Obama nominates Gina McCarthy as EPA secretary and Ernest J. Moniz to lead the Energy Department. President Obama picked a chief for the Environmental Protection Agency who has long worked on combating climate change and an Energy Department secretary closely associated with increasing use of natural gas and renewable energy, further signaling his intention to take on global warming, although not as dramatically as some activists would like.
California is poised to shatter an all-time weather record by notching the driest January-February period in recorded history across the northern Sierra Nevada.
Dust particles blown from Asian and African deserts can increase rain and snow in the Sierra Nevada, researchers report. High-altitude dust blown thousands of miles across the Pacific from Asian and African deserts can make it rain and snow in the Sierra Nevada, according to new research that suggests tiny particles from afar play a role in California’s water supply.
After the driest January and February in the Northern Sierra since modern records were first kept in 1920, California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack has dropped sharply to 66 percent of normal, state officials announced Thursday.
In the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, an important concern about the future is how efforts to restore the estuary may affect the local economy. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is proposing 30,000 acres of habitat restoration in the next 15 years, and considerably more in the following 35 years. Some of that restoration will occur on lands that are currently used for agriculture. To better understand the jobs impact of restoration, the BDCP commissioned an analysis from natural resource economist David Sunding of the University of California, Berkeley.
Ellen Hanak, Co-Director of Research and Senior Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), testified at a Feb. 26 legislative hearing concerning California’s capacity to incur additional water bond debt. (The Legislature has placed an $11 billion water bond on the November 2014 general election ballot to fund a wide variety of water projects, including water conservation and recycling; groundwater storage, protection and cleanup; and watershed protection and restoration.) Hanak made the following remarks at a joint informational hearing of the Senate committees on Governance and Finance, and Natural Resources and Water Conservation.
An $11 billion water bond passed by lawmakers more than three years ago – but not yet brought to the public for approval – could be a major priority in 2013, and Delta interests will be watching closely.
California water officials say a combination of dry winter conditions and restrictions on pumping is leading to an outlook of a low water supply for some farmers in 2013.
Tenure as Oakland mayor may impact reform effort Gov. Jerry Brown wants to loosen requirements on the state’s 43-year-old landmark environmental law and is willing to stare down his core backers in labor and environmental circles, in large part because of what he learned as mayor of Oakland more than a decade ago.
The parent company of Southern California Edison, operator of the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant, reported Tuesday that the costs of the yearlong outage at the plant had ballooned to more than $400 million as of the end of 2012.
San Luis Reservoir, the largest off-stream reservoir in the United States, is only at 60 percent of capacity, 69 percent of average for the date. This south-of-Delta reservoir is critical for both the California State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project because it can be drawn on when Delta pumping is shut down or restricted. However, since San Luis is filled by pumping from the Delta, it has not filled this year due to Delta pumping restrictions to protect listed fish species. Currently, DWR estimates that it will only be able to deliver 40 percent of requested SWP water this calendar year. Since December, more than 700,000 acre-feet of water was not pumped to protect listed fish species, principally Delta smelt, but also salmon.
California is a leader on the environment, but it needs other states – and nations – on board to keep down economic costs. When Gov. Jerry Brown called on his fellow governors at a conference in Washington last week to embrace a California-style pursuit of cleaner air, he was doing more than reinforcing the state’s image as an environmental trailblazer. He was trying to protect its economy.
In Carlsbad, the nation’s largest desalination facility will require lots of energy – and money. It is expected to provide no more than a tenth of San Diego County ratepayers’ overall water supply. Dreamers have long looked to the Pacific Ocean as the ultimate answer to California’s water needs: an inexhaustible, drought-proof reservoir in the state’s backyard. In the last decade, proposals for about 20 desalting plants have been discussed up and down the coast.