A note from Lloyd:
On Thursday, July 10, at 1 p.m. on KFCF radio, Fresno, I will interview Loren Wood, overseer of the Harlan P. Kelsey Arboretum, on my monthly radio show. If you are in the Fresno area, you can hear the show at 88.1 FM. You can hear it live streaming on the internet at www.kfcf.org.
Mr. Wood, who holds a master's degree from Harvard University and is the overseer of the Kelsey Arboretum, contends that Kelsey was the East Coast counterpart of John Muir and was an acclaimed native plant horticulturalist as well as a driving force in the establishment of several national parks in the Eastern U.S. Wood has written a book entitled "Beautiful Land of the Sky."
Tune in if you get a chance.
FROM A Natural Resources Defense Council and Los Angeles Waterkeeper news release
WASHINGTON (May 5, 2014) – A decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court will protect millions of people living near and visiting Los Angeles rivers and beaches from the harmful effects of water pollution. The Supreme Court declined Los Angeles County and the County Flood Control District’s request to review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling finding Los Angeles County liable for untreated stormwater pollution that plagues local waterways.
The decision stems from a lawsuit initiated by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Los Angeles Waterkeeper in 2008. The Supreme Court previously remanded the case to the Ninth Circuit Court, which sided with NRDC and Waterkeeper last August. In an attempt to shirk its responsibility for cleaning up the region’s chronically polluted waterways, the County petitioned the Supreme Court for review in January 2014. Denying review of the case allows the lower court ruling to remain in place and holds Los Angeles County liable for water pollution, with documented and persistent violations of its Clean Water Act permit in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers since 2003. READ MORE »
WASHINGTON (May 1, 2014) – An animated video released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) illustrates how the agribusiness giant, Monsanto, and its competitors are responsible for the rise of “superweeds” – weeds that have developed resistance to a common herbicide that once kept them in check.
According to a recent UCS policy brief, superweeds are cropping up on more than 60 million acres of U.S. cropland, increasing farmers’ costs and driving an increase in overall herbicide use and the return of more toxic chemicals. The video, “Monsanto Supersizes Farmers' Weed Problem—but Science Can Solve It,” depicts Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seed and herbicide system as a “superhero” with a fatal flaw. Monsanto sold the system as a way to make weed control easier.
Farmers adopted the system enthusiastically, and for a while it did reduced their overall use of herbicides. However, as weeds developed resistance to Roundup weed killer, the false superhero was unmasked. Nationally, weeds began to develop resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, only five years after the Roundup Ready products were introduced in the United States. Resistant weeds can grow eight feet tall and the tough stems damage farm equipment. These weeds also steal nutrients from crops, hurting crop yields and overall productivity. READ MORE »
Federal Judge gives Westlands and Reclamation six more months to pursue settlement talks on drainage problemSubmitted by Lloyd Carter on Thu, 05/01/2014 - 20:09.
Federal Judge Lawrence O’Neill in Fresno has signed an order allowing the Westlands Water District and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation another 6 months to pursue settlement talks without any further implementation of the 2007 Record of Decision regarding Westlands' long-standing farm drainage water problem.
The key final paragraph of O'Neill's order reads as follows: READ MORE »
By Lloyd G. Carter
A prominent western San Joaquin Valley grower and a Bay Area developer have been ordered to pay $128.6 million in damages following a nearly three-month trial in Kings County Superior Court. McCarthy Family Farms, headed by John McCarthy, and Sandridge Partners, a family-own real estate business headed by John Vidovich of Los Altos Hills were ordered Friday (March 28) to pay $73.4 million in compensatory damages and $55.2 million in punitive damages. McCarthy was found guilty of breach of contract and Sandridge Partners was found guilty of interference with contractual relations. READ MORE »
"The problem in California is not that we don't have enough reservoirs. It's that we don't have enough water in them. It wouldn't help to build any more (reservoirs.)"
Dr. John Holdren, White House science adviser
By Lloyd G. Carter
All you need to know about Wednesday's (March 19) drought field hearing in Fresno of the House Committee on Natural Resources is that salmon were never mentioned and the GOP pols knew how to throw red meat to the farmers in the packed city hall chambers. It speaks volumes that there were seven Republicans and only one Democrat (Rep. Jim Costa) at the hearing chaired by Rep. Richard N. "Doc" Hastings, who is retiring after his term ends.
Hastings said he invited all 21 Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee to participate in the hearing but only Costa, who had no explanation why no other Democrats showed up, was in attendance. Committee members Jared Huffman and Grace Napolitano, former chair of the house subcommittee on water, were among the no shows.
Hastings also said he was "very, very disappointed" that State Water Resources Control Board chairwoman Felicia Markus failed to appear despite being invited. Marcus, who previously worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) as western regional director, also served as EPA director for Region 9 and was appointed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger to the Delta Stewarship Council. READ MORE »
Editor's Note: Greenwire news service has released the article below showing repeated scientific misconduct by two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service supervisors pushing for approval of the controversial Keystone Pipeline project. It is clear to see from the agency's press spokesman, Chris Tollefson, that Fish and Wildlife is still stonewalling on this. I blogged about Tollefson sometime back. Type his name in my website search engine box (upper right corner of home page) and read the story about two-headed fish. Does President Obama have a clue what's going on in his wildlife protection agency?
(Thursday, February 6, 2014)
By Emily Yehle, Greenwire reporter
Two supervisors at the Fish and Wildlife Service purposely ignored staff concerns in order to shrink the habitat of the endangered American burying beetle, committing scientific misconduct of a "serious and intentional nature," accordingto newly released internal documents. The documents provide new details on the scientific integrity cases against Dixie Porter and Luke Bell, who worked in the Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office. Porter was the field supervisor, while Bell was the branch chief of threatened and endangered species and contaminants. READ MORE »
Fitch bond rating company in 2009 assessed Westlands Water District's ability to issue more bonds to help pay for Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). Interesting reading. You can download the PDF version of the Fitch report and read at your leisure.
Patricia Schifferle reports on the SWP Water Supply Contract Extension. There are three downloadable PDF documents.