Democratic bill would slow California's effort to curb climate change
Sierra Link: Fresno Democrat Henry Perea has introduced a bill, AB 69, that would postpone a rule that extends cap-and-trade requirements to vehicle fuels. The bill is motivated by the concern that gasoline prices would increase by 15 cents/gallon for consumers, since refiners would need to purchase credits to offset the environmental impacts of their products and would pass these costs on to consumers. Environmentalists and the California Air Resources Board have noted that including transportation fuels under the cap-and-trade system is vital to helping California achieve its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals under AB 32.
Little Hoover Commission Calls for California to Lead in Climate Change Adaptation
Sierra Link: The Little Hoover Commission, an independent California state oversight agency, released the findings of its year-long study on climate change in California. The Commission's report calls for the Governor and Legislature to take a leading role in state-wide climate change adaptation and risk assessment planning. Current climate change adaptation efforts are scattered and there is no source of standardized information to guide local decision-making. Th Commission calls for the creation of a state organization to serve as an authoritative source of information for local and regional governments in California. Such an organization would be especially useful for small or rural counties that often lack the resources to conduct independent analysis.
Drought has Sierra, Nevada forests ready to burn
Drought creates headaches for California recreation
Sierra Link: Throughout California, drought is taking a toll on traditional summer outdoor recreation. D.L. Bliss Park in Lake Tahoe has shut down toilets to save water, boat ramps at reservoirs around the state are closed due to low water levels, a popular boat race at Huntington Reservoir was cancelled, and rafting companies throughout the Sierra are shutting down. The drought is having a significant economic impact on rural, mountain communities where tourists come to fish, raft, and camp.
California drought: $500-a-day water fines passed
Sierra Link: The State Water Resources Control Board approved regulations that allow local law enforcement and water agencies to impose up to $500/day fines on water wasters. Although the Governor has called for residents to cut water use by 20%, water use has increased by 1% over the last three years. Under the new restrictions, residents cannot hose off driveways or sidewalks, water yards to the point of causing runoff, or wash cars without a shutoff nozzle.
Drought has cost California $2.2 billion
Sierra Link: A new study has found that California's worst drought in decades has cost the state $2.2 billion, mostly from lost jobs and income. 5% of the states cropland has been pushed out of production, and 17,100 seasonal workers have lost jobs due to the drought. The economic impact is especially pronounced in Fresno, Kern, and Tulare counties, which include portions of the Sierra.
Groups Sue Over Logging in Sierra Nevada Fire Areas
Sierra Link: Two environmental groups--the Center for Biological Diversity and Earth Island Institute--filed suit against the U.S. Forest Service over plans to log over 5,000 acres of burned trees in the Tahoe and Sierra National Forests. The environmental groups charge that the Forest Service's plans, which would allow salvage timber cutting in areas burned last summer by the 22,350-acre Aspen Fire near Huntington Lake and the 27,440-acre American Fire 15 miles south of I-80 in Tahoe National Forest, would severely damage the rare burned forest habitat that species such as the black-backed woodpecker and California Spotted Owl depend on. Logging these burned forests would result in the loss of habitat and food sources for these species and poses a threat to their survival.
Inspection program demonstrates value again
Sierra Link: Boat inspectors found a quagga mussel on a boat heading into Spooner Lake last week. The inspection program is designed to keep waterways around Lake Tahoe free from a quagga mussel invasion. The mussels, which cost Lake Mead $20 million a year to control, have no natural predators and quickly multiply into the billions. The limited number of entry points into the Tahoe basin has helped make the program successful so far, since boaters have a difficult time bypassing inspectors.