NRDC Golden State Newsletter March 2015, Vol 1, Issue 84
NRDC's Annie Notthoff, Joel Reynolds

Did we mention that it's dry here in California? Newly released, sobering data reveals just how dry. The Sierra snowpack, which typically serves as the state's biggest reservoir, is at just 20 percent of the monthly average for March. There is lots of room for all of us to do more to use the water we have wisely by making a drop go farther and keeping what we have clean.

Speaking of taking care of what water we have, California regulators of the state's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board just ordered over a dozen oil and gas wells to cease production over concerns that the wells may be contaminating groundwater. Wells shut down so far are disposal wells found to have injected oil-field wastewater into drinkable aquifers beneath California's drought-stricken Central Valley. While an independent review of the program under which these wells are regulated, NRDC is calling for all affected wells to be shut down immediately and to remain shut down until full investigations of any water contamination are completed.

 

Annie Notthoff, California Advocacy Director
Joel Reynolds, Western Director

NRDC Goes to Court to Save Monarch Butterflies

monarch butterflies

NRDC just sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for dragging its feet on efforts to save the imperiled Monarch butterfly and to force the agency to act on a petition — filed more than a year ago — requesting harmful pesticides used be limited in order to save the imperiled pollinator. Coastal California residents remember the days when annual monarch migrations meant actually seeing butterflies. As we previously reported, numbers have reached the second lowest total ever, declining from about 1 billion to 56.5 million nationally in just the past 15 years. Monarch habitat has been wiped out by the skyrocketing use of the herbicide glyphosate (originally marketed as Roundup). The suit charges that the agency's delay has resulted in "significant ongoing harm" and seeks to force the EPA to act promptly because the current population of migrating monarchs is dangerously small.

NRDC & Partners Host California's First Shared Mobility Conference in LA

live kick

Nearly 400 business, transportation, land use and environmental representatives, community leaders and students came out to the first annual Live.Ride.Share conference — ushering in an exciting new year of easier, more cost-effective and faster transportation. Organized by NRDC and our local and national partners — including Lyft, Santa Monica Bike Center, Car2Go, Zipcar, and Uber to name a few — attendees participated in panel discussions, and brought their bikes, cars, and other equipment to the conference expo. The conference drew strong interest from key transportation and land use planning agencies including the Southern California Association of Governments, the City of Los Angeles, and LA Metro. Thanks to your contributions, #LiveRideShare trended regionally on social media!

Oregon Moves Forward with West Coast Clean Fuels Market

clean fuel program

After years of strategic advocacy by the Oregon Environmental Council, other local partners, NRDC and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), the Oregon legislature has voted to proceed with the state's Clean Fuels Program, which will require the oil industry to tax the carbon footprint of transportation fuels sold in the state. Governor Kate Brown is expected to sign the bill. Together with members of E2 and a broad-based coalition, NRDC has been working to enact clean fuel standards in Oregon and across the West Coast. Thus far, the campaign efforts have overcome those of the oil industry, which has spent millions of dollars in lobbying and created more than 16 fake front groups to oppose standards. This moves the West Coast one more step beyond oil and toward becoming a model for the rest of the country for adopting policies that will expand the clean fuels market.

Fighting for a Good Food Future

Sasha Stashwick

Senior Advocate Sasha Stashwick is a crusader for several of NRDC's Renewable Energy and Food & Agriculture campaigns. Following her studies at Georgetown, Sasha arrived at NRDC in 2008 as a fellow with a belief that "Protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat is ultimately about protecting ourselves." Inspired by advances like the Golden State's landmark global warming law and impassioned to create opportunities to leverage change in the marketplace through corporate campaigns and other market-based initiatives, Sasha decided to stay for the long haul. Recently she's helped by using her creative thinking in NRDC's campaign concerning Foster Farms and to push McDonald's to adopt responsible antibiotics use practices in its poultry supply chains, all the while delivering a strong message in blogs and the media. "Now that I'm going to be a brand new mom, I find myself relying ever more heavily on the great work of NRDC's Public Health program and all our in-house experts on mercury, BPA and the whole host of toxics that appear in consumer goods. It's quite an overwhelming set of issues to navigate, but I feel better just knowing NRDC is on the case!"


© 2015 Natural Resources Defense Council

Photo Credits: LiveRideShare2015, Ted Soqui.