Protect Ocean Ecosystems and Threatened and Endangered Wildlife

Today we are filing our 100th lawsuit against the Trump Administration. This time it is to protect ocean ecosystems and threatened and endangered wildlife like the blue whale, manatee, and the giant manta ray from the continued risk of offshore oil drilling.

Earthjustice is in court today because the Trump administration is putting local communities and marine wildlife at risk by continuing to authorize new oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. Help fund our fight today, and your gift will go twice as far.

The Endangered Species Act, one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, requires the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to ensure that oil and gas development in the Gulf will not cause serious harm to endangered or threatened wildlife.

The last time the agencies went through this consultation process was over a decade ago. They reinstated the process in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, but more than seven years have passed and they still have not completed it.

So today we’re holding the Trump administration accountable to the law.

And we’re standing up against big oil executives who sell out Gulf Coast communities, coastal economies, and thousands of whales, sea turtles, dolphins, oysters, and other species to line their pockets with profits.

Earthjustice is fighting back in court and we need your help. If you help fund this and other fights today, our Board of Trustees will match your gift $1-for-$1!

The law is on our side and we will continue to use it to push back against this administration’s continued subservience to the oil industry. Thank you for being our partner in these unprecedented fights.

To help out, go to Earthjustice.

Sincerely,

Steve Mashuda
Managing Attorney, Oceans

Declare Climate Change a Major Disaster before it’s too late!

Despite Climate Change having been identified by scientists, leaders, analysts and people from all over the world as “the greatest threat to humanity and life on Earth”, actions taken to address it have been few in number and haphazard in design because Climate Change has not been identified as, and officially declared, a MAJOR DISASTER.

It is very urgent that Governor Jerry Brown, using his legal powers as Governor of California,  issues a CLIMATE CHANGE MAJOR DISASTER DECLARATION and requests Federal funding, in order to unleash all the organizational, structural, scientific and financial State and Federal resources to stop Climate Change and protect Californians’ life and property and our invaluable environment.

The incontrovertible evidence is that Climate Change is incrementally increasing the number and magnitude of catastrophic events like exceptional droughts, heat waves, floods, blizzards, tornados, hurricanes, sea level rise, coastal cities inundation, ocean acidification, extinction of plant and animal species, epidemics, disruption of food production and other deleterious events that, combined or individually, have disastrous consequences on our economies and our wellbeing and survival.

California has its share of Climate-related catastrophic events, both forecast and current, particularly showing in the 500-year drought that, in 2015 alone, caused a near $3 billion loss for California agriculture, left several communities without water, 542,000 acres lay fallow, 6335 wildfires burned 307,598 acres (including much of the town of Middletown) and destroyed thousands of structures. Also, the pumping of very large amounts of groundwater used to compensate for the lack of surface water is causing the separation of the lithosphere from the ground above, which will lead to earthquakes.

In February 2017, the confluence of Atmospheric Rivers, fueled by Climate Change and of infrastructure insufficiently built and maintained to withstand the forces of the new Climate created havoc in California, like in the region of the Oroville Dam where the severe damage to its two spillways caused by the racing waters, put 200,000 lives, thousands of structures and thousands of acres at very serious risk.

Climate Change is still being discussed as a tremendous potential threat to our children and grandchildren but, the reality is that Climate Change is already here and that it will get worse if we continue dumping more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Indicators of Climate Change are already in the danger zone. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere, which for 1.3 million years had not been higher than 275 ppm (parts per million) until the onset of the Industrial Revolution, are now above 410 ppm. The global average air temperature is since 2015, 1º Celsius higher than in pre-industrial times, a level that climate scientists consider the gateway to the acceleration of the disruptions of the Climate (1.5 º Celsius for the first half of 2016 and 1.2º Celsius for the whole 2016).  It is now confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year on record.

Without a Disaster Declaration, this greatest-of-threats remains undefined and acknowledged, taking away the focus necessary to effectively deal with it. We say that we are “fighting Climate Change” without having ever declared war.

The extent and nature of the problem requires immediate, massive action to retrofit our economy to stop emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and move fast towards a “carbon negative” economy, as well as to make the necessary changes to minimize the damage from Climate Change-related events that are going to unfold from Climate disruptions that have already taken place.

To mitigate our Climate Change Disaster, action must be immediate, must be massive and requires a level of mobilization of all our resources similar to what this country experienced during the New Deal and World War II. Individual actions, while useful and necessary, are insufficient. Indirect measures, like taxes on carbon emissions, are beneficial but too slow.

