NRDC Golden State Newsletter April 2015, Vol 1, Issue 85
NRDC's Annie Notthoff, Joel Reynolds

There is good news to report for the whales that frequent the waters offshore California. NRDC scored a big win on the last day of March when a federal court in Hawaii ruled against the National Marine Fisheries Service for approving Navy sonar activities in the Pacific — deeming inappropriately assessed nearly 10 million underwater assaults on marine mammals as "negligible."

Governor Brown's latest drought action calling for mandatory water restrictions came on the heels of reports that statewide water use fell just 3 percent in February and an April snowpack report that showed a record-low amount of snow (just 5% of average) in our mountains — an important indicator of how much water will flow into streams and rivers during the upcoming dry months. While our state's leaders can't make it rain, they are striving to promote more water conservation. In the week following the Governor's action, the Energy Commission acted in record breaking time to set the strongest standards for water use in the nation for all urinals and faucets sold in the state, expected to save California more than 100 billion gallons of water.


Annie Notthoff, California Advocacy Director
Joel Reynolds, Western Director

California Beach Community Turns Down New Oil Drilling

Oil drilling vote

Record numbers of Hermosa Beach voters turned out in early March to vote down a measure that would have opened up the Santa Monica Bay to oil drilling.

"Allowing this project to move forward would have set a dangerous precedent," said Damon Nagami, an NRDC senior attorney who worked to help educate the public about the dangers of drilling in the bay. Hermosans voted overwhelmingly to protect the Santa Monica Bay, an irreplaceable natural resource that also supports the multibillion dollar coastal economy in Southern California and property values throughout the area.

Ocean Day at the Capitol

Oceans Day 2015

Over ten years ago NRDC partnered with Environment CA to hatch an idea that would grow into an annual day of ocean advocacy to raise awareness (and resources) for ocean protection. Oceans Day 2015 stakeholders, students, and activists from across the Golden State to share a unified message about conserving and protecting marine resources with our state's legislators. This year NRDC staff led 50 other ocean advocates in meetings with over 92 members of the legislature to talk about the importance of investing in California's ocean health, coastal water quality, marine protected areas, and sea level rise. After an enormously successful day of "blue" meetings, policy-makers and advocates were fortunate to share in a delicious and sustainable seafood reception, courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

New Climate Win: Obama Walks the Talk

Climate pollution

The fight against climate change just scored a major victory. On March 19th, President Obama released an executive order — Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade. The order will build on the historic progress NRDC and its members have fought for — by aiming to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The executive order shows that President Obama is "walking the talk" that he made in November, when he and President Xi Jinping of China stood before world leaders and jointly announced plans to combat climate change. By reducing its emissions, China will protect the health of its citizens, the planet, and Californians. A recent study shows that pollution from Chinese factories is harming air quality on the U.S. west coast. Truly we live on an interconnected planet.

Championing Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth in the West

Mary Solecki

Mary Solecki is E2's (Environmental Entrepreneurs) Western States Advocate. E2 (an NRDC affiliate) is a national community of business leaders working to promote sound environmental policy. Mary engages E2 members in California, Oregon, and Washington on state level policy and leads several of E2's research efforts. As reported last month, Oregon scored a victory when the legislature voted to proceed with the state's Clean Fuels Program requiring the oil industry to begin taxing the carbon footprint of transportation fuels sold in the state — rulemaking Mary and the E2 team first initiated when she arrived in 2010. "Building rapport with our campaign allies in Oregon took time, and they came to lean on E2 and NRDC for national expertise on clean fuels, and it was an excellent example of our big national organization advocating effectively at the local level," she says. Mary (pictured above left with her husband) received her B.S. from Indiana University and her MBA from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco.

© 2015 Natural Resources Defense Council

Photo Credits: n/a.