Posts Tagged ‘california’

Take Action to Stop the Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Thursday, June 19th, 2014
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USBR Construction of pump station at Delta-Mendota Canal

USBR Construction of pump station at Delta-Mendota Canal

Take action now to stop the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The $67 billion infrastructure project proposes to construct two massive tunnels that would funnel water from Northern to Southern California. The Plan calls itself a comprehensive conservation strategy aimed at protecting dozens of species of fish and wildlife, but in reality the 40,000 page document fails to disclose major irreversible impacts to fish, rivers and the economic stability of the state of California. River systems throughout California have been experiencing extreme drought conditions, and historic water rights have not been honored due to the lack of water in our rivers and reservoirs. Building two giant tunnels to transport water from the San Joaquin Delta is not going to carry out either of the Plan’s two main goals: to reliably transport more water to San Joaquin farms and Southern California cities, or to restore the fisheries and ecology of the delta.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement (DEIR/S) uses models based on over-allocated water rights to analyze the Plan’s environmental impacts, which would result in severe environmental consequences. Building more irrigation infrastructure, as the Plan proposes, is not going to fix drought problems in California. Instead, these projects will exacerbate drought conditions, resulting in greater impacts to endangered fish by reducing flows to impaired watersheds, draining estuaries that are essential to healthy river ecosystems, and allowing the continued operation of pumps that will kill fish that are protected under the Endangered Species Act. The “conservation plan” should instead reduce exports that take water out of rivers, prioritize delta recovery, and improve water conservation measures.

EPIC is part of the Environmental Water Caucus (EWC), which is a collective of environmental and water rights organizations that have joined forces to deal with water issues throughout the state of California. The comments we have developed are abbreviated and adapted from the EWC’s collective comments on the massive DEIR/S that has stirred controversy over the state’s scarce water resources. Help us stop this damaging project before irreversible harm is done to our rivers, fish and the state’s economic stability. Please click here to submit your public comment.

 


Gray Wolf gets California Endangered Species Protections!

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
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OR-7's pups_stephenson_usfws cropped

Two of OR-7’s pups peek out from behind the log. Rogue National Forest. Photo courtesy of USFWS.

Great news for wolves! Early this afternoon, the California State Fish and Game Commission voted three to one to grant protections to Gray Wolves under the California Endangered Species Act.

The decision came after three hours of testimony from nearly two hundred members of the public, many of who were dressed in gray and wearing paper hats shaped and painted like wolves. One especially endearing comment, which made the entire hall smile, was delivered by two-year toddler Madrone Shelton who clearly stated to the Commissioners, “protect wolves.”

Cuteness was in the air when a new photo from the Oregon Department of Wildlife surfaced that verified California’s famous wandering wolf, OR-7 and his new mate, had successfully sired a litter of puppies!

This announcement further cemented the need to list the wolf under the California Endangered Species Act. It is likely that OR-7 and his family will travel back into California once the pups are old enough, and protections under the law will help ensure their future safety.

The serendipitous humor of OR-7’s activities could not be better timed. Back in February, the very day that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told Commissioners that listing was not warranted because there were no wolves present, OR-7 jumped the border back into California; and again, as if on cue, today’s news of OR-7’s puppies happened within minutes of the Department’s stating that there is still not a breeding pair of wolves in California and that the other wolf that has been spotted with OR-7, may not be female.

We think OR-7 was trying to tell us something—that California is wolf country and that we will have wolves within our state in the very near future, so be prepared!

Meanwhile, the process for developing a California Wolf Management Plan is still underway. EPIC, and other groups representing a diverse set of interests, are helping the Department of Fish and Wildlife develop a management plan that balances the biological needs of wolves and the needs of society.

For more than two years, we have worked to get protections put in place for Gray Wolves. We could not have done it without you. Together we have sent more than 4,000 comments to Commissioners and today we were delivered a sweet and satisfying victory for wildlife protection.

Let us celebrate this announcement by sending out a collective howl for the future of California’s wolves, “Ahh-wooooooo!”

Wolf Pack 2


Speak up for the Future of California’s Gray Wolves!

Thursday, May 15th, 2014
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lone-wolf-or7-portland-mate-01_79908_990x742

A remote camera captured this photo of OR7, aka Journey, on May 3, 2014, in Jackson County, Oregon.

Take Action: Urge the California Fish and Game Commission to list the Gray Wolf under the California Endangered Species Act.

It is only a matter of time before wolves fully reestablish themselves in California and they need the fullest protection under the law to be able to be able to recover.

We know of one occasional visitor, iconic wandering wolf OR-7 also known as “Journey,” but there maybe other wild wolves in the state that we don’t know about. Coming from Oregon, these charismatic predators will disperse into California’s long unoccupied, high-quality habitat full of deer and other game. The return of wolves to California’s landscape will bring invaluable benefits to ecosystems, and conservation of these apex predators is a must.

