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Say Goodbye to the Internal Combustion Engine

By Rory Christian and Larissa Koehler

Electric vehicles (EVs) don't make much noise on the road, but they're generating a lot of buzz about the future of this technology and what it means for business and the environment.

Cars, buses and trucks are the second biggest source of pollution in the U.S. after electricity production. They are responsible for more than 26 percent of emissions that adversely affect the health and well-being of the population, and put communities located close to highways and other major thoroughfares at risk. These communities, typically low-income, are often plagued by elevated asthma rates and other pollution-induced health conditions.

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Animals
Scott Bauer / California Department of Fish & Wildlife

Stronger Protections for Wildlife Needed as California Marijuana Industry Grows

As California officials begin work this week to finalize environmental oversight of recreational pot growing, conservation groups are calling for stronger protections for imperiled Pacific fishers, spotted owls and other rare wildlife.

Following voter approval last year of Measure 64, which allows personal production and use of marijuana, the state was required to create strict environmental measures to regulate pot growers' use of pesticides, water and energy.

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Energy

Santa Barbara Becomes First California City to Pass Resolution Against Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

The Santa Barbara City Council approved a resolution Tuesday opposing new drilling off the California coast and fracking in existing offshore oil and gas wells. The resolution is the first in a new statewide campaign to rally local governments against proposals to expand offshore fossil fuel extraction in federal waters.

The vote—which makes Santa Barbara the first California city to oppose both fracking and new offshore drilling—follows President Trump's April 28 executive order urging federal agencies to expand oil and gas leasing in federal waters. The order could expose the Pacific Ocean to new oil leasing for the first time in more than 30 years.

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Climate

California Extends Controversial Climate Bill

California lawmakers extended the state's climate legislation Monday night, in what is being considered a victory for Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to lower greenhouse emissions.

The legislation, a package of bills that extends California's plan to address climate change, passed with a supermajority in both the Assembly and the Senate, insulating it from any legal challenges. The bill passed the Senate 28-12 and was approved 55-21 in the Assembly. Eight Republican lawmakers in the Assembly voted in favor of the bill, and three democrats voted against it. In the Senate, one Republican joined the Democrats voting for the legislation.

Brown's signature on the bill will extend the world's second-largest carbon market to 2030.

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Marin Sea Level Rise / Facebook

California Counties Sue Big Oil for Sea Level Rise Damages

Three California municipalities filed lawsuits Monday against 37 of the world's biggest fossil fuel companies, including Chevron, Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell. The legal challenges, brought by Marin and San Mateo counties and the city of Imperial Beach, allege that the companies knew about the harm of burning fossil fuels and therefore should pay for current and future damages to the municipalities due to climate change.

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Santa Barbara's Platform Holly. Glenn Beltz / Flickr Creative Commons

Big Victory in Fight to Protect California’s Coast From Offshore Fracking

A federal court on Friday rejected the Trump administration's effort to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the approval of fracking in federal waters off California.

The suit—filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Wishtoyo Foundation—notes that the government violated the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act by failing to carefully study offshore fracking's risks before allowing this dangerous oil-extraction practice. The suit points to offshore fracking pollution's threats to the marine environment, public health, imperiled wildlife and sacred Chumash cultural resources and places.

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Marcia Moreno-Baez / Marine Photobank

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Whales, Sea Turtles From Drowning in Drift Gillnets

Oceana filed a lawsuit in federal court in California late Wednesday challenging the National Marine Fisheries Service's decision to withdraw a proposed rule that would have protected endangered species, including whales and sea turtles, and taken an important step forward in efforts to clean up one of the nation's dirtiest fisheries—drift gillnets targeting swordfish off California. The rule would have required an immediate closure of the fishery if limits on the injury or death of nine protected species were reached.

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Energy

Floating Solar Farms Crop Up in California

By Corey Binns

In Sonoma, California, the most important renewable resource will always be grapes. Sonoma's vineyards, framed by picturesque rolling green hills, produce some of the best wines on the planet; tourists flock to the region to sample the latest pinots and admire the scenery. "People like the rolling, grassy hills," said local resident Dale Roberts. But as principal engineer at the Sonoma County Water Agency, Roberts is focused on another homegrown renewable: clean energy. So behind the scenes in Sonoma, he's been busy "juicing" the landscape in a way that's quite different from the neighboring vintners' activities.

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Mike Mozart / Flickr

It's Official: California Lists Key Ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup as Cancer-Causing

By Katherine Paul

California is officially adding glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, to the state's list of chemicals and substances known to cause cancer.

Before we dive into the weeds in terms of what the listing does and doesn't mean, and may or may not lead to, let's take a moment to recognize that this is a landmark decision in the ongoing battle against Monsanto's flagship weedkiller.

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