Putting off the retrofitting of our economy to address Climate Change is a very dangerous mistake. Factors such as the long residence time of already emitted greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the activation of slow feedbacks (like the melting of the permafrost) will soon make future mitigating actions inconsequential.

There is a lot to lose from inaction and a lot to gain from speedy action. Without speedy action, more catastrophes will unfold with a high price in the loss of lives and property and high risks to the economy. With speedy action, life and property will be better protected, California’s economy will experience a boom, California will have access to federal disaster funds that do not require the approval of Congress and California will lead other States and Countries in the highly needed and greatest peaceful cooperation effort ever.

Governor Brown, please accept leadership of this massive transformation of California to a CLIMATE CHANGE-READY STATE. This life-affirming effort will give us the greatest chance of thriving through change instead of merely surviving change.

We are living in extraordinary times, that require extraordinary actions and your extraordinary leadership.

References:

James Hansen, et al. “Assessing “Dangerous Climate Change”: Required
Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People,
Future Generations and Nature”. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081648. December 3, 2013
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648

Alex Park and Julia Lurie. “California’s Drought Could Be the Worst in 500 Years. And why it’s too late for the rain.” Mother Jones. February 10, 2014.
http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/california-drought-matters-more-just-california

Richard Howitt, et al. “Economic Analysis of the 2015 Drought For California Agriculture. UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences”. August 17, 2015.
https://watershed.ucdavis.edu/files/biblio/Final_Drought%20Report_08182015_Full_Report_WithAppendices.pdf

“Our Earth in 2050. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels double”. greenphysicist2.blogspot.com
http://greenphysicist2.blogspot.com/2010/02/atmospheric-carbon-dioxide-levels.html

Marcin Popkiewicz. “If growth of CO2 concentration causes only logarithmic temperature increase – why worry?. SkepticalScience.com. April 15, 2014.
http://skepticalscience.com/C02-emissions-vs-Temperature-growth.html

Larry Elliot. “Climate change disaster is biggest threat to global economy in 2016, say experts”. The Guardian. January 14, 2016.
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/14/climate-change-disaster-is-biggest-threat-to-global-economy-in-2016-say-experts

Climate Protection Campaign. “Sonoma County Community Climate Action Plan”. October 2008.
http://coolplan.org/ccap-report/CCAP_Final_11-05-08.pdf

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. carbonify.com
http://www.carbonify.com/carbon-dioxide-levels.htm

Emily J. Gertz. “2015 Was the World’s Warmest Year—and 2016 Might Be Even Hotter”. January 20, 2016. takepart.com
https://www.yahoo.com/news/2015-world-warmest-2016-might-even-hotter-201357621.html?ref=gs

Fire Statistics. “Incident Information”. CalFire. CA.GOV. January1 – December 31, 2015.
http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_stats?year=2015

Ethan Huff. “How California’s extreme drought will lead to a wave of earthquakes”. NaturalNews.com. August 18, 2014.
http://www.naturalnews.com/046503_drought_earthquakes_California.html

Pau Ratner. 2016 Is Going to Be the Hottest Year Ever (According to NASA, NOAA, & Pretty Much Everyone). Big Think. July 24, 2016.
http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/2016-is-going-to-be-the-hottest-year-ever

Good Introduction Video on the Clean Water Act

Hello,
My name is Olivia Day. I’m emailing concerning your website. One of my students, Emma, came across your site while searching for environmental science and conservation sites. I’m working on a revamp of our class portal website and I’m letting the students help out with adding some new and interesting content. We are currently working on the science section of the site and Emma has been busy finding researching environmental sites. She shared your page, http://ncriverwatch.org/legal/laws.php , with the class today. I just wanted to say thanks for making your site and its info available to us!

As part of the project the students are required to find and share some of their research with people that we have borrowed info from. Emma found this article about The Clean Water Act that she wanted to share: https://lawshelf.com/videos/entry/the-clean-water-act . I think the article can help people get a better understanding of the standards we have that help protect nature. Would you mind adding a link to the page on your page – http://ncriverwatch.org/legal/laws.php ? Feel free to shoot me an email if you do place it so I can let Emma know that she was able to help others out and so she can get credit for this part of the project.

Thanks again and have a great day!
Olivia Day

House Farm Bill Collapses Amid Republican Disarray

To All,

Thank you all for responding and sending in letters and comments in support of defeating the significantly egregious language and implications in the legislative attempt to pass a kind of Farm Bill. It may be coming back soon and not any better. Watch for it.

Here is a link to the article describing how it collapsed: “House Farm Bill Collapses Amid Republican Disarray”.

