California outlines plan for scaled back giant water tunnel
ABC News – July 27
A new plan to reroute how water moves from wetter Northern California to drier Southern California would take water from the Sacramento River through a single, 45-mile underground tunnel to the California Aqueduct for delivery south to farmland and millions of people. The proposal released Wednesday is scaled back from the two-tunnel plan championed by former Governor Jerry Brown and constitutes the latest iteration of a project that has been talked about and planned for about half a century. State water officials say a tunnel is badly needed to modernize the state's water infrastructure in the face of climate change, which scientists say is likely to cause both prolonged droughts and major deluges of rain and snow.
Audit: California too slow to fix contaminated water systems
Associated Press – July 26
According to a state audit released on Tuesday, approximately 5% of the state’s water systems have some type of contaminant, like nitrates or arsenic, making tap water unsafe to drink for more than 900,000 Californians. Most of the 370 failing water systems are in economically disadvantaged communities, such as the state’s agricultural heartland in the Central Valley. The State Water Resources Control Board has provided at least $1.7 billion in grants since 2016 to improve water systems, but the audit found a lack of clear metrics and poor communication has created confusion for water districts seeking help and slowed down the award process.
Oil company whose pipeline spilled will pay Orange County nearly $1 million
The Orange County Register – July 26
Amplify Energy Corp., whose ruptured pipeline released about 25,000 gallons of oil off the coast of Huntington Beach last October, will cover Orange County’s costs of dealing with the spill, county officials said. On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors agreed to accept a proposed $956,352 settlement with the company. The spill closed beaches along the Orange County coast for about a week, restricted offshore fishing for about six weeks, and killed about 82 birds and six mammals.
Kern County proposes fixes to oil permitting system
The Bakersfield Californian – July 24
Regulatory patches are being proposed to bring Kern County’s oil and gas permitting system up to the state’s environmental standards and potentially let the county resume approving new drilling, which has been halted since last October. A public notice the county published Thursday listed four steps intended to fix deficiencies in Kern County’s environmental review process as identified in early June by Kern County Superior Court Judge Gregory Pulskamp. The notice set an August 23 public hearing on a proposal that would require removal of idle oilfield equipment on certain oil permits on farmland. Another proposed “mitigation measure” to soften the industry’s local impact would adopt a regional agreement on fine particulate pollution; two others would remove then replace a community drinking water grant program.
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