An aggressive push by Congress to pass bipartisan legislation addressing cancer-causing chemicals that are leaching into the water supply is setting the stage for a fight with the Trump administration. The chemicals, commonly abbreviated as PFAS, are used in items ranging from food wrappers and Teflon pans to raincoats and firefighting foam. But studies have found that as they break down and find their way into drinking water, they can cause a variety of negative health effects. PFAS has been linked with kidney and thyroid cancer along with high cholesterol and other illnesses. Contamination has spread to 43 states, and a 2015 study found 98 percent of Americans tested now have the chemical in their blood.
Archive for date: May 27th, 2019
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For motorists driving to Yosemite National Park from the Bay Area, Don Pedro Reservoir is a familiar sight. But the massive lake along Highway 120 just west of Groveland has taken on a new role recently: as a flashpoint in the debate over what should and shouldn’t count as renewable energy in California. The outcome of that debate could impact how much solar and wind energy is developed across the state in years to come.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, as part of a coalition of 16 states and four state environmental agencies, last Friday filed a comment letter warning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that any attempt to roll back state oversight of federal projects under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) would be unlawful. The letter responds to the EPA’s request for recommendations to revise existing guidance and regulations implementing Section 401. The statute preserves states’ authority to protect the quality of the waters within their borders.
It’s not a matter of if but when wildfire will rip through the bucolic countryside being eyed for an opulent master-planned community, known as Adara at Otay Ranch. The chaparral landscape was scorched in 2007 by the historically destructive Harris Fire, and the surrounding area has experienced wildfire every 18 months on average for the last century, according to records from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
As summer approaches with most of Washington state experiencing drought conditions, the Seattle area will likely weather the season just fine. “After experiencing a below-average snowpack this winter and very little rain in March, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) started refilling its mountain reservoirs earlier than normal,” said Sabrina Register with Seattle Public Utilities. “This operation resulted in a combined reservoir water storage that is above normal for this time of the year, helping to offset the challenging weather conditions.”
It took 100,000 construction workers a quarter of a century to bore through the Snowy Mountains to build Australia’s largest hydroelectric scheme. The vast nation-building project links nine power stations and 16 dams via a network of 145km of tunnels and pipelines, providing irrigation water and energy that has helped transform the country’s economy since it began operating in 1974.
Now, almost half a century later, Australia’s newly elected government is placing the state-owned Snowy Hydro plant at the vanguard of another energy transition by transforming it into a massive “water battery” that will help keep the lights on as the country shifts from an electricity grid based mainly on fossil fuels to one built around renewable energy.
A million Californians don’t have clean water when they turn on their taps. Most live in farm towns like East Orosi, as the New York Times detailed last week. And no policymaker doubts there is a problem. The question: How to raise the money to fix the problem. The cost of a solution is pegged at $140 million a year. That should be easy in a $213 billion budget. It’s not, evidently.
Following record cold across parts of California, temperatures will rebound to near-normal levels by the end of the month. During the Memorial Day weekend, afternoon high temperatures were held to the lowest levels in almost 10 years. Temperatures in Northern and Central California were mainly in the 50s to near 60 degrees Fahrenheit for the high on Sunday afternoon, while southwestern California failed to get out of the lower 60s.