Larry

Action: Update on Farm Bill with Sample Letter

To All,

The farm bill is called H.R. 2: Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.

Really bad bills like this try to sneak in with good sounding names. There is no nutrition but instead contamination. Almost everything about this bill (and it is extensive) is a wish list from the industry.

We are hoping the worst can get filtered out. Anyway, the bill and its contents are in a pdf file below. Please pass it on.

By the way, there are dozens of amendments to this bill that are being attempted, some equally bad and some trying to correct the wrongs.

H.R. 2: BILLS-115hr2rh

Here is a sample letter for you to use and modify. Your representative may differ so you will need to at least change this:

Larry

May –, 2018

Washington D.C. Office
1406 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Huffman:

Re: Opposing Farm Bill

I am outraged at the egregious issues contained in the 2018 Farm Bill. The House version of the bill would gravely harm people in the farm community and public members and undermine the progress this country has made toward advancing more sustainable farming systems, addressing hunger, protecting the environment, and supporting our farmers.

I oppose benefitting agro-chemical corporations over the welfare of the public and farmworkers’ interests.

Some of the issues which I strongly oppose include:

• Weakening organic standards;
• Eliminating conservation programs;
• Eliminating nutrition assistance; gutting funding for rural support programs;
• Eliminating endangered species protections and weakening pesticide oversight;
• Eliminating any limits on mega-farms’ subsidies;
• Eliminating the rights of local and state governments to regulate pesticides or CAFOs.

In addition, there are amendments on the House floor that would add additional harm and need to be opposed. A notable one being considered is redefining “waters of the US” under the Clean Water Act. Here is the Heritage Foundation description:

“Define ‘Navigable Waters’ Under the Clean Water Act, Amendment No. 17. Sponsors: Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash.; Paul Gosar R-Ariz.; and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.
This amendment would help put an end to the federal government’s trying to regulate almost every body of water imaginable. The amendment would define “navigable waters” consistent with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in Rapanos v. United States in 2006. It would also expressly repeal the infamous Obama-era “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.”

However, protection of the waters of the US benefits the public and the environment. Otherwise big money via big agriculture, big industry, and the very rich will control and take water for themselves. The Clean Water Act was created for the protection of water so it could not be exploited by the few.

Please use your influence to ensure that such harmful provisions are NOT included in the Farm Bill, and VOTE NO.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

(name)

Action: Farm Bill Allows More Pesticide Exposure

To All,

The current Farm Bill allows pesticides to be sprayed on drinking water, little protections for endangered species including your children, uses chemicals banned in CA (methyl bromide), and PREMPTS ANY STATE TO MAKE THEIR OWN PESTICIDE LAWS.

5 Ways House Farm Bill Would Roll Back Protections from Pesticides

By Colin O’Neil, Legislative Director
April 17, 2018

The negative health and environmental impacts of pesticide use and exposure are well established: They range from increased cancer risk, to damage to children’s brains and nervous systems, to lower sperm counts, to acute effects like nausea, dizziness and vomiting. And these toxic pesticides, like the herbicide atrazine, routinely find their way into the drinking water of millions of Americans every year.

But a series of provisions in the House Agriculture Committee’s proposed farm bill would roll back vital safeguards intended to protect farmworkers, public health and the environment from toxic pesticides.

Here are five provisions in the House farm bill that would weaken pesticide protections:

1. Preempting Local Pesticide Restrictions – Section 9101 would prevent cities, counties and communities from restricting certain uses of pesticides even if they deem restrictions necessary for protecting children’s health or the environment. For example, this provision would prevent a city or county from restricting chlorpyrifos – an insecticide so dangerous it was slated to be banned by the Environmental Protection Agency – from being sprayed near schools or hospitals. ​
2. Reversing Course on Endangered Species Protections – Section 9111 would allow the EPA to approve pesticides without going through the current consultation process with expert wildlife agencies to assess to how they would impact hundreds of threatened or endangered species, as currently required under the Endangered Species Act.
3. Rolling Back Clean Water Act Protections – Sections 9117 and 9118 would allow farmers to spray pesticides into water – including drinking water sources – without obtaining a permit under the Clean Water Act, as currently required by law.
4. Allowing New Pesticide Approvals Without Finalizing Safety Rules – Section 9119 reauthorizes the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, which provides funding for EPA pesticide reviews, without finalizing rules designed to protect farmers and farmworkers, as Sen. Tom Udall and others have rightly demanded.
5. Weakening Restrictions on Methyl Bromide – Section 9121 would weaken restrictions on methyl bromide, a highly toxic fumigant that is being phased out because it depletes the ozone layer.

