NRDC Golden State Newsletter July 2014, Vol 1, Issue 76
NRDC's Annie Notthoff, Joel Reynolds

Just in time for summer fun, NRDC released its 24th annual 'Testing the Waters' beach report last month. Here in California nine percent of beaches had bacteria levels exceeding the threshold for swimmer safety set by the Environmental Protection Agency -- putting Californian on par with a 10 percent failure rate of the country's beaches overall.

For your summer reading pleasure, Simon & Schuster just released "War of the Whales," an arresting account of NRDC's 20-year fight to protect whales from harmful ocean noise pollution, especially high-intensity naval sonar. It's a fascinating true story featuring our own Joel Reynolds' who took on the U.S. Navy, litigating all the way to the Supreme Court to defend marine mammals from reckless use of this devastating technology. We hope you have a chance to read the book this summer.


Annie Notthoff, California Advocacy Director
Joel Reynolds, Western Director

Supreme Court Delivers Two California Wins

CA clean energy

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined oil and ethanol companies' request to review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. This is a big step forward in California's fight to clean up motor vehicle fuel sold in the state and to combat global climate change. This fuel standard is part of California's landmark clean energy plan, AB32.

The Supreme Court also declined to review a case brought by Drakes Bay Oyster Company which sued the Department of Interior after former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar let the company's 40-year lease expire. This decision sets the stage for the first marine wilderness park on the west coast, in Point Reyes National Seashore.

California Welcomes Gray Wolves

power plant

In a 3-1 vote, the California Fish and Game Commission voted this summer to protect future Golden State gray wolves under the state Endangered Species Act. This is terrific news for wolves, as many experts expect populations of this native California species to reenter the state in the coming years. The State's gray wolf population was killed off in the early 20th Century. NRDC testified before the commission in favor of protecting wolves, and spoke beforehand to a rally of wolf supporters. The dispersal of wolves out of the northern Rockies will help bring balance to other ecosystems in need of their stabilizing influence, making this vote a very important first step.

NRDC Tip Sheet: 8 Things We Hate About Summer Will Worsen with Climate Change

LA benefit

Leading up to the July 4th weekend, NRDC published a tip sheet featuring eight summertime woes that will worsen with climate change along with steps individuals and the nation can take to ease the misery. Among the hazards were heat waves, bad air alert days, insects, poison ivy, sneezing and wheezing, food-borne illness, dangerous swimming conditions, and ruined visits to national parks. The good news is that the EPA recently announced the single largest action the U.S. government has taken to fight climate change to date, the carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.

Facts on Fracking: NRDC Scientist Uncovers Health & Safety Risks

Pierre Delforge

Born in Long Beach, California, NRDC staff scientist Briana Mordick grew up fascinated by the way the world works. After studying geology in college Briana first worked in the oil and gas industry -- then arrived at NRDC in 2010. Much of Briana's work has centered on fracking -- most recently analyzing new findings showing induced or "man-made" earthquakes are induced by such oil and gas activity. In 2012 Briana and her team delivered hundreds of comments to the EPA recommending a ban on the use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing fluids given the potential health and environmental impacts, resulting in the EPA's release of a final permitting guidance under the safe water drinking act. When not conducting research, Briana enjoys baking and hiking. She's working hard to ensure that California's new regulations governing fracking are the toughest in the nation.

© 2014 Natural Resources Defense Council

Photo Credits: Supreme Court blurb, ah zut/Flickr.