Good News:

Lone wolf, OR-7, doesn’t appear to be so lonely any more. Remote cameras in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon indicate that Journey has found a mate and the two have likely denned with puppies. In his travels, Journey has staked out a territory in southwest Oregon’s Cascade mountain range with occasional forays into California. It won’t be long before this new pack travels back into California!

Click here to read EPIC’s comments from March 28, 2014 to the Commission.

Click here to read EPIC’s supplemental comments to the California Fish and Game Commission, May 22, 2014.

 


Is d-Con Our Next DDT?

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
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Photo by Franklin InstituteLast month, the State of California took a step in the right direction by trying to ban over-the-counter sales of dangerous anticoagulant rat poisons that are harming children, killing pets, and devastating wildlife, including endangered species. But within days after California announced the new regulations—which are meant to take effect on July 1—Reckitt Benckiser, the $37.5 billion multi-national corporation that manufactures and sells d-Con, filed a lawsuit against the state.

While the new rules are not strong enough to prevent all poisonings of wildlife and pets—the pest control industry was exempted from the ban—they would take some of the products that are currently poisoning an estimated 10,000 children per year off retail shelves, a bold step which would also greatly reduce the number of pet and wildlife victims.  The impact on wildlife from these poisons cannot be understated. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has over 800 pages of at least 350 incidents of wildlife poisonings (and these are only the animals that have been found and turned in). Biologists believe many animals perish and are never found, meaning that what we are seeing is probably only the tip of the iceberg. WildCare, a wildlife rehab facility in San Rafael, found that over 76 percent of the animals it tested for rat poison in 2013 were contaminated with rat poison. Many wildlife rehab facilities are receiving animals with the symptoms of rodenticide poisoning but cannot afford to test them (each test costs over $100 and most rehab facilities are operating on slim budgets). If the animals do not die immediately from rodenticide exposure, their behavior can suffer, with fatal consequences.

It is not just the groundbreaking new rules in California that the makers of d-Con are fighting. Reckitt Benckiser has been fighting federal regulations too. In 2008, the US EPA gave all rat poison manufacturers three years to make their products safer—including making them tamper-proof for children. All of the poison manufacturers agreed—except for Reckitt Benckiser, which now holds the EPA hostage while it engages in legal maneuvers.

Much as DDT nearly resulted in the extinction of an iconic species like the Bald Eagle, this company’s rat poison products are causing the next “silent spring” for birds of prey such as hawks, barn owls, and the increasingly endangered Northern Spotted Owl (among many others). These poisons are also clearly presenting mortal threats to endangered mammals like the San Joaquin kit fox and the Pacific fisher. There is something seriously wrong when a corporate bully can tie the hands of both federal and state regulatory agencies in bureaucratic legal maneuvers while children are poisoned, pets and wildlife continue to perish, and the food web continues to be contaminated.

This article was co-authored by Lisa Owens-Viani of Raptors are the Solution.


Get the Frack Out of California

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
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FrackingPoisonsFamilies

Take Action Now: Support Bill to Ban Fracking in California. Fracking is a technique used to extract natural gas whereby millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and highly toxic chemicals are injected into the earth. This process has been proven to result in massive environmental effects including wasting large quantities of scarce water resources, ground water contamination, air pollution and earth quakes.

Please take action to ban fracking in California by supporting Senate Bill 1132, which will prohibit fracking until the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency convenes a committee to review a scientific study and put specific measures in place to ensure that fracking does not pose a threat to the public health and welfare or to the environmental and economic sustainability of the state.

SB1132 is strong on addressing the environmental justice issues raised by fracking. Residents living close to fracking wells or downstream of fracking wells are exposed to hazardous chemicals. This exposure has been illustrated to cause negative health impacts. As Senator Mitchell points out: “There are a million Angelenos that live within a 5-mile radius of the largest urban oil field in the country…when industrial operations like fracking and acidization disproportionately impact minority communities, environmental justice has been breached and needs to be restored. SB 1132 will do that.”

We are thankful for Senator Leno’s comments that “a moratorium on fracking is especially critical as California faces a severe drought with water resources at an all-time low.” While the current drought in California has highlighted the issues related to water and fracking, it is our perspective that fracking is never an acceptable use of the state’s water. Water is scarce in California even when we are not in drought conditions.

Please click here to take action. Ask SB 1132 sponsors to strengthen requirements for environmental assessments for fracking and to ensure that adequate time is provided for public participation in the review process.

EPIC is collaborating with a larger coalition of organizations to support SB1132 and has submitted a letter of support to Senator Leno and Senator Mitchell, thanking them for introducing the bill.