Contact your U.S. House Representative by clicking on this link.

Please contact your U.S. representatives and senators and ask them to reject the King amendment. And while you’re at it, please encourage them to sustain a provision that Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., successfully included in the committee’s Farm Bill to prohibit the domestic slaughter, trade and import/export of dogs and cats for human consumption, and any other pro-animal amendments that may be offered on the floor. For this, sign on to a letter by the Humane Society.

Larry

 

The Farm Bill has been voted yes out of the ag committee and headed towards full vote in the next few weeks. Time is critical! I have a call into Jared Huffman’s office, he is working on this to get the particulars as to concerns and what he suggests to do. I am not sure as I have been reading that he is fully opposed. I’ll let you know and also write a letter for WWW. This is just beyond sick. I got it posted and sent it also out to many groups so we can fight this. Gratitude to getting this out.

HR2

The Invisible Poisons: Where are They?

To All,

Here is one of those serious issues that has not been adequately addressed due to the power of money in politics as well as being an invisible threat. It is past time that the issue of pesticides gets exposed, creates public outrage and forces the invisible poisons into containment.

What’s on those vines?
What’s on that schoolyard?
What’s in our groundwater?
What are our children exposed to?

ORGANIC vs PESTICIDES

Wine & Water Watch with Napa Vision 2050
present

PAM STRAYER, organic & Biodynamic wine researcher /writer
and MEDHA CHANDRA, Pesticide Action Network North America

on Saturday, May 12th, 1 – 3 PM
at Napa Valley Center for Spiritual Living
1249 Coombs St., Napa, CA 94559

This is a FREE event — Donations are welcome.
Reservations are suggested as space is limited to 100 persons.

RSVP to cdream@sonic.net

The Groundwater Resource Hub

To All,

The Nature Conservancy is pleased to announce the launch of the Groundwater Resource Hub, the go-to resource on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems.
Please visit https://groundwaterresourcehub.org/ for information on GDEs and for tools that can help you save time and money as you develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans. This website features:

• The best available science in a straightforward format

• Interactive animations that tell the story of GDEs and their relationship to groundwater

• A step-by-step guidance document to efficiently identify and consider GDEs under SGMA

• Identification of all SGMA provisions related to GDEs

• Case studies providing real-world examples of processes, tools and techniques related to GDEs and sustainable groundwater management

• A library of links to additional papers, articles and reference materials related to GDEs and sustainable groundwater management

In the next few weeks, the Hub will be updated with:

A statewide mapping tool to identify vegetative indicators of GDEs in your local area. The Hub currently provides a sample map from Ventura County
A rooting depth database for common groundwater dependent plants to help identify thresholds necessary to sustain GDEs.

For more information, contact:
Gregg Werner
gwerner@tnc.org
(530) 941-4877

ACE: A California Department Of Fish And Wildlife Conservation Analysis Tool

Areas Of Conservation Emphasis (ACE) Version 3: A California Department Of Fish And Wildlife Conservation Analysis Tool

All of state’s salt marshes are at risk of vanishing. Natural protectors are threatened along coast. Blame rising seas and humans, study says. Hundreds of species would be threatened; floods would worsen.

By Rosanna Xia

On one side, there’s the rising ocean. On the other, rising buildings.

Squeezed between the two are California’s salt marshes, a unique ecosystem filled with pickleweed and cordgrass, shorebirds and many endangered species.

Coastal wetlands such as Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County, the marshes along Morro Bay and the ecological preserve in Newport Beach can purify the air, cleanse urban runoff before it flows into the sea and reduce flooding by absorbing storm surges like a sponge.

But there’s little room left for this ecosystem along the changing Pacific Coast, as the sea continues to rise and Californians continue to develop the shore. Southern California today has already lost three-quarters of its salt marshes.

The rest could be gone within 100 years. Salt marshes in California and Oregon could disappear entirely by 2110, according to a new study by a team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey. Only a few might survive in Washington. The research quantifies for the first time the fate of this entire ecosystem on the West Coast, based on current projections of sea level rise.

“We’re essentially drowning the marshes,” said Glen MacDonald, a UCLA professor of geography and one of the authors of the study. “If we stay on the same carbon pathway that we are on now, and we take a look at conservative estimates of sea level rise, we would see California vegetated salt marshes we know today, Oregon vegetated salt marshes we know today, 100% gone by the first decade of the 22nd century.”

