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Sacramento County Environment Digest

State Releases EIR for Delta Tunnel


The California Department of Water Resources released an environmental impact report for a tunnel that the state would like to build through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The report identifies potential impacts to farmland, tribal remains and endangered species of fish.

Plan to Eliminate Catalina’s Deer Infuriates Locals


Conservationists intend to shoot all of the deer on Santa Catalina Island by helicopter. Some people are opposed, either for not wanting to eliminate the deer or for missing out on future chances to hunt them.

CA Air Resources Board Staff Barred from Talking to Retired Staffer


Staff at the state’s air regulatory agency have been restricted from communicating with Jim Duffy, a scientist who retired from the agency in 2022. Duffy had criticized gas lobbyists and an agency director.

Sacramento DA Adds to Lawsuit Against City Over Homelessness Response


Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho is adding environmental violations to his lawsuit against the city of Sacramento over what he calls its failure to act regarding the homelessness crisis.

State Might Soon Require Replacing Broken A/C Units


California energy regulators are considering requiring homeowners to replace broken air-conditioning systems with heat pumps or HVAC systems that are more energy efficient. The change would go into effect in 2026.

High-Speed Rail Project Connecting SoCal to Las Vegas Wins Grant


Private company Brightline secured a $3 billion grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation toward a 218-mile high-speed rail line from Rancho Cucamonga to Las Vegas. The line would allow people to make the trip to Sin City in a little over two hours.

Oakland Might Have to Pay Developers Millions Over Coal Terminal


An Alameda County judge ruled on Nov. 22 that the city of Oakland thwarted a proposed coal export terminal. The judge will rule if the developer who sued is entitled to $159 million in damages or moving forward with the project.

Imperial County Might Have Enough Lithium for 375 Million Batteries


A new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that approximately 3,400 kilotons of lithium are located below Imperial County in Southern California. This could produce more than $7 billion in lithium carbonate annually, helping power significant numbers of electric vehicles.

Science Points to ‚ÄėClimate Collapse‚Äô as UN Chief Calls for Action


The world is heating up at an unprecedented pace, new climate data shows, and leaders gathered for the COP28 conference in Dubai must get us out of ‚Äúdeep trouble,‚ÄĚ UN chief Ant√≥nio Guterres said.

Sewage Spill Closes Southern California Beach


Two miles of public beach were closed in Laguna Beach following a spill of 94,500 gallons of sewage. Orange County is testing water to determine when the beach will be safe to reopen.

DOE Analysis Confirms Salton Sea Is a Rich Domestic Lithium Resource


An analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy found that with expected technology advances, the Salton Sea region‚Äôs total lithium resources could produce more than 3,400 kilotons of lithium, enough to support over 375 million batteries for electric vehicles‚ÄĒmore than the total number currently on U.S. roads.

As Storms Hit California, Reservoirs are Healthy. But Water Forecast Remains Unclear


Unlike a year ago, water storage is above average. Whether the year is wet or dry, though, remains uncertain despite El Ni√Īo conditions.

In Rare Strike by Civil Servants, State-Employed Scientists Walk Out for Better Pay


More than 4,000 state scientists have worked under an expired contract for three years. Average wages in 2020 were $83,586, 27% less than state engineers’ pay. The state filed an unfair labor practice charge to stop the strike.

Families Struggle to Pay Power Bills, but California Regulators May Hike Prices


Millions of people across the state struggle to pay electric bills as California regulators decide on proposed rate increases. PG&E wants a rate hike to bolster the safety and reliability of its services.

Southern California Has Wolves Again, for the First Time in Nearly 150 Years


A 2021 fire has helped bring wolves back to Southern California for the first time since the 19th century. A rancher is worried about how to keep wolves, which are federally protected, from harming cattle.

A Proposed Development Might Threaten California’s Oldest Tree


A shrubby Palmer oak tree in Riverside County is around 13,000 years old, making it California’s oldest tree and one of the longest-lived organisms on earth. Some people are concerned that a proposed development could threaten the tree.

