DAILY DIGEST: Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns; Feds eye changes to a bedrock environmental law; Drought conditions spread over much of CA; Sacramento to get $1.8 billion from feds for flood protection; Dangerous heat wave for SoCal, Southwest; and more …

In California water news today, Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns; EPA rollbacks already touching Americans’ lives; Feds eye changes to a bedrock environmental law; Drought conditions spread over much of California; Dangerous heat wave threatens millions of people in California and the Southwest; Why California needs a plan to protect its wetlands; Feds give billions for NorCal flood control projects; and more …

In the news today …

Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns:  “Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, one of the most scandal-plagued Cabinet officials in U.S. history, is leaving the agency.  “I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” Trump said in a tweet Thursday. “Within the agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.” ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns

Scott Pruitt out at the EPA:  “Scott Pruitt will no longer lead the Environmental Protection Agency, President Trump announced Thursday afternoon via Twitter.  Pruitt was among the most controversial of President Trump’s original Cabinet-level picks. He embodied the administration’s broad support for the fossil fuel industry and its disdain for climate science, and attracted the attention of Congress and the EPA’s inspector general for a wide range of potential ethics violations that hinged on misusing his power and spending far more taxpayer money than his predecessors had on travel and security expenses. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Scott Pruitt out at the EPA

EPA rollbacks already touching Americans’ lives:  “For 37 mostly female farm-workers in California‘s Central Valley, U.S. policy under Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt became personal not long after sunup one day in May 2017.  Picking cabbage that morning, the workers noticed a tarry smell drifting from a nearby orchard. Mouths and lips tingled or went numb. Throats went dry. Soon some workers were vomiting and collapsing.  Officials in California’s farm-rich Kern County, where the workers fell ill, concluded that the harvesters were reacting to a pesticide, chlorpyrifos, misapplied at the neighboring orchard. ... ”  Read more from US News & World Report here:  EPA rollbacks already touching Americans’ lives

Feds eye changes to a bedrock environmental law:  “A linchpin environmental law is now being scrutinized by the Trump administration and could be targeted for reforms. The National Environmental Policy Act, commonly referred to as NEPA, dictates the environmental planning process for federal agencies. Any changes to the NEPA process could have far-reaching impacts on the vast public lands and infrastructure of the West. … ”  Read more from High Country News here:  Feds eye changes to a bedrock environmental law

Drought conditions spread over much of California:  “Sixteen days into summer, with wildfires raging over the bone-dry landscape and more scorching hot days ahead, it might feel as if California is on the verge of another drought.  The official word from weather authorities shows much of the state trending in that direction.  Abnormally dry or drought conditions prevail over 85 percent of California, including the coast from Monterey County to the Oregon border, the U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Drought conditions spread over much of California

Dangerous heat wave threatens millions of people in California and the Southwest:  “A dangerous heat wave is expected to grip California and parts of the southwest Friday and into the weekend, threatening millions of people and likely fueling existing wildfires.  More than 25 million people are under excessive heat watches, warnings or advisories, including in Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix metro areas.  The scorching heat will bring triple-digit temperatures to Los Angeles, where the mercury is forecast to reach 105 degrees on Friday and 100 on Saturday, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. … ”  Read more from CNN here:  Dangerous heat wave threatens millions of people in California and the Southwest

In commentary today …

Why California needs a plan to protect its wetlandsHolly Doremus writes, “Californians have long valued our last remaining wetlands, which represent less than 10 percent of our once-rich natural endowment. In 1993, Republican governor Pete Wilson issued an executive order declaring a state policy not only of “no net loss,” but of long-term net gain, in the quality and quantity of wetlands. Yet 25 years later, protection of these special places remains at risk because the state has failed to create an effective wetlands protection program. ... ” Continue reading at Water Deeply here:  Why California needs a plan to protect its wetlands

In regional news and commentary today …

Federal bill to reinstate Siskiyou-area tribe draws fire:  “A controversial bill to reinstate federal tribal recognition to a long defunct Siskiyou County American Indian rancheria is stalled in the House of Representatives amid questions about the group’s authenticity and motivations. House Resolution 3535, sponsored by Congress Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, would reinstate federal recognition to Ruffey Rancheria, a home for “landless Indians” in Etna approved in 1907 and terminated by Congress some 50 years later. LaMalfa’s major political donors include numerous tribal and gambling interests. … ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  Federal bill to reinstate Siskiyou-area tribe draws fire

