Posts

Demise Of Key Environment Bill Could Escalate California’s Water Wars

The smoke has (partly) cleared from the legislative battlefield, in the aftermath of a struggle pitting the leader of the California Senate against not only powerful water and agricultural interests but also Gov. Gavin Newsom. And California’s two largest water-delivery systems may soon be operating under rules that differ ever more significantly.

Newsom has said he won’t approve Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ bid for a legal backstop against environmental rollbacks by the Trump administration. And Washington is poised to reduce protections for endangered fish species in the state’s largest watersheds.

OPINION: California Has A Chance To Make Water History

California’s contemporary effort to modernize the water system in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta officially began in 2006.

George W. Bush was president Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor. Their administrations signed a planning agreement. And the search for a solution was on.

Thirteen years, two governors and two presidents later, we are all still at it.

We have yet to find ways to stabilize important water ecosystems or the reliability of water supplies for the state economy. And we are going to reach a point where we either collectively fail to achieve these two important goals despite years of efforts, or we move forward in historic and meaningful ways that undoubtedly will not please everyone.

OPINION: California Must Not Fall For Marketing Scheme That Falsely Claims To Protect Tropical Forests

Imagine we were presenting you with an investment opportunity. It would cost a lot, and similar programs have failed miserably.

Human rights violations would very likely occur. There are more viable alternatives available with similar (or lower) costs, but we’re asking you to invest anyway because we are certain we could figure out a way to make a failed program work this time.

OPINION: Farms, The Environment, And The Future Of Water

In the middle of July, I was surprised to find myself trudging through a couple feet of snow while hiking south of Lake Tahoe. It was a striking contrast to the long walks I took on the dry lakebed of Folsom Reservoir near my home during the historic drought just five short years ago.

That crisis led our state leaders to approve the most sweeping change in water law in a century: the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law on Sept. 16, 2014.

OPINION: Hot Politics In The Cul-De-Sac

San Diego has been trying for decades to wean itself from water supplied by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which is dominated by Los Angeles. The feud between San Diego and The Met, as it’s known, has been waged in the Legislature and in the courts.

OPINION: In Going After Trump, California Is Going Too Far With Environmental Legislation

Senate Bill 1 by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins would require that California ignore new scientific findings on natural resources and water issued after January 19, 2017, the day before the Trump took office. That’s not an exaggeration. The date is actually listed in the bill 21 different times.

We cannot advance the fight for environmental quality by declaring that all science stopped on a specific date. If it’s dumb for the President to close his eyes to science, it’s dumber for us to follow him down that rabbit hole.

But SB 1 is not just dumb, it’s dangerous

Newsom’s Labor Dispute, Pay Equity, PG&E’s Lobby Fight, Death On The Streets, And Delta Tunnel

After months of virtual silence, the California Department of Water Resources revealed via its blog on Tuesday that it is pursuing work on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s scaled-back Delta tunnel project. Newsom announced in February that he was dropping former Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to bore two tunnels to transport water from the Sacramento River 30 miles south across the Delta to massive pumps near Tracy.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins Couldn’t Have Orchestrated It Better If She Tried

Her Senate Bill 1 is the year’s most far-reaching environmental legislation. It declares that the state would adhere to laws governing clean air, water, endangered species and labor that were in place in January 2017, when President Trump took office, and before he set about trying to unravel environmental law. Farm groups mounted a major campaign to sway legislators to amend or kill the bill, and seemed to be gathering momentum.

OPINION: Earthquakes Can Dry Water Supply. Californians Must Prepare

Recent earthquakes have us all thinking about emergency preparedness. Whether that’s updating the earthquake kit, putting supplies in the car trunk, or finally affixing the bookshelves to the wall, there are steps we can take personally to prepare for the worst. Critical to any earthquake kit is bottled water. This is because an earthquake may damage local pipelines or water treatment facilities, leaving us with contaminated water or no service at all.

OPINION: In California, we long ago ended the ‘War on Coal’

In a series of demagogic tweets, President Donald Trump recently attacked Obama-era “clean power plan” policies as a “war on coal” and danger to U.S. energy independence. If there is a war on coal—as the president thinks—it’s long been decided in California and most of the West.

In 2008, coal comprised 18.2% of California’s electricity mix. By 2018, that number had fallen to 3%, with virtually all the coal coming from a single plant in Utah. This plant is scheduled to be retired within five years and replaced with cleaner resources pushing California coal generation to zero