Region: California

California’s Delta & Water Reforms: Now the Hard Work Begins

Last fall’s passage of landmark California legislation to “fix” the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and reform California water law was big news. But key, recent events demonstrate that the devil is truly in the details, and that while legislation certainly matters, it is the manner and means of executive branch implementation that ultimately spell success or …

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Delta NRC committee issues initial report

The National Research Council’s Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta released its first report this morning (also available through the National Academies Press web site, with registration). On a quick review of the summary, the conclusions are unsurprising — the Committee finds that the provisions of the Biological Opinions for …

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Big Three backs CAA regulation, cars deal

An interesting development: Yesterday, the industry group for major car manufacturers sent a letter to Congressional leaders opposing Sen. Murkowski’s legislative efforts (discussed by Holly here) to un-do EPA’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding.  The Murkowski resolution, as many have pointed out, would have the result of undoing the federally brokered cars deal set to impose Clean Air …

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California Supreme Court decides in favor of accurate environmental impact analysis (and cleaner air)

The California Supreme Court just issued an important decision interpreting public agencies’ obligations under the California Environmental Quality Act.  This case will result in cleaner air in southern California.  It also establishes that public agencies must measure environmental impacts from a new project against actual existing conditions, rather than against theoretical conditions (based on permits …

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Can California handle high-speed rail?

Count me in as a high speed rail enthusiast. Who wouldn’t want to sit in a train car, sipping an ice-cold ginger ale, while traveling at speeds of up to 220 mph through the Central Valley? As Rick described last month, the potential benefits to our quality- and way-of-life, by encouraging more pedestrian-focused neighborhoods and …

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Salmon season likely . . . but is it a good idea?

For the last two years, there has been no commercial salmon fishing off the California and Southern Oregon coasts because the Sacramento River chinook run has been so weak. This year, after early pessimism, prospects for salmon fishing look more promising. The Pacific Fishery Management Council has made public the three management options it will …

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Do Californians eat endangered whale meat?

Yes, apparently we do, but only at the most upscale of sushi restaurants.  See the LA Times story here (and note the $600 price tag for the meal). Here’s some information about sei whales (the species being served), courtesy of NOAA’s Office of Protected Resources: During the 19th and 20th centuries, sei whales were targeted (along …

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Cash for Transit

Jonathan proposes reinstating the vehicle license fee that Governor Schwarzenegger eliminated back in 2003. The repeal was highly successful in 1) getting Schwarzenegger elected governor and 2) contributing to the destruction of the state’s fiscal health. But even reinstating the fee is unlikely to help transit. With the state’s huge budget shortfall, that money would …

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Financing Lower Fares for Low-Income Bus Riders

Ethan, it’s obvious where the money is: just repeal the cut in the Vehicle License Fee. No, I’m not running for anything.  And that’s a very good thing…

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Increasing bus ridership by making it cheaper

Jonathan presents an interesting idea for stimulating bus ridership in Los Angeles among “choice” riders (aka affluent commuters who could drive if they wanted to).  For years, San Franciscans have enjoyed real-time data on bus and train arrivals (via nextmuni.com). It makes a huge difference when trying to catch a bus by minimizing unpleasant wait …

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