NRDC Golden State Newsletter August 2015, Vol 1, Issue 89
NRDC's Annie Notthoff, Joel Reynolds

Building on the work of California's pioneering fight against climate change, President Obama took strong, decisive action this month with the first-ever limits on the harmful carbon pollution from our dirty power plants to cut carbon pollution today so our kids don't inherit climate chaos tomorrow.

The president's Clean Power Plan will strike a major blow against climate change, save lives, create jobs, cut electricity bills, and raise the curtain on a new era of clean American power. That's real climate leadership, and it couldn't have come at a better time, as we build momentum toward a real global climate agreement this fall at the UN climate summit in Paris. California leaders cheered. "I welcome this bold and absolutely necessary carbon reduction plan. California is fully engaged in tackling climate change, and we look forward to working with other states and the White House as we implement these new mandates," said Governor Jerry Brown. "The President's clean power plan, combined with California's green innovation, creates a path for the nation to protect our environment for current and future generations." -- Attorney General Kamala Harris.


Annie Notthoff, California Advocacy Director
Joel Reynolds, Western Director

Shark Safeguards Upheld


Last month, California's sharks protections were upheld by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. This welcome opinion held the state's shark fin ban constitutional and not preempted by federal law. This is the first time a U.S. appellate court has weighed in conclusively on the issue of state shark fin laws, and could have a ripple effect elsewhere. California's shark fin ban was enacted in 2011 to end the consumption and trade of shark fins in the Golden State, thereby weakening the market demand for fins and helping to protect shark populations. Shortly after the fin ban was passed, shark fin traders and dealers sued to invalidate the law. Thankfully, the court stood with the sharks, apex predators who safeguard our ocean ecosystems.

NRDC Rallies Activists for National Arctic Ocean Day of Action


NRDC recently participated in grassroots #ShellNo events in 17 different cities across the nation, where activists gathered to urge President Obama to halt the approval process before Shell commences any more drilling this summer. In the city of Bozeman, Montana, NRDC staff organized at the Hyalite Reservoir; in Chicago, NRDC's Midwest Policy Director spoke out for climate at Chicago's harbor float; and west coasters rallied, taking to the beach of the Santa Barbara oil spill, and kayaking on the shore of San Francisco Bay. Seattle activists spent about six hours Friday suspended from the anchor chain of a Royal Dutch Shell support ship; and in Washington, DC, 30 "kayactivists" protested at the White House.

Report Recommends Policies to Protect Californians Against Fracking Threats


The California Council on Science & Technology has released an independent scientific report on the health threats and environmental impacts of fracking and oil and gas well stimulation. The assessment looked at the effects of well and fracking activities on water, air, seismic activity, wildlife and vegetation, and human health. Key findings are that oil and gas operators have unrestricted use of hazardous and poorly understood chemicals, and their use should be restricted or prohibited. The report also identifies significant health threats to populations in close proximity to oil and gas sites (a majority communities of color) and a need for increased monitoring and reporting of pollutants. California has taken some important steps forward to put those protections in place, but as this study shows, we still have a long way to go. The report makes a number of important recommendations that can improve public health that must be implemented.

Fighting for California Water

Ben Chou

Born in France, Water Policy Analyst Ben Chou studied environmental science in high school and college, majored in physical geography, eventually getting his Master's degree in climate change at Columbia University here in the states. Now based in NRDC's L.A. office, Ben works on water issues related to the drought and climate change. Most recently, Ben has worked with state lawmakers and utility groups to offer a rebate on clothes washers. He built the framework justifying the focus on rebates for clothes washers – which would incentivize buyers to buy new models that are more energy efficient and water efficient, translating to real energy, water, and environmental savings for California. The rebate details are expected to be released this fall. When not delving into water and climate research and reports, Ben can be found at the gym, at home cooking and hanging out with his two dachshunds, hiking on local trails, or at Disneyland.

© 2015 Natural Resources Defense Council

Photo Credits: Sharks, vgm8383 via Compfight cc.