Volunteers remove about 1,500 pounds of trash from Tahoe beaches:  “After yesterday’s Fourth of July festivities left mounds of cans, bottles, cigarette butts and plastic on Tahoe’s shorelines, hundreds of volunteers gathered at five beaches for the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s annual July 5 beach cleanup.  “Anyone want pizza?” said one of the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s core volunteers, holding up a pizza box with half an unfinished pie, which had been abandoned on the beach sometime yesterday. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here:  Volunteers remove about 1,500 pounds of trash from Tahoe beaches

Army Corps awards $13 million for Marysville Ring Levee:  “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will award $13 million to complete the construction of the Marysville Ring Levee Project, which encircles Marysville as well as major transportation corridors, and will provide protection against 200-year floods for the city.  The announcement was made Thursday by the office of U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, a Fairfield Democrat whose 3rd Congressional District includes Marysville. He is a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Water Resources Subcommittee. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Army Corps awards $13 million for Marysville Ring Levee

Trump administration sends Sacramento $1.8 billion for flood protection:  “Even after years of drought, Sacramento’s biggest worry over water is flood risk. The city is widely considered the second-most flood-prone major city in America, after New Orleans.  Sacramento’s efforts to fight flooding got a major boost Thursday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Rep. Doris Matsui’s office announced that the region has been allocated nearly $1.8 billion to strengthen levees and raise Folsom Dam. The federal money also will be spent widening the Sacramento Weir, a mechanism north of the city that acts as a safety valve by channeling flood waters into the Yolo Bypass. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Trump administration sends Sacramento $1.8 billion for flood protection

Palo Alto: Federal funds to flow to flood control project:  “An effort by Palo Alto, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto to boost flood protection around San Francisquito Creek received an unexpected nudge from the federal government last month, when the Army Corps of Engineers received $646,500 to evaluate upstream work, including replacement of the Pope-Chaucer Bridge.  … ”  Read more from The Almanac here:  Palo Alto: Federal funds to flow to flood control project

Paso Robles: Water banking ballot initiative dropped:  “San Luis Obispo County voters won’t get to decide in November whether to enact a ban on exporting groundwater outside of local aquifers.  Backers of the ballot initiative dropped a push to collect the 8,580 signatures needed to qualify the measure for the election, opting to hold the campaign for a future election cycle, according to proponent and Creston resident Greg Grewal.  Grewal told New Times that organizers had collected about 3,500 signatures for the initiative, but they decided recently to table it to simplify the ordinance language and build a broader coalition of support from residents and agriculturalists countywide. … ”  Continue reading at New Times SLO here:  Paso Robles: Water banking ballot initiative dropped

Santa Clarita: Would Plambeck ever say there was enough water? asks Dan Masnada:  He writes, “In her June 28 Signal commentary, “Would a Water Agency Ever Say There Isn’t Enough?” Lynne Plambeck goes down a number of rabbit holes to conclude the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency board of directors is derelict in its duty to ensure water supply adequacy for the SCV. Of course, her definition of “ensuring water supply adequacy” is to deny water for new development rather than providing enough water for both existing and future water users.  None of her arguments hold water – pun intended. … ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Signal here:  Would Plambeck ever say there was enough water?

San Diego: Hundreds turn out for post-Fourth of July cleanup:  “Following Fourth of July revelry, hundreds of volunteers on Thursday morning helped pick up about 1,500 pounds of trash and recyclables along shorelines from Ocean Beach to Oceanside.  Most of those people came out in support of the 14th annual “Morning After Mess” cleanup event spearheaded by local water-quality advocacy groups. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego: Hundreds turn out for post-Fourth of July cleanup

Imperial Irrigation District board continues to grapple with drought issues:  “During the Imperial Irrigation District’s regular meeting June 26, the continuing drought was the main focus after lower Lake Mead water levels were reported by Michael Pacheco, IID’s water manager.  Lake Mead is the reservoir behind the Hoover Dam whose critical levels have prompted both the Colorado Upper and Lower basins to begin studies on various drought scenarios if levels continue to drop.  As of the date of the meeting, Lake Mead’s depth was 1,078 feet, half of its regular levels. Pacheco reported June’s inflow to Lake Mead from the Colorado River was forecasted as dropping further to 36 percent of its normal water delivery. ... ”  Read more from the Desert Review here:  Imperial Irrigation District board continues to grapple with drought issues

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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