The study, published in Science Advances, examines 14 major estuaries along the West Coast, from the marshes of Port Susan Bay in northern Washington down to the Tijuana River Estuary.

Marsh by marsh, over many years, scientists measured elevation, tidal flooding, the distribution of vegetation and rates of sedimentation. Using sea level projections by the National Research Council, they designed a sophisticated model to project how each marsh would fare. By even the most conservative measures, the damage was significant — especially in California.

Coastal marshes naturally adapt to sea level rise by migrating inland through a process called transgression. But by building the Pacific Coast Highway and developing up to the edge of basically every marsh, Californians have drawn a line in the sand.

“Think about Seal Beach, think about Carpinteria,” MacDonald said. “You have expensive housing, you have commercial developments, you have our major coastal highways, the railroad, basically hemming in those marshes.”

ACE logo

PRESENTED BY MELANIE GOGOL-PROKURAT:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Areas of Conservation Emphasis (ACE) project is a non-regulatory tool that brings together the best available map-based data in California to depict biodiversity, significant habitats, connectivity, climate change resilience, and other datasets for use in conservation planning. ACE compiles and analyzes information from multiple CDFW data products, including the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB), California Wildlife Habitat Relationships Program (CWHR), the Survey of California Vegetation, as well as other mapped information found in the Biogeographic Information and Observation System (BIOS) to create products that can help inform landscape-scale conservation decisions. The terrestrial data is summarized and displayed in a standardized hexagon (2.5 mi2) grid, and the aquatic data is compiled by HUC12 watershed. All ACE datasets are available in an online map viewer or for download. CDFW has just completed ACE v3, a major revision and update.

ACE Biodiversity metrics are based on

1) species location information from CNDDB and other species survey datasets for 354 rare and/or endemic vertebrate species and subspecies, and 1672 rare and/or endemic plant taxa; and

2) species range or habitat distribution models for 791 common and rare native species of amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles, and 183 families of aquatic macroinvertebrates.

ACE combines information on species occurrence locations and species habitat distribution models in a standardized way to show the distribution of biodiversity, species richness, rarity, and endemism across the state and in each ecoregion. ACE Significant Habitats brings together information on important habitats such as rare vegetation types, oak woodlands, wetlands, and riparian areas based on vegetation maps and other landcover datasets, as well as information on focal species key habitat areas. ACE Connectivity brings together information on natural intact lands, habitat linkages, and wildlife corridors.

ACE Climate Change Resilience brings together information on locations expected to be relatively buffered by climate change impacts. These datasets provide an overview of the conservation elements potentially present at a given location based on best available data, and can be viewed together with State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) conservation targets, stressors, and juxtaposition to existing conserved lands in the ACE viewer to provide a broad overview of information important to conservation planning and ecological research. We will describe the data currently available in ACE v3, and will present example use-case scenarios.

For more information, go to https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Data/Analysis/ACE

Oppose California Bill AB 2545!

Riverine Concerned folks

Opposing these bills is critically important.

AB AB 2545 – a Bill that can have serious consequences to our rivers and streams. Please take action to oppose this Bill.

This Bill removes California Department of Fish and Wildlife authority to protect aquatic resources in Class III streams (streams with a bed and bank – but are ephemeral) Thus, Ag operations could fill or dam these streams at will. The changes made to Class III definitions in the Code eliminate CDFW authority in Class III streams.

This is exactly the same language in a bill we killed last year – AB 947.

I suggest that you contact you Assembly person and/or the appropriate committee (Assembly Committee on Natural Resources) – and any other party than can help stop this Bill.

AB 2545, authored by Assembly Member James Gallagher, would greatly reduce the protection and conservation of California’s rivers and streams by excluding many of our stream ecosystems from project review and oversight by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

The stream definition proposed by AB 2545 would limit CDFW’s protective oversight to only those streams that support aquatic life. By redefining streams as only those water bodies that support aquatic life, AB 2545 functionally eliminates protection of streams that lack fully aquatic life but that support semi-aquatic amphibians and reptiles, non-aquatic terrestrial species like birds or the desert tortoise, and many non-riparian native plant communities that depend on intermittent and ephemeral streams and stream processes for their habitat and continued survival.

Ephemeral and intermittent streams – regardless of whether they support fully aquatic life – are critical parts of the stream network and contribute to the ecological health and sustainability of the entire watershed. These streams are often source areas or major tributaries to perennial streams and contribute to the overall hydrological function and health of a watershed. They also provide a wide array of ecological functions including forage, cover, nesting, and movement corridors for terrestrial wildlife.

Alan