DAILY DIGEST: “Trump and Pruitt are waging an all-out attack”: Inside the battle to save California’s water; Senator pushes for revote on Temperance Flat project; Another danger from overpumping groundwater: Arsenic; Californians approve Prop 68; and more …

In California water news today, “Trump and Pruitt are waging an all-out attack”: Inside the battle to save California’s water; Senator pushes for revote on Temperance Flat project; Another danger from overpumping groundwater: Arsenic; Californians approve Prop 68; Cow’s milk or almond milk? Ethical food choices are not as easy as you think; Sacramento is weaponizing regulatory process just to take our water, says Jeff Denham; Humboldt County Supervisors call for removal of Scott Dam; solidify stance on Potter Valley project; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

“Trump and Pruitt are waging an all-out attack”: Inside the battle to save California’s water:  “The Tijuana River is a temporary river, which is to say that at times it runs dry. But when the rains come, it runs near bursting. After a healthy spring storm, tires and bottles litter the muddy banks. A refrigerator door reclines, half submerged in gray sediment. What looks like an old bathrobe hangs from the trees amid varicolored shreds of plastic bags, uninvited markers of high water. A bright yellow boom, broken free from a network of battens intended to snag larger flotsam, lies idle at the side of a catch basin in Goat Canyon. “I wouldn’t necessarily touch anything here,” cautions Matt O’Malley, executive director of San Diego Coastkeeper. He and 10 like-minded advocates run grassroots environmental organizations stationed up and down California’s shorelines. The Waterkeepers, as these crusaders call themselves, are the closest thing to aquatic superheroes that the Golden State’s got. ... ”  Read more from Vanity Fair here:  “Trump and Pruitt are waging an all-out attack”: Inside the battle to save California’s water

Senator pushes for revote on Temperance Flat project:  “State Sen. Andy Vidak has sent a letter to the California Water Commission urging them to revote on the Temperance Flat Reservoir (TFR) project’s rating. He highlighted the fact that during the vote there were only 7 out of 9 commissioners present, one of which still needs to be appointed by the Governor, and that this gave the appearance of vote rigging. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Senator pushes for revote on Temperance Flat project

Another danger from overpumping groundwater: Arsenic:  “Sinking land caused by intensive groundwater pumping in the San Joaquin Valley is releasing trapped arsenic — a known carcinogen — into aquifers that supply irrigation and drinking water for a million people, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.  Arsenic, a naturally occurring chemical in the Earth’s crust, is undetectable by the human senses and has been linked to a host of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Researchers at Stanford University say residents should be concerned about arsenic levels in their water supply. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Another danger from overpumping groundwater: Arsenic

Californians approve Prop 68:  “California voters have approved a ballot measure allowing the state borrow $4 billion for parks and conservation projects that proponents say will help ensure access to clean drinking water.  Proposition 68 — one of five statewide measures on the ballot — passed Tuesday with 56 percent of the vote. … ”  Read more from the Telegraph here:  Californians approve Prop 68

Cow’s milk or almond milk? Ethical food choices are not as easy as you think:  “Dean, a dairy farmer in Modesto, California, is a rarity. Unlike most milk producers, including his father, he can see himself replacing his entire herd of cows with the supposed villain of the dairy sector: almonds.  Such a move would seem to be in keeping with current consumer trends. More than one-third of American consumers are looking to incorporate more plant-based foods and beverages into their diets. And milk has been one of the products on the front line of this change.   While sales of cow’s milk have fallen by one-third in the U.S. since the 1970s, sales of plant-based alternatives have grown 6 percent since 2012. Worth an estimated $2 billion last year, they now account for around 10 percent of the total milk market. Almond milk is the most popular nondairy alternative, accounting for 64 percent of that market.  … ”  Read more from the Huffington Post here:  Cow’s milk or almond milk? Ethical food choices are not as easy as you think

In commentary today …

Sacramento is weaponizing regulatory process just to take our water, says Jeff Denham:  He writes, “I recently took legislative action to prevent an assault on our way of life – and it’s going to take a collective effort to win this fight.  Some statistics: $4 billion in economic value. $735 million in labor income. 19,000 jobs.  This is the value of water and what the Don Pedro Project – dam, reservoir and powerhouse – on the Tuolumne River provides to my constituents and the Central Valley. In addition, Don Pedro generates clean and affordable electricity, serves as flood control for the Tuolumne River and offers many recreational opportunities. It’s used to irrigate 200,000 acres of prime farmland and provide electricity and drinking water for more than 220,000 people in the Valley and another 1 million in the San Francisco Bay Area. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Sacramento is weaponizing regulatory process just to take our water

Gallagher’s important bills killed without a debate, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “There was a brief glimmer of hope, after unanimous positive votes in committees, that Assemblyman James Gallagher’s ideas for improving Oroville Dam oversight and school safety would at least get a hearing in the state Legislature.  Instead, they were in effect dismissed without a shred of debate in front of the full Assembly or Senate.  It’s the perfect illustration of our legislative process at its worst — and unfortunately, everybody in Sacramento accepts it as just the way business is done. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Gallagher’s important bills killed without a debate

