Officials in Oakland, California, effectively ended proposals to open a new coal export terminal by voting to ban the transport and storage of the fossil fuel within city limits.
Oil corporations have intensified their push to make the San Francisco Bay Area and other areas of the West Coast into international hubs for refining and shipping of one of the world’s most carbon-intensive and polluting fuel sources: The Canadian tar sands.Read more
In a major victory for solar power companies and their customers, California regulators voted to preserve an incentive program that has fueled the dramatic growth of rooftop solar in the state.
It was widely reported last week that the public relations and lobbying blitz funded by the major oil companies succeeded in toppling one of Jerry Brown’s three key climate goals of his second term—a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use in cars and trucks in the state. That target was contained in SB 350 authored by pro tem Kevin De León, arguably the most significant bill of the 2015 legislative session.
As Western wildfires follow the worst drought in modern history, the impacts of global warming have never been more stark. And as electric cars, LED light bulbs, and solar panels proliferate, the solutions have never been more obvious.
California is continuing to lead the way on climate solutions, with a proposed bill working its way through the legislature to further reduce carbon pollution.
But the California Drivers Alliance is up in arms. What is that? Well, it must be an alliance of California drivers, right?
Wrong. The alliance is “a project of WSPA,” also known as the Western States Petroleum Association, also known as Big Oil.
The 2015 wildfire season continues to rage throughout the West, as historic drought conditions and record temperatures have pushed many states’ fire suppression capacities to their breaking points.
As of Monday morning, at least 13 large fires burned across the central and eastern portion of Washington, while 11 burned across Oregon. All told, 65 major wildfires are currently burning across seven Western states. According to the National Interagency Fire Center statistics, more than 27,000 firefighters are deployed across the country. To date, this years’ fire season has burned 7,487,737 total acres, more than any other season in the last 10 years.
“Nationally, the system is pretty tapped,” Rob Allen, the deputy incident commander for the fires around the Cascade Mountain resort town of Chelan, told the Associated Press last Wednesday. “Everything is being used right now, so competition for resources is fierce.”
A 2011 New York Times Magazine story sounded the alarm: “Scientists consider Sacramento — which sits at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers and near the Delta — the most flood-prone city in the nation.” The article went on to note that experts fear an earthquake or violent Pacific superstorm could destroy the city’s levees and spur a megaflood that could wreak untold damage on California’s capital region.
Post-mortem studies blamed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its flawed flood control system for the cataclysmic damage to New Orleans in August 2005. In 2006, the corps’ chief publicly owned responsibility, acknowledging that the levees that were supposed to prevent flooding were improperly built and relied on old data: “This is the first time that the corps has had to stand up and say: ‘We’ve had a catastrophic failure.'”
How much water does California’s oil and gas industry actually use? We still don’t know, despite a 2014 law signed by Governor Jerry Brown that went into effect this year requiring companies to report on all water produced, used and disposed of by oilfield operations.
Oil and gas regulators with California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) missed the first reporting deadline, April 30, claiming they had simply received too much data to process in time. But now we know there was probably another reason: hundreds of companies had flat out refused to obey the law.
In fact, more than 100 companies still refuse to comply with the water reporting requirements altogether.
Farmland near Corcoran in the southern San Joaquin Valley sank 13 inches in just eight months last year. To the north, near El Nido, the land surface dropped about 10 inches.
Along a major canal near Los Banos, the ground has sunk so much that the concrete sides cracked. Nearby, a bridge over another canal had dropped so low it had to be demolished and replaced with a higher structure.
Groundwater over-pumping is causing some parts of the San Joaquin Valley to sink faster than ever, according to a NASA report released Wednesday.
A full-grown giant sequoia is a thirsty tree. In the height of summer, the millenia-old behemoths, some of which grow upwards of 30 stories tall, can guzzle 500 to 800 gallons of water per day. They can also survive a variety of scourges that would fell an inferior conifer -- beetles, wildfires, storms. But scientists are worried the species may have met its match in the ongoing California drought.
Nate Stephenson, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, was walking through the woods last year when he noticed some of the trees he'd been studying for decades had dropped most of their leaves. He joined forces with other researchers from the USGS, as well as from the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Stanford University and the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, to launch a comprehensive health study on the sequoia.