The Benicia (California) City Council on Tuesday unanimously rejected a controversial plan by the Valero Refining Co. to ship crude oil trains through Sacramento and other Northern California cities to its bayside refinery.
The 5-0 vote, taken after four years of bitter debate, represents a victory for environmentalists and offers relief to Sacramento-area leaders who said the oil trains would put local residents and habitat at risk of a catastrophic oil spill and fire.
In one corner of the field, children plucked berries and mashed them into their mouths. In another they tugged carrots from the soil and waggled them in the air, squealing with delight. Others trundled around the grounds in a choo-choo train decorated as a bumble bee.
There was a cow bounce, a chicken show, an animal petting corral, a hay pyramid, a combine harvester slide, picnic tables and, depending on parental budgets, a choice of standard birthday party, deluxe birthday party and pony paddock birthday party.
In Santa Cruz, California for the past year, a struggle has been brewing over the survival of a community garden. Although insignificant in the larger scheme of things, this small campaign has much to teach us about the way different forms of injustice converge, about the relationships among different forces within US cities in the 21st century, and about how to and how not to build a campaign to fight the environmental racism in our midst.
Jerry Brown basked in adulation during his whirlwind trip to Paris, and the evening of December 8 figured to offer more of the same. Standing alongside governors of states and provinces from Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, California's governor planned to tout his state's leadership role on global climate policy. The event was one of 21 presentations that Brown delivered during a five-day swing through France during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21).
On a day when the skies were ashen from the smoke of distant wildfires, Chase Hurley kept his eyes trained on the slower-moving disaster at ground level: collapsing levees, buckling irrigation canals, water rising up over bridges and sloshing over roads.
This is the hidden disaster of California’s drought. So much water has been pumped out of the ground that vast areas of the Central Valley are sinking, destroying millions of dollars in infrastructure in the gradual collapse.
In a decision bursting with symbolism, the California State Water Resources Control Board recently announced its intention to draw down the main water supply reservoir for a half-million people to only 12 percent of capacity by September 30. Lake Folsom on the American River — the main water source for Roseville, Folsom, and other Sacramento suburbs — will plummet to 120,000 acre feet by that date, according to a forecast by the water board, which announced the plan at an unusually lively Sacramento workshop on June 24.
In canoes and kayaks, anti-drilling activists early Monday faced down Shell's 40,000-ton drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer, as it attempted to set sail from Seattle's Puget Sound to Arctic waters.
At least ten of the "kayaktivists," including Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, were detained by the U.S. Coast Guard for alleging violating a previous injunction by overstepping a 500-yard restricted "safety" zone around the behemoth rig.
Mark Nechodom, the controversial director of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that oversees the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), resigned on Thursday, June 4.
DOGGR is the agency charged with regulating the state's oil and gas industry. Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 appointed Nechodom, who is considered very friendly to the oil industry, to the post in order to expedite permits for oil drilling in Kern County and elsewhere.