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath farmers fear midseason water shutoff“Tough decisions about whether to plant crops have faced farmers and ranchers within the Klamath Water Project. They have little guarantee they will receive enough water to finish the season—and continuing legal action could shut off water this summer.  “What’s frustrating is the roller coaster; we don’t know where we’re at from one week to the next,” said farmer Scott Seus of Tulelake. “We’re all trying to be optimists. It would be easy to throw your arms up and just walk away, but we all put our boots on every morning and go back to work.”  Some relief came June 1, when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the project, released water stored in Upper Klamath Lake to farmers to irrigate crops. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Klamath farmers fear midseason water shutoff

Humboldt County Supervisors call for removal of Scott Dam; solidify stance on Potter Valley project:  “The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors cemented its position on the future of the Potter Valley Project on Tuesday morning and stated in a resolution that the end goal is to see the decommissioning of the power plant and specifically the removal of Scott Dam.  “We have to work together on this and we have to stand strong for Humboldt County’s thoughts and concerns,” 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell said. The resolution included in the board agenda underwent a series of tweaks to strengthen language and specify the removal of Scott Dam was “desirable.” … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Humboldt County Supervisors call for removal of Scott Dam; solidify stance on Potter Valley project

Samples clean: Twain Harte Lake to reopen in wake of sewage incident:  “Water quality testing samples came back clean Thursday at Twain Harte Lake, and authorities announced the popular, private recreation reservoir will reopen for normal business on Friday.  The reservoir had been closed since Sunday, when a property owner’s sewer line backed up and overflowed about 30 gallons of wastewater into a drain near Twain Harte Lake, according to staff with Twain Harte Lake Association and Twain Harte Community Services District. … ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here:  Samples clean: Twain Harte Lake to reopen in wake of sewage incident

Sonoma County seeks more time to meet new septic rules; ombudsman hired to help homeowners:  “More time is needed to deal with new state rules governing onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) serving an estimated 45,000 residential and commercial properties in Sonoma County, county supervisors have agreed.  “We’re trying to get there. The question is how to do it,” said James Gore, chair of the Board of Supervisors and the north county representative, at a May 22 hearing to chart the county’s efforts to comply with stricter rules now being phased in across California.  The challenge for non-compliant septic systems, particularly near the Russian River or its tributaries, is how to bring the old systems up to code without inadvertently creating a disastrous “poo-nami” of red tape ensnaring property owners whose antiquated septic systems don’t meet modern health and building regulations, said Gore. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here:  Sonoma County seeks more time to meet new septic rules; ombudsman hired to help homeowners

Napa County voters deadlocked on vineyard development restrictions:  “A Napa County ballot measure that would limit vineyard development in woodlands and along waterways was leading by the slimmest of margins late Tuesday.  The fate of Measure C, widely viewed as a public referendum on whether the wine industry’s expansion should be reined in, was too close to call. Of more than 14,300 votes counted, the measure led by a mere 40 votes.  Thousands of votes remain to be counted, most of which likely will be tallied next week, a county election official said Tuesday night. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Napa County voters deadlocked on vineyard development restrictions

Prado Dam mural shouldn’t be on federal list of historic places, agency says:  “The faded, red-white-and-blue, Bicentennial mural on Prado Dam falls short of being worthy of a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a federal agency says.  Preserving the mural, which can easily be seen by drivers near the 71/91 Freeway interchange near Corona, has been the subject of debate over the past few years. It was painted on the spillway by Corona High School students in 1976.  In May 2015, one of those students, San Jacinto landscape architect Ron Kammeyer, sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alleging it wanted to get rid of the mural without thinking of ways to repair it. ... ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Prado Dam mural shouldn’t be on federal list of historic places, agency says

Along the Colorado River …

Desert almond farmers are staking out water rights in Mohave County:  “Jim Rhodes put a scare into Mohave County residents when the Las Vegas developer bought 20,000 acres around Red Lake and started drilling wells to grow water-intensive alfalfa crop, tapping into the Hualapai Basin aquifer that’s been steadily declining over the last 20 years.  Even after Rhodes went bankrupt with Kingman Farms, auctioned off his farm equipment and the business was acquired by a Massachusetts-based hedge fund, concerns remain about the proliferation of farming operations popping up in the area. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Miner here:  Desert almond farmers are staking out water rights in Mohave County

Hopi Tribe sues Arizona water agency to enforce power contract:  “Despairing over the impending loss of hundreds of jobs and 85 percent of its governmental revenue, the Hopi Tribe recently sued the Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) for not honoring its contract to purchase power from the Navajo Generating Station until it pays back the federal loan used to build the station and construct the 336 mile-long Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal. The tribe relies on royalties from the coal sold to the plant to generate income and jobs.  The water agency wants out of the contract in order to purchase cheaper power from other sources. CAWCD operates the Central Arizona Project, which provides 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water to a variety of customers throughout the state and the water agency uses power from the plant to run the pumps that deliver water from the Colorado River to reservoirs and water users. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Hopi Tribe sues Arizona water agency to enforce power contract

Climate Change Means A Hotter, Drier Future In The Colorado River Headwaters, Study Says: “The effects of climate change are already being felt at the headwaters of the West’s most important river system, according to a study released earlier this year.  The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization compiled the latest science on climate change in the Colorado River headwaters in a report titled Climate Change in the Headwater: Water and Snow Impacts (PDF), presented to the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments in February. ... ”  Read more from KUNC here:  Climate Change Means A Hotter, Drier Future In The Colorado River Headwaters, Study Says

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

 

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