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Weekly Green: February 23, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Hello all. In this week's news:
- Transportation bill backs offshore drilling in California;
- More on the plight of the honeybee;
- Dismal forecast for Central Valley farm water supply;
- Greenhouse gas battle could reap billions in auctions;
- Climate scientist embroiled in ethics storm over Heartland documents;
- and much more.
Five-year transportation bills are traditionally bipartisan earmark fests that send hundreds of billions of dollars for highways, bridges, transit and other infrastructure to California and other states. But this year, House Republicans, ruling out earmarks but desperate for revenue, have produced a fossil-fuel extravaganza that would require oil drilling off the California coast and along the entire continental shelf on the east and west coasts, including Florida.
Amid growing GOP attacks on the White House over gas prices, President Obama will use a Thursday speech to tout his administration’s efforts to expand domestic oil-and-gas production, while stressing that drilling is not the only solution to the country’s energy woes.
The auctions are a critical part of California’s “cap-and-trade” plan to cut greenhouse gases – using market-based measures as opposed to direct orders from regulators to throttle emissions.
How can businesses capitalize on clean energy advances in the West? Is our workforce prepared? What sectors will gain good, green jobs?
Find out at the 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Los Angeles, March 15-16. Register here.
More Environmental News
California has a state bird, a state flower and even a state fossil — the saber-toothed cat. Joining the bunch could be an official state marine reptile.
As if the honeybee didn't already have it hard enough. The United States is losing about one-third of its honeybee hives a year, most of those over the winter. These losses are unsustainable.
Also revealed at the AAAS annual meeting was possibly the first-ever global estimate of fire-related mortality. Based on data collected over a ten-year period, Respiratory health researcher Fay Johnston puts the annual death toll related to “landscape fires” at about 340,000.
Wednesday's dismal outlook -- the first of the season from the Bureau of Reclamation -- has west-side farmers potentially idling more land and east-side growers looking for additional sources of water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will drill about 30 new wells deep below the San Fernando Valley next month to better define a toxic underground chemical plume that regulators admit they still don't understand.
Water tunnels would be huge project -- if they clear huge obstacles
Pumps that now serve that aqueduct and its nearby federal counterpart kill millions of fish every year and are blamed for altering the habitat of the estuary itself, once among the world's most productive fisheries. The tunnel project is intended to move the intakes upstream, to locations presumed to be less harmful to fish and their habitat.
Now the number of cases could climb dramatically based on emerging research of the harm associated with low levels of the metal in children's systems. At the same time, government programs to combat lead poisoning are being slashed.
The federal government is boosting the existing pump replacement program by about $1 million. It is being administered by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality District.
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that BP PLC and one of its minority partners in the blown-out Macondo well are liable for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act for their roles in the nation's worst offshore oil spill.
Heartland Anti-Climate Science Agenda Exposed
The papers, which Gleick insists are legitimate, show a coordinated national effort - including programs designed for school children - to discredit climate change science. That campaign appears in the documents to be funded by industries that might be hurt by efforts to control greenhouse gases.
The issue has riveted the environmental community and the energy industry, raising questions about whether the damage will extend past Gleick's reputation and harm scientists' efforts to convince the public that climate change is real and largely caused by humans.
Heartland President Joe Bast accused Gleick of "stealing" internal documents to "embarrass a group that disagrees with his views." Enviros love the karma here.
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2012 California Environmental Scorecard
Together, we won a number of crucial victories in 2012. How did your legislator do?
Read about the 2012 legislative session in CLCV's 2012 California Environmental Scorecard.
Find out the score and take action: Tell your elected representatives whether or not you approve of their performance on the environment!
Keep California's Environmental Laws Strong
CEQA Works is a coalition of Californians from all walks of life working together to:
- Protect the right of the public to weigh in on community land-use decisions.
- Keep California's environmental laws strong to prevent air and water pollution and the public health risks they pose.
- Advocate for sensible updates to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that reduce bureaucracy without weakening key environmental safeguards.
Find out more at CEQAWorks.org.