UCLA Scientist: California’s Redwoods Might Not Last Another Century


A UCLA climate scientist says California’s redwoods might not last in their current groves for another 100 years. An effort is afoot to plant redwoods elsewhere in more potentially hospitable climates, such as the Pacific Northwest.

Heat Waves Harm Bird Reproduction on Ag Lands


A team of UC Davis researchers found that birds nesting near farmland were half as likely to have at least one fledgling successfully leave the nest when temperatures spiked. However, forests seemed to provide a protective buffer against high temperatures.

Scientists Find Two Ways That Hurricanes Intensify


Forecasters have struggled to understand why tropical storms sometimes blow up into major hurricanes. Scientists have shed some light on this forecasting challenge.

Western States‚Äô Water Cuts Should Hold Off Colorado River Crisis‚ÄĒFor Now


Wet weather and planned cuts by California, Arizona and Nevada averted declines that could have threatened water deliveries and power production‚ÄĒbut long-term threats to the Colorado River remain.

Despite Newsom Veto, State Takes Steps to Ban Artificial Turf Due to ‚ÄėForever Chemicals‚Äô


California cities can ban synthetic turf under a law Gov. Gavin Newsom signed. He rejected a bill to ban PFAS in fake lawns.

‚ÄėAnother Attempt to Industrialize the Coast‚Äô: California‚Äôs Central Coast Residents Want to Halt Offshore Wind


Massive ocean wind farms off Morro Bay and Santa Barbara County‚ÄĒwhich could transform these quiet coastal towns and affect marine life‚ÄĒface a turbulent path.

He Bashes Republicans for ‚ÄėRights Regression,‚Äô but in Recent Decisions, Newsom Neglects Protections for Marginalized Californians


Gov. Newsom vetoed bills to outlaw caste discrimination and to consider gender affirmation in child custody cases. Advocates wonder if he’s thinking about his national political profile.

San Joaquin Valley Groundwater Pumpers Need to Slow Down or Face Fines, State Says


Hundreds of wells in Tulare Lake aquifer are at risk of going dry. Today's recommendation is the first time that state officials have moved to crack down on local plans that fail to stop excessive groundwater pumping.

Climate Change Took Them to ‚ÄėDark Places.‚Äô Now These Californians are Doing Something About it


The facts of climate change can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Some California activists are creating communities for people to talk about those feelings.

Public Utilities Commission to Vote on Plan That Could Make it Harder to Power Homes With Solar


The CPUC is considering a rule that would gut the payments that solar panels on apartment buildings receive, and many housing groups are blazing mad about it.

The Bay-Delta Ecosystem is Collapsing. Now California Has Dueling Plans to Save It


A long-awaited, controversial report weighs updates to standards that state officials say have failed to protect fish and wildlife. But environmentalists, Native tribes and others already are furious about how long this has taken‚ÄĒand the state is years away from taking action.

Why California Rivers Saw Fewer Harmful Algal Blooms This Year


Outbreaks have wreaked havoc on the state’s river ecosystems for years. But this year was different. Faster, colder river waters led to fewer outbreaks of the harmful algae.

Study: Near-Surface Permafrost Will be Nearly Gone by 2100


An international team found that the amount of near-surface permafrost could drop by 93% compared to the preindustrial period of 1850 to 1900. Permafrost may exist only in the eastern Siberian uplands, Canadian High Arctic Archipelago and northernmost Greenland‚ÄĒas it did in the mid-Pliocene Warm Period.

Your Lawn May be Gone. New Bill Bans Irrigation of ‚ÄėOrnamental‚Äô Lawns


The irrigation bill, which aims to force businesses and institutions to remove their lawns, now goes to the governor.

Lawmakers Strike $106 Million Deal for Hydrogen Vehicle Fueling Stations


Hydrogen fueling stations will get 15 percent of funds in a state program ‚ÄĒ even though Californians own only about 12,000 hydrogen cars. The funds come from fees paid by drivers.

Meet California’s (Possible) Future State Bat


There’s an official state bird, mineral, tree, fish, insect, lichen, fabric, sport, dance, soil and even dinosaur.