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Water Wars Loom Over California: Who Gets the Water

The announcement that California is rapidly running out of water has put new pressure on our most precious resource that could, in turn, force increased prices and shut down organic food production. Ultimately, it could even threaten the food supply. The recent warnings from NASA hydrologist Jay Famiglietti, based on satellite data of the groundwater supply as it is threatened by the ongoing drought, is only compounding the issues for farmers who have already been driven to cut back production as water is rerouted to cities and industries. State leaders are embracing a full on crisis, and there is no sign of letting up: At a news conference on March 19, 2015, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon warned, “There… Read More

New study: America’s biggest carbon market delivers for economy and climate

By Derek Walker Source: Flickr/Chris Goldberg Would you believe there’s a state that cut pollution and cleaned up its air, while creating jobs and sustaining economic growth? And where economic incentives, rather than costly regulations, are stimulating innovation and investment? California passed the earliest, most comprehensive law to set a cap on carbon pollution, along with numerous other complementary policies to help the state transition to a low-carbon, clean-energy economy. The results are now coming in and the present – and future – looks bright. Two years after it was fully implemented, California’s cap-and-trade program is thriving, a new report [PDF] from Environmental Defense Fund shows. The program is now ramping up as the state economy is growing, paving the… Read More

San Diego plans wastewater reuse for drinking

The San Diego City Council has voted unanimously to advance a $2.5 billion plan to reuse wastewater for drinking, the latest example of how California cities are looking for new supplies amid a severe drought. The plan calls to initially recycle 15 million gallons by 2023 and 83 million gallons a day by 2035, about one-third of the city’s water supply. It enjoys broad support from Mayor Kevin Faulconer, business groups and environmental advocates. The Orange County Water District, which serves 2.4 million people in California, says it plans to boost production of recycled water next year from 70 million gallons to 100 million gallons a day. It has reused wastewater for drinking since 2008 through treatment that includes… Read More

Australian Scientists Find Plastic’s Toxic Footprint at Molecular Level

By Shar Adams Epoch Times SYDNEY—California has become the newest region to ban lightweight plastic bags, joining four states and territories in Australia in restricting the use of disposable plastics. The move comes as Australian researchers study the toxicity of plastics, which are polluting the marine environment at a molecular level. The Californian ban was signed into law on Sept 30, making plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies prohibited from July 1, 2015, with convenience and liquor stores to follow a year later. In Australia, non-biodegradable lightweight plastic bags are banned in Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, but the legislation does permit the use of compostable, bio-degradable bags. While the bans on… Read More

Why California thirsts for rain and the East Coast gets soaked

By Ilissa Ocko Source: Flickr/Jared Tarbell If you think the weather’s acting strange, you’re correct. Extreme weather in the United States is trending upward, and human-caused climate change has already been blamed for much of it – most recently in connection with theCalifornia drought. But along with extreme weather we’re also getting extreme contrasts. What on Earth is going on when New York gets endless rain and San Francisco none, and when one part of the country is freezing while another suffers under record heat? You guessed it, rising temperatures have something to do with it – and here’s how. Rain patterns are changing In the Northeast, the combination of more moisture in the atmosphere from a warmer world and changes in… Read More

A Water Bond to Protect the Environment and the Economy

Doug Obegi, Staff Attorney, Western Water Project, San Francisco Virtually all of California – 99.8 percent – is in severe drought. The toxic blue-green algae that shut down Toledo’s drinking water supply earlier this month is thriving in Stockton’s waterways, thanks to warm, stagnant water and low river flows. Many farmers and cities across the state are struggling with low water supplies.  And salmon and other native fish populations are crashing. These serious problems require serious solutions. And those solutions shouldn’t be held hostage over funding for the state’s ill-conceived, $25 billion twin tunnels proposal, incongruously named the “Bay Delta Conservation Plan” or the BDCP. Happily, the new $7.5 billion water bond heading to the November ballot does not… Read More

Tagging toxics: Legislation green lights labeling of harmful chemicals in household furniture

Veena Singla, Staff Scientist, Health Program, San Francisco Today, the California legislature voted to give consumers the right to know whether they are bringing home a toxic couch. This first-in-the nation legislation (SB 1019), authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), requires the furniture’s attached label to clearly declare the presence or absence of added flame retardants. This bill was co-sponsored by NRDC along with Center for Environmental Health and California Professional Firefighters, and its passage is a victory for California consumers who want to make safer choices for their families. The bill has bipartisan support throughout the legislature, indicating that both sides of the aisle agree: more transparency in the marketplace is good for business and good for… Read More