By Dan Bacher
The California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on April 8 passed SB 1132, legislation that will place a moratorium on fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and well stimulation until the state fully studies the impact of the oil extraction on California's air and water quality, public health and economy.
The bill, authored by Senator Holly Mitchell and Senator Mark Leno, will next be considered by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on April 30, 2014.
By Rev. Jim Conn
About seven years ago I was at my first meeting of an education advisory board, staring out the window at the panoramic view of the Santa Monica Mountains, when a fellow sidled up and began making casual conversation. We exchanged a few pleasantries, when he leaned in to tell me in a confidential hush that he had a $34,000 tax problem. Taken aback, I first thought, How odd that he should share such a thing — and figured maybe he wanted sympathy.
Then it occurred to me that his tax problem was more than half what I had made altogether that year, so I said, “If you have that big a problem, you must have the resources to deal with it.” He backed away and never spoke to me again at that meeting, or at any thereafter.
By Richard Eskow
Republican Senator Rand Paul has been making a big play for millennials lately, most notably by taking his civil liberties pitch to colleges around the country. Paul has got the right idea when he says his party must “evolve, adapt or die” (although I think the first two are virtually the same thing). Katie Glueck of Politico wrote that “The Kentucky senator drew a largely friendly reception at the University of California-Berkeley as he skewered the intelligence community.”
By Diane Bailey
Natural Resources Defense Council
One thing about these industries - when the oil and rail barons get together, tidy profits are sure to be made. But at whose expense? And if the latest mile long oil by rail collaboration has nothing to hide, why won’t they tell the public what is in the rail tanker cars, where they’re going and how often they’ll be passing through town?
By Claude Fischer
It’s 1974. Richard Nixon resigns the presidency; Barbara Streisand is singing, “The Way We Were” all over the radio (that music-playing thing before the internet); and you can buy a hand calculator that can only add, subtract, multiply, and divide for, in today’s currency, $100. Someone asks you: Here are three pretty radical ideas – which do you think is likely to happen first, if ever?
By Patrick Porgans
Water officials’ and scientists’ claims that the Golden State is in the grips of an epic 500 year drought is not supported by the facts. Government documents show back in January that this year’s drought was not the worst in 500 years.
“We are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years,” said B. Lynn Ingram, Paleoclimatologist, professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. That story was released on January 30. Although an effort was made to reach Ingram to ascertain the scientific data to support her contention, she has yet to respond.
By Mike Males
Center for Juvenile & Criminal Justice
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson’s March 28 column rationalized the fact that 62% of the Oakland Police Department’s traffic stops involve African Americans (just 28% of the city’s population) because blacks commit the overwhelming majority of the city’s serious crime. This latest example of penalizing “driving while black” is a classic case of what I call statistical bigotry.
By Leila Monroe
Natural Resources Defense Council
In the desperate search for clues about the fate of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, information about a global environmental issue has unexpectedly come to light. Multiple times in the past week, search and rescue teams have been disappointed when debris spotted from the air or satellite has turned out to be “ordinary garbage.”
By Dan Bacher
Senator Dianne Feinstein and six San Joaquin Valley Congressmen on March 27 sent a letter to Interior Secretary Jewell and Commerce Secretary Pritzker requesting more Delta water for San Joaquin Valley corporate agribusiness interests, claiming that water exports wouldn't harm endangered Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta smelt and other fish species.
"We are writing to urge you to immediately evaluate the operating criteria that govern the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) so that actions can be taken as soon as possible to capture the maximum amount of water from this week's storm in California," said Feinstein and Representatives Ken Calvert, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes and David Valadao.
By Robert Cruickshank
Great news from the Public Policy Institute of California, which has a new poll out on various political issues in California. The poll shows that a clear majority of Californians continue to support high speed rail: