NRDC Golden State Newsletter October 2014, Vol 1, Issue 79
NRDC's Annie Notthoff, Joel Reynolds

When the curtain closed on the 2014 California Legislative session, it was clear that we made progress for the State's public health and environment. Governor Brown signed a record number of wide-ranging environmental bills. Then President Obama came to Los Angeles where he made history by designating the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument -- a natural resource right next to millions of people.

Here at NRDC, we have big news. We just announced the third president in our 45 year history, Rhea Suh, and the publication of outgoing President Frances Beinecke's new book "A World We Create". Finally, don't forget to vote “yes” for Proposition 1, the water bond on California's statewide ballot on November 4.


Annie Notthoff, California Advocacy Director
Joel Reynolds, Western Director

California Keeps Moving Forward

Governor Brown

California continues to set the pace when it comes to environmental action and advocacy. Governor Brown signed a ban on plastic bags into landmark law to help keep the estimated 13 billion single-use plastic bags used in California every year from polluting our waters and lands; turning the Golden State into the first of the 50 states to mandate a bag ban. And later, the governor vetoed a weak antibiotics bill, SB 835, which would have made little progress in the fight to reduce antibiotic abuse in the livestock sector, sending a clear message that California can and should do more to curb unnecessary antibiotics use. All of these actions can be replicated in other states.

Power Plants Killing Aquatic Life are Asked to Do Better

Power plant

Recently NRDC joined a coalition of environmental groups in a lawsuit against the EPA for stronger standards to reduce the impact of power plants' cooling systems on fish and other underwater species. The three basic types of cooling systems -- once-through, closed-cycle, and dry cooling -- differ dramatically in their water usage, with once-through cooling being the most water-intensive and environmentally harmful method. NRDC originally objected to the rules when they were proposed over three years ago.

The Bay Area Pledges to Reduce Refinery Pollution

Oil refinery

Community, public health, climate, and environmentalists celebrated a victory this month when the Bay Area Air District Board passed a resolution that supports clean-up of air pollution from oil refineries. The Air District took bold action to protect workers and communities with a new pledge to both cap refinery pollution and work to reduce it by 20 percent over the next few years. This is a significant win for the Bay Area, which is facing an influx of dirtier crude oil and fossil fuel related projects, and moves us much closer to achieving our vision for cleaner and healthier communities.

Meet NRDC's New President - Rhea Suh

Rhea Suh

Come January, NRDC will be welcoming a new President, Rhea Suh, who recently served as the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget at the U.S Department of the Interior. "It has been an unparalleled privilege to work for the President and Interior Secretaries Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell," said Suh. "Now; I'm honored to join NRDC, our nation's intrepid defender of clean air, safe water, and wild places." As the mother of a young child, Rhea takes our most daunting challenge -- climate change -- very personally. As she said last week, "I refuse to leave my daughter a world beyond fixing -- and I know it's not too late."

Frances Beinecke offered high praise for her successor, "Rhea Suh is a ferocious fighter for the environment, with an extraordinary track record that spans teaching in the New York City public schools, working in the U.S. Senate, spearheading the creation of the Great Bear Rainforest and managing President Obama's Department of Interior -- with its $12 billion budget and 70,000 employees who staff our nation's parks, wildlife refuges and other treasured public lands. Through it all, Rhea has shown the kind of leadership, vision and tenacity that makes change happen."

© 2014 Natural Resources Defense Council

Photo Credits: San Gabriel Mountains; Rannette Stowe; Power Plant Aquatics, Flickr_Stuart.