 

L.A.’s Wettest Month In Years Will Continue Through To New Year’s Eve

Los Angeles County could see between a quarter-inch and half-inch of rain Friday as the first of two anticipated storm systems passes through the region this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. The rainfall will add to what is already the wettest month recorded in downtown Los Angeles since December 2010, said David Sweet, a weather service meteorologist. So far this month, the area has seen 4 inches of rain, nearly double the historical average for December. On Friday, there’s an 80% chance of rain forecast at 4 a.m., with a possibility of showers returning Friday night, Sweet said.

 

Rush Is On To Seal Colorado River Deal

With the prospect of reduced Colorado River deliveries as early as 2018, U.S. and Mexican negotiators have been in a race against the clock to forge an agreement that involves sharing any future shortages — and are hoping for a signing before President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20. Water managers on both sides of the border say the accord will be crucial in spelling out how the U.S. and Mexico would take cuts when a shortage is declared on the river, a lifeline for some 40 million people in both countries.