megan's blog

Obama Administration Releases Report Announcing Support for Peripheral Canal

By Dan Bacher

On December 15, the Obama administration officially announced its support for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build a peripheral canal/tunnel, a project opposed by fishermen, Indian Tribes, environmentalists, family farmers and Delta residents.

A coordinated report issued by six federal agencies calls for the construction of a "new water conveyance system" - the peripheral canal/tunnel - to move water from north of the California Bay-Delta to corporate agribusiness on the side of the San Joaquin Valley and to Southern California water agencies.

With Federal Funding, Could It Now Be the Train to Somewhere?

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

Two days after Congress cut its 2011 high speed rail budget by nearly sixty percent, or $1.5 billion, California was given a grant of nearly $624 million from the federal government. With the recent grant, California has now received nearly $3.7 billion of federal funding for high speed rail. Combine that with the $9 billion California voters chose to allocate to the project through Proposition 1A in 2008 and California is only $30.3 billion away from the projected $43 billion price tag that comes with laying down nearly 800 miles of track. Hoping to receive another $12 billion in Federal funding over the next decade will, if given, will help, though it will still leave California searching for nearly $18 billion more.

Cap and Trade Could Generate Billions for California

By: Ngoc Nguyen
New American Media

In November, Californians chose to move forward with, not derail, the state’s sweeping climate change law when they defeated Proposition 23, which would have suspended it. A key milestone in the implementation of that law will take place next week, when officials adopt regulations for a cornerstone emissions trading – or cap and trade – program.

With the economy in the tank and what some call a jobless recovery, there’s much at stake in the ultimate design of an emissions trading program that could generate billions in revenue annually and create jobs.

“How California designs its emissions trading program is a multibillion dollar question,” said Noel Perry, the founder of Next 10, a nonpartisan organization based in San Francisco, in a press release.

Jerry Brown's Budget Zen

By Peter Schrag

The most depressing thing about Gov.-elect Jerry Brown’s “summit” last week wasn’t the ugly budget numbers or the decades of high-level irresponsibility and fiscal malfeasance that produced them, but that the data had to be presented at all.

In a room full of legislators and other California officials, state and local, was there anyone who didn’t know all this already?

Some came from Brown’s finance director-to-be, Ana Matosantos, who’s served Arnold Schwarzenegger in the same capacity; some from Treasurer Bill Lockyer; some from Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor; some from Controller John Chiang.  Brown didn’t need to say much. Among the lowlights:

California's Water Board Shouldn't Gut Power Plant Initiative to Protect Oceans

By: Noah Long
Natural Resources Defense Council

The California State Water Board is considering a major and poorly analyzed Amendment that will dramatically weaken the Board’s recently adopted Policy to phase-out the harmful and antiquated technology of once-through cooling in coastal power plants in California. As my colleague Leila Monroe blogged, this post-World War II technology, uses sea water to cool power plants. Once-through cooling has tremendous harmful impacts on California’s coastal and marine environment. Every day, 19 power plants on our coast suck in more than 15 billion gallons of sea water, killing nearly all the marine life that water contains.

Speaker Pelosi and House Dems Block Wealthy Tax Bonus Plan

By: Brian Leubitz

In a private caucus meeting, House Democrats said that they would not pass the Obama concession tax plan as it stands:

"In the caucus today, House Democrats supported a resolution to reject the Senate Republican tax provisions as currently written," Ms. Pelosi said. "We will continue discussions with the president and our Democratic and Republican colleagues in the days ahead to improve the proposal before it comes to the House floor for a vote."

The caucus vote, which is not necessarily binding, nonetheless put Ms. Pelosi in a rare direct conflict with the White House, which is pressing Congress to approve the